Our Favorite Winter Places in Grand Rapids

Winter is in full effect and with the frigid temperatures keeping us bundled up and headed for the comfort and warmth of indoors, we decided to put together a list of a 10 of our favorite indoor places (with one or two that have incredibly interesting things to tempt you outside) to visit in Grand Rapids to help you plan your winter activities and vacation! This list is just a sampling -- to see all of the beautiful sights and attractions that Grand Rapids has to offer, visit https://www.experiencegr.com/

  1. Urban Institute for Contemporary Art -- Part of Kendall College of Design and Ferris State University, this art institute is a gallery, workshop space and movie theater all rolled into one. They've got year-round programming and host events like Open Projector Night, a quarterly film series that is FREE to submit to, with the only criteria for submissions being that they have a connection to Michigan. And their shop is full of perfect gifts from Michigan artisans.
  2. Grand Rapids Art Museum -- The GRAM is the perfect place to spend a cold or rainy day. You can pay for a 1-day pass or become a member! Their current exhibition, Andy Warhol's American Icons, includes loans of artwork from the following collections:
    • The Andy Warhol Museum
    • Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
    • Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University
    • Steelcase, Inc. Art Collection
    • Weatherspoon Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    • Whitney Museum of American Art
    • Collection of Carol Sarosik and Shelley Padnos
    • Collection of Sam and Janene Cummings 
  3. Grand Rapids Children's Museum -- An interactive Children's Museum located in downtown GR that focuses on the importance of PLAY. They host field trips, birthday parties, and are open 6 days a week to help kids and families enjoy the freedom of playing. 
  4. Frederik Meijer Gardens -- Founded in 1995 by the West Michigan Horticultural Society and Fred and Lena Meijer, Frederik Meijer Gardens is a year round garden and sculpture park that plays host to a Summer Concert Series in addition to their annual schedule of exhibitions and curated shows. 
  5. Grand Rapids Public Library -- Before you go thinking this is a last resort analog option in our increasingly digital society, don't worry, the library has computers too. But if you're looking for an adventure in your imaginaion, the downtown branch not only offers the granduer of its historic building, it also offers business classes, computer classes, and storytimes. And if you're looking to learn more about the history of Grand Rapids, be sure to visit the 4th floor for the city's extensive archive collection. 
  6. Grand Rapids Public Museum -- Since 1854 The Grand Rapids Public Museum has been a hub of "inspiration and discovery, with a focus on science, history, and culture." The Spillman Carousel overlooks the Grand River, and you can currently catch an exhibition titled Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids "traces the natural and cultural roots of some of the world’s most enduring mythological creatures from Asia, Europe, the Americas, and beyond." 
  7. 20 Monroe Live -- One of the best live venues in the city and a great place to catch national touring acts like Jack White, Lil Wayne, and Weird Al Yankovic. The Art Deco interior has a full bar and great seating from almost every viewpoint. [Watch our January 3x3 video filmed LIVE at 20 Monroe Live here]
  8. The Pyramid Scheme -- Another great concert venue, this quaint and cozy bar has an eclectic collection of new and classic pinball machines and drink specials every night of the week. A great place for a low key night out or a concert that will help you turn up. 
  9. Van Andel Arena -- From sports events to big concert spectacles, Van Andel Arena is fun year-round. 
  10. Grand Rapids Downtown Market -- The market features local vendors, restaurants and food artisans and offers cooking classes and workshops, as well as all-ages events interacting with their fully functional greenhouse that sits at top level. Hear more about their 2nd Annual Nature Day happening Saturday, January 20th!


Cover photo by Ross Bacon