Amenities of a Big City With a Small Town Feel

Grand Rapids offers a remarkable combination of cosmopolitan atmosphere and small town warmth, known for its philanthropic and sustainability-driven community, and is ranked one of “America’s Top 100 Places to Live.” Located on the banks of the Grand River, Grand Rapids offers all the big-city excitement you’d expect from a million-resident metropolis, featuring hundreds of restaurants and nightspots, theatres, museums, sports and concerts. The safe and clean downtown is surrounded by an eclectic mix of walkable neighborhoods.

With a medical and life sciences industry boom, strong entrepreneurial activity, dedication to green building and living, and innovative employers, Grand Rapids’ diverse economy continues to grow, offering endless career opportunities.

A full spectrum of housing options are available in the Grand Rapids area. High-rise condos, green living communities, historic homes, affordable housing, mature neighborhoods, and brand new developments are all places Grand Rapidians call home.
To find crime data on neighborhoods in the Grand Rapid area, visit the Community Research Institute website.
gaslight village

Grand Rapids’ surrounding communities offer a variety of living styles to suit the tastes of its diverse population. To learn about Grand Rapids’ suburbs, click on the following communities for more information.

Ada
A rural, residential area, Ada offers a range of lifestyle choices. Housing options include homes overlooking rivers or rolling meadows. Hello West Michigan member Amway is headquartered here.

Allendale
Located west of Grand Rapids, the area best known as being home to the main campus of Grand Valley State University, a Hello West Michigan member.

Allegan
A community with historic, small-town charm, Allegan is home to the pharmaceutical company Perrigo, a large employer in West Michigan.

Byron Center
Byron Township is a community diverse in land use. Here you will find farms, suburban neighborhoods, thriving commercial districts, and advanced industrial facilities. The community is located southeast of Grand Rapids.

Caledonia
Located southeast of Grand Rapids and situated in a hilly area on beautiful Emmons Lake, this is an ideal place to live, with a delightful balance between country and city.

Comstock Park
Known as the location for Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps baseball team, this is a fast growing area with many new housing developments and small businesses.

East Grand Rapids

Located on the east edge of Grand Rapids, it is known for it idyllic main street called Gaslight Village and was home to President Gerald R. Ford. It is a lively area full of activities for families.

Forest Hills
Forest Hills community comprises parts of Ada Township, Cascade Township, Grand Rapids Township, and Kentwood. The area is most commonly associated with the Forest Hills Public School District, which ranks as one of the best public school districts in the state.

Grandville
It has easy access to Grand Rapids and is the location for the excellent shopping centers. The area’s largest mall, Rivertown Crossings, is located here.

Hudsonville
Located west of Grand Rapids, Hudsonville is a small community known for its housing, fine churches, and excellent public and private schools.

Jenison
This community is located southwest of Grand Rapids in Ottawa County. Although technically not a municipality, it is associated with the Jenison Public School District.

Kentwood
This area is a progressive urban area with a growing residential population, offering ideal living in the suburbs and pleasant shopping areas.

Lowell
Known for its excellent school system, Lowell has an eclectic shopping district and is located est of Grand Rapids.

Northview
Located north of Grand Rapids, Northview is surrounded on three sides by the Grand River. It is a suburban community, great for families with children.

Rockford
Home to White Pine Trail and Rogue River, popular for various recreational activities, Rockford is a suburban area with beautiful surroundings.

Standale
Located between Grand Rapids and Allendale, this suburban area is home to many housing developments, apartment complexes, and commercial centers.

Walker
Surrounding Grand Rapids on the northwest corner, Walker is a suburb featuring key shopping areas. Two Hello West Michigan members, Meijer and Bissel, are headquartered here.

Wyoming
A growing urban community that is a perfect location for independent retailers to thrive.

Artprize Dragon_Edit

There is never a dull moment in Grand Rapids! A bustling downtown features a world-class opera, symphony, professional ballet, plus museums, sports and entertainment venues. Throughout the community you will find a unique array of restaurants, art galleries and shopping.

DeVos Performance Hall is the 2,404-seat performing arts theater that is home to The Grand Rapids Symphony, The Grand Rapids Ballet Company, Broadway Grand Rapids and Opera Grand Rapids.

Experience GR offers a comprehensive list of arts offerings by date, type, and more. Check out their complete listing of area eateries too.

Always held the first full weekend in June in downtown Grand Rapids, Festival of the Arts is a community celebration featuring arts, entertainment, food and fun activities for the entire family.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a 132-acre botanical garden and outdoor sculpture park. Commonly referred to as Meijer Gardens, it has quickly become one of the most significant sculpture experiences in the midwest and is an emerging worldwide cultural destination.

