City Spotlight: Grand Rapids, Michigan

By Dawn Reiss, January 11, 2019

What else should visitors do in Grand Rapids?

Rosa Parks Circle. That’s the center of our downtown where Monroe Avenue, Pearl Street and Monroe Center Street all come together. Maya Lin designed it and it is right next to the Grand Rapids Arts Museum. It is usually hopping there. You can find swing dancing, yoga, a concert or a festival almost every weekend from April through October. In winter it’s converted into an ice rink.

Going to apple orchards and their apple cider is really popular in fall. We are also known for our craft beer. My favorite is The Mitten Brewing Co. It’s an old firehouse and they arguably have the best pizza in town. We’re home to the Detroit Red Wings minor league affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. For people who like live music, there’s a Live Nation, House of Blues-type venue that opened about a year and a half ago called 20 Monroe Live. They get every genre of music you can imagine.

We noticed there’s a fish ladder in Grand Rapids. Can you tell us more about that?

It’s really cool to see. It’s near the Sixth Street Bridge. It’s a ladder that helps the salmon move back and forth when they are spawning. We are in the midst of a major change with the Grand Rapids Whitewater Restoration Project.

Way back in the day, we were home of the logjam. They would cut down the trees in Northern Michigan, float them down here to the sawmills and make all the furniture in Grand Rapids. The logs would get stuck on the bridges. Ten years ago they put in a series of dams in the river and they are going to start removing those next year. It’s going to have a huge impact on the water as well as the riverfront development. They’re going to put in a kayak course and make the river more accessible on the east and west sides.

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