Fall is always a vibrant and busy time in Grand Rapids, and this year is no exception. COVID-19 restrictions have been eased, and attractions and events have become adept at operating within new safety guidelines. Cooler weather makes it more comfortable to explore the grand outdoors. And nature puts on a dazzling color show!
We continually update the events listing at the bottom of the page, so check back often.
The health and well-being of the local community and our visitors is paramount, so we urge you to observe the recommendations of local and national public health officials. Michigan requirements include:
• Wearing a face covering in all enclosed spaces (except when dining) and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.
• Maintaining a distance of at least six feet from people not in your household.
• Gathering in groups no larger than 10 people.
Please check our travel updates for visitor tips and safety guidelines. Together, we’ll ensure that you can travel confidently.
The city has teamed with businesses to transform streets, sidewalks, parks and parking lots into socially distanced spaces for food and beverage service, retail sales, exercise classes and other fresh-air fun. Select Social Zones include Refreshment Areas that allow patrons of participating locations to carry open alcoholic beverages outdoors. It’s a great way to experience the best of the city – morning, noon and night! (Most restaurants are also open for indoor service as well as carryout/delivery convenience.)
Take a self-fall color tour that showcases the region’s lush forest canopy, abundant apple orchards and charming covered bridges – plot your own trip to include these picturesque destinations or follow one of the routes suggested by the Kent County Road Commission. Visit local parks for a late-season picnic beneath an umbrella of red, yellow and orange leaves. Wander the trails at Blandford Nature Center, Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve and Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience & Environmental Education Center to see fall’s effect on all manner of native plants.
It’s apple time in Grand Rapids! Our family farms produce an astonishing variety of these crispy, crunchy flavor bombs – and you can pick them up at farm markets and U-pick orchards, along with pumpkins and other cold-weather crops, plus homemade fruit pies, pastries, donuts and more. Many Fruit Ridge farms also offer hayrides, corn mazes, petting zoos and other fun family activities. This is also a great time to enjoy fresh-pressed apple cider – “soft” on farms or “hard” in local cideries.
Cider is just one of the craft beverages Grand Rapids does exceedingly well. We’re also known for our beer, spirits and mead. USA Today named us the Craft Beverage Capital of America – and we’re celebrating with this new event, which invites you to check in to 4+ craft beverage locations to earn a FREE gift. You’ll also earn a coupon at every stop. Get details at CraftPassGR.com – and drink local from September 14 through October 31.
COVID-19 may put a crimp in some of our usual eerie activities, but you can still get your (safe) spook on at The Haunt, Abandoned Acres Farm Haunted Attraction, New Salem Corn Maze and Hallowee-Ones, a Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park dress-up event. Visit our Halloween page for more events and spooky things to do, we'll be updating it as more events are announced.
Many of the area’s biggest tourist attractions are open for business – including A.J.’s Family Fun Center, Blandford Nature Center, Craig’s Cruisers, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum and John Ball Zoo. Hours and procedures may have changed, so check websites for details.
Fall’s biggest events include exhibits at Grand Rapids Art Museum (An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960-2018 opens October 2), Grand Rapids Public Museum (Under the Arctic and the timely Outbreaks: Epidemics in a Connected World), Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (George Segal: Body Language and Chrysanthemums and More!) and John Ball Zoo (BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise). Scroll down to browse a list of all events.
This digital pass is a great way to enjoy many attractions and events at a discount – download it to your smartphone for three days of reduced admission to the zoo and museums. Culture Pass GR is on sale throughout October– for just $20!
Many locals prefer the invigorating days of autumn to the sultry days of summer for exploring our wide-open, socially distanced outdoor spaces. Get in a few more (or many more) rounds of golf. Hike or bike hundreds of miles of trails. Get on the water with a canoe, kayak or paddleboard. Picnic in a park or beachcomb at Lake Michigan. Check out all the possibilities for outdoor recreation.
If you don’t feel comfortable traveling yet, we invite you to Dream Grand with us – explore this website and imagine all the things you’ll want to do on your next visit. You can even build a wish list for your trip. When you find an event or attraction that interests you – like the Grand Rapids Public Museum – just click on the ADD TO LIST button under the address. That creates a running list of things you want to see and do. Click “My Trip” at the top of any page for your complete schedule.
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