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

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    Winter Activities in Grand Rapids

    Winter in the City

    If you’re dreaming of an easy, affordable and option-rich winter getaway, Dream Grand and Go to Grand Rapids! From big-city excitement to bountiful outdoor recreation, Grand Rapids has it all – and it’s all close and convenient, so you can experience more in less time. Make plans now to make your winter special!

    The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued an epidemic order that is in effect through February 1, 2021. Under this order, entertainment venues and recreational facilities can be open with a capped capacity of 100 and no food or drink concessions. Museums and libraries may remain open but guest counts are limited to no more than 30% of capacity. Please check individual websites for details.

    Working together, we can also make the season safer. Please review our travel updates for the latest COVID-19 information – including the state’s requirement to wear a mask in all indoor spaces.

    Make the Best of Winter

    The pandemic is altering some of our usual winter plans, but there are still plenty of fun and COVID-friendly activities – including dining outdoors, exploring social zones and experience the best of winter things to do. Many event details are still being finalized, so check this page often for new additions.

    Make Tracks in the Grand Outdoors

    Winter weather brings new opportunities to explore and enjoy our natural landscape. Hike the trails at Blandford Nature Center and area parks to savor every shift of the season, as snow comes and goes and comes again.

    Explore marked trails for fat tire biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing at Indian Trails Golf Course. The clubhouse is open select hours for hot chocolate sales and snowshoe rentals. Click here for more prime snowshoeing spots.

    Skiing more your style? You can tackle 21 downhill runs at Cannonsburg Ski Area, just 20 minutes from downtown. Bittersweet Ski Resort (20 runs) and Mulligan’s Hollow (six runs) are 30 minutes or so away. All three offer excellent cross-country trails, as do numerous close-by parks and nature areas.

    Cannonsburg is also a favorite with snowboarders, thanks to a terrain park filled with 80+ jibs and jumps. Bittersweet and Mulligan’s Hollow are also popular snowboarding spots.

    Want to take the kids sledding? Our favorite fun (and free) sledding locations include Richmond Park, Belknap Park, Johnson Park and Cascade Township Park. Cannonsburg has great tubing for a fee for the family. It's not open yet, but it will be soon!

    If you love fat tire biking, you’ll love the groomed trails at Cannonsburg Ski Area, Indian Trails Fat Bike Park and the Merrell Trail in Rockford.

    Ice fishing is a major pastime here – grab your auger and head to one our many inlands lakes and river bayous.

    You can ice skate in the heart of downtown at Rosa Parks Circle, which is open through Feb. 21, weather permitting. Due to COVID-19 social distance requirements, skate times must be reserved in advance – reserve online or call (616) 456-3696, option 1.

    Bring the kids for Winter-Time Walks at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park – this outdoor discovery walks let young ones investigate the Children’s Garden in new ways. 

    Attend the World of Winter Festival in downtown Grand Rapids through Feb. 28 to see art installations and performances, play games, take walking tours and more ... all FREE!

    Need skis, snowshoes, fat tire bikes and other equipment? Check out Where to Rent Winter Gear in Grand Rapids.

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    Make Memories with Indoor Fun

    If you prefer a warm and cozy approach to winter, plan a visit to one of the great indoor spots featured below. By state order, capacity is limited at indoor venues, so you may have to purchase tickets or make reservations in advance – check venue websites. Remember to wear masks and stay at least 6’ away from anyone not in your household.

    Get Culture Pass GR to save on admission prices to some of the area’s top attractions – it’s just $20 for a limited time!

    Check out these great ideas for indoor exploration, entertainment, activity and enlightenment.

     See Sean Kenney’s Wild Connections Made With LEGO® Bricks at Grand Rapids Public Museum – beautiful works of art that explore animal endangerment, the balance of ecosystems and mankind’s relationship with nature. Under the Arctic: Digging into Permafrost, which includes a 30-foot-long Alaskan permafrost tunnel replica, is also on display at GRPM.

    Don’t miss Mathias J. Alten: An Enduring Legacy at Grand Rapids Art Museum – it features paintings and works from one of the city’s most esteemed and beloved figures as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth. Also at the Museum: In Black and White, a look at what happens when artists cast aside the color spectrum.

    Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park invites you to follow up a stroll around its beautiful outdoor gardens with a visit to the warm and toasty Tropical Conservatory.

    Movie theaters are open! See a big movie on the big screen at Celebration Cinema North & IMAX theatre, Celebration Cinema Rivertown, Celebration Cinema Studio Park and AMC Star Grand Rapids 18. Restrictions apply and concessions are closed.

    Looking for more activity-based fun? May we suggest bowling, laser tag, go-karts, glow golf or an escape room?

    ‘Tis the season for post-holiday sales – find stores that match your interest and neighborhood. Check out some of our favorite local shops and attraction gift shops.

    Make Time for Food & Drink

    It’s such a busy season, be sure to take time to relax and let someone else do the cooking (and brewing and distilling) once in awhile. Browse our restaurant, brewery, cidery, coffee shop and distillery lists for something that’s sure to hit the spot.

    The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued Pause to Save Lives, an order pausing indoor restaurant service from November 18 through February 1. During this period, many restaurants continue to serve guests through outdoor dining and carryout/delivery service. We encourage you to check with an establishment directly to confirm hours of operation, takeout services, and outdoor dining availability.

    Taste something new – try one of the restaurants that opened here recently:

    • Art Caribbean Fusion Cuisine brings a taste of the islands to downtown Grand Rapids.  
    • The Spanish-inspired MDRD (pronounced “Madrid”) has replaced the legendary Cygnus 27 on the 27th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton.
    • Tupelo Honey, just steps away from downtown’s Rosa Parks Circle, offers a fresh new take on Southern cuisine.
    • KCM is a Korean/Japanese café that took over the vacant former Gaia café space in Uptown.
    • Hamburger Mary’s is an LGBTQ-friendly restaurant (complete with drag-queen performances) in Cascade.
    • Morning Belle West Side is a breakfast-brunch-lunch-and-daytime-cocktail destination in the Bridge Street entertainment district.
    • Margaux, the French-inspired eatery inside downtown’s JW Marriott, reopened in October with an updated menu, new cocktails and a redesigned dining area.
    • Mertens Prime is the new name for the New Hotel Mertens Brasserie and Mertens Café has replaced New Hotel Mertens Bakery. Both feature new French-inspired menu items, from steaks and chops to beignets.
    • Quarantino’s (named for the lockdown we all endured in spring) serves square-shaped Detroit-style pizza in Eastown.

    New(ish) beverage destinations to try include Adesanya Mead (Grandville), Alt City Beverage Company (Downtown Market), Kaffeine Place (Medical Mile), Speciation Cellars (Uptown) and Two James Spirits tasting room (Medical Mile).

    Celebrate breakfast and brunch classics with featured items during Brunch Bites at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market – all day long, every Saturday in February.

    If you don’t feel comfortable entering an establishment for food and drink, remember that many operations also offer carryout and delivery. Restaurants may also equip outdoor Social Zones with heaters and fire pits for milder days.

    Make Believe You’re in the Front Row

    Imagine the COVID crisis is over – log on to your computer, smartphone or tablet and enjoy a livestreamed performance as if you were sitting in the front row of one of our entertainment venues.

    Grand Rapids Symphony presents Marcelo Plays and Conducts, featuring works from Mozart, Copland and Villa-Lobos, available Jan. 8-Feb. 6.

    Log on to the Virtual Orchid Show at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park to see a stunning variety of beautiful, unusual and colorful orchids, and learn tips from orchid enthusiasts. Feb. 27-28.

    See the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, anytime.

    Enjoy archived music concerts from Circle Theatre before its live performance season starts up again in May.

    You can also make believe you’re on a museum tour with virtual tools from Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Gerald R. Ford Museum, Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives, Grand Rapids Art Museum, and Grand Rapids Public Museum.

    St. Cecilia Music Center presents local Americana troubadour Ralston Bowles (Jan. 21),  Portuguese singer Mariza (Jan. 29), acclaimed pianist Gloria Chein (Feb. 11), legendary songstress Judy Collins (Feb. 12), blues band King Biscuit Trio (Feb. 18) and renowned bassists Christian McBride and Edgar Meyer (Feb. 25) live in virtual concert.

    Grand Valley State University hosts virtual presentations commemorating Black History Month throughout February.

    Visit our Virtual Events Calendar for more virtual entertainment and engagement opportunities.

    Experience the Winter Season


    Two 100-store malls, an outlet mall, and unique neighborhood shops.

    Outdoor Recreation

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