Michigan's Grand Rapids is home to about 190,000 people, making it the second biggest city in the state. It takes its name from the Grand River and used to be a furniture center. In fact, the city is home to five of the world's leading furniture companies, thus earning the nickname Furniture City.
Why don't you charter a bus rental in Grand Rapids, Michigan and explore the Furniture City?
A bus rental in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is your gateway to a number of fun attractions in the city. If you want to experience fantastic music, great food, amazing outdoors, beautiful art, the best beach, shopping and culture experience, then be sure to plan a visit to Grand Rapids today! Make it easier by calling BusRental.com at 1-866-569-2012 and chartering a bus rental in Grand Rapids, Michigan!
Check out the Big Dip Water Park, where you get around 10,000 sq. ft. of water fun that features a vortex pool, a swimming area, zero depth toddlers' pool that has tipping buckets and slides. The adults can go and relax in the hot tub.
Or if you are looking for something scary, then go to the Haunt (Grand Rapids, MI 49544). The horror house has been frightening people for more than a decade and has won awards such as the Best Haunted House in West Michigan, along with being named as one of the best in the state, attracting over 350,000 visitors since it opened.
You should also visit the Sky Zone, the first indoor trampoline park in the entire world.
If you have very young kids in your group, they are sure to have great fun at Jester's Court, which offers them a variety of play options including inflatables, obstacle courses, bounce houses, jungle gym and games.
You could also check out the Castaway Bay and enjoy the tropics right inside the luxurious Ramada Plaza.
Grand Rapids is dead serious about arts and culture. The city's many arts and cultural attractions give emphasis on local artists as well as world-famous ones. No matter when you come here, you can always catch a theater performance that could rival Broadway or attend a new gallery opening.
Visual arts. Great museums dot the city. You have the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, which was named one of the must-see museums in the world. It is also the most popular attraction in the entire state, with 132 acres of space to showcase beautiful blooms and sculptures. They also hold a summer concert series as well as annual events such as the Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World, Butterflies are Blooming, and Chrysanthemums and More!
The Grand Rapids Children's Museum gives kids and adults the chance to learn more about the world through their interactive exhibits such as the Buzzy Buzzy Bees, Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles, Aunt Daisy's Farm, Wee Bank, Treehouse, Mom & Pop Store, Wee Discover, Giant Lite Brite, and Puppet Stage. The museum also has several visiting and rotating exhibits.
The Grand Rapids Art Museum (Grand Rapids, MI 49503) is one of the city's iconic architectural gems, having been named by Newsweek as one of the best buildings of 2007 when the new facility opened. The art museum, however, has been serving the community for more than a decade with it holdings of Renaissance art, modern art, European and American Art. Meanwhile, the Grand Rapids Public Museum has top-notch exhibits on nature, culture, and history. Here you can ride a carousel that was made in the 1920s, or see stars at the planetarium.
Another noteworthy museum for you to visit is the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts (Grand Rapids, MI 49503).
For public art and art galleries, you need to check out Fish Ladder Sculpture built by Joseph Kinnebrew, which was created to help fish swim upstream so that they could spawn. You should also go to the Fed Galleries at the Kendall College of Art and Design where you can find art exhibits from the top artists from all around the world.
You might also want to see the 74 artist members of the Grand River Woodturner's Guild. Woodturning is when you work with wood using a lathe to create various objects. Meanwhile, the Grand Valley Artists often display the works for the members, which total close to 300.
Further, visit the LaFontsee Galleries, which has been showcasing the works of the best artists for more than 25 years now. Or check out the exhibits at the Gainey Gallery, where you could find the works of West Michigan artists on display.
Other galleries you should not miss:
Performance arts. The Creative Arts Repertoire Ensemble stages three ballets every season, often producing condensed performances of original and classic ballets.
For music groups, check out the Grand Rapids Sweet Adelines, an all-female group that has been performing for local audiences since the 1950s. Also, you are in for a unique experience with the Embellish Handbell Ensemble, which gives you a great handbell ringing performance.
Grand Rapids Symphonic Band gives you a chance to see premier musicians in concert, while the Grand Rapids Women's Chorus sings songs that pay tribute to the diversity of women. Meanwhile, you should also check out The Artist Series of Calvin College, which features top-notch artists in dance, jazz, folk and classical music, as well as instrumental and vocal music.
