Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Grand Rapids, MI


By Sarah Anderson

Welcome to Grand Rapids, MI – a vibrant city filled with top-rated attractions and exciting things to do. From its flourishing art scene to its beautiful outdoor spaces, Grand Rapids offers a little something for everyone.

One of the must-visit attractions in Grand Rapids is the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. This expansive botanical garden is home to a stunning array of flora and fauna, as well as an impressive collection of sculptures by renowned artists. The garden’s peaceful atmosphere and breathtaking landscapes make it a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike.

If you’re a fan of art and history, be sure to visit the Grand Rapids Art Museum. This world-class museum showcases a diverse collection of artworks, spanning from Renaissance masterpieces to contemporary pieces. With its thought-provoking exhibitions and interactive displays, the Grand Rapids Art Museum offers a unique and engaging experience for all art enthusiasts.

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, Grand Rapids is surrounded by scenic beauty and an abundance of recreational activities. Take a stroll along the Grand River, which winds its way through the heart of the city, or explore one of the many nearby parks and nature reserves. From hiking and biking trails to kayaking and fishing spots, there is no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Grand Rapids.

Additionally, Grand Rapids is known for its thriving food and craft beer scene. With countless restaurants, breweries, and food festivals, the city has gained a reputation as a culinary destination. Whether you’re looking for fine dining or a casual meal, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds in Grand Rapids.

So, whether you’re an art lover, outdoor enthusiast, or foodie, Grand Rapids has plenty to offer. Prepare to be captivated by the city’s charm and discover why it’s a top-rated destination for travelers from all around the world.

Explore the Vibrant Downtown District

When visiting Grand Rapids, MI, one of the top attractions that you should not miss is the vibrant downtown district. This area is full of energy, culture, and excitement, making it a must-see destination for both locals and tourists.

Start your exploration of the downtown district with a stroll along Monroe Center Street. This bustling street is lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes, offering something for everyone. You can browse unique boutiques, grab a bite to eat at a local eatery, or simply soak in the vibrant atmosphere.

As you continue your adventure, be sure to visit the Grand Rapids Art Museum. This world-class museum features a diverse collection of art, including pieces from renowned artists. Take your time to wander through the galleries and appreciate the beauty and creativity on display.

Another must-visit attraction downtown is the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Learn about the life and legacy of President Gerald R. Ford through fascinating exhibits and displays. This museum offers a unique glimpse into the history of the nation and is a must-see for history buffs.

After exploring the museums, take a leisurely stroll along the Grand River. The riverfront area offers stunning views and is the perfect place to relax and unwind. You can also rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the river from a different perspective.

For those looking for a taste of the local culinary scene, the downtown district is home to a wide variety of restaurants and bars. From farm-to-table eateries to trendy cocktail lounges, there is something to suit every palate. Be sure to try some of the local favorites, such as craft beer and Michigan-inspired cuisine.

End your day in the downtown district with a visit to Rosa Parks Circle. This public space serves as a gathering place for locals and often hosts events and concerts. Relax on the grassy lawn, watch as people skate on the ice rink in winter, or join in on the fun during one of the many festivals that take place here throughout the year.

Overall, the vibrant downtown district in Grand Rapids, MI is a must-visit destination. From shopping and dining to art and history, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So, be sure to explore this lively area and experience all that it has to offer.

Visit the Iconic Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is a must-visit attraction in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This iconic museum is dedicated to the 38th President of the United States, Gerald R. Ford, who held office from 1974 to 1977. The museum showcases the life and legacy of President Ford with engaging exhibits and interactive displays.

One of the highlights of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is the permanent exhibit called “Growing Up Grand,” which explores Ford’s early years in Grand Rapids. Visitors can learn about his childhood, family, and the values that shaped his character. The exhibit also features artifacts and photographs from Ford’s youth.

The museum also offers a unique opportunity to explore the political career of President Ford. The exhibit “The White House Years” gives visitors a glimpse into his presidency, including his controversial decision to pardon Richard Nixon and his efforts to stabilize the economy. Visitors can see a replica of the Oval Office and learn about the challenges and accomplishments of Ford’s time in office.

In addition to the exhibits, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum hosts special events and educational programs throughout the year. Visitors can participate in lectures, panel discussions, and even meet distinguished guests who played a role in Ford’s administration. The museum also has a gift shop where visitors can purchase books, souvenirs, and memorabilia related to President Ford and his presidency.

