Winter is coming in GR! Wind, rain, snow….we’ve started to see a little of all of it!
We were spoiled this year, right? A summer and fall full of sunshine and very little clouds has been a welcome change from the usual grey skies we usually encounter this time of year.
However, the jig appears to be up. And with the rain and the snow comes the change in routine, and with that, the need to know of kind of things there are to do when the weather changes here in Grand Rapids.
Let’s dive into a few different ideas!
One of the original museums in the city. Our 38th American president, and native of Grand Rapids, is reflected in this regal museum which not only honors him, but transports you back to the 70s with interactive displays and holograms, but also countless artifacts to view including the white house regalia from his Inauguration Day. The collection also includes artifacts reflecting the 1976 campaign, Betty Ford and the Ford children. Finally, walk through the beautiful final resting place on the museum grounds.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum is one of the oldest museums in the United States! The museum focuses on history, science and culture with three floors of core and traveling exhibitions, as well as the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium, and a 1928 Spillman Carousel and a Mighty Wurlitzer organ. Stroll the streets of old Grand Rapids from the 1890s, or take the kids for a ride, year-round, on the elaborate carousel which includes horses, chariots, giraffe, lion, deer, goat, tiger and a camel. Patrons of any age will find something to do!
This museum is perhaps one of our favorites at Grand Rapids Girl!
Situated on the edge of Rosa Parks Circle, this museum has become one of the city’s most famous and striking architectural landmarks. The works on display within the building range from Renaissance to Modern Art, with a special focus on 19th and 20th century European and American art. Visit their website to view all of the events happening at any given time. Coming up and a must see: Andy Warhol’s American Icons collection. You won’t be disappointed! And, enjoy the museum FREE courtesy of Meijer on Meijer Free Days.
No list of things to do in Grand Rapids would be complete without mentioning Meijer Gardens. While much of the park’s beauty exists outside, (including the amazing amphitheater concert venue) there is plenty to see inside on a rainy day! View modern sculpture in a stunning garden setting at this combination botanical garden and sculpture park, which features exotic plants, desert and Victorian gardens, wetlands, meadows, and sculptures by famous artists throughout. Explore your options and plan your visit or just pop by to see what’s happening. Frederik Meijer gardens is open until 5pm most days, and open until 9pm on Tuesdays.
We do live in Beer City USA, right? If you’re over 21 years old of course, enjoy craft beer, a brew tour on a rainy day is the perfect remedy. Grand Rapids has a long history of brewing awesome beer and deserves this title. Here are a few of our favorites to check out on a rainy day:
You cannot have a best of Grand Rapids brewery list without mentioning the one and only Founders. This may be the one brewery who began the Beer City USA revolution 20 years ago, that we have come to know today. Per their official Facebook page: We don’t brew beer for the masses. Instead, our beers are crafted for a chosen few, a small cadre of renegades and rebels who enjoy a beer that pushes the limits of what is commonly accepted as taste. In short, we make beer for people like us.
Grand Rapids Brewing Company has actually been in existence since 1893. 6 breweries came together and opened a brewery. However, interestingly: Prohibition closed down the business in 1920! It wasn’t until 2012 when Mark Sellers, founder of BarFly Ventures (and MANY bars around town) brought GRBC back to downtown, just 6 blocks from its original location. Enjoy a unique environment and distinctive food at this historical brewery.
The Mitten Brewing Company was founded in 2012 by lifelong friends who sought to add a unique establishment to Grand Rapids’ west side and growing beer community. The brewery is located in Engine House no. 9, where the friends restored the historic Victorian masterpiece. For those of you who love sports, the Mitten is a vintage baseball themed microbrewery and pizzeria. Be sure to get there on time and plan to wait – it’s usually busy!
Have your beer from farm to table. Brewery Vivant is located in East Hills in a beautiful refurbished funeral home. Have you ever had a beer in a funeral home? Not too many of you, I’m sure! Their beer is inspired comes from the small breweries that dot the countryside in Southern Belgium and Northern France. Often, those breweries are true beer artisans who are also an integral part of their community. Pair your unique beer with their extensive, fresh, unique menu sourced from local produce, meats, and cheeses. Brewery Vivant promotes living the good life by brewing farmhouse inspired beer, serving a from-scratch menu, and building a sustainable community one beer at a time.
See a Show
If museums or breweries don’t do it for you, then how about a show? Grand Rapids offers of course many locations to see the latest blockbuster, (including Celebration Cinemas North) but how about something different?
The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre is one of the oldest and largest community theatres in the nation. One of America’s largest community theatres hosts a wide variety of popular, award-winning plays and musicals for the whole family. Perfect for families, the theatre also present a yearly slate of children’s productions as well as classes for kids as early as age four.
Did you know we have the streets of Broadway right in our own city? You can see a real Broadway show here in Grand Rapids! Their mission is to bring the best productions to West Michigan. Since 2009, after their partnership with MSU’s Wharton Center, the landscape was literally changed, as it opened up huge opportunity for large productions to come to Devos Hall Performance Center! And we as lucky GR residents get to enjoy a little slice of New York City!
Check out what’s playing this season here.
Wealthy Theatre was constructed in 1911 for vaudeville and live theater, and later became a neighborhood movie house. The Theatre re-opened in 1998 as a community arts center and led the transformation of the entire Wealthy Street business district. This theater is both cool and charming and allows you to enjoy unique and quality shows! If you’re lucky, you’ll catch one of your old favorites playing on the big screen. Another day, you might be able to catch a sweet CD release party of a local band or singer. The Wealthy Theatre offers a wide range of events that can satisfy the broad tastes of the area!
Don’t even get us started about the music scene here in Grand Rapids! We may never stop talking!
There you have it! If you’re bored on a rainy, snowy, or otherwise typical West Michigan winter day, be sure to bundle up and check out this list! We promise you won’t be disappointed!