Then there is the VocalArts Singers that sings classic choral songs, some of which dates back to the Renaissance. The West Michigan Jazz Society, meanwhile, performs jazz concerts throughout the city.
Other music groups in the city include:
Theater groups in the city include:
Performance and arts venues in the city range from intimate spaces to grand halls. When you visit for the arts and culture experience, you should visit the DeltaPlex Arena and Conference Center (Grand Rapids, MI 49544), which hosts professional sports events, major music concerts, conventions and expos.
Check out the DeVos Place Performance Hall, too, which was opened in 2004 and has 162,000 square feet of exhibit halls and a 40,000 sq. ft. ballroom. It also includes the Grand Center, which is home to Grand Rapids Ballet Company, Opera Grand Rapids, Broadway Grand Rapids, and Grand Rapids Symphony.
You can also head to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Amphitheater (Grand Rapids, MI 49525), where you can catch famous bands and musicians as well as local bands perform in outdoor concerts. Then head out to St. Cecilia Music Center, which has been open since the 1880s and currently sponsors world-famous musicians and local artists in concerts. Further, why not visit the Van Singel Fine Arts Center where you could get affordable tickets to off-Broadway shows, as well as other arts and entertainment events?
For galleries, you could go to GR Art Group, GreenLion Gallery, and the Fulton Street Artisans Market, where you can view and buy the works of artisans and artists in the area.
Other venues you could visit here include:
Festivals and annual events. Check out the Festival of the Arts, a yearly event held at Calder Plaza on the first full weekend of June. This festival draws more than 500,000 people. Then you have the Celebration of the Grand, which is a free music festival that heralds the end of summer. Meanwhile the Pulaski Days pays tribute to General Casimir Pulaski and celebrates polish culture and heritage.
You should also try to check ArtPrize, an art competition that draws participants from all over the world.
Grand Rapids is home to many entrepreneurs, giving way to a lot of funky, quirky and fashionable shops in the city. You can get anything from clothes, jewelry, furniture, antiques and other stuff from local businesses.
You can go uptown and enjoy the Fulton Street Artisans Markets and get the products done personally by dozens and dozens of artists and artisans. From felted art, knit goods, glass works, lotions, soap to silver jewelry, you can find it here. You can also visit the Fulton Street Farmers Market.
The Woodland Mall has more than 100 tenants in its more 1.2 million square feet of space, and is anchored by JCPenney, Barnes & Noble, Sears, and Macy's. Rivertown Crossings Mall is bigger with 1.3 million square feet of space and anchored by Hudson's, Sears, Younkers, JC Penney and Kohl's.
If you want something unique, check out Local First, while you can get great antiques at Bluedoor Antiques and Elements, City Antiques Resale Boutique, East Fulton Art and Antiques, and Warehouse One Antiques. You could also explore downtown Grand Rapids and check out the many shops there.
Restaurants. Dining in Grand Rapids can be a truly memorable experience. The city has one of the country's best culinary schools, helping it churn out top-notch chefs who work their magic at many of the city's dining places. You would also love the variety and the quality of the food here. If you are lucky enough to be in town during Restaurant Week, then you can take advantage of great food at reduced prices at some of the best restaurants in the city.
Some of the best that you should try include Electric Cheetah (Grand Rapids, MI 49506), which uses natural, local and organic ingredients to give you an eclectic array of food. Order the grilled cheese and enjoy the craft beers here. Then there is Marie Catribs, where they serve vegetarian food for the vegans and great slabs of meat for the meat-lovers. It is safe to say that you can find everything here. Further, visit Bistro Bella Vita, definitely the best Mediterranean restaurant in the city. Another option for vegetarians is Bartertown Diner.
Stella's Lounge is reputed to serve some of the best burgers in the country. Order the Stella Blue Stuffed Burger along with a selection of its great burgers. Then you should check out the Westsider Cafe for some great Polish fare. Harmony Brewing Company serves great wood fire pizza that you can enjoy with some of the best local beers, while La Taqueria San Jose serves the best tacos. Or try HopCat, one of the best beer bars in the world.
You should also go to San Chez Bistro, a multi-awarded tapas bistro that also goes out of its way to make sure that you eat great food without your dreaded allergens. They also have a full menu for breakfast, brunch and lunch. And oh, order their chocolate empanadas! The Winchester, on the other hand, uses local ingredients and a changing menu.
