Grand Rapids Outdoor Refreshment Areas

Enjoy beer, wine or cocktails as you stroll around Grand Rapids in the city’s outdoor Refreshment Areas (aka Social Zones). Each district is located in a walkable neighborhood where multiple businesses offer unique food, beverage and social experiences, and seating areas for relaxing and socializing.

Just purchase your beverage from a participating business, and stay within the clearly designated areas as you roam. It’s a great way to see the sights and soak up some Vitamin D while you sample the luscious libations of America’s Craft Beverage Capital.

Downtown Refreshment Area

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Enjoying Bridge Street's Refreshment Area
Cooler Weather - Cold Weather - Refreshment Area with heaters.

The refreshment area in Grand Rapids is a great place to meet up with friends!

Photo by Brian Craig for Experience GR.

The Downtown Refreshment Area encompasses nearly three square miles of the city center (see map). Purchase a beverage in a specially marked container from a participating vendor and you can carry the drink with you most anywhere you go downtown ­– even across the Grand River to the Bridge St. Entertainment District. More than 60 downtown restaurants, pubs and entertainment venues are offering beverages to enjoy on the go. 

Outdoor Dining

Many of these businesses – and scores more throughout the city – add to the vibrant social atmosphere by delivering full-fledged outdoor dining experiences, in all four seasons. Click here for a list of fresh-air food and drink destinations in downtown and beyond.

Outdoor Dining Spaces

Outdoor Dining in Any Season Grand Rapidians love the outdoors ­ – so much so that local restaurants and breweries have devised…

photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Refreshment Areas FAQ

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Refreshment Areas Outside of Downtown

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Other Grand Rapids Refreshment Areas cover smaller geographic areas with rich concentrations of hospitality businesses:

  • Creston Refreshment Area – Plainfield Ave. from Carrier St. to Sweet St. 
  • Fourth & Stocking Refreshment Area – Stocking Ave. from 3rd St. to 6th St.
  • East Fulton Refreshment Area – Fulton Street from Union Ave. to Carlton Ave.
  • East Hills Refreshment Area – Cherry St. from Eastern to Diamond; Lake Drive from Eastern to Luton; Diamond Avenue from Fulton to Wealthy.
  • Michigan Street Refreshment Area – Michigan Street from College Ave. to Diamond Ave.
  • Wealthy Street Refreshment Area – Wealthy St. from Union Ave. to Eastern Ave.
  • West Fulton Refreshment Area – Fulton St. from Garfield Ave. to Marion Ave.
  • West Leonard Refreshment Area – Leonard St. from Alpine Ave. to Turner Ave.

There are also social districts in these nearby Kent County cities: Ada, Cedar Springs, East Grand Rapids, Grandville, Lowell, Rockford and Sparta. Click the links for locations, hours and policies.

Look for orange border signage indicating Refreshment Area boundaries on sidewalks and light posts.

Parking & Transportation

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Some street and lot parking has been eliminated to make room for seating and other amenities. Traffic routes have also been shifted in some districts. Visit the Grand Rapids City website to find available downtown parking. You can use the free DASH bus service to travel within the Downtown Refreshment Area and the Rapid Bus System to travel to other Refreshment Areas. Beverages are not allowed on buses.

Pets Welcome

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These are public spaces, so pets on leashes are allowed. Individual restaurants might not allow non-service animals in their outdoor dining spaces – please check first.

Social Districts Outside of Kent County

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A number of locales in adjoining counties also offer outdoor social districts, including the lakeshore communities of Douglas, Grand Haven, Holland, Muskegon and Saugatuck – perfect if you’re making a day trip from Grand Rapids to Lake Michigan (30-45 minutes away). Click the links for details.

Alcoholic beverages may only be purchased and consumed by adults aged 21 and older. Please drink responsibly.

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