Located on the banks of the Grand River, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum offers stunning views of the city skyline and the riverfront. After exploring the museum, visitors can take a stroll along the riverwalk or enjoy a picnic in the nearby park.

Address: 303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9am-5pm
Sunday: 12pm-5pm
Admission: Adults: $10

Seniors (62+): $8

Students (with ID): $6

Children (6-18): $4

Children (5 and under): Free

Parking: Free parking available on-site

Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of President Ford, or simply looking to learn more about the presidency, a visit to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is an enriching and educational experience. Plan your visit today and discover the fascinating life and career of one of America’s most influential leaders.

Discover Art at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

The Grand Rapids Art Museum is a must-visit destination for art lovers in the city. Located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, this museum showcases a diverse collection of art from around the world, spanning different time periods and artistic styles.

As you explore the museum, you’ll have the opportunity to admire a wide range of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs. The museum’s permanent collection features pieces by renowned artists such as Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

In addition to its permanent collection, the Grand Rapids Art Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions that highlight a variety of artistic themes and movements. These exhibitions provide visitors with the chance to see unique pieces of art that are not usually on display.

For those interested in learning more about the art on display, the museum offers guided tours led by knowledgeable docents. These tours provide insights into the artists’ techniques, historical context, and the significance of the works.

Aside from its visual art collections, the Grand Rapids Art Museum also hosts educational programs and events for all ages. From art workshops and classes to lectures and concerts, there’s always something happening at the museum that caters to different interests and preferences.

After immersing yourself in the art, you can take a break at the museum’s café, which offers a variety of delicious snacks and beverages. The café features a cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for relaxing and reflecting on the art you’ve just experienced.

Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or simply curious about the art scene in Grand Rapids, a visit to the Grand Rapids Art Museum is sure to be a memorable experience. With its wide array of artworks and engaging programs, the museum offers a unique opportunity to discover, appreciate, and be inspired by art.

Experience Nature at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. Spanning over 150 acres, this expansive park offers a variety of attractions for visitors to enjoy.

One of the highlights of the park is its extensive collection of sculptures. With over 300 pieces spread throughout the grounds, visitors can admire works from renowned artists such as Auguste Rodin, Alexander Calder, and Dale Chihuly. The sculptures are thoughtfully placed within the natural landscapes, creating a harmonious blend of art and nature.

In addition to the stunning sculptures, Frederik Meijer Gardens offers a diverse selection of gardens to explore. The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory is home to exotic plants from around the world, including orchids, bonsai trees, and carnivorous plants. The Michigan Farm Garden showcases the region’s agricultural heritage, featuring crops and farm animals. The Japanese Garden offers a tranquil escape, with its peaceful streams, traditional architecture, and meticulously maintained landscapes.

For those who enjoy horticulture, the park offers educational programs and workshops to learn more about gardening, plant care, and landscaping. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, there is something for everyone to discover at Frederik Meijer Gardens.

In addition to the gardens and sculptures, the park hosts a variety of events and exhibitions throughout the year. From live music concerts to art exhibits, there is always something happening at Frederik Meijer Gardens.

Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature, admire beautiful artwork, or simply enjoy a peaceful stroll, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a must-visit destination in Grand Rapids. With its stunning landscapes, diverse gardens, and impressive sculpture collection, it offers a unique and memorable experience for visitors of all ages.

Enjoy Live Performances at the DeVos Performance Hall

If you’re a fan of live entertainment, be sure to check out the DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids. This state-of-the-art venue hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, including concerts, theater productions, and dance shows.

The DeVos Performance Hall is known for its excellent acoustics and comfortable seating, ensuring that every seat in the house provides a great view and an immersive audio experience. Whether you’re interested in seeing a world-renowned symphony orchestra or watching a Broadway musical, you’re sure to find a performance that suits your tastes.

Many famous artists and performers have graced the stage at the DeVos Performance Hall, making it a premier destination for entertainment in Grand Rapids. From Grammy-winning musicians to award-winning actors, you never know who you might see performing at this prestigious venue.

In addition to its stunning performances, the DeVos Performance Hall also offers a range of amenities to enhance your experience. There are several bars and concession stands where you can grab a drink or a snack before or during the show. The venue also has ample parking nearby, making it convenient for attendees.

