Exploring Grand Rapids and beyond

Stylized wintertime view of downtown Grand Rapids from the 24th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

What can I say? Grand Rapids is one damn cool city. Scott and I love spending time there, and we want to share some of the places we like most, in case you have time to do a little sight-seeing while you’re in town. –Rose

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By car

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Botanic garden and internationally acclaimed sculpture park. In the summer, Frederik Meijer Gardens holds a great summer concert series. Scott and I saw Buddy Guy there once. We wanted to catch Steve Martin on banjo when he came through town, but tickets sold out.

Beaches

Michigan in May can still be cool, but if happens to be warm and you’re wiling to drive out of town, you can reach some Lake Michigan beaches pretty quickly.

>>Go to more ideas.

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Sites within walking distance of your downtown hotel

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Where to eat and drink (when you’re not at our wedding, of course!)

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Day trips by car

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Fun facts about Michigan

Welcome to the “hand”

If you’re not from Michigan, be prepared when someone picks up their right hand to show you where something in the (Lower Peninsula part of the) state is located. I thought this was so weird when I first moved here. I’m asking Scott about this right now — specifically, whether Yoopers use a hand to show the “rabbit” that is the Upper Peninsula — and he says Yoopers don’t really do the hand thing.

Time zones

It took years for my friends and family on the coasts to remember that Michigan is mostly on East Coast time. In Michigan, however, I’ve met so many people in the Lower Peninsula who don’t realize there’s a silver of the Upper Peninsula (the part where Scott is from) that’s actually in the central time zone.

Da Yooper

Scott’s a Yooper. What does this mean? Listen to this NPR piece that answers your “What’s a Yooper?” question.

High school kids in this state take the ACTs, not the SATs

In general, in the Midwest, it’s all about the ACTs, not the SATs.

National Cherry Festival

Every July, Traverse City hosts the National Cherry Festival. Scott and I haven’t been yet. but I’d like to check it out one of these days.

Interior shot of the Grand Rapids Public Museum

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