7 Amazing Tourist Attractions in Grand Rapids (2021)
The second-largest city of Michigan State, the Grand Rapids offers significant sight-seeing locations every time to its visitors. This majestic city lies adjacent to the Grand River. Visitors who have a keen interest in art, culture, exhibitions, museums, galleries and sculpture parks, also find special interests in the city of Grand Rapids. Moreover, if you are done with exploring beaches, waterfalls and other water bodies in other cities of the State, Grand Rapid can be your next ideal destination in Michigan, for exploring some different sites.
Having its own international airport, the city of Grand Rapids attracts millions of tourists every year. Regardless of which season or time of the year one is visiting Grand Rapids, the city also has endless locations to offer, and one might never leave disappointed. Whatever you wish to explore, you will find almost everything in Grand Rapids and never get bored even if you are here in for a week-long vacation.
7 Amazing Tourist Attractions in Grand Rapids
Out of several sight-seeing destinations in Grand Rapids, here are some of the “Best Tourist Attractions in Grand Rapids”. Have a look:
1. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Reach at 1000 East Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan: A tourist attraction that is vividly famous across the entire United States, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, is different from the usuals and one of the best tourist attractions in Grand Rapids. The location comprises a 158 acres botanical garden, a waterfall, a rock garden, an outdoor sculpture park and an art museum. It has both indoor and outdoor spaces that can be explored all year-round. The excitement of being here continues through the four-season outdoor gardens, five themed indoor gardens, an 8-acre Japanese garden, a wetlands boardwalk, and some alluring picturesque forest trails.
One of the attractive features of this garden is a five-story Lena Meijer Conservatory that houses tropical plants from all around the world. The 30 acres sculpture park here houses both permanent and temporary collections. Here you can find sculpture from some of the world-renowned artists, one of the famous amongst is the American Horse (a homage to the original commission to Leonardo da Vinci) by Nina Akamu. Here is something for everyone, from nature lovers to museum seekers and art lover to history admirers.
2. Gerald R. Ford Museum
Reach at 303 Pearl Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan: A presidential museum gives the insight view of one of the most potent American President, Gerald R. Ford, and is also his wife. It also serves as the burial place of President and his wife. The museum building exhibits the 38th US president’s childhood and college years, his presidential campaign, political career, the gifts he received throughout his career, about the first lady Betty Ford and their children as well. The Museum houses more than 20,000 artefacts, in both permanent and temporary exhibitions organized here. Being the burial place of former President Gerald R. Ford and his first lady Betty Ford, the Museum holds high sentimental value amongst the citizens of United States.
The Museum also has a learning and educational centre for students where one can know much about the US and its political scenes. Being a spot of sentimental and political values, the Gerald R. Ford Museum attracts a vast crowd and is noted as one of the top-rated sight-seeing destinations in Grand Rapids.
3. Meyer May House
Reach at 450 Madison Ave SE, Grand Rapids: One of the finest examples of Wright’s Prairie School era, which now is no less than a Prairie masterpiece, is the Meyer May House. It might seem a regular house, but a tour inside will leave you spellbound and astonished for sure. The admission here is free, and public tours are organized every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am to 1 pm and every Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm. The house is a combined designing effort of Wright design, Herman von Holst, and Marion Mahony. It was initially built for Meyer May (a clothing manufacturer in the early 90s), and the architecture style was revolutionary and shocking for anywhere who would see it.
Touring the house, visitors can witness 60 architectural styles coming and blending perfectly. The house premises are covered with lush green garden and trees. It might not be everyone’s taste, but individuals who have a keen interest in architecture must surely take a visit.
4. Grand Rapids Public Museum
Reach at 272 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids: Visitors who are keenly interested to know the history of Michigan, this public Museum is one of the finest tourist attractions in Grand Rapids for them. It is one of the oldest museums in the United States founded in the year 1854. The Museum houses a Voigt House Victorian Home, a 1928’s merry-go-round, the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium, the Cook Carousel Pavilion, a café, theatre and a gift shop. Exploring the insides, one can find more than 250,000 artefacts including furniture, fossils, science, history, culture, automobiles and a lot more.
The Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium here is a 50-foot aluminium dome that teaches about galaxy and stars. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is no less than an architectural marvel which holds distinct belonging to attract all minds.
5. Blandford Nature Centre
Reach at 1715 Hillburn Ave NW, Grand Rapids: One of the most popular natural attractions in Grand Rapids, the Blandford Nature Centre takes you close to many residentials tigers. It is a 143 acres sight (a natural centre) that runs with a motive of promoting and spreading stewardship via learning on biological systems and environment. The Nature centre is also a home for rescued, and inured wildlife treated here and further becomes the permanent residents. The permanent residents here are named “wildlife ambassadors” who now are a part of the educational and learning program for the visitors.
The Blandford Nature Centre is an ideal place to visit with family, especially kids. It organizes several seasonal activities for kids as well. Being here explore the trails, the Heritage Buildings and travel back in those times. Further, witness several wildlife including vultures, mammals, owls, reptiles & amphibians, hawks & falcons.
6. John Ball Zoo
Reach at 1300 W Fulton Street, Grand Rapids: The John Ball Zoo is an urban park, a combination of Zoo, an aquarium, and Zoological garden and natural environments. It houses over 1000 large and small animals that are brought here from all around the world. It is not like any other typical urban zoo but a homely habitat that keep the animals as close as possible to nature. Some of the famous animals exhibiting in the John Ball Zoo includes Budgie Aviary, Red’s Hobby Farm, Treasures of the Tropics, Mokomboso Valley Chimpanzee Exhibit, a Komodo dragon, a female black-footed cat and its kittens, wallabies, budgies, a considerable alligator (the largest outside Florida), colobus monkeys, Flamingos and a lot more.
Being here, one can get a closer interactive experience with several human-friendly animals or chances of feeding bears, penguins, monkeys, pelicans and a few others. Further visitors can also try several other activities including camel riding, goat brushing at Red’s Hobby Farm and even Zookeeping.
7. Heritage Hill Historic District
Reach at Heritage Hill Historic District, Grand Rapids: Grand Rapid’s first neighbourhood and a prominent sight with several old residential buildings are the Heritage Hill Historic District. It is one of the popular tourist attractions in Grand Rapids where you can find some magnificent architectural gems including the Italianate, Gothic Revival, Prairie, Georgian Revival, and Queen Anne Style. Apart from stylish architectures, it depicts the history from Lumber Baron’s ageing back to the early years of Grand Rapids.
Some of the historical sites in the Heritage Hill Historic District includes the David M Amberg House, the Voigt House, the McCabe-Marlowe House and the Meyer May House.
While visiting the site one can take self-guided tours of the finest historical homes or dine at some of the best restaurants and cafes lined in the district. Heritage Hill Historic District is also noted as one of the finest and most extensive collections of houses from 19th and 20th century in Michigan. There are more than 1300 building that age years old and date back to the year 1844.
How to Reach the City of Grand Rapids
The city is home to Gerald R. Ford International Airport, which receives several international and domestic flights daily. It is located only at a distance of 15 to 20 minutes from the centre of the city and is well connected via buses, taxis, and town cars. Grand Rapids also receives a daily operational train from Detroit. Being the second-largest city of Michigan, it operates several public modes of transport almost every day a year within an affordable fare. However, the Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) is considered as the most preferred transportation option for exploring the city.
Weather and Best Time To Visit The City of Grand Rapids
The months of June to September and February to Mid-April are the ideal time to explore Grand Rapids. Winters here are freezing with minimal temperature. However, winters and spring here are affordable as due to off-season, the prices of accommodations are relatively low.