If you’re planning a visit to Grand Rapids and want to catch a live performance, be sure to check the schedule at the DeVos Performance Hall. With its world-class performances and top-notch amenities, it’s a must-visit attraction for any lover of the arts.

Taste Craft Beer at the Various Breweries

Grand Rapids is known for its vibrant craft beer scene, with numerous breweries offering a wide range of unique and delicious brews. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or just looking to try something new, visiting one of the city’s breweries is a must-do activity.

One popular brewery to visit is Founders Brewing Co. Known for its award-winning beers, Founders offers a taproom where visitors can sample their wide selection of brews. From hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, there’s something for everyone. The taproom also offers food options, so you can grab a bite to eat while enjoying your beer.

Another great option is Brewery Vivant. Housed in a converted funeral home, this unique brewery offers a range of Belgian-style and farmhouse-inspired beers. Their taproom has a rustic and cozy atmosphere, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy a pint.

If you’re a fan of sour beers, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales is a must-visit. They specialize in crafting sour ales using traditional brewing methods. The taproom offers a rotating selection of their sour beers, as well as other styles to cater to all tastes.

For a taste of German-style beers, visit The Mitten Brewing Co. Located in a historic firehouse, this brewery combines a passion for craft beer with a love for baseball. In addition to their delicious brews, The Mitten Brewing Co. also offers pizza, making it a great spot for a meal and a beer.

These are just a few of the many breweries you can explore in Grand Rapids. Each brewery offers a unique atmosphere and a distinct selection of beers, making it worth exploring multiple locations during your visit. Cheers!

Shop Local at the Downtown Market

If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience in Grand Rapids, be sure to visit the Downtown Market. This vibrant marketplace is located in the heart of the city and is a must-visit for anyone interested in supporting local businesses.

The Downtown Market is home to a diverse range of vendors, offering everything from fresh produce and artisanal goods to handmade crafts and unique gifts. You’ll find a wide selection of locally sourced products, showcasing the rich and flavorful offerings of West Michigan.

One of the highlights of the market is its indoor market hall, which houses a variety of gourmet food vendors. Here, you can sample and purchase delicious treats, including cheeses, meats, baked goods, and more. Whether you’re a foodie looking for your next culinary adventure or just searching for a tasty snack, the Downtown Market has something for everyone.

In addition to the market hall, the Downtown Market also features a seasonal outdoor market, where local farmers and growers set up stalls to sell their produce and flowers. This is a great opportunity to stock up on fresh, local ingredients for your next home-cooked meal or to simply enjoy a leisurely stroll among the beautiful displays of fresh flowers.

When you shop at the Downtown Market, you’re not only supporting local businesses, but also contributing to the vibrant community of Grand Rapids. By buying locally sourced products, you’re helping to sustain the local economy and create a stronger sense of community.

So, if you’re looking for a unique shopping experience that allows you to connect with the local community and sample the best of what Grand Rapids has to offer, be sure to visit the Downtown Market. You won’t be disappointed!

Stroll Along the Grand River

The Grand River is a prominent natural feature in Grand Rapids, offering visitors and locals alike a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll. With its meandering path, the river provides a beautiful backdrop for walking, jogging, or biking along its banks.

One of the best spots for a leisurely walk along the Grand River is the Riverside Park. This expansive park features well-maintained paths that wind through greenery and alongside the river. Along the way, you can enjoy the shade provided by the park’s mature trees and take in the stunning views of the river.

If you prefer a more urban setting, you can stroll along the riverfront downtown. The city has developed a vibrant riverwalk area with paved pathways, public art installations, and plenty of seating areas to take in the sights. As you walk, you’ll pass by some of the city’s iconic landmarks, including the Blue Bridge and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

For those who enjoy a longer walk, the Grand River Greenway Trail offers a scenic route that spans over 40 miles. The trail connects various parks and natural areas along the river, providing ample opportunities to explore the surrounding landscape.

During your stroll along the Grand River, you may even spot some wildlife. The river is home to a variety of birds, fish, and other animals, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for herons, ducks, and maybe even a bald eagle soaring overhead.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or a chance to explore the city’s vibrant downtown, a stroll along the Grand River is a must-do activity in Grand Rapids. Take some time to enjoy the natural beauty and immerse yourself in the charm of this scenic waterway.

