Grand Rapids is home to art-adorned buildings that sprawl along the banks of the Grand River. It has made a name in recent years for its craft breweries, as well as being the home of Michigan’s only president, Gerald R Ford.
Things to do in Grand Rapids
Embark on a self-guided brewery tour, stopping to sample the creative beers of the Founders Brewing Company and the Belgian-inspired brews of Brewery Vivant. The latter is set within a beautifully restored old chapel, complete with stained-glass windows and communal tables where you can feast on local cheese platters.
Spend an afternoon wandering through the Frederik Meijer Gardens, a picturesque botanical and sculptural park set across 64 hectares. It’s home to a stunning Japanese Garden with flowing water features and traditional stonework, as well as the “Iron Tree” sculpture by acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.
Want to delve into America’s presidential history? Visit the Gerald R Ford Museum, which celebrates the life and work of Richard Nixon’s successor. Witness the tools used during the Watergate break-in and his prized collection of footballs. Ford and his wife are both buried in the museum grounds.
If you’re travelling with kids, head to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, which is set within a 1916 building adorned in a colourful mosaic. Get hands-on in the beehive exhibit and at Aunt Daisy's Farm or attend one of the workshops where you can learn to build your own robot.
Getting around Grand Rapids
Gerald R. Ford International Airport is 25 minutes’ drive south-east of the city centre, with The Rapid bus system accessing all corners of the city. The downtown area of Grand Rapids is relatively compact, with many sights within walking distance of one another.