Also called the ‘Furniture City’, ‘River City’ and ‘Beer City USA’, Grand Rapids has a plethora of attractions and tourist spots that never fail to impress its visitors. With a population of 188,040 (US Census 2010), it is the largest city in West Michigan and the second largest city in the state. From iconic landmarks, historic sites to world class museums, fine dining restaurants and other recreational centers, the city of Grand Rapids has something for everyone.
History of Grand Rapids
For several years, natives occupied the present day Grand Rapids area. During 1700 AD, Ottawa moved over here and set up several villages along the river. At the beginning of 19th century, many European traders and missionaries set up posts in the area. Both the cultures lived peacefully, trading textile goods and European metal. In the year 1825, Grand Rapids received its first permanent settler – Isaac McCoy, who represented the travelers that started arriving from New York, Ohio and New England.
In the year 1826, Louis Campau, who founded the city of Grand Rapids, established his trading post, cabin and blacksmith shop near the river. He became one of the most important settlers when he purchased 72 acres of land from the government in the year 1831. Today, this area is the main downtown district of Grand Rapids. His rival – Lucius Lyon, also purchased the rest of the land and named it the Village of Kent. This led to an influx of migrants form New England and New York during the 1830’s.
In 1838, this area was officially incorporated as a village and the first census was held in 1845. Grand Rapids was formerly integrated on 2nd April 1850.
Important Locations in Grand Rapids
Located next to its namesake river – Grand River, the city offers a myriad of sightseeing options to its visitors. Surrounded by abundant natural beauty, Grand Rapids has become a famous tourist destination and has something for everyone. Here are some popular places for tourists to explore in Grand Rapids:
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Spread over 132 acres, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is one of the most popular botanical gardens and park in the state of Michigan. It has also been ranked as the top 30 must-see museums in the world during 2009. The recently opened Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden is one of the most revered gardens in the world. To know more about timings and its sculptures, click here
: 1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525, United StatesPhone
: 1 616 957 1580
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Did you know that the 38th President of the United States – Gerald Ford was raised in the city of Grand Rapids? Named after him, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is another significant tourist attraction in the city. The museum is known for its wide collection of permanent displays, traveling exhibits and other temporary shows. Both the president and his wife- Betty are buried over here. For more information, click here
303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504, United StatesPhone
: 1 616 254 0400
Grand Rapids Art Museum
Another popular museum in the city, Grand Rapids Art Museum is a must visit over here. Named as one of the best buildings in the city by Newsweek Magazine in the year 2007, the museum is known for its wide works of display, both permanent and visiting. To know more about the museum, click here
: 101 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United StatesPhone
: 1 616 831 1000
Heritage Hill Historic District
If you are a fan of Greek Revival or Colonial Revival architecture, then this is the place for you. Located adjacent to Downtown Grand Rapids, Heritage Hill Historic District is one of the biggest urban historic areas in the country. The district consists of 1,300 homes, some of which dates back to 1843, which once belonged to the teachers, legislators, judges and barons who played an important role in the foundation of the city. From Prairie to Greek Revival, the district represents almost every kind of American architecture. For more information, click here
Fountain Street Church
Established in 1869, Fountain Street Church represents a unique time in the country. Initially known as the Fountain Street Baptist Church, the church gave up its Baptist name to become an independent and liberal church. For more information on the church, click here. (fountainstreet.org/)Address
: 24 Fountain St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United StatesPhone
: 1 616 459 8386
People and Culture of Grand Rapids
According to the 2010 Census of United States of America, Grand Rapids had a population of 188,040. This city is a dwelling for several racial compositions including White (64.6%), Hispanic (15.6%) African American (20.9%), Native American (0.7%), Non-Hispanic White (59.0%), Asians (1.9%), Pacific Islander (0.1%), Other Races (7.7%) and Two or more Races (4.2%).
Time Zone and Phone Codes of Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids is in the Eastern Time Zone (UTC – 5). The Summer Daylight Saving Time (DST) is Eastern Daylight Time (UTC − 4).Standard Time Zone:
UTC – 5 hoursDaylight Saving Time
: UTC – 4 hoursDaylight Saving Time:
1 hourTime Zone Abbreviation
: EST and EDT
Phone Codes of Grand RapidsGrand Rapids Area Code
: 616International Country Code:
Best Time to Visit Grand Rapids
Due to its strategic location, there is no best time to visit the city of Grand Rapids. It all depends on your specific tastes and preferences. For those who are more artistically inclined, summers are the best time to visit the city. This is because of the number of events and festivals that take place over here during this season. If you are not a fan of extreme weather conditions, whether cold or hot, then spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit, when the weather is more pleasant.
Seasonal Events and Festivals in Grand RapidsExperience Pink
(February)Beer Week Grand Rapids
(April)Festival of the Arts
(June)Greater Grand Rapids Pride Festival
(June)97LAV Summertime Blues Series
Celebration on the Grand (July)GrandJazz
(August)Restaurant Week GR
(August)Fulton Street Artisan's Market
(June to September)ArtPrize
Grand Rapids Map