The permanent exhibits related to his presidency are the core of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum’s program. In addition to the permanent exhibits, a succession of temporary exhibits draw upon the rich holdings of the entire Presidential Libraries System, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, and others.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum holds collections dating from 1400 to the present and are primarily European and American paintings and sculpture with 20th century works of international scope.

Grand Rapids Art Prize is a radically open annual art competition, giving away the world’s largest art prize. Part arts festival, part social experiment – this international art contest is decided solely on a public vote.

The Grand Rapids Ballet Company is Michigan’s only professional ballet company and has a rich history marked by steady growth, a commitment to excellence, and strong community support.

The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum celebrates childhood and the joy of learning by providing an interactive, hands-on environment that inspires learning and encourages self-directed exploration.

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre is one of the oldest community theatres in Michigan and in the United States.  Also housed in the Civic Theatre complex is the School of Theatre Arts, which offers a full range of acting, dance and technical theatre classes for pre-school through senior adult students.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is among the oldest history museums in the United States. The museum includes a cafe, a gift shop, and a 1928 Spillman Carousel, which is situated in a pavilion over the Grand River. The Museum building also houses the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium.

The Grand Rapids Symphony is recognized as one of America’s leading regional orchestras. The Symphony presents more than 400 performances each year, touching the lives of some 170,000 people. Nearly half of those who benefit are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities reached through extensive education and community service programs.

Grand Valley State University offers many performances, lectures, and concerts that are open to the public in Allendale and Grand Rapids.

The John Ball Zoo has over 1,100 animals representing the wilds of Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, and the United States.

The Grand Vally State University Civic Studio takes the practices of the studio and applies them to the consideration of civic life and space. The project is predicated on the assessment that civic spaces are complex sites of vitalities, problems, and opportunities that are in some way evident and connected to the visual and experiential qualities of actual space.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Meyer May House was built in 1908. Meyer May was a local clothing store owner; he built this house for his wife and two adopted children. In 1987 the house was completely restored by Steelcase — this included removing a later addition at the rear of the house. The house is open to the public for tours.

Opera Grand Rapids produces three shows a year, and is one of two opera companies in Michigan.

Founded in 1977, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts  is Michigan’s largest contemporary arts center and a dynamic, multidisciplinary laboratory for the advancement of the art of our time.

Home of the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, Van Andel Arena offers the perfect combination of cosmopolitan flair and midwestern hospitality to make any event a success. Since marking its Grand Entrance on October 8, 1996, Van Andel Arena has attracted the biggest names in family shows, concerts and sporting events.

Wealthy Theatre is one of the most technologically advanced historic theatres in North America. Highly skilled staff, industry-best equipment, vital neighborhood, free parking, and diverse programming attract faithful patrons throughout the year.

The West Michigan Whitecaps is a professional minor league baseball team. A member of the 16-team Midwest League and Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, the Whitecaps play 70 home and 70 road games each season.

St. Cecilia Music Center, the oldest arts organization in West Michigan, is home to world-class concert series in the Royce Auditorium. A  partnership with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center brings chamber music concerts to Grand Rapids straight from the Lincoln Center stage. Music classes, camps and Junior Music Clubs take place throughout the year.

The Avenue for the Arts is the neighborhood title for the South Division commercial corridor. Residential, commercial and nonprofit groups work together in a creative community to create a place for artists and several events throughout the year.

The Kent District Library provides library resources and programs that enhance our residents’ quality of life. From early literacy programs for children to digital support for adults, they offer lifelong learning opportunities for all ages as well as the state’s best library digital collection available 24/7.

The city’s newest museum is the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives. Located in the heart of downtown on Monroe Center, the museum has feature artifacts, recordings and oral histories. It also includes a gift shop with products from African American artists.

intern connect week of action img 65

With so much good happening in West Michigan, it’s easy to make your mark. If you want to make a real impact in the community you live in, we are the place to be. As a region, we rank above the national average in hours spent volunteering, and rank second in the nation in philanthropic giving.

The Volunteer Center at Heart of West Michigan United Way is an online portal that helps connect individuals, students, families and employers with organizations and programs that match their talents and interests. If you’re looking to volunteer, but don’t know where to start, they can help.

ServeGR is a hyperlocal tool that connects people with ongoing volunteer opportunities that play to their strengths, use their passion, and fit their schedule—all within the greater Grand Rapids area.

Heart of West Michigan United Way exists to provide quality education that leads to a stable job, help all households achieve financial stability, and give people access to good health at every stage of life. They also link Grand Rapids residents to volunteer opportunities throughout the community.

Heart of West Michigan United Way Young Leaders connects young professionals to the mission of Heart of West Michigan United Way by providing opportunities to learn, grow, and participate as philanthropists to invest in solutions that reduce poverty in West Michigan.

GRJC- Grand Rapids Jaycees host PGA Champions Tour events, Santa Claus Parades, Special Olympics Basketball Tournaments, Holiday Shopping Tours, provide underprivileged children in Grand Rapids the opportunity and funds to purchase Christmas gifts for their families, and organize Easter Egg Scrambles for community children, among many other community involvement opportunities.

