Areas & Neighborhoods in Grand Rapids
A 1-hour journey lands you in the heart of Grand Rapids, Michigan's second-largest city. Signature buildings like the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and a series of high-rise condominiums dot the Downtown city skyline, while neighborhoods like the Heritage Hill Historic District and Eastside imbue the city with classic Middle-America charm.
Visitors flock to Downtown for a taste of the big city and a look at its impressive outdoor sculptures, including Alexander Calder's "La Grand Vitesse." Additional attractions include the Riverwalk Trails and the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, a gastronomic extravaganza with gourmet shops, full-service restaurants, and more.
Heritage Hill Historic District
Recognized as one of the United States' largest urban historic districts, Heritage Hill is sprinkled with nearly every style of American architecture. Travelers head here to walk off a waist-widening meal and to admire the Meyer May House, a restored Frank Lloyd Wright home.
Independent coffee shops, used bookstores, microbreweries, and a healing arts institute dominate the scene in Grand Rapids' bohemian enclave. What began as a commuter suburb of Downtown Grand Rapids is now a bustling neighborhood in its own right.
Things to See in Grand Rapids
From avant-garde films to show-stopping theater, there are endless things to see in Grand Rapids. Begin by heading to the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, where you can wander an airy gallery space before sitting down to an independent film inside a 195-seat theater. Or, journey to Monroe Live to catch a late-night concert near the waterfront. Further east, the Wealthy Theatre hosts a lecture series, live performances, and classic films, while the Circle Theatre is Grand Rapids' destination for community plays. Those who are traveling in autumn can participate in the events around ArtPrize, the world's largest art competition hosted by nearly 200 venues in Downtown Grand Rapids.
Sightseeing in Grand Rapids
From state-of-the-art museums to a sculpture that doubles as a fish ladder, there are a plethora of places to go and things to do in Grand Rapids. Museum enthusiasts should begin their adventures at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, where a blend of classic and iconoclastic masterworks are displayed inside the world's first LEED-Gold-certified art museum. Across the river, the Gerald R. Ford Museum and the Grand Rapids Public Museum lend an illuminating look at the people and events that have shaped the city's history, while the Grand Rapids Children's Museum offers an interactive discovery space in the heart of Downtown Grand Rapids. For some fresh air, head to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, where an orchid room, butterfly maze, and garden sculptures provide hours of entertainment. Or, stroll the Riverwalk to Fish Ladder Park, named for a functional piece of artwork that helps migrating fish avoid the gushing man-made rapids along this section of the Grand River. Finally, those visiting in winter can take a twirl around the outdoor ice-skating rink at Rosa Parks Circle.