Grand Rapids is a beautiful city in Michigan that is perfect for a short getaway. As the second largest city in the state, there are more than enough things to do to keep you busy.

This city is located on the stunning Grand River which offers many outdoor activities such as canoeing, fishing, and kayaking. There are also numerous hiking and biking trails that wind through the city.

In addition to the outdoor activities, Grand Rapids is an art lovers paradise. With a plethora of museums, art galleries, and theaters, as well as year-round festivals, you’ll find a ton of creative energy in the city.

Grand Rapids is a city that has a little something for everyone, but if you’re not sure what attractions in Grand Rapids are worth adding to your itinerary, then you’ll want to take a look at these top things to do in Grand Rapids.

The Top Things to Do in Grand Rapids

Backpacking the USA and don’t have a lot of time? Don’t worry, these are the must-do things to do in Grand Rapids to go to the top of your list.

Thing to do in Grand Rapids at Night

Take in a classical show at The Grand Rapids Symphony

Impress your date by enjoying one of the most highly acclaimed orchestras in the United States at The Grand Rapids Symphony.

Top Thing to Do in Grand Rapids
Top Thing to Do in Grand Rapids

Explore the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Full of historical and hands-on exhibits, the Grand Rapids Public Museum is perfect for all travelers.

Most Unique Thing to do in Grand Rapids
Most Unique Thing to do in Grand Rapids

Check out the Steel Case Pyramid

Discover the hauntingly lonely Steel case pyramid out in the middle of an unkempt field.

Things to Do in Grand Rapids with Kids
Things to Do in Grand Rapids with Kids

Sink a Putt at the Great Lakes Glow Golf

Challenge your family members to a game of mini golf at a glow in the dark golf course.

Things to Do in Grand Rapids for Couples
Things to Do in Grand Rapids for Couples

Wine tasting at Robinettes

Explore the vineyards and wines at this family-run vineyard in Grand Rapids.

1. Grand Rapids Public Museum

Grand Rapids Public Museum

One of the best things to do in Grand Rapids is explore the Grand Rapids Public Museum. The museum is jam-packed with historical and hands-on exhibits that are ideal for everyone. The museum is also home to the only planetarium in the city, which is a must-see for anyone interested in astronomy.

You can explore the museum’s galleries, which cover topics such as local history, art, and culture. The museum also has a variety of special exhibits that change throughout the year. My favorite exhibit is the “Fashion and Nature” exhibit, which showcases how the two coincide and where our future is headed with both.

Admission to the Grand Rapids Public Museum is free for everyone. However, donations are always welcome and help to support the museum’s educational programs and exhibitions.

  • Entrance: Free
  • Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Address: 272 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504, United States

2. Blandford Nature Center

If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Blandford Nature Center is the perfect place for you. This nature center is located on nearly 300 acres of land and is home to a variety of animals, including deer, rabbits, squirrels, and birds.

There are also miles of hiking trails that wind through the property, making it the perfect place to go for a nature walk or hike.

In the winter, Blandford Nature Center is a popular spot for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The center allows you to enjoy the great outdoors in a variety of ways all year round.

  • Entrance: Free
  • Hours: 9 AM -5 PM
  • Address: 1715 Hillburn Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504, United States

3. Explore the Steel Case Pyramid

Steel Case Pyramid
Photo: MLive

This is one of the most unusual things to do in Grand Rapids. The city is most famous for its furniture production, and one company, Steel Case, decided to create an architectural triumph of an office in 1989. It cost them $111 million to build and was intended as a research and development facility.

However, the company eventually abandoned the pyramid and it has sat empty ever since. The Steel Case Pyramid stands alone in a neglected field and is made of steel. Despite its eerie appearance, the pyramid is actually quite fascinating.

The city has made many attempts to use this striking building but every time the plans fall through.

  • Entrance: Free
  • Hours: 24 HRS
  • Address: 6100 E Paris Ave SE, Caledonia, MI 49316, United States

4. Head Back in Time at Meyer May House

The Meyer May House is a must-see for anyone interested in architecture or history. This Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house was built in 1908 and is one of the finest examples of Prairie School architecture. You will really feel like you’re on ‘Little house on the prairie‘ here.

You can take a short, hour-long tour of the Meyer May House, where you’ll learn about the history of the house and its connection to Grand Rapids.

You’ll also get to see some of the original furnishings, which are still in excellent condition. The house was once lived in by a family of six, which is hard to believe when you see how small it is.

  • Entrance: Free
  • Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 10 AM – 1 PM
  • Address: 450 Madison Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States

5. Enjoy the Grand Rapids Symphony

One of my favorite ways to spend the evening with a date is by taking in the beautiful sounds of the symphony. The Grand Rapids Symphony is one of the best orchestras in the United States.

If you’re a classical music fan, you’ll definitely want to catch a show while you’re in town. Many different types of talent play at the venue throughout the year, so there’s bound to be a show that appeals to you.

The Grand Rapids Symphony also offers a variety of educational programs, including concerts for kids and classes for adults. These programs are designed to help people learn more about music and appreciate it more.

  • Entrance fee: $23
  • Hours: Varies
  • Address: 300 Ottawa NW, Suite 100 Grand Rapids, MI 49503

6. Get Political at the Gerald R Ford Museum

Gerald R Ford Museum
Photo: rachaelvoorhees (Flickr)

Gerald R Ford was the 38th President of the United States and he has a museum dedicated to his life and legacy. The museum covers Ford’s entire life, from his childhood in Michigan to his time as President. There are interactive exhibits, artifacts, and documents that help to tell the story of Ford’s life.

The Gerald R Ford Museum is a great place to learn about American history and politics. It’s also interesting to see how a small-town boy from Michigan went on to become one of the most influential men in the country. The Gerald R Ford Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Grand Rapids.

  • Entrance: 15 USD
  • Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM
  • Address: 303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504, United States
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7. Go Canoeing with DeVos Family Boathouse

It doesn’t get much better than summertime in Michigan. Surrounded by lakes and beautiful green spaces, Grand Rapids is amazing in the warm months!

One of the best ways to enjoy the sunshine is by getting out on the water. The DeVos Family Boathouse offers canoe and kayak rentals, so you can explore the Grand River at your own pace.

If you want a little more structure, there are also guided tours available. These tours take you to some of the most scenic spots on the river. You’ll learn about the history and ecology of the area as you paddle downstream.

  • Entrance: 10 USD
  • Hours: 7AM – 9PM
  • Address: 1415 Maynard Ave SW, Walker, MI 49534, United States

8. Spend a Day Exploring the City of Holland

I just love when you can transport yourself to places around the world without the expense and the jetlag!

Holland is a small city located about 30 minutes from Grand Rapids and will have you feeling as if you just landed in Europe. It’s best known for its Dutch heritage and vibrant tulip festival. However, there’s much more to Holland than just tulips!

The Windmill Island Gardens are a must-see. This park is home to a working Dutch windmill, which was built in the Netherlands and shipped to Michigan. The windmill is surrounded by beautiful gardens, making it a great place to spend an afternoon.

If you’re interested in history, you’ll also want to visit the Dutch Village. This open-air museum is designed to look like a traditional Dutch village. You can explore the buildings and learn about the culture and history of the Dutch people.

  • Entrance: $22 amtrak ticket
  • Hours: 6:30 AM – 9:30 PM
  • Address: Holland, Michigan 49422

9. Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve

The Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve is a nature lover’s paradise. This preserve is home to a variety of different ecosystems, including wetlands, forests, and prairies.

There are also miles of hiking and biking trails to explore. The preserve is open year-round, so you can enjoy it no matter what time of year you visit Grand Rapids

I loved learning about all the different plants and animals that call the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve home. I even saw a few deer during my visit! The preserve is a great place to get out of the city for a bit and enjoy some time in nature.

  • Entrance: Free
  • Hours: 9 AM -5 PM
  • Address: 1750 E Beltline Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, United States

10. Sink a Put at Great Lakes Glow Golf

Looking for something to do once the sun goes down? Then look no further for the best thing to do in Grand Rapids at night at the Great Lakes Glow Golf! This indoor mini golf course is perfect for a rainy day or a hot summer night.

The entire course is lit up with black lights and glow-in-the-dark elements, this is not your average mini golf course. Go with a group of friends where you will be challenged to putt your ball around different obstacles, through loop-the-loops and if that isn’t enough, it’s in the dark.

They even have a bar inside in case you need a little liquid courage to help with your putting skills. It’s a great activity for both kids and adults making it one of the most fun things to do in Grand Rapids.

  • Entrance: Prices vary
  • Hours: 3 PM-11 PM
  • Address: 3494 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525, United States
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11. Enjoy a Brew at Brewery Vivant

If you love beer, then you’ll definitely want to visit Brewery Vivant during your time in Grand Rapids. This Belgian-style brewery is located in an old funeral home and is one of the most popular breweries in the city. Brewery Vivant offers a variety of different beers, as well as a delicious food menu.

I might be biased as a regular beer drinker, but I really enjoyed my time at Brewery Vivant. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, and the staff was super friendly.

I tried quite a few of their beers and found them to be delicious… make sure to try a flight to taste them all without forgetting what you had!

