Build your Grand Rapids bucket list
As home of the Coast Guard Festival, which takes place the first week of August every year, Grand Haven is one of the most well known beaches in Michigan. Pronto Pups, famous for their corn dogs, are a must have when visiting the beach and will remain open until Sept. 22.
If you’re looking for a quieter location, Holland’s Tunnel Park may be the place for you. The beach has a dune climb and dune stairways along with plenty of picnic areas. Just further north is Kirk Park for anyone with a furry friend. With its off-leash policy, the beach is a great place for dog lovers.
Take a stroll through the streets of Grand Rapids in the 1890s or enjoy a carousel ride that overlooks the Grand River. The museum also houses special exhibits such as Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition open until Sept. 8 and Dinosaurs Unearthed opening Oct. 26.
Gerald R. Ford Museum
Learn all about the 38th president’s life before presidency in the special exhibit Growing up Grand running until May 2014. Also take some time to view the burial sites of both the president and first lady.
If you’re in need of some retail therapy, check out Rivertown Crossings Mall in Grandville or Woodland Mall in Kentwood. Both have movie theaters and an abundance of restaurants nearby for added entertainment after shopping.
Grand Rapids has been named Beer City U.S.A. two years in a row and Ionia Street is home to a number of popular bars in the area such as Grand Rapids Brewing Company, Stella’s Lounge, McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon and Hopcat. When the night is coming to an end, check out Georgio’s Gourmet Pizza for a slice of their specialty macaroni or taco pizza.
John Ball Park Zoo has recently added a grizzly bear exhibit that allows guests to get nose-to-nose with their two 600 pound bears. The zoo will also be opening a new Tigers of the Forest Realm in 2014, which allows visitors to watch the tigers as they pass from one habitat to another.
Visit the Fish Ladder on the west side of the Grand River to watch several species of fish jump from pool to pool as they climb the ladder in order to get over the Sixth Street dam.
The Frederik Meijer Gardens play host to a variety of plant and animal life—including you. Take a walk through the nature reserve.
If you’re in the mood for a ball park frank, pick up tickets to a White Caps game. Later on in the year, you can also head to the Van Andel Arena to cheer on the Griffins hockey players.
You can also satisfy the athlete in you through various running trails around the area, as well as a few ice rinks:
Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink
Corner of Monroe Avenue and Pearl Street
Normally open from December to March
Patterson Ice Center
2550 Patterson Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Open year round
All over Grand Rapids from Sept. 18
until Oct. 6
2070 Waldorf, Grand Rapids, MI 49544
Dates will be posted soon
Forest of Fear
8758 Patterson Ave. S.E., Caledonia, MI 49316
Opening Oct. 4
Rosa Parks Circle