Top 15 Things to Do in Grand Rapids for Grace Students

Mar 15, 2024 | Blog

College is an exciting time in life. There are so many new experiences to have, memories to create, and people to meet. For many students, college is the first taste of independence they have experienced. Because of this, many seek to take advantage of that new found individuality. This newly acquired freedom can be expressed in many ways; trying new things, exploring new hobbies, staying out late with friends, or visiting new restaurants. One common factor shared amongst all these things is that they revolve around having a city to explore that offers a plethora of unique experiences.

Getting to explore a college town is one of the greatest parts of attending college. There are always plenty of adventures to have and things to try for the first time. And Grace Christian University is no different. To those who aren’t as familiar with Grand Rapids, it may just seem daunting to find fun things to do, but to those who know where to go, GR offers a wide range of exciting and unique experiences. That’s why we at Grace have compiled a list of the top 15 things to do in Grand Rapids. Check out the list below to get the most out of our special city.

Top 15 Things to Do in Grand Rapids

When considering all the possible things to do in Grand Rapids, there are three main categories the activities fall into – restaurants, shopping, and hangout places. For simplicity’s sake, we have separated the 15 activities into these three different categories so that students can easily navigate this list to find the activities that best suit their interests. 

Top 5 Restaurants in GR

  1. Brown Butter Creperie and Cafe  – Located on Wealthy St., Brown Butter is a quaint cafe specializing in crepes. Their breakfast food and coffee are absolutely delicious and the atmosphere makes this location the perfect spot for a brunch date or an outing with friends.
  2. Zivio – Zivio is also located on Wealthy St. and offers a delectable selection of Mediterranean food. With gyros and kebabs that practically melt in your mouth, this is the perfect restaurant to visit at the end of a night out.
  3. Wealthy Street Bakery – The Wealthy Street Bakery is, you guessed it, located on Wealthy Street