  • Entrance: $10 a flight
  • Hours: 12 PM- 10 PM
  • Address: 925 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506, United States

12. Spend a Saturday at Fulton Street Farmers Market

Fulton Streets Farmers Market
Photo: A Healthier Michigan (Flickr)

There’s nothing I love more than a good farmers’ market, and the Fulton Street Farmers Market is one of the best. This market runs year-round and offers a wide variety of locally grown produce, meats, cheeses, and other goods. Even in the middle of winter, you’ll find a great selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Fulton Street Farmers Market is the perfect place to stock up on groceries for the week or to find a unique gift. I always love browsing the stalls and seeing what new products are available.

I always make sure to grab some of the fresh homemade jam to take home to family for the holidays!

  • Entrance: FREE
  • Hours: Friday – Sunday 8 AM – 3 PM
  • Address: 1145 Fulton St E, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States

13. Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts is a great place to see some unique art. This museum features both local and national artists, and the exhibitions change frequently. The institute also offers a variety of educational programs, such as artist workshops and panel discussions.

This is a very forward-thinking institute that offers something for everyone and is always exploring new ideas. I loved the variety of art on display and the different events they offer.

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts is definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re interested in contemporary art.

  • Entrance: Free
  • Hours: 12 PM – 5 PM
  • Address: 17 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States

14. Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery

Robinette‘s is a must-visit for anyone who loves apples or if you are like me… WINE! This family-owned farm offers a variety of different apple-themed products, including cider, donuts, and pies. And wow, they are all incredible!

They don’t just stop with little treats and warm drinks, they also make apple wine! Yes, you read that correctly. Their award-winning wines are made with apples grown right on the farm.

In the fall the family-owned Haus hosts an autumn festival that includes live music, hayrides, and of course, wine tastings. Even if you can’t make it in the fall, you are guaranteed to have a good time. And don’t forget to buy a bottle of their apple wine to take home with you.

  • Entrance: Free
  • Hours: 8 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Address: 3142 4 Mile Rd NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525, United States
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15. Savor Frozen Treats at the Pump House

The Pump House is a local favorite for not only their sweet treats but they really take you back in time with their nostalgic feel.

This old-fashioned ice cream parlor is the perfect place to take your family or a group of friends. With a large menu of both classic and unique flavors, there is something for everyone at the Pump House.

If you’re looking for a tasty treat and a fun experience in Grand Rapids, look no further than the Pump House. This ice cream parlor is the perfect place to enjoy a classic treat with a unique twist. Be sure to try one of their specialty sundaes, you won’t be disappointed!

  • Entrance: Varies
  • Hours: 12 PM- 10 PM
  • Address: 2090 Celebration Dr NE 120, Grand Rapids, MI 49525, United States

16. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get to The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. This is a must-see for anyone visiting Grand Rapids.

These world-renowned gardens feature a variety of different gardens, including a Japanese Garden, an English Garden, and a Michigan Woodland Garden. The sculpture park features works by artists such as Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin.

The gardens are absolutely beautiful and the perfect place to spend a day. The sculpture park is also very impressive and it’s definitely worth taking the time to walk around and see all of the different sculptures.

  • Entrance: 18 USD
  • Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Address: 1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525, United States

17. Grand Rapids Art Museum

The Grand Rapids Art Museum is another great place to visit while in Grand Rapids. This museum features a variety of different art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs.

They also have a cafe where you can grab a bite to eat or a drink to enjoy while you’re exploring the museum.

There are always new art exhibitions to see and discover at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. The museum features pieces from the renaissance era as well as modern artists. I loved exploring all of the different art and getting lost in the museum for a couple of hours.

  • Entrance: $10
  • Hours:  Thursday 12–9PM Friday 10AM–4PM Saturday 10AM–4PM
  • Address: 101 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States

18. Spend a Day on the Coast at Grand Haven State Park

Grand Haven State Park

A sunny day is a great excuse for the beach and thankfully the coast is just a quick drive from Grand Rapids. Just 35 miles Northwest is the Grand Haven State Park.

This beautiful state park is the perfect place to enjoy a day by the water. With two miles of beach, you can sunbathe, swim, or just relax and take in the incredible views.

The state park is also a great place for hiking, with several different trails to explore. Or you can rent a kayak or canoe and spend the day on the water.

No matter how you spend your day, the Grand Haven State Park is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

  • Entrance: $11 park pass
  • Hours: 8 AM -10 PM
  • Address: 1001 Harbor Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417
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19. Grab a Bite to Eat at Graydon’s Crossing

If you’re looking for a great place to eat in Grand Rapids, Graydon’s Crossing is the perfect spot. This Gastropub is everything you need after a long day of exploring the city.

The menu is full of delicious comfort food and a wide selection of beers to enjoy.

