Combining the glamour of a big city and the heart of a small town, Grand Rapids offers something for everyone — whether you love the outdoors or enjoy sipping wine beneath the city lights. As Michigan’s second largest city, Grand Rapids’ friendly people, vibrant social scene and exceptional schools are just a few reasons why Forbes Magazine recently named the city number one in America for raising a family.
Recreation and Sports
Cyclists and casual hikers throughout the city never need to have a dull weekend. Not only has Grand Rapids built a solid reputation as a bicycle-friendly city, it also ranks third in the nation for fun and recreation. And for people who just want to relax, one of the world’s best shorelines is less than an hour drive away.
If you get tired of trail hopping and basking in the sun, Grand Rapids offers plenty of sporting events for sports fans. Modern venue Van Andel Arena — one of the highest grossing arenas in the world — hosts concerts, sporting events and a wide variety of family-friendly events almost every weekend of the year. On warm evenings, grab a beer and watch the West Michigan Whitecaps, affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, strike out their opponents. Or, in the wintertime, watch the Red Wings affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, beat up rival teams on the ice.
In the book Rise of the Creative Class, Grand Rapids ranked in the top 50 creative cities, and for good reason. For three weeks in early fall every year, hundreds of thousands of art lovers swarm downtown to experience Art Prize — the world’s largest art competition. Over 1,500 artists from 45 states and 56 countries display artwork on the streets and inside venues — all vying for the top prize of $350,000 voted on by the public.
In addition to Art Prize, Grand Rapids also boasts plenty of museums. From the Grand Rapids Art Museum to the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, anyone searching for good art has plenty to feast on. Additionally, families looking for a day of fun and creativity will thoroughly enjoy the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, recognized as one of the most innovative children’s museums in the country.
Grand Rapids rocks … and swings, stomps, laughs and cheers. World-renowned performers including Elton John, Aerosmith, Carrie Underwood and Hannah Montana continue to make Grand Rapids an annual stop on his tour. Each weekend, thousands of the city’s raucous fans flock to numerous concerts and performances by legendary entertainers or frequent venues, like The Intersection, exist for music-lovers looking for ‘the next big thing.’
If your tastes are more classical, Grand Rapids is home to America’s leading regional orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony. Or, culture yourself further by visiting Opera Grand Rapids or the Grand Rapids Ballet Company.
One of the many reasons Forbes chose Grand Rapids as the best place for families was the stellar educational system. Ranked in the top third of the nation, the Grand Rapids school system offers children a solid education up until they leave home. Furthermore, many of the nation’s most excellent colleges and universities dwell in the greater Grand Rapids area.
Thanks to a recent renaissance in micro-brews, Grand Rapids offers plenty of variety for beer-lovers looking to wet their palates. Enjoy a cold one with your friends from Founders Brewing Company, ranked as the world’s second best brewery by Ratebeer.com. Or try a beer you’ve never had before at HopCat, ranked as the world’s third best beer bar by Beeradvocate.com.
When it comes to being green, Grand Rapids has plenty to be proud of. With over 20% of its power obtained from renewable resources, and the highest amount of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings per capita, Grand Rapids leads the nation in eco-friendliness — a fact recognized by the United Nations University, who labeled Grand Rapids as the first Regional Center of Expertise in the education of sustainable development in the nation. Even the public transit system, The Rapid, strives to be greener by using a fleet of hybrid buses.
Thinking about buying or selling a home, condo or townhouse in Grand Rapids? Let Grand Rapids real estate agent Shannon Benton help you discover all your options. Contact Shannon here or call her directly at 616.340.2940. The first step is just a phone call away!