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  1. What you need to know to visit the area.

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    Downtown Grand Rapids

    Experience big-city excitement without the big-city hassle! Downtown Grand Rapids offers a huge range of entertainment, dining, shopping and sightseeing opportunities, all within a 10-minute walk. You'll encounter clean, safe streets and friendly people – beginning with our roving Safety Ambassadors, who traverse downtown on foot, bicycle, and Segway. Look for the bright teal and blue uniforms if you need assistance, directions, a map or anything else!

    Where to Stay Downtown

    Where to Eat Downtown

    The Cottage Bar and Stella’s Lounge have won national recognition for their burgers, Luna was named Michigan’s best farm-to-table restaurant and Cygnus 27 is listed in America’s Top 100 most scenic eateries. They’re just four of 100+ downtown dining destinations. We've listed a few favorites below, but you can view them all here – just select downtown as your location.

    Where to Shop Downtown

    Shop at more than 60 stores offering everything from art and magazines to clothing and pet products. Don’t miss the Downtown Market – we count it as one store, but it’s actually a collective of 20+ artisan food shops. Looking for something really unique? Check out the gifts shops at six downtown museums. Browse through the shops below for more retail inspiration.

    What to Do Downtown

    Visit six fascinating museums, all within a few blocks of each other: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum and Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts.

    Compare and contrast the beer styles at seven downtown breweries – then you’ll need to visit just one more local brewery to earn a Brewsader® t-shirt. You can complete your Brewsader® journey by exploring the West Side neighborhood only a few steps across the Grand River.

    Listen to live music at 25+ downtown venues showcasing national touring acts and/or local performers.

    See what’s happening at Rosa Parks Circle – named one of America’s Top 5 Public Spaces, it hosts festivals, concerts, food trucks, dance parties and winter ice skating.

    Take a downtown audio tour, beer tour, heritage tour, sculpture & historic building tour, walking tour or running tour.

    Explore Ionia Avenue for late-night fun – the three-block stretch just east of Van Andel Arena is home to Grand Rapids Brewing Company, J Gardella’s Tavern, Divani, HopCat, Luna and more.

    See public art virtually everywhere you look. Download the Outdoor Arts Inspirations tour map for a guide to 27 prominent downtown sculptures and historic buildings. Take a GR Tag Tour of “Art Around the Corner.” Or just wander around with your eyes peeled!

    See a play, musical, ballet or opera by Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids, Broadway Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Ballet, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Heritage Theatre Group, Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids or Opera Grand Rapids.
    See why Grand Rapids was named America’s 6th best fishing city ¬– stroll the Grand River Riverwalk to view anglers in action and visit the Fish Ladder to watch salmon, steelhead and carp leap the “steps” on their seasonal migration.

    See the city from a different perspective in the climate-controlled skywalk that connects our convention center with three hotels and assorted other buildings.

    Check out other things to see downtown:

    Local Downtown Favorites

    Founders Brewing Company is a local favorite with a national profile – it’s consistently ranked among the top five U.S. breweries and several of its beers are mainstays on yearly top 10 lists.

    La Grande Vitesse is a 43-foot-tall, 42-ton, bright red Alexander Calder sculpture that has come to symbolize the creative vitality of Grand Rapids. It sits on a public square outside City Hall, where it was first installed in 1969.

    The Blue Bridge, one of Michigan’s longest truss bridges, has been converted to a pedestrian walkway connecting the east and west sides of downtown. It’s a popular gathering space and photo subject.

    The antique Spillman Carousel at Grand Rapids Public Museum is a family favorite – it features 50 hand-carved animals and offers rides year-round to Museum visitors young and old.


    Search the Calendar of Events for Downtown Events