Did you ever wonder why Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second-largest city, is fast becoming a must-visit destination for travelers seeking unusual and exciting adventures? With its thriving arts scene, vibrant culture, and plethora of one-of-a-kind activities, Grand Rapids offers a diverse range of experiences sure to delight everyone.
Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a craft beer connoisseur, or a nature lover, you’ll find many unique things to do in Grand Rapids. Ready for a vacation that’s as exceptional as you are? Let’s dive into the allure that is Grand Rapids.
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1. Visit the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
One of the places to visit in Grand Rapids that stands out is the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. It’s where art and nature meet in a stunning blend. This 158-acre attraction is a botanical wonder, boasting themed gardens that show off the beauty of plants from around the world.
From the tropical plants in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory to the tranquil scenes in the Japanese Garden, every turn reveals a new natural spectacle. The park is also home to one of the most significant sculpture collections globally, with works by artists like Auguste Rodin and Ai Weiwei. With every step, you’ll experience the harmonious marriage of horticulture and sculpture art.
2. Try Local Brews on the Beer City Ale Trail
Grand Rapids is nicknamed “Beer City, USA,” and for good reason. As part of your vacation in Grand Rapids, venture down the Beer City Ale Trail.
This journey takes you through a selection of over 80 local breweries. You can sample craft beers, ales, and ciders that have made Grand Rapids a premier beer destination.
Each brewery has a unique vibe and distinct flavors. From Founders Brewing Co., known for its world-class beers, to the small but mighty Brewery Vivant, where you can sip farm-to-table beers in a refurbished historic chapel. Craft beer enthusiasts will find this trail an adventure in itself.
3. Discover Art at the Grand Rapids Art Museum
If you appreciate art, one of the tourist attractions in Grand Rapids you won’t want to miss is the Grand Rapids Art Museum. This museum has a collection that spans thousands of years, with over 5,000 works of art.
The museum features a range of pieces, from Renaissance to Modern, from European to American art. It is also dedicated to hosting exhibitions of world-class art.
From the exquisite paintings to impressive sculptures, each exhibit is a testament to creativity and expression. It’s not just a museum; it’s a journey through art history.
4. Explore the Local Food Scene at Downtown Market
Among the things to do in Grand Rapids, immersing yourself in the local food scene is a must. And there’s no better place to start than the Downtown Market. This culinary hub hosts over 20 indoor market vendors offering fresh, locally sourced produce, specialty products, and quick bite options.
Here, you can wander through rows of artisan bread, fresh fish, succulent meats, and locally grown fruits and vegetables. The market also features sit-down restaurants and a cooking school. Whether you’re a food lover or an aspiring chef, the Downtown Market offers a feast for your senses and your palate.
5. Step Back in Time at the Gerald R. Ford Museum
For history enthusiasts, the Gerald R. Ford Museum is an essential stop in your guide to Grand Rapids. The museum is a tribute to the 38th president of the United States, Gerald Ford. It gives you a peek into the president’s life, his presidency, and the era’s key events.
You’ll find exhibits that delve into the 1970s culture and politics, shedding light on Ford’s role during this time. The museum also offers interactive activities. You can participate in a mock election, step into a replica of the Oval Office, and learn more about the workings of government.
6. Catch a Show at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Looking to add a dash of drama to your vacation in Grand Rapids? Consider catching a show at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. It’s one of the oldest and largest community theaters in the United States, offering a wide array of performances.
The theater’s lineup includes classic and contemporary plays, musicals, and children’s theater. The performances boast local talent that rivals professional troupes.
Housed in a historic 19th-century building, the theater adds a vintage charm to your theater experience. With its splendid performances, the Civic Theatre lets you enjoy a slice of the city’s rich cultural life.
7. Navigate Challenges at a Local Escape Room
Among the more exhilarating things to do in Grand Rapids is to take part in an escape room challenge. As you view this local escape room experience, you’re not just a visitor but an active participant in a thrilling game. The premise is simple yet captivating: you and your team are locked in a room, and you have to solve puzzles and riddles to escape.
Every escape room offers a different theme, each providing a unique story and setting. You might find yourself trying to unravel a detective’s last case in a 1940s noir setting, escaping a scientist’s lab, or solving the mysteries of a haunted mansion. Each story will require critical thinking, problem-solving, and most importantly, teamwork.
While these games test your mind and patience, they also provide a rush of adrenaline and a lot of fun. They’re perfect for families, friends, and team-building exercises.
The immersive experience, the ticking clock, and the satisfaction of solving clues make escape rooms a must-try in Grand Rapids. The only question is, can you escape in time?
Find More Unique Things to do in Grand Rapids
And there you have it – a tantalizing taste of the experiences that await you in this Midwest gem. Whether it’s culture, adventure, or relaxation, the unique things to do in Grand Rapids offer something for everyone. As you plan your next trip, let this guide inspire you to explore the unexplored.
Now, it’s time to put your travel boots on and get ready to uncover the magic of Grand Rapids! Craving more travel inspiration? Dive deeper into our Travel section to discover exciting destinations near and far.