The Johnson Center for Philanthropy offers a non-profit directory.

The Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids has three locations in the city providing a place for young children to go after school, as well as Camp O’Malley in Alto, MI

The Boy Scouts builds character and strong communities.

The Salvation Army runs many programs in the area at their new, state-of-the-art Kroc Center in Grand Rapids. They also hold church serivces in the area.

Michigan Blood is an independent blood bank providing blood products to hospitals throughout Michigan. You can give back to your community by donating at their Grand Rapids location or one of the many blood drives going on in the community.

Criminal Justice Chaplaincy provides those whose lives have been affected by crime to experience justice, mercy and healing. They have many volunteer opportunities available including a mentoring program.

Feeding America West Michigan
exists to ensure good food is available to the hungry in the community. By saving good surplus food from going to landfills, they can distribute that reclaimed food to pantries, shelters, and other local anti-hunger organizations in West Michigan counties.

The Women’s Resource Center helps women prepare for and secure meaningful employment. Using a combination of professional staff and carefully trained volunteers, they mentor participants though customized programs to assist them in securing a sustainable job.

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan provides work opportunities, skill development, and family strengthening resources in several West Michigan communities.

Catholic Charities West Michigan‘s programs and services focus on four distinct areas: community outreach, behavioral health, foster care and adoption, and family support.

American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies. Local ARC volunteers provide critical (and often unseen) services in West Michigan every day. Volunteer applications are always welcome.

The Arthritis Foundation of West Michigan strives to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases. By volunteering, you’ll be making a difference in the lives of 50 million adults and the nearly 300,000 children living with arthritis.

Susan G. Komen West Michigan is the largest grassroots non-profit organization in the world. The mission is to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Hundreds of volunteers help make our race for the cure happen as well as events throughout the year.

The Grand Rapids Junior Chamber helps young professionals develop their skills as leaders by tackling civic problems. All of their events are run by their members, who have full-time jobs, but who are dedicated to improving their city.

At the Creative Youth Center, kids become published authors, leading to a strong sense of identity and an enthusiasm for learning. Programs are free for all students attending Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Greater Grand Rapids 100 Women Who Care is a streamlined way to give back. All it takes is 1 hour of your time 4 times a years and a $100 donation to 1 of 3 charitable organizations chosen for support.

Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired serves adults and youth with low vision clinics, rehabilitation services, and support groups throughout 13 West Michigan counties.

Kid’s Food Basket is a nonprofit that is nourishing children to reach their full potential throughout West Michigan. Volunteers are always welcome to help pack sack suppers.

Fusion 2015

Grand Rapids offers a wealth of diversity resources.

The Asian Center’s mission is to achieve a diversified, caring, just, and democratic global community by assisting individuals, families, groups, and communities to improve the conditions and meet the needs through self and collective actualization.

BL²END serves as an outlet for young professionals of color to learn, network, grow and become engaged in the Grand Rapids community.

Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi is a federally recognized tribal government.

Tribal Service Area Map

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is known for its leadership in the area of diversity initiatives and programming including the Institute for Healing Racism.

Black Women Connect GR is an affinity group run by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

Greater Grand Rapids Chapter of Jack and Jill of America  is a local organization for all African American children that provides enriching experiences through active participation in civic, social, educational, cultural, and personal development to support the successful attainment of their goals, ambitions, and aspirations.

Grand Rapids Sister Cities International is a non-profit organization interested in coordinating, promoting and expanding international relationships and activities in the areas of trade, culture, and education.

The Literacy Center of West Michigan works alongside adults, both native speakers of English and English language learners, who read below the 9th grade level and want to improve their literacy. The organization meets adult learners where they are, providing workplace-focused classes, family literacy programming, and one-on-one tutoring all at no cost to the learner.

Western Michigan Bengali Association is a non-profit organization formed by “Bengalis” (community from eastern India) who live in West Michigan. The organization aims to create awareness about the rich cultural heritage of India amongst the larger community, help integrate members of the South East Asian communities to the area by providing a local platform to celebrate Bengali festivals and events.

The Grand Rapids Urban League is dedicated to delivering services and creating systemic changes that eliminate racism and increase the availability of quality life chances.

Grand Valley State University’s Diversity Resource Offices serve faculty, staff, students, and the community through its Inclusion and Equity Office, Disability Support Services, LGBT Resource Center, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Padnos International Center, and Women’s Center.

The Hispanic Center of West Michigan serves as a resource for the Hispanic and broader community.

The Kent ISD Diversity Initiative focuses on healing racism to improve student achievement by supporting and initiating leadership/coordination for county-wide efforts, educational opportunities and communication.

