All About Downtown Grand Rapids

Ever wonder what the ideal mix of big-city amenities and small-town vibes looks like? You’re going to find it right here in downtown Grand Rapids. 

About Downtown GR

First off, let’s cover some basics of downtown Grand Rapids. There are roughly 37,000 people who live within the city limits. The median age is around 30 years old, and the downtown residents are diverse in both ethnicity and economic background. As far as housing goes, there are numerous amazing condo complexes throughout the city, over 16,000 households downtown that are primarily renter occupied, and sales prices on these condos are going to range from 168,000 to 1.26 million for those nicer penthouse condos.

Grand Rapids is recognized as a safe and clean city. AreaVibes grades Grand Rapids, a B plus on their crime index, so you’re going to feel comfortable walking throughout downtown. Residents and visitors typically walk, drive a car, ride a bike, take the bus, or hire a ride-share to get around the city, but typically it takes only about 10 minutes to get from one side of the city to the other, so it’s pretty easy to commute. There are loads of sites to see, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop throughout the city.

Downtown Grand Rapids Attractions

Grand Rapids Public Museum is home to one of Michigan’s largest collections of historical and cultural artifacts. Right across the road, you’ve got the Gerald R. Ford Museum with a collection that includes highlights from President and Mrs. Ford’s lives. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits that draw artifacts from museums all over the country. A little further into town, is the Children’s Museum, which is a great space for kids and families to learn through play and other interactive exhibits. And then right in the heart of the city, is the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and collections there range from the Renaissance to modern art and other special exhibits. From toys to wine, activewear, gifts, comic books, and more, downtown Grand Rapids has a boutique for just about everything. 

Art and Music throughout Downtown

In the 20th century, we made art an integral part of the city’s identity. We now boast some of the best music, art exhibits, street art, and one of the largest art competitions in the world, the Art Prize. Grand Rapids was named one of the 10 best cities where you can see amazing art by USA Today. We have A-list artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Elton John play at our largest music venue, the Van Andel Arena and other great artists play at 20 Monroe Live, The Intersection, DeVos Place, and other downtown venues. There are loads of street art in Grand Rapids. Just take a walk down our streets and you’ll find countless murals and art pieces adorning the walls of buildings, electrical boxes, and our streets. 

Food and Beverage Options Downtown GR

The city is filled with highly rated restaurants and bars, with options for any pallet. If you’re looking to get a little taste of unique parts of our city, we suggest checking out the downtown market. They have loads of local food and drink options and a gorgeous dine-in greenhouse upstairs. There are also plenty of bars and clubs to enjoy a night out on the town. One favorite spot to grab a cocktail is Divani on Ionia, and one of the best spots to go out dancing is Mojo’s Dueling Piano Bar. You can find a few of our other favorite restaurants and bars in this post.

Downtown Grand Rapids Events

No matter the time of year or occasion, there’s always an event to celebrate or get involved in, in the city. Art Prize happens every fall in downtown Grand Rapids. Each February, comedians come from all over for 10 days to celebrate Laugh Fest. World of Winter, a newer festival in Grand Rapids, is the largest winter festival in the Midwest. There are over 100 free events, activities, and outdoor installations over two months in January and February. In the summer, Grand Rapids hosts the Festival of the Arts, which is a three-day street party highlighting visual, performing, and culinary arts, where there is live music, food trucks, and a ton of local artists to purchase goods from.

If you are looking for more information on downtown Grand Rapids, there are some great resources that both Experience Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. can put together for you to review. And of course, if you’re looking to purchase real estate in Downtown Grand Rapids, our team is always happy to help! 

What’s your favorite thing to do in downtown Grand Rapids? Let us know in the comments below.