Offsite conferences already shake up the routine and lend themselves to new ideas and discussion. But sometimes it’s good to get attendees out of the convention center and hotel conference rooms, and into your host city for even more inspiration.

We've already collected a list of walkable restaurants and breweries that can accommodate group meetings, but Grand Rapids has several other downtown locations ideal for meeting planners to schedule offsite events, including entertainment venues, escape rooms, museums and theaters. And they are all a half mile or less of DeVos Place Convention Center – that means no special transportation and minimal travel time!

Here are few suggestions to get your search started, listed in order of closest to farthest distance, according to the walking feature in Google maps using the street corner outside the south end of DeVos Place.

Civic Auditorium

The historic Civic Auditorium houses the Steelcase Ballroom and is just across the street from Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

Photo by EXGR

Civic Auditorium

Distance: 479 feet

The city’s primary public auditorium for nearly 70 years, the Civic was incorporated as part of the 40,000 sq. ft. Steelcase Ballroom in DeVos Place in 2003. The original façade and front lobby of the Civic remain intact, giving guests a glimpse of the Neo-Classical-Art Deco design  that distinguished the 1932-era building. The ballroom can accommodate 2,500 people for reception and banquet events, and the space can be sub-divided into four separate rooms for smaller groups.

The Ballroom at McKay Tower

Distance: 518 feet

This elegant venue with 26-foot ceilings is found in the city’s first high-rise building. The initial four-stories were built in 1915. The last two stories were added in the 1940s, making the 18-story building the tallest at that time between Detroit and Chicago. The ballroom occupies a renovated former bank space and has the elegant marble décor to prove it. It’s ideal for corporate or social events with up to 200 guests.

Fact: DeVos Performance Hall has a seating capacity of 2,400.

Part of the DeVos Place complex, the performance hall offers great options for theater-style meetings.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

DeVos Performance Hall

Distance: 0.1 mile

This 2,543-seat performing arts theater is actually inside the DeVos Place complex. It hosts ballet, concert, opera and other events throughout the year, but it’s also available for theater-style meetings.

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Distance: 0.2 mile

What could be more inspiring than a permanent collection of more than 6,000 pieces of art plus additional exhibits that change throughout the year? The GRAM, which is the first LEED Gold Certified art museum in the world, has galleries, auditoriums or the entire space available for rent.

Contact the Special Events Department at 616-831-2916 or events@artmuseumgr.org or visit the website for more details.

Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives

Distance: 0.2 miles

GRAAMA preserves, displays and honors the lives, culture, history and art of local African Americans. Meeting space is on a separate floor from the exhibit space. Guests have access to exhibits during their event. A perfect setting to explore issues of diversity, inclusion and equity.

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) - New Location, 2021.

Your meetings' cutting-edge programming will go perfectly with the cutting-edge art found at UICA.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts

Distance: 0.2 mile

Stimulate outside-the-box thinking in an environment dedicated to presenting cutting-edge art, events and programs. Newly renovated meeting rooms, classrooms and gallery spaces in UICA’s 1909 Beaux Arts-style building offer a range of conference and reception opportunities. UICA is located on the campus of Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris State University.

The B.O.B

Distance: 0.3 mile

The B.O.B. – an acronym for Big Old Building – features four stories of space dedicated to food and entertainment at restaurants, bars, a brewery and a posh nightclub. It also has meeting space to accommodate anywhere from 20 to 2,000 people.

GLC Live at 20 Monroe

Distance: 0.3 mile

This entertainment venue managed by Live Nation is a 6-minute walk from the convention campus and has space for meetings of 75 to 2,600 people, depending on the format of your event. Take advantage of the two-level music hall and combine your gathering with a private concert or performance.

Set-up before an event in the lobby of the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum offers a variety of experiences for attendees during an off-site event.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Public Museum

Distance: 0.3 mile

Shouldn’t all meeting spaces have carousels? The Grand Rapids Public Museum has one overlooking the Grand River with a great view of the city. The venue features spaces and rooms for gatherings of 12 to 1,200, including an auditorium and theater – all surrounded by historic artifacts from the city and region.

Van Andel Arena

Distance: 0.3 mile

Planning something big? The Van Andel Area accommodates nearly 12,500 people in theater style and 1,000 for a reception. It's connected to the downtown skywalk, which links Van Andel to DeVos Place, the JW Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott and Amway Grand Rapids, Curio Collection by Hilton hotels ­– so you can walk from place to place in enclosed, climate-controlled comfort.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, MI, offers plenty to explore, both inside and out.

Connect with Grand Rapids' presidential history and spark new ideas at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

Photo by Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Distance: 0.4 mile

Plan your meeting against a backdrop of history in this living tribute to the 38th president of the United States, who represented Grand Rapids in Congress for 25 years. The venue can accommodate lectures, meetings or receptions, and offer fascinating insights into the life and times of President Ford and First Lady Betty Ford.

Contact the museum at 616-254-0400 or ford.museum@nara.gov for more information. You can also download the rental packet from the website.

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre

Distance: 0.4 mile

Built around the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries and meticulously renovated in 2006, the Civic Theatre is home to one of America’s oldest and largest community theatres. The facility’s Meijer Majestic Theatre seats 750 people in opulent style. A glass-walled lobby is a perfect place to mix and mingle before and after your presentation.

Visit GCRT on the web for more details and rental contacts.

Grand Rapids Children's Museum

Distance: 0.4 mile

Get attendees in touch with the creativity of their inner child in a museum devoted to play. GRCM can host up to 500 guests in 14,000 sq. ft. of private space and two dedicated meeting rooms. A fully equipped kitchen is available, and guests enjoy access to all exhibits and unlimited play.

Visit the GRCM rental webpage for details.

The Ruse

Distance: 0.4 Mile

The “escape room” concept is a wonderful way to combine business and pleasure. It’s a proven team-building exercise and the downtown location of The Ruse makes it ideal for an offsite meeting-excursion combo. The conference room has full audio-visual capabilities and the facility can accommodate a reception for up to 45 people.

GVSU Eberhard Center

Distance: 0.5 mile

Located on the downtown campus of Grand Valley State University, this conference and event venue on the banks of the Grand River can host up to 500 guests for receptions, 380 for banquets, 300 for classroom sessions and 180 auditorium-style. There are 12 meeting rooms and the facility is on the other side of the parking lot of The Holiday Inn Downtown.

Visit the GVSU Conference and Event Planning web page for more information.

Studio Park's outdoor piazza on a cloudless, sunny day.

Studio Park offers indoor and outdoor event space and a half mile walk from the convention center.

Photo by Brian Craig for Experience Grand Rapids

Studio Park

Distance: 0.5 mile

Studio Park can host events in one of its nine movie theaters, an acoustically awesome music venue and a beautiful outdoor piazza, which comes with its own exterior digital screen for presentations – ideal for strolling receptions, cocktail hours or picnic-style dinners. Accommodates groups of 20 to 200.

For more information, check the Studio Park Private Events webpage.

The Rutledge

Distance: 0.5 mile

Just across the street from the Studio Park entertainment complex, The Rutledge occupies a renovated historic building and offers period-appropriate touches like brick-and-beam construction, Edison bulb chandeliers and a handcrafted leather-appointed bar. It can accommodate up to 275 guests.

St. Cecilia Music Center

Distance: 0.5 mile

A community treasure since 1894, St. Cecilia is thoughtfully preserved and renovated facility can accommodate groups up to 650 in the Royce Auditorium for theater-style meetings and 250 for receptions in the ballroom. Smaller spaces are available, too.

 

Want to look at more venues? Visit the Experience Grand Rapids facility search page to explore options by neighborhood, venue capacity and amenities or contact a member of our team for more details.