The League of Women Voters – Grand Rapids works with and for the Grand Rapids community to discover the power of voting and the potential for change through civic participation.

The Michigan Black Expo, Inc. is a non-profit social change conglomerate of Africentric events, products and services.

The Grand Rapids’ branch of the NAACP may be reached at (616)243-1000.

The Network serves the LGBT communities of Western Michigan through networking, referrals, and resources.

Partners for a Racism-Free Community is a movement of committed citizens and organizations working to move Greater Grand Rapids from “that’s the way it is” to “racism-free” through personal commitments, institutional efforts, social advocacy, and persistent intolerance of racist attitudes, words and behaviors.

The Philippine-American Association of Southwest Michigan (PAASM) is dedicated to maintaining, preserving, and cultivating Filipino culture and heritage, and helping others to share the same goals.

The West Michigan Chamber Coalition publishes a guide to women and minority owned businesses in the area.

The West Michigan Hispanic Chamber is dedicated to working with all members of the community to increase the economic advancement of Hispanic owned businesses and to assist in the professional growth of Hispanic business leaders in West Michigan.

The West Michigan Minority Contractors Association is a non-profit organization of members that work toward the common good of promoting the professional interest of one another.

The Woodrick Diversity Learning Center at Grand Rapids Community College works to institutionalize diversity.

The Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids supports the Jewish community in Kent and Ottawa counties, its congregations, schools, and Jews in need.

Latina Network of West Michigan

Urban Core Collective

Sisters Who Lead

Whether you want to watch or play, Grand Rapids is a great place to be active.  Considered one the best walking cities, Grand Rapids is also great for biking and hiking, and was rated the sixth most popular fishing city in the U.S. by Field and Stream magazine.

Our semi-pro teams in West Michigan

The excitement of pro sports, without the prices of a major league stadium.

The Grand Rapids Griffins belong to the American Hockey Association and are the 2013 Calder Cup Champions.

The West Michigan Whitecaps is our minor-league baseball team. They play at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park.

Grand Rapids Drive is the G League basketball team affiliated with the Detroit Pistons.

Other Sports & Recreation Options

Grand Rapids FC is West Michigan’s only soccer team affiliated with the National Premier Soccer League.

Cannonsburg Bike Trails offers six miles of mountain biking trails.

Egypt Valley Bike Trails offers seven miles of mountain biking trails and is also open to hikers.

Fifth Third River Bank Run features the largest 25K road race in the country, plus a 10K run, a 5K run, a 5K walk and junior events.

The Grand Rapids Fish Ladder is a series of stair-step concrete pools that allow fish to bypass a dam on their journey upstream toward Lansing. A specially designed viewing structure allows visitors to see fish as they pass by.

The Grand Rapids Sport and Social Club is perfect for the Grand Rapids 21 and up, professionals. We offer a unique opportunity to meet other physically and socially active individuals. From Dodgeball, Kickball, to Flag Football. All teams are coed.

The Grand Rapids YMCA offers a variety of programs, sports, and club opportunities for the whole family.

The Grand Valley State Lakers compete in 19 NCAA Division II sports, having won numerous national championship titles and Directors Cups since 2002.

The John Ball Zoo has over 1,100 animals representing the wilds of Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, and the United States.

Kent County Parks Foundation, founded in 1999, as a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding and improving land, protecting the environment and preserving open space in Kent County. We support the mission of the Kent County Parks Department, which is currently responsible for 38 parks totaling 6,712 acres as well as four regional trails.

Millennium Park offers 1,500 acres of urban green space.

MVP Sports Spot offers the Grand Rapids community quality indoor youth soccer instruction, indoor youth and adult soccer league play, and other indoor field sports and events.

Patterson Ice Center is a premier skating facility for recreation, figure skating, hockey, and speed skating.

Robinette’s Bike Trails offers daily and year-round passes.

Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink is open throughout the winter for outdoor ice skating.

West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition is a non-profit grassroots group, dedicated to developing non-motorized trails and greenways throughout West Michigan.

The Wolverine Worldwide Family YMCA provides a community members a place to help them attain a healthy life.

The West Michigan Sports Commission promotes Michigan’s West Coast as the premier destination for youth and amateur sporting events. They host the popular Meijer State Games.

Golf Courses

Grand Rapids has a variety of golf courses for every skill level:

Boulder Creek Golf Club

Broadmoor Country Club

Cascade Hills Country Club

Centennial Country Club

Egypt Valley Country Club (Hello West Michigan Member)

Indian Trails Golf Course

Kent Country Club

Quail Ridge Golf Club

Saskatoon Golf Club

The Meadows Golf Club (GVSU)

Thornapple Pointe

Thousand Oaks Golf Club

Watermark Country Club

Restaurant Search

Our partners at the Convention and Visitors Bureaus have a complete listing of area restaurants and a handy search tool.