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
- By car
- Sites within walking distance of your downtown hotel
- Eat and drink
- Day trips by car
- Fun facts about Michigan (including a guide on “what’s a Yooper?”)
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.
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.
- Calder Plaza, home of Grand Rapids’ iconic sculpture, La Grande Vitesse (pictured below)
- Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
- Grand Rapids Arts Museum
- Grand Rapids Public Museum
- Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
- Bar Divani (Fun small plates in a swank setting)
- Bistro Bella Vita (Outstanding quality)
- Founders Brewing Company
- Hopcat (Popular local brewpub that also serves food)
- Tre Cugini (Authentic Italian. I had one of the best appetizers of my life here.)
- Grand Haven (A 45-minute drive from Grand Rapids. Grand Haven = Coast Guard City, USA)
- Traverse City (A short 2.5-hour drive north from Grand Rapids. This town, nestled in Michigan’s wine country, has it all — restaurants, beaches and dunes, just to name a few.)
- Lansing (Welcome to Spartan Country!)
- Ann Arbor (Home to the University of Michigan)
- Detroit (Home of the Motown Historical Museum, the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Lions, the Detroit Red Wings and a ton more)
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.
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.
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.
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.