Start your day right with Real Food Cafe, where you can find a great variety of breakfast items as well as the yummiest desserts. Or perhaps check out the baked treats at the Nantucket Baking Company. Then head out to Wolfgang's Restaurant for a great lunch, or enjoy the soups at the Green Well Gastro Pub.
Other restaurants you should not miss:
Michigan has lengthy summer days, with some days getting as many as 15 hours of sun. The city has three dozen golf courses that you can visit, all within 30 minutes drive from each other. The best golf courses you can find in the city include:
Sports venues. Sports in the city is a year-long affair. In the winter months, the Grand Rapids Griffins keep the Van Andel Arena blazing. Outside of winter, the West Michigan Whitecaps entertains fans with a heated game of baseball at the Fifth Third Ballpark. Or you might want to participate in the Fifth Third River Bank Run, where thousands of people join in the fun, or the Grand Rapids Marathon that happens in October.
Meanwhile, over at DeltaPlex Arena, the Grand Rapids Drive plays its home games for the NBA Development League.
Chronicles related to Grand Rapids' history go back to more than two millennia back to when the Native Americans lived here. In fact, you could see some burial mounds within Millennium Park, as well as Hopewell tribe artifacts and other items. Check out the Norton Mound National Historic Landmark for some of these artifacts, as well as the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum is one of the oldest history museums in the country. The permanent collection here are included in the following exhibits:
You could go around the city to see some of its historic sites, including:
Bridges, which include the Ada Covered Bridge, Fallasburg Covered Bridge, White's Covered Bridge, Blue Bridge, Pearl Street Bridge, Fulton Street Bridge, and Sixth Street Bridge. Historic homes, which showcases the history of furniture and lumber industries in the city that gave rise to lavish historic homes. Check out Heritage Hill, among the biggest urban historic districts in the country. It has 1,300 historic homes that go back to the 1840s and showcase more than five dozen architectural designs. You should also go to the Meyer May House, Voigt House, Cappon House Museum, Settlers House Museum, and Hackley & Hume Historic Site. Lighthouses, which include the Grand Haven Lighthouse, Holland Harbor Lighthouse, Muskegon South Pier Lighthouse, and White River Light Station.
You could also go to the historical museums here. The Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum gives you a glimpse into the life of the former president who was raised in the city and became one of its congressmen before being appointed as Vice President by Richard Nixon and elected as president of the United States of America in 1974. Here, you can find a replica of the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room recreation and an exhibit on Watergate. There are also exhibits on Betty Ford, as well as traveling exhibits. But if a glimpse into the old times is your cup of tea, nothing beats a visit to the Meyer May House, which has been recently restored with rooms reproducing scenes from the old times and fitted with original furniture.
You should also visit the Fallasburg Historical Society and the Lowell Area Historical Museum. Other historic museums on your list should include:
You could also go to the DeKlomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory, Nelis' Dutch Village, Tulip Time, and Windmill Island Gardens to get a feel of the city's Dutch heritage.
Further, you can learn more about the city's maritime history at Great Lakes Naval Memorial & Museum, SS Milwaukee Clipper, LST 393, and Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival.
Grand Rapids has more than 70 city parks covering more than 1,200 acres, as well as 350 acres of park school sites. These parks over a range of recreation, and some have historic monuments, sculptures, and public art.
Check out the Ah-Nab-Awen Park, which was once a village lived in by Native Americans and currently displays different artworks. You could also go to Calder Plaza with its selection of community events, or the Fish Ladder Park. You should also see Earthwork by Robert Morris and the Rosa Parks Circle.
Other parks you could go to include:
Biking enthusiasts would fall in love with Grand Rapids, with a selection of terrains to choose from. There is street biking through the city's bike lanes on city streets, there are options for trail biking and mountain biking, too. Also, visit the many beaches that are near the city where you get pristine waters and sugar sand. There are also great fishing spots here as well as hiking and biking trails.
An accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, John Ball Zoological Garden is home to close to 1,200 animals from more than 230 species. The animals here come from all over the world.
Grand Rapids is also known as Beer City USA and what better way to enjoy the city than sampling its best craft beers. Go to the Founder's Brewing Co., named as one of the best breweries in the entire world. You can also go to Hopcat, the top brewpub in the country and one of the best beer bars in the world. Also check out the Brewery Vivant, as well as more than a dozen craft beer breweries in the metro.
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