Like any thriving community, West Michigan has its own vocabulary of names and places that make it unique and feel like home. What makes the area special may differ from person to person, but the information below will provide you with a wide range of reasons to make West Michigan your home.
About half of us in West Michigan are under 30. Which raises our hipness quotient and provides employers with a steady supply of skilled, energetic workers.
This raucous teen hit was written by an East Grand Rapids High School graduate and supposedly based on his experiences there. For instance, the kids go to East Great Falls High School. The hot dog shop they frequent, Dog Years, is actually called Yesterdog and is located in the alternative Eastown area just west of East Grand Rapids.
The 12,000-seat Van Andel Arena is home to every possible type of live
entertainment, including monster trucks, professional sports, ice shows and indoor motocross. In recent years, the Arena has hosted the national tours of: Elton John, The Who, Kenny Chesney, Prince, Neil Young, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Faith Hill, Bob Seger, the Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil and Hannah Montana.
Although we have long been recognized for our cultural happenings, two events in particular are drawing national and worldwide praise. ArtPrize is a radically open competition where the goal is for the general public and artists to collide, exchange ideas, and come away changed. The event boasts more than 1,700 artists from 44 states and 21 countries. These artists have the unique opportunity to interact with more than 200,000 visitors! Gilda's LaughFest is an event that celebrates laughter for the health of it - a festival of comedy, performance, film, and a variety of seriously funny stuff. All proceeds benefit the cancer, grief, and support programs offered through Gilda's Club Grand Rapids. Past events have featured national celebrities, such as Bill Cosby, Betty White, Kathleen Madigan, and others.
Some of our other more noteworthy happenings have included an exhibit of Frank Lloyd Wright leaded-glass windows and the first-ever showing of artworks by Perugino — a contemporary of Michelangelo at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the only U.S. showing of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Public Museum, Princess Diana Exhibition (with visit from The Today Show) at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Bodies Revealed event at the Public Museum.
In addition to traditional museums with substantial collections, West Michigan has a lively underground fine arts scene, with galleries in downtown Grand Rapids and several other communities. The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, a dynamic, multidisciplinary laboratory for the advancement of contemporary art, offers visual art, music, film, literature, dance and performance art, featuring local, national and international artists. Film-lovers look to UICA for foreign and indie films - 80 annually.
We also have a vibrant performing arts community, anchored by three well-regarded regional theatres and several other more specialized companies bringing productions to inspire audiences virtually every weekend. Opera Grand Rapids is Michigan's longest-running professional opera company; The Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra is recognized as one of America's leading regional orchestras; and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, Michigan's only professional ballet company, recently opened a $6.2 million Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified theatre on the south end of downtown Grand Rapids.
Thinking about buying or selling a home, condo or townhouse in West Michigan? Let 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!
Click on any of the links below to learn more about West Michigan: