Dynamic Variation:

Winter Activities in Grand Rapids

Whether you love to play in the snow or you prefer to stay warm and cozy, Grand Rapids is the winter destination of your dreams. From skiing and snowshoeing to stage shows and festivals, Grand Rapids has you covered … indoors and out. Check this page often, we’ll keep adding new events and activities as they’re announced – including the downtown Grand Rapids Santa Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony, ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle and New Year’s festivities. We’re here to help you plan your fun calendar all the way through February 2024!

World of Winter

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January 12 - March 10, 2024

Experience and enjoy winter in a whole new way during the World of Winter Festival in downtown Grand Rapids. See 20+ large-scale outdoor art installations and 50+ amazing ice sculptures, enjoy musical performances, play games, stroll the city and more  – all FREE! Jan. 12 - March 10.

A few don’t miss events:

Shopping

Local Gifts to Give from Grand Rapids

  • by Ashley Wierenga photo by Ashley Wierenga for Experience GR
  • GR text Must
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  • 7 min story

When it comes to making sure you have something special for everyone on your list, it’s easy…

Shopping

A Local's Guide to GR Comic Book Shops

  • by Matthew Makowski photo by Experience Grand Rapids
  • GR text Must
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  • 12 min story

There are many different “scenes” in Grand Rapids — performing arts, craft…

Seasonal Shopping

Find something for everyone on your list at Breton Village Shopping Center, RiverTown Crossings Mall, Tanger Outlet Mall, Woodland Mall and the Ada, East Grand Rapids, Lowell, Rockford and Uptown shopping districts. Be sure to come back for all the post-holiday sales!

Pick up gifts for beer lovers at Beer City USA breweries and the online GrandRapidsStore.com.

Visit Gift Shops at Local Attractions for distinctive gifts unique to Grand Rapids.

Trying to entice friends and family to visit you in Grand Rapids? Give them the gift of Culture Pass GR – it’s a three-day pass granting them access to many of the area’s top cultural attractions.

Browse the 20+ artisan food vendors at Grand Rapids Downtown Market for all your holiday meal fixings – fine meats and seafood, baked goods, sweets and more.

Check out this list of 60+ specialty stores for one-of-a-kind treasures you won’t find anywhere else and shop local consignment stores for great deals on gently used fashions, furniture and more.

Food & Drink

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A Couple Drinking Craft Beer at Dusk Outside
Cheers to Craft Beer, Friends, and Great Food

Indoor and outdoor dining is available throughout the area.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Winter Eatings (& Drinkings)

It’s such a busy season, be sure to take time to relax and let someone else do the cooking (and brewing and distilling) once in a while. Browse our restaurant, brewery, cidery, coffee shop and distillery lists for something that’s sure to hit the spot.

Enjoy a delicious meal in the Grand Outdoors – or, at least, a heated enclosure offering a clear view of the outdoors. Dozens of local restaurants and breweries have created outdoor dining spaces that will keep you comfortable even in winter.

Share some holiday cheer with friends at eight of 40+ local breweries and earn a FREE Beer City Brewsader® t-shirt. (It makes a great gift, but you’ll probably want to keep it for yourself.) Prefer something lighter (and warmer)? Check out these Warm Drinks for Cold Days in Grand Rapids.

Get the Flights of Flavor pass to find the city’s best food & drink pairings – ideal for sharing with friends and family in this festive season. Check in with the pass to earn t-shirts, caps, cutting boards and more. (They’d make perfect gifts, but you’ll probably want to keep them for yourself).

Visit the Downtown Refreshment Area to view holiday lights and decorations while enjoying drinks and food from participating vendors. Other Refreshment Areas around the region offer similar opportunities.

Need some wine and/or champagne for the holidays (or any day)? Grand Rapids has some great wine shops and wine bars.

Get a taste of hundreds of Michigan beers at the Winter Beer Festival, also featuring local music and performers, ice sculptures, firepits, food and more. Outdoors in LMCU Ballpark, Feb. 24.

Show Stoppers

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Really Big Shows

Forest of Dreams: Contemporary Tree Sculpture offers unexpected visions of these remarkable organisms through the work of 15 exceptional artists. At Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park through Feb. 25, 2024.

Two exhibits at the Grand Rapids Art Museum offers two very different conceptions of art: Underneath Everything: Humility and Grandeur in Contemporary Ceramics (through Jan. 14) and Uncharted Ways Through: Maps and the Image (opens Dec. 16).