This place is always busy with locals and tourists. Grab a seat at the bar to chat and enjoy some beer on tap, make sure to get the mac and cheese… it is a warm bowl of cheesy goodness. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

  • Entrance: $
  • Hours: 11 AM – 11 PM
  • Address: 1223 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505, United States

20. Fish Ladder Park

For an interesting thing to do in Grand Rapids, check out Fish Ladder Park. This park is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors and get a little exercise.

This park features a unique art installation of a fish ladder, which is used to help fish migrate upstream.

The park also has a walking/biking trail, a playground, and picnic areas. This is a great place to bring the kids or to go for a walk on a beautiful day. The park is also right on the Grand River, so you can enjoy the views of the river while you’re there.

  • Entrance: Free
  • Hours: 24 HRS
  • Address: 606 Front Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504, United States

21. Spend the Afternoon at Millennium Park

As one of my favorite places in Grand Rapids, Millennium Park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. This park features a variety of different activities, including a splash pad, a playground, and a disc golf course.

The park also has several walking trails, making it the perfect place to get some exercise. Or you can just relax on the grass and enjoy the sunny day.

Millennium Park is a great place to bring the whole family or bring a book to relax by yourself. There’s something for everyone to enjoy and it’s a great way to spend a day outside.

  • Entrance: Free
  • Hours: 7 AM – 9PM
  • Address: 1415 Maynard Ave SW, Walker, MI 49534, United States

Where to Stay in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is a big city and to make sure you are in the middle of all the action and have easy access to the city I recommend staying in Downtown Grand Rapids.

Fortunately, there are plenty of places to stay in Grand Rapids, from budget hotels to luxury vacation rentals and charming bed and breakfasts.

Here is where I recommend you stay in Grand Rapids…

Best Budget Hotel in Grand Rapids – Grandma’s House B&B

With the smell of nostalgia in the air, Grandma’s House in Grand Rapids is the perfect place to take you back in time. Step inside and you can feel the love, with quilts draped over the lounges and the smell of a home-cooked meal brewing from the kitchen. Grandma’s house is the perfect stay for those on a budget, at just $80 a night, you will have a comfy bed, and a homemade country breakfast with all the fixin’s, and you will be close to everything you will want to do in Grand Rapids.

Best Airbnb in Grand Rapids – Quaint Cottage

Quaint Cottage

This charming historical cottage is perfect for a group of travelers, or a family. This Michigan Airbnb is a beautiful home on a private 2-acre estate that allows you to escape the city but still access it with ease. The biggest perk of this home is the location. The cottage is located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids and is within walking distance to many of the city’s best attractions making sure you don’t miss out on anything the city has to offer.

Best Hotel in Grand Rapids – Leonard at Logan House

Leonard at Logan House

This Michigan Bed and Breakfast is the perfect place to wake up in Grand Rapids. Located in the heart of downtown, this hotel is just a short walk away from many of the city’s best attractions. You will feel at home here with the warm and inviting atmosphere. The rooms are cozy and comfortable, and the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful.

Some Additional Tips for Visiting Grand Rapids

Before you go rushing off to Grand Rapids for an epic vacation, I have just a few more words of advice for you…

  • Check the weather. Grand Rapids has drastic seasons. Incredibly warm summers and toe-freezing winters. Spring and fall are lovely with comfortable temperatures but can get cool at night. Keep this in mind as you are planning when to visit Grand Rapids
  • Wear walking shoes. Grand Rapids is a very active city and most of the activities you will be participating in will require you to be on your feet. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes!
  • Use the Amtrak. The US isn’t known for a great train system, but luckily the North East is starting to catch on. If you want to do any day trips or go in and out of airports, the quickest and cheapest way is to use the Amtrak. It is safe, and will get you to your destination in record time.
  • Use DASH buses. Most of what you will be doing in Grand Rapids is extremely walkable to downtown, but should you need to catch a ride somewhere the DASH buses are great and only $1.50 per ride.
  • Get out of the city. The hiking in Grand Rapids is some of the best in Michigan and should not be missed. I can not tell you enough how crucial it is to get off the pavement and onto the hiking trails.
  • Beer City, USA: Grand Rapids is known for its beer. With over 40 breweries in the city, you will be in beer heaven. Make sure to save a day by sampling all the different kinds of beer Grand Rapids has to offer. I recommend The Jolly Pumpkin, they specialize in sour beers, which happen to be my favorite.

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Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is a great city for any type of traveler. There is a wide variety of activities and attractions to keep you busy during your stay. I love that the city is extremely walkable, so you can easily get around and see everything Grand Rapids has to offer.

I am constantly finding new hiking and biking trails to explore as well as new restaurants to try. I love that there is always something new to do in this city.

The city is continuously growing and has become much more popular in recent years with its amazing weather in the summer, delicious food scene, and outdoor activities.

Whether you are visiting for a weekend or a week, you will not be disappointed in Grand Rapids.


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