Top 10 Things to do in Grand Rapids, United States

August 2, 2017 Trinity Boughner

The comforts of a friendly, small-town atmosphere combined with the pleasures of big city life make Grand Rapids an ideal choice for a fun getaway with a host of indoor and outdoor activities. Once known as the furniture capital of the world, the city has a reinvigorated downtown area and a thriving arts and cultural community. Its most popular attraction is the museum dedicated to native son Gerald R. Ford, 38th U.S. President, where interactive exhibits take you to the White House and the 1976 Republican National Convention. Wander through the state's largest tropical conservatory at the Frederik Meijer Gardens, a magical wonderland of gardens, woodlands and over 100 bronze statues by famous artists, including the 24-foot bronze horse designed by Leonardo da Vinci. More outdoor fun is a half-hour away at the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. Golf lovers have plenty of places to hit the greens since Grand Rapids has more privately owned, daily-fee, public courses than any other U.S. city. Wind up your busy weekend with a cold beer at the Hair of the Frog Brewery or the Grand Rapids Brewing Company.
Restaurants in Grand Rapids

1. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525-5804 +1 616-957-1580
Excellent
82%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 2 reviews

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

View modern sculpture in a stunning garden setting at this combination botanical garden and sculpture park, which features exotic plants, desert and Victorian gardens, wetlands, meadows, and sculptures by famous artists throughout.

Reviewed By KathyKenai - Kalamazoo, Michigan

We visited in April when the butterflies hatched. The flowers in the conservatory are fragrant and beautiful. The butterflies were delightful. There is a large outside garden but being early spring it was too cold and rainy for the outside. We’ll be back another time.

2. Meyer May House

450 Madison Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-5312 +1 616-246-4821
Excellent
86%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 358 reviews

Meyer May House

Built for a prominent merchant in 1908, this prairie-style house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is located in the elegant Heritage Hill district, where over 60 architectural styles are represented.

Reviewed By janice H - Grand Rapids, Michigan

If you like Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, this is a gem! Fully restored and excellent docents who are well trained and love their "work."

3. Leonardo da Vinci's Horse

Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Rapids, MI 49525 +1 616-957-1580
Excellent
79%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 329 reviews

Leonardo da Vinci's Horse

The Renaissance man’s plans to sculpt a 24-foot bronze horse were never realized until an American sculptor created two models based on da Vinci’s drawings, one of which graces the Frederik Meijer Gardens.

Reviewed By Paul T - Grand Rapids, Michigan

Ah, but this one runs on a whole different scale. It is marvelously impressive, not only in size but also in straight out beauty, combined with power and majesty. Awesome. Just stop and take it in. Not just pause, but stop.

4. Gerald R. Ford Museum

303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504-5353 +1 616-254-0400
Excellent
65%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 881 reviews

Gerald R. Ford Museum

Grand Rapids' pride in native son and 38th American President Gerald R. Ford is reflected in the museum that honors him, which transports you back to the 70s through interactive displays and holograms, including a chance to eavesdrop on an eventful day in the Oval Office.

Reviewed By luv2r0am - Michigan

We’ve visited several times before, and were pleasantly surprised by the nice recent updates to the Museum. It a very nice tribute to the wonderful Jerry Ford. The Museum does an excellent job in education for groups. There’s a large auditorium and classroom area to handle students, which takes up a majority of the first floor. The exhibits include lots of film to keep things interesting as you tour. I especially liked the film in the Cabinet room, which was unexpected and was very informative. Don’t miss the burial sites outdoors, too.

5. Grand Rapids Public Museum

272 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504-5371 +1 616-929-1700
Excellent
62%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 563 reviews

Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is a place of never-ending inspiration and discovery, with a focus on science, history and culture. We have three floors of core and traveling exhibitions, the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium, a 1928 Spillman Carousel and a Mighty Wurlitzer Organ.

Reviewed By Mclochlin

We went to the museum for the first time and had a very enjoyable time. We got the extra tickets for their dragons, mermaids and unicorn exhibit. It was well worth the price. We have visited museums in Chicago rather frequently and were very entertained at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. We went with 2 teenage daughters and all had a very good time.

6. Van Andel Arena

130 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2682 +1 616-742-6600
Excellent
64%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 376 reviews

Van Andel Arena

The Van Andel Arena is a 10,834-seat multi-purpose arena situated in the Heartside district of Grand Rapids, Michigan. After a $75 million construction effort, the arena opened on October 8, 1996 and since has attracted over five million patrons. It is home to the popular Grand Rapids Griffins ice hockey team, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings.As a concert venue, the Van Andel Arena seats about 12,858 for end-stage shows, and 13,184 for center-stage shows. The arena floor measures 85 by 220 feet (26 × 67 m). The arena features 9,886 permanent seats and 44 luxury suites, with the 16 luxury suites in the upper bowl seating 20, and the lower 24 bowls seating 15, and the others at 18. There are approximately 1,298 retractable seats at Van Andel Arena.

Reviewed By Ronmsparks - Coopersville, Michigan

We just had an enjoyable night at the Van seeing the Professional Bull Riding event. The 'show'/competition was great. The main drawbacks are the challenge of finding convenient parking [got a spot @ $12] and the walk thru the blizzard to and from parking to get inside. Also, the design layout of the interior is very congested: they have concessons on both sides of the walkway to get to the seating. Therefore, it is a mess trying to move through all the lines extending from the food/drink and merchandise counters. Must add that the staff were extra nice and helpful directing us to our seats.

7. Grand Rapids Art Museum

101 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2801 +1 616-831-1000
Excellent
54%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 225 reviews

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Reviewed By dinamber - Cape Coral, FL

Stopped into the museum to see the Art Prize entries but enjoyed our time looking at the other exhibits as well. Bonus - it was free during Art Prize!

8. Grand Rapids Children's Museum

11 Sheldon Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3218 +1 616-235-4726
Excellent
50%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 205 reviews

Grand Rapids Children's Museum

Children direct their own learning at this hands-on museum with both permanent and changing exhibits, where they play with slippery bubbles, study a live beehive, learn the magic of mirrors and more.

Reviewed By LarrynLisaB - Grand Rapids, Michigan

This is a terrific two-story facility with all kinds of fun and educational things to see and do. It's especially great when the weather is icky, but there's no bad time to visit. You and your kids will enjoy it the most by exploring and experiencing all the exhibits along with your kids -- in other words, don't just let them have all the fun while you "like" things on Facebook! ;-) IMPORTANT: the museum is closed most Mondays. They also have an awesome Early New Years Eve Party, complete with a countdown to 7:30. ;-)

9. John Ball Zoo

1300 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49504-6100 +1 616-336-4301
Excellent
45%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 624 reviews

John Ball Zoo

John Ball Zoo inspires our community to be actively engaged in the conservation of wildlife and our natural environment. Over 1,500 animals including lions, tigers, bears (oh my) and chimpanzees! John Ball Zoo brings brings behind-the-scenes training and care to the public daily. Both indoor and outdoor exhibits. Interactive experiences include a funicular (tram), zip line, high ropes course, and more! We are closed for the season! We will reopen March 10, 2018

Reviewed By Gary V

When my wife first suggeted we buy the membership, I was surprised. We had visited here about once a year and that was usually enough for me. But with the grandparents membership (and the plus 1) we have gone multiple times and brought grandkids and...MoreWe are so happy to hear you enjoyed your John Ball Zoo membership! Thanks for the review, and thanks for being a member!

10. Heritage Hill Historic District

126 College Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-4404 +1 616-459-8950
Excellent
56%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 112 reviews

Heritage Hill Historic District

Reviewed By RickMIusa - Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids' Heritage Hill Historic District is larger than you would at first think. It's actually the largest historic homes district in the U.S. with more than 1,300 houses dating as far back as the 1840s. There are a number that offer home tours and several are museums as well.

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