Grand Rapids is more than just the ‘Furniture Capital of the World.’ It’s a vibrant town with a bustling art scene, a fascinating history, delicious culinary culture, and one of the fastest growing beer scenes in the US. So instead of the usual ‘Places to Eat’ or ‘Where to Drink,’ we wanted to explore everything that Grand Rapids has to offer. Here are seven great things you should do while attending WordCamp Grand Rapids.
1) Grab a drink.
USA Today voted Grand Rapids ‘Beer City USA,’ and for good reason. There are 80+ breweries located in Grand Rapids alone, and they’re even conveniently located on what’s called the ‘Beer City Ale Trail.’ Head from taproom to taproom (within reason) trying a wide variety of delicious local brews you won’t find anywhere else. Head to the Founders taproom for their world-famous KBS stout, or Grand Rapids Brewing Co., which recently came back to life after being shut down by prohibition.
2) Enjoy some art.
Grand Rapids boasts three world-famous art museums: the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Public Museum, and Urban Institute of Contemporary Art. But don’t think the only art you’ll find in Grand Rapids is indoors. The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has some incredible artwork placed in between beautiful seasonal gardens and attractions. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch a live show at the amphitheater.
3) Explore the city.
Among other urban hot spots, Downtown Grand Rapids has boomed in popularity over recent years. This means neighborhoods like Eastown have been welcoming new businesses, attractions, and restaurants. Walk from shop to shop in this beautiful district while sipping on a latte and stop into the Pita House for a delicious handmade gyro.
4) Head to the beach…
WordCamp Grand Rapids falls right in the middle of summer, which means you have to head to the beach. With just a short drive down Highway 45, you’ll make it to Lake Michigan. Head to a beautiful light house, enjoy crystal clear blue water, or one of the many lakeside parks that dot the coast.
5) Or just step outside.
You don’t have to head all the way to the beach to enjoy the great outdoors. Grand Rapids has plenty of outdoor opportunities available. The river is an attraction in and of itself, with walking, biking, and running paths. Don’t forget a fishing pole, either. The river runs through the heart of downtown, so you’re bound to find something no matter where you are.
6) Find a night spot.
Where there are colleges, there are college students. And where there are college students, there are night spots. Grand Rapids has all three. But these aren’t your typical night clubs. Head to the Grand Rapids Music Trail and enjoy over 100 live music venues where you can catch acts singing country, punk, rock and roll, or maybe even all three. Plus, the many breweries in the area all play host to live music, so see if there’s a show going on while you’re there. Kill two birds with one stone!
7) Grab a bite (or two).
With a booming new city comes booming new restaurants, and Grand Rapids is no exception. There are hundreds of acclaimed restaurants in and around Grand Rapids with cuisine from all over the world. The World Food Travel Association even voted Grand Rapids the #2 food and beverage destination experience in North America. If you’re in the mood for a burger, try out The Green Well for some classic American bar food. Vegetarian and international options, too!
Grand Rapids has something for everyone. From a brews cruise to a walk down the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan, there’s plenty of ways to kill time between or after lectures at WordCamp. You might even want to stay a day or two after so you can enjoy everything that Grand Rapids has to offer. Give us a shout out on social media and let us know what your favorite part of WordCamp Grand Rapids is. We’ll be waiting!