If cabin fever is starting to set in, get in the mood for spring and summer at these DeVos Place shows:

Dancing With the Stars: Live! waltzes back into DeVos Performance Hall with your favorite professional dancers from the hit TV series, Feb. 13.

Grand Rapids Ballet presents Sleeping Beauty, one of the most beloved classic ballets, at DeVos Performance Hall Feb. 23-25.

Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids stages The Hatmaker’s Wife, a modern-day fable in which a young woman discovers the secrets of her past with the help of a talking wall. At Spectrum Theater, Feb. 29 and March 2-3, 7 & 9-10.

Laugh yourself warm at a winter comedy show:

Live Music

Dobro master and 15-time GRAMMY winner Jerry Douglas comes to St. Cecilia Music Center Nov. 16.

Opera Grand Rapids presents a Chorus Concert at Fountain Street Church, featuring some of the canon’s most beloved opera choruses and a few contemporary pieces. Nov. 16.

Van Andel Arena hosts hard rockers Disturbed (Jan. 22) and Pantera (Feb. 20), country star Sam Hunt Feb. 22, an Elevation Nights worship concert Feb. 23 and Bryan Adams Feb. 27.

The Grand Rapids Symphony presents a series of concerts in DeVos Performance Hall:

St. Cecilia Music Center hosts two much-anticipated folk-oriented concerts:

Check out the winter schedules at The Intersection, GLC Live at 20 Monroe, Midtown and The Pyramid Scheme for more concerts across a variety of genres.

Winter Sports

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Snowshoeing has been around for almost as long as civilizations have interacted with deep snow. Historians believe snowshoeing traces its roots back…

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One of the great thing about Grand Rapids is the city’s close proximity to wildlife, nature, and beautiful outdoor scenes. You can easily find…

Cheer on the Grand Rapids Griffins hockey team at Van Andel Arena – they play 36 home games from October 13 through April 21.

The Grand Rapids Gold basketball team opens the 2023-2024 season at home in Van Andel Arena Nov. 12 – and plays 23 more home games through March 30.

Witness the debut of the Grand Rapids Rise! This pro volleyball franchise, the city’s first major league women’s sports team, plays its first game at home in Van Andel Arena Jan. 25 – and 11 more home games by the time the regular season ends on May 12.

Van Andel Arena is also the site of the Great Lakes Invitational – two days of hockey action featuring Michigan Tech, Michigan State, Ferris State and Alaska Fairbanks. December 28-29.

Get in on the action of the Meijer State Games of Michigan as a participant, fan or volunteer. The local sports lineup includes indoor archery, basketball, bowling, cross-country skiing, curling, disc golf, fencing, figure skating, karate, luge, pistol shooting, ski and snowboard, and swimming. Feb. 16-18.

Enjoy one of our favorite winter traditions – ice skating under the sun and stars in downtown’s Rosa Parks Circle. Weather permitting, the rink is open Nov. 30-Feb 25.

Get out and explore the Grand Outdoors. Hike the trails at Blandford Nature Center and area parks to savor every shift of the season, as snow comes and goes and comes again.

Explore the area’s best snowshoe trails and cross-country skiing trails – and find out where to rent or buy equipment – for a scenic, at-your-own-pace workout.

If downhill skiing is your sport, you can tackle 21 runs at Cannonsburg Ski Area, just 20 minutes from downtown. Bittersweet Ski Resort (20 runs) and Mulligan’s Hollow (six runs) are 30 minutes or so away. All three offer excellent cross-country trails, as do numerous close-by parks and nature areas.

Cannonsburg is also a favorite with snowboarders, thanks to a terrain park filled with 80+ jibs and jumps. Bittersweet and Mulligan’s Hollow are also popular snowboarding spots.

Want to take the kids sledding? Our favorite fun (and free) sledding locations include Richmond Park, Belknap Park, Johnson Park and Cascade Township Park.

If you love fat tire biking, you’ll love the groomed trails at Cannonsburg Ski Area, Indian Trails Fat Bike Park and the Merrell Trail in Rockford.

Ice fishing is a major pastime here – grab your auger and head to one our many inland lakes and river bayous.

Kids Stuff

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The everyday hustle and bustle can be a challenge for young ones with sensory needs. Sensory-friendly experiences at Blandford Nature Center, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and the Grand Rapids Public Museum can help them feel more comfortable and included.

Find things to do with kids and teens in Grand Rapids, this season and throughout the year.

Save on Attractions with Our Culture Pass

Receive admission into many cultural attractions around Grand Rapids as well as additional exclusive discounts with our $20.00 Culture Pass.