Learn About History at the Public Museum

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Grand Rapids, a visit to the Public Museum is a must. This museum is home to a wide variety of exhibits that showcase the city’s past, from its early days as a fur trading post to its present position as a thriving city.

One of the main attractions at the Public Museum is the Grand Rapids Story exhibit, which takes visitors on a journey through the city’s history. This interactive exhibit features artifacts, photographs, and multimedia presentations that bring the past to life. You’ll learn about the Native American tribes that lived in the area, the European settlers who established the fur trading post, and the industrial boom that put Grand Rapids on the map.

Another highlight of the museum is the Furniture City exhibit, which explores the city’s history as a major player in the furniture industry. Grand Rapids was once known as the “Furniture City” due to its high concentration of furniture manufacturers. This exhibit showcases the craftsmanship and innovation that made Grand Rapids furniture famous around the world. You’ll see beautifully crafted furniture pieces, learn about the industry’s impact on the city, and discover how it has evolved over time.

In addition to the Grand Rapids Story and Furniture City exhibits, the Public Museum also offers a range of other exhibits and collections. From natural history to science and technology, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and learn from. The museum frequently hosts special events and educational programs, so be sure to check their website for current offerings.

Visiting the Public Museum is a great way to deepen your understanding of Grand Rapids’ rich history. Whether you’re a history buff or just curious to learn more about the city’s past, a trip to the museum is sure to be informative and engaging.

Address: 272 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Phone: (616) 929-1700

Explore the John Ball Zoo

The John Ball Zoo is a popular attraction in Grand Rapids, MI. It is home to a wide variety of animals from all around the world.

Visitors to the zoo can experience up-close encounters with animals such as lions, tigers, giraffes, and elephants. There are also exhibits featuring birds, reptiles, and native species.

One of the highlights of the John Ball Zoo is the Red Panda exhibit. These adorable and endangered animals are a fan favorite and can be seen climbing trees and playing in their habitat.

For a unique experience, visitors can participate in feeding sessions and interactive encounters with some of the zoo’s residents. This allows for an even closer look at the animals and a chance to learn more about their habits and behaviors.

In addition to the animal exhibits, the John Ball Zoo also features beautifully landscaped gardens and walking trails. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the park and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

The zoo is open year-round, with special events and activities taking place throughout the year. It is a must-visit destination for families, animal lovers, and anyone looking to explore the natural world. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the John Ball Zoo during your trip to Grand Rapids, MI!

Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9am-6pm
Sunday: 11am-6pm
Address: 1300 W Fulton St, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Contact: (616) 336-4300
Tickets: Adults: $15
Seniors (62+): $13
Children (3-12): $11
Children (under 2): Free

Enjoy Water Sports at Reeds Lake

When visiting Grand Rapids, make sure to spend some time at Reeds Lake, a beautiful body of water located just east of downtown. Reeds Lake offers a variety of water sports and recreational activities for visitors of all ages.

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or prefer a more relaxed experience, Reeds Lake has something for everyone. Kayaking and paddleboarding are popular choices, allowing you to explore the lake at your own pace while enjoying the serene surroundings.

If you’re looking for some adrenaline-pumping fun, try your hand at wakeboarding or water skiing. Reeds Lake provides the ideal setting with its calm waters and picturesque views. With the help of a professional instructor, beginners can also learn and enjoy these exciting water sports.

Fishing enthusiasts will also find Reeds Lake to be a great spot to cast their line. The lake is home to a variety of fish species, including bass, perch, and bluegill. Take your fishing gear and spend a peaceful day on the lake, patiently waiting for the perfect catch.

For those who prefer to stay on dry land, Reeds Lake has a beautiful walking and biking trail that surrounds the lake. Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride while enjoying the scenic views and fresh air.

After a fun-filled day of water sports and activities, you can relax and have a picnic at one of the many picnic areas along the lake. Enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the breathtaking views and enjoying the company of friends and family.

Whether you’re a water sports enthusiast or simply looking to enjoy the natural beauty of Grand Rapids, Reeds Lake is a must-visit destination. With its diverse range of activities and picturesque setting, it’s sure to provide a memorable experience for all who visit.

Discover Local Flavors at the Fulton Street Farmers Market

If you’re looking to experience the vibrant local food scene in Grand Rapids, a visit to the Fulton Street Farmers Market is a must. This lively market has been a staple in the community since 1922 and is a hub for local farmers, artisans, and food producers.

Located in the Eastown neighborhood, the Fulton Street Farmers Market offers a wide array of fresh, locally-grown produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and more. Strolling through the market, you’ll find an abundance of colorful fruits and vegetables, all sourced from nearby farms.

One of the highlights of the Fulton Street Farmers Market is the opportunity to interact directly with the farmers and vendors. You can chat with them about their products, learn about their farming practices, and even get tips on cooking and recipe ideas.

Not only will you find a variety of fresh produce, but the market also features unique artisanal products. From handmade soaps and candles to locally-made crafts and artwork, there’s something for everyone at this diverse marketplace.

When hunger strikes, make sure to grab a bite from one of the food vendors at the market. You’ll discover a range of delicious options, from freshly prepared meals to grab-and-go snacks. It’s the perfect place to sample local dishes and flavors.

Visiting the Fulton Street Farmers Market is not just about shopping for food and goods, it’s about immersing yourself in the local culture. The market often hosts live music performances and special events, creating a lively and festive atmosphere.

Whether you’re a foodie, a supporter of local businesses, or just looking for a unique experience, the Fulton Street Farmers Market is a must-visit destination in Grand Rapids. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the local flavors and connect with the vibrant community of farmers and artisans.

Experience Theater at the Heritage Hill Historic District

If you’re a theater enthusiast or simply enjoy cultural experiences, a visit to the Heritage Hill Historic District in Grand Rapids is a must. This quaint neighborhood is home to a collection of beautifully preserved historic homes that provide the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable theater experience.

Throughout the year, the Heritage Hill Association hosts a variety of theater productions that bring the stories of the past to life. From classic plays to contemporary performances, there is always something exciting happening on these historic streets.

One of the highlights of experiencing theater at the Heritage Hill Historic District is the unique venues. You’ll have the opportunity to step inside historic homes and immerse yourself in the world of the play. From the intimate living rooms to the grand ballrooms, each setting adds an incredible element to the performance.

Not only will you enjoy a top-notch production, but you’ll also have the chance to explore the beautifully restored homes before or after the show. Take a stroll down the tree-lined streets and marvel at the architectural details of the Queen Anne, Italianate, and Georgian Revival-style houses.

In addition to the theater productions, the Heritage Hill Historic District is also known for its charming neighborhood atmosphere. Grab a bite to eat at one of the local cafes or restaurants, or browse through the boutique shops that line the streets. You’ll find plenty of hidden gems to discover.

Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor to Grand Rapids, a trip to the Heritage Hill Historic District to experience theater is an absolute must. Immerse yourself in the rich history, stunning architecture, and captivating performances for a truly unforgettable experience.


What are some of the top-rated attractions in Grand Rapids, MI?

Some of the top-rated attractions in Grand Rapids, MI include the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

What can I do in Grand Rapids if I enjoy the outdoors?

If you enjoy the outdoors, you can go hiking or biking on the trails at the Kent Trails, visit Millennium Park, or explore the John Ball Zoo.

Are there any cultural attractions in Grand Rapids?

Yes, Grand Rapids has several cultural attractions including the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, and the Heritage Hill Historic District.

Is Grand Rapids a family-friendly destination?

Yes, Grand Rapids is a family-friendly destination. Families can visit the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, the Craig’s Cruisers Family Fun Center, or enjoy outdoor activities at the Blandford Nature Center.

What are some popular events in Grand Rapids?

Some popular events in Grand Rapids include the ArtPrize, a competition and festival showcasing artwork throughout the city, and Festival of the Arts, a three-day celebration of arts and culture.

What are some of the top attractions in Grand Rapids, MI?

Some of the top attractions in Grand Rapids, MI include the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, and the Grand Rapids Public Museum.



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Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson, an Anchorage-based travel writer contributing her expertise to TravelAsker. Her in-depth knowledge of Alaska, both in her hometown and throughout the state, makes her the go-to local expert. From top-notch accommodations to delectable dining spots and thrilling activities, Sarah’s insightful recommendations ensure you’ll have a fantastic family trip in Alaska.

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