Things to do in Grand Rapids

When it comes to Grand Rapids, it’s been the shining star of Michigan in recent years and with good reason. It frequently makes the list of top cities to live in in the entire United States. Here are a few of our favorite reasons why Grand Rapids receives the attention that it does, and why it might be a great city for you to visit or live in.

Drink at a brewery
If you’re a resident of Michigan, you know that Grand Rapids is known as the beer capital of Michigan. With over 35 breweries in the local area, it rivals well-known beer cities, like Portland, as having the most breweries per person. Founders, located in downtown Grand Rapids, was one of the first major breweries in the area. Their outdoor brewpub is a must visit in the spring and summer. There are also cider mills, wineries, and distilleries in the area where you can taste craft drinks and tour the facilities. It’s necessary that you stop by a few of the great breweries in the area if you’re an out of town visitor.

Visit a museum

Downtown Grand Rapids has several fabulous museums and historical centers each with a different subject. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is all about the life and legacy of President Gerald R. Ford. You can peruse artifacts and possessions that belonged to both Gerald and Betty Ford. The Grand Rapids Public Museum has a variety of exhibits on culture and natural history. You’ll be greeted by a giant whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling when you enter. The museum also features rotating exhibits with past topics including the history of the Titanic and inside the human body. Other museums downtown include the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives, Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum.

Be one with nature

The John Ball Zoo in downtown Grand Rapids has been a local favorite attraction since John Ball himself left 40 acres of land to the City of Grand Rapids in 1884 that was turned into the zoo. The zoo has gone through extensive remodels over the years and now features exhibits from every part of the world. You can even feed birds in the Budgie Aviary and fly through the zoo on a zip line.

Another natural attraction in Grand Rapids is Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. There are 158 acres of botanical gardens and outdoor sculptures that are fun to explore for all ages. The gardens’ crown jewel is their butterfly exhibit that comes every April. Guests get the chance to walk through an observatory and view colorful butterflies in a natural habitat.

Eat your way through the downtown market

Grand Rapids has become not only a beer destination but a foodie destination too. The downtown market in Grand Rapids is a foodie and Michigan-made product mecca. You can eat Michigan shaped ice-cream bars at Love’s Ice Cream, authentic Vietnamese pho at Pho616 and custom-made pizzas at Rocket Pies. The downtown market also frequently hosts cooking classes and themed food events.

About the author: Adrianna is a guest contributor from Carlson Laser Aesthetics, a Grand Rapids medical spa.