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Off the beaten path

Michigan is well publicized for its idyllic summers. But just because the air starts to turn cooler and the leaves start to fall doesn’t mean…

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Summer in Grand Rapids

It’s time to reclaim your summer and experience all the fun, excitement, activity and discovery you may have missed last year. Grand Rapids is the destination for big-city culture and warm-weather recreation, all wrapped up in one friendly, convenient package. If you want to make the most of your summer – and who doesn’t this year? – treat yourself to a Grand Rapids getaway!

Reminder: Face masks no longer have to be worn in Michigan, unless required by individual business and government entities. All other pandemic restrictions have been lifted as well. See our Travel Updates for more information.

Note: Check this page often for new developments and sign-up for our newsletter.

Start planning an amazing Grand Rapids summer vacation below:

Save on Attractions with Our Culture Pass

Receive admission into many cultural attractions around Grand Rapids as well as additional exclusive discounts with our $20.00 Culture Pass.

Hot Ticket Events

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BRICKLIVE Supersized!  at John Ball Zoo features 30+ animal sculptures made with almost two million colorful toy bricks – and it’s FREE with general zoo admission. Where else can you take a selfie with a 12-foot-tall tarantula or gigantic spitting cobra?

Grand Rapids Public Museum presents POPnology , celebrating popular culture-inspired technology innovations like the world’s first 3D printed car, Disney movie gear, futuristic musical instruments, virtual projection games and more. Opens May 22.

American Perspectives: Stories from the American Folk Art Museum Collection showcases more than 80 folk art projects, from paintings and pottery to quilts, needlework and sculpture. Opens May 22 at Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Dino Stroll  transforms the DeltaPlex Arena into the Mesozoic Era with nearly 75 life-like animatronic creatures on display – some as large as 25 feet tall and 60 feet long. June 19-20.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park  welcomes back outdoor musical performances in a big way:

Can’t get enough of marvelous music under a sunny (or starry) summer sky? You’re in the right place:

  • Listening on the Lawn is a series of outdoor concerts on the piazza in front of downtown’s Studio Park entertainment complex.
  • The Breakaway Music Festival  hosts an impressive range of artists across multiple genres in scenic Belknap Park. Aug. 27-28.
  • Bands at Blandford! is an outdoor concert series on the main campus of beautiful Blandford Nature Center. Select Thursday evenings.
  • The Summer Concert Series on the Circle Theatre lawn presents local artists and musicians live in concert on select Monday evenings.
  • West Michigan Jazz Society in the Park presents concerts on Monday evenings in Millennium Park through June and July. This one’s FREE!

The West Michigan Whitecaps  return with a renamed stadium (LMCU Ballpark) and a bump up to High-A league status – meaning even better play on the field to go along with the usual bevy of family-friendly promotions. There are 35+ home games from June-Aug.

Fourth of July

Start planning your July 4th celebrations throughout the Grand Rapids area!

photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Outdoor Festivals

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Plein Air and Performance + by Festival of the Arts  features artists creating and musicians playing throughout downtown GR, plus art exhibits and competitions, a Calder Plaza light show and more. June 4-6. 

The Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival  showcases authentic food, drinks and performances in downtown’s Calder Plaza. June 11-12.

Movies in the Park  is a series of outdoor movies in various parks around the city: June 8, July 17, July 31, Aug. 7 & Aug. 21.

The Heritage Hill Garden Tour and Festival  is a unique opportunity to tour the private gardens of historic homes and public spaces in one of the nation’s largest old-home districts. June 19.

Grand Rapids Fireworks presented by Soaring Eagle Casino  kicks off with family-fun activities, food, vendors and live entertainment in downtown’s Ah-Nab-Awen Park, leading up to a spectacular fireworks show over the Grand River. July 3.

The Grand Rapids Polish Festival  celebrates Polish culture and heritage through traditional food, beer, music and more. Aug. 27-29 in Rosa Parks Circle.

ArtPrize  returns to downtown GR after a two-year absence – make plans now to see hundreds of eye-popping artworks from around the globe. New this year: visitors can award prizes directly to artists and bid on art via auction. Sept. 16-Oct. 3.

Sept 16-Oct 03,2021

ArtPrize

Discover ArtPrize events that are taking place during the 16 days of the largest art competition in…

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Food & Drink

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Fresh food just tastes better in fresh air – check out 100+ restaurants  and 30+ breweries  with great outdoor dining & drinking spaces.

Take advantage of outdoor Social Zones in Grand Rapids (Downtown and Uptown), Cedar Springs, Lowell, Muskegon, Rockford and Saugatuck to stroll city streets while enjoying an alcoholic beverage.

Summer’s the perfect time to become a Beer City® Brewsader – download the app and visit eight breweries to earn a FREE t-shirt.

Did you know that USA Today dubbed Grand Rapids the “Craft Beverage Capital of the U.S.” last year? Yes, we’ve got great breweries – but you should also visit our amazing cideries, coffeehouses, distilleries, meaderies and wineries. 

Shop the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market  five minutes from downtown GR and other farm markets to enjoy fresh-picked fruits, vegetables, flowers and more, all summer long.

Cool off with a frozen treat from an ice cream spot favored by Experience Grand Rapids social media followers: The Cone Shoppe Double Dip Depot Frosty Boy Furniture City Creamery Jersey Junction Love’s Ice Cream and Chocolate The Parlor at Cherry Hill Market Pinkie’s Ice Cream and Desserts Spad’s Twisters Soft Serve Ice Cream , or Woody’s Cone Stop .

Outdoor Recreation

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Grand Rapids is an outdoor paradise in every season – but summer is especially near and dear to our hearts. Reason #1: long days on the links at 30 close-by golf courses.

Speaking of golf, don’t miss the return of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give , when 140+ of the world’s top female golfers compete for $2.3 million in prize money at our Blythefield Country Club. Come watch them in action, June 17-20.

Warmer water means this is also prime season for boating, paddling and tubing. Bring your own gear or rent everything you need.

Hundreds of miles of paved trails in and around Grand Rapids give bikers and hikers ample opportunity for scenic exercise. These trails  are particularly accessible for people with disabilities – and these trails are dog-friendly .

For dog-centered recreation, check out these local dog parks  – including the Downtown Dog Park Grand Rapids.

Feel like a picnic in the park? Order takeout from a local restaurant and take your pick of 130+ nearby greenspaces.

Feeling competitive? Test your skills at the Michigan Adventure Race  (June 12),  Grand Rapids Triathlon  (June 13) or Hurt the Dirt Trail Race  (July 31).

Feel the beat? Head to downtown’s Ah-Nab-Awen Park every Tuesday evening for outdoor Swing Dancing  – no partner required!   

Grand Outdoors

Hit the trails, lakes & golf courses.

photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Outdoor Adventures

Lake Break

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Downtown GR is just 30-45 minutes away from the beaches and beach towns of Lake Michigan. Spend a day on the coast and get back to GR for a night on the town!

Find your vibe – secluded or close to city amenities, bustling or laid back, dog-friendly or not – at 20+ Lake Michigan beaches. Or hit the Millennium Park  beach (and splashpad) just five minutes from downtown GR.

Shop, dine and enjoy the sights in the beach towns of Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon and Saugatuck/Douglas – each boasts its own unique personality and style.

Mark your calendar for some of the lakeshore’s biggest events: the Muskegon Lakeshore Art Festival  (June 26-27), Holland’s Macatawa Water Festival  (July 17) and Ottawa County Fair  (July 26-30), the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival  (July 30-Aug. 8) and Grand Haven Art on the Riverfront  (Aug. 21).

Beaches

Our world-class beaches are clean, clear and oh-so-close.

photo by Nick Irwin Images

Retail shops are opening back up under state guidelines for safe operation. Rivertown Crossings Mall Tanger Outlet Mall  and Woodland Mall  are all open for business. Check out our list of shopping destinations and call individual stores to confirm hours. (Many stores continue to offer curbside pickup, too.)

Search Shopping

Looking for a specific shop? Check out our list of shop in the area.

photo by Brian Craig for Experience Grand Rapids

Summer Hotel Packages

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Plan your summer getaway with a hotel package that includes a special perk geared around a specific Grand Rapids highlight – from beer to food to culture and beyond. Consider enriching your stay even further with immersive Tours & Experiences.

Dream Grand

If you don’t feel comfortable traveling yet, we invite you to Dream Grand with us – explore this website and imagine all the things you’ll want to do on your next visit. You can even build a wish list for your trip. When you find an event or attraction that interests you – like the Grand Rapids Public Museum  – just click on the ADD TO LIST button under the address. That creates a running list of things you want to see and do. Click “My Trip” at the top of any page for your complete schedule.

The Insider Experience

Eat, stay, and play like a local this summer

Surrounding Grand Rapids’ bustling city center is an abundance of biking trails that wind through a variety of…

Veganism is continuously growing, and restaurants across Michigan are filling the demand, with Grand Rapids leading the…

Outdoor Dining in Any Season Grand Rapidians love the outdoors ­ – so much so that local restaurants and…

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