8 Best Things To Do In Grand Rapids, Michigan

things to do in grand rapids, michigan
| 3 min read

Grand Rapids, Michigan is the largest city in Western Michigan and the second largest in the state. It is on the Grand River and because of that it earned the nickname “River City.” During the second half of the 19th century, Grand Rapids became a major lumbering center with the harvesting of timber. By the end of the 19th century, it became a center of fine wood craftsmanship.

It gained the nickname “Furniture City” and now is home to five leading furniture manufacturers. Grand Rapids is also home to many semi-professional sports teams. Grand Rapids has many parades and public events including a fireworks celebration that tourists and residents enjoy. As well as having great restaurants, Grand Rapids is known for its breweries. The city has activities all ages can enjoy. Read on to learn about the best things to do in Grand Rapids, Michigan!

1. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Garden

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Garden
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michael Barera used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Garden is a large botanical garden and outdoor sculpture park. It’s Michigan’s second most popular tourist attraction. Meijer Gardens opened in 1995 and in just its first 10 years Meijer Gardens had more than three million visitors. The gardens include a Japanese Garden, a tropical plant conservatory, three indoor gardens, nature trails, sculpture galleries, and more. The property is fully handicap accessible. Open hours and admission rates can be viewed online.

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Garden

Address: 1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Website: Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Garden

Visited this place?

2. John Ball Zoological Garden

John Ball Zoological Garden
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user WMrapids used under CC0

John Ball Zoological Garden is a park and zoo. The zoo features animals from around the world and the Living Shores Aquarium. The zoo has a gift shop and area to buy food and drinks. Animals at the zoo include the Komodo dragon, tigers, wallabies, elephants, lions, and more. The zoo also has a zip line and sky trail ropes course. The zoo offers classes for kids, twilight tours, and more. The website has a full event calendar, admission rates, and open hours.

John Ball Zoological Garden

Address: 1300 Fulton W, 49504 Grand Rapids, MI

Website: John Ball Zoological Garden

Visited this place?

3. Millennium Park

Millenium Park, Walker, MI
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Caleb Putnam used under CC BY 2.0

Millennium Park is one of the United States’s largest urban parks with portions in Grand Rapids, Walker, Grandville, and Wyoming, which are part of Kent County, Michigan. The park has picnic areas, a beach/splash pad, trails, boat rentals, playground, fishing, and more. For the most part, the trails are paved and open to walkers, bikers, roller blades, and other human-powered machines. The park is open from May 1 to October 31 from 7 a.m. until sundown. Information on admission prices and season passes can be found online.

Millennium Park

Address: 1415 Maynard Ave SW, 49534 Walker, MI

Website: Millennium Park

Visited this place?

4. Grand Rapids Public Museum

Grand Rapids Public Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user John Eisenschenk used under CC BY 2.0

The Grand Rapids Public Museum was founded in 1854 and sits right next to the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is one of the oldest public museums in the United States. The museum exhibits include one about Native Americans in Western Michigan, a 1928 Spillman Carousel, the Streets of Old Grand Rapids, and many others. The museum has a cafe and gift shop. The museum hosts hands-on science activities every Tuesday. Admission prices and hours are on the museum’s website.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

Address: 272 Pearl St NW, 49504 Grand Rapids, MI

Website: Grand Rapids Public Museum

Visited this place?

5. Grand Rapids Art Museum

Grand Rapids Art Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Why.architecture used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Grand Rapids Art Museum(GRAM) was founded in 1910. Visitors can see art from the Renaissance period to modern art. It has 5,000 works of art, including 3,500 prints, drawings, and photographs. Visitors to the museum can choose between a self-guided tour or a guided one. The GRAM hosts a drop-in studio every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Open hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission prices are listed online.

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Address: 101 Monroe Center St NW, 49503 Grand Rapids, MI

Website: Grand Rapids Art Museum

Visited this place?

6. Heritage Hill District

David M. Amberg House
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jaydec used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Heritage Hill District is one of the largest urban historic districts in the United States. The neighborhood includes the streets, Crescent Street, Union Avenue, Pleasant Street, and Lafayette Avenue. It is the oldest neighborhood in Grand Rapids. The neighborhood includes 1,300 homes date back to 1843. Visitors to this neighborhood can walk around it and look at the stunning architecture, which shows major architectural periods in the United States. Take your time enjoying these historical homes.

Heritage Hill District

Address: Heritage Hill, 49503 Grand Rapids MI

Website: Heritage Hill District

Visited this place?

7. Meyer May House

Meyer May House
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user en:Jaydec used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Meyer May House is a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house in the Heritage Hill neighborhood of Grand Rapids. The house was commissioned in 1908 by Meyer S. May. The house is the most completely restored house that Wright designed. It was opened to the public to tour in 1987.

Anyone can take a virtual online tour on its website. Admission is free. The tour schedule can be viewed online.

Meyer May House

Address: 450 Madison Ave SE, 49503 Grand Rapids, MI

Website: Meyer May House

Visited this place?

8. Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Ford ford museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Staff of the Gera... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum is the museum and final resting place of the 38th president of the United States of America and his wife Betty Ford. The museum has shows the top events from Gerald Ford and Betty Ford’s lives. The Ford museum opened in 1981. The museum is handicap accessible and is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. It’s closed New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Admission prices are online. .

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Address: 303 Pearl St NW, 49504 Grand Rapids, MI

Website: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Visited this place?

Grand Rapids is for everyone!

Grand Rapids Michigan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dehk used under CC BY-SA 3.0

No matter your age, activity level or likes/dislikes, there is something for everyone! Whether you want to take a quiet afternoon strolling sculpture gardens or a noisy one hearing the animals roar, there’s something for you. Whether you want an afternoon on the shores of Lake Michigan or studying history indoors, there’s something for you. In Grand Rapids, there’s something for everyone!

Visited this place?
Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

Susanna Carlson is a freelance writer from Wisconsin. She enjoys traveling, art, reading, and outdoor activities in her free time.

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Grand Rapids
Looking for accommodation?
Good things are meant to be shared!
Back to top
Visited any of these places? Click this button to activate our "Add a Tip" feature to share your experience.