The Best Grand Rapids Suburbs

The Best Grand Rapids Suburbs

While we know that city living isn’t always for everyone, there are some great areas around Grand Rapids that keep you close to the action without being in the city. Today, we’re going to explore seven of our favorite suburbs in and around the Greater Grand Rapids area.

Forest Hills / Ada 

Let’s start with Forest Hills/Ada. Now, Forest Hills is actually a very large school district. Most people consider it a suburb on the east side of Grand Rapids because it’s a very large geographical area. People love this area because of its natural beauty, you get a little bit more space, you get a little bit more woods, there’s the beautiful Grand River flowing through, and the school districts are ranked very, very high. In fact, Forest Hills is considered one of the top two districts in West Michigan consistently. 

We can’t stop without talking about all of the developments that are going on in the village of Ada, which is right in the heart of the Forest Hills area. Ada’s a community that has been considered a very historic village, founded in 1860. But in the past five to 10 years, has made some incredible movement with some new construction, some new walkability, more restaurants, more housing, and just an amazing sight to see. 


Heading up north just a couple miles is the village of Rockford, located on the northeast side of Grand Rapids. Rockford is a very cool and quaint community. The city itself is roughly about 15 minutes from the downtown Grand Rapids area. It has great accessibility; anywhere in the city, you’re really close to 131 and the East Belt Line. Some of the highlights, the City of Rockford has the Rogue River running right through the middle of the city, there’s incredible shopping, and it has almost a historical feel to the village of Rockford. As a whole, Rockford is also a very large geographical area, so you’re going to get a lot of different housing styles. The landscape is absolutely beautiful. You have the village of Cannonsburg, within the suburb of Rockford, which has ski hills and incredible mountain biking. Overall, the landscape, the beauty of Rockford, the housing styles, and the accessibility make this an absolutely great suburb to relocate to.

East Grand Rapids 

Popping down to our next amazing community, the City of East Grand Rapids. Now, the City of East Grand Rapids is kind of a city within the city of Grand Rapids. It is absolutely considered one of the best suburbs in the State of Michigan. There are so many different reasons for that, starting with the schools which are generally considered the number one school district in West Michigan. As far as an accessibility factor, people love to be in this community because it’s so walkable to schools, parks, and Reeds Lake. This is a very fitness-friendly community, with a circle around Reeds Lake, where you’ll see a lot of runners, walkers, and bikers. There’s also the quaint Gaslight Village which people can walk to and Breton Village. 

There is an array of housing opportunities for everyone here. There are some new construction opportunities, which are becoming a little more prevalent now, but most of the housing there are character-filled homes in many different age ranges. Again, small lot sizes and walkability is the theme of East Grand Rapids.


Moving on down south, within our Greater Grand Rapids community suburbs, we’re heading to Kentwood. Now. Kentwood has made some amazing strides over the years. This is becoming a very populated area, and the population brings a lot of amenities. There are some incredible restaurants and shopping, and there’s an accessibility factor here with Kentwood, where you can really get anywhere pretty quickly. You’re close to the airport, you’re right by East BeltLine, and you’re right in the middle of 131/M6. So as far as accessibility, and getting places quicker, Kentwood is a great location. 

The school district in Kentwood is above average. They have an incredible track record in athletics and opportunities for kids. The other thing we have to mention is the parks, part of the Kent County Park system. There are a lot of great parks in Kentwood. As far as housing goes, you really have a mix of every opportunity in Kentwood, as far as housing styles, age range, new construction, and old construction. So Kentwood is another great suburb and community of Greater Grand Rapids.

Byron Center

We are circling around the city to another favorite community, Byron Center. Byron Center has also made great strides as far as overall growth and development over the years. Byron Center is considered a little bit more of a rural/mid-dense suburb. The location is super convenient because you’re right off of 131 and you’re close to M6. As far as accessibility, you can get anywhere in Byron Center very quickly. The schools also rank very high in Byron Center. Another common theme of these areas is the parks and recreation in and around Byron Center. There’s also the new Tanger Mall Outlets, which is a great spot for shopping and the overall community.

Out of all of these communities, Byron Center has been known for newer construction opportunities over the last 10 years. There has been a ton of growth. You can get houses in any different price range in Byron Center, but I would say most of the housing is going to be that newer feel and new construction, which many people are drawn to.


Heading up and over to the west side of Grand Rapids, we have Grandville, Michigan. Grandville has been a staple of Grand Rapids over the years. People love Grandville because of its location. They want to be on the west side of Michigan and the proximity to all of the other West suburbs. Whether you need to get to Holland or the Lakeshore quicker, but still want to be in close proximity to Grand Rapids, this is going to be a great location for you. Grandville is absolutely known for its large shopping districts. 44th St runs right through with the Rivertown Crossings Mall and a ton of restaurants. This is another great park and biking community, and it’s part of the Wyoming Parks there in Grandville. There’s the Grand River headed right through the north side of Grandville. And again, another great area for schools. As far as housing styles, the common theme here is you can get anything you want from a price point and an overall older construction versus newer construction, tighter neighborhood versus a little bit more space, depending on where you’re at.


Let’s wrap things up with Allendale, Michigan. With alumni on our team, we have to talk about Allendale as Grand Valley State University is in the heart of Allendale. This is a large college community with a ton of students in this area, which has led to so much growth in everything, from business, to housing, and more. Allendale is definitely on the rise, as far as West Michigan communities. The other great thing about Allendale is its proximity and convenience to both the Lakeshore and Grand Rapids. You’re about a 15 to 20-minute drive from the downtown Grand Rapids area and a 15 to 20-minute drive out to the Lakeshore. A lot of people live in this area when they want to be in that middle, central location between Grand Rapids and of course, Holland, Grand Haven, and the Lakeshore. This is an incredible community and as far as housing, you can expect a mix of every opportunity you want, from rural opportunities to new construction, to older houses, affordable living, expensive living, and farmland. Schools are also very highly ranked.

We hope you enjoyed some of our favorite suburbs and communities in and around Greater Grand Rapids, MI. Now let us know, what is your favorite suburb or community in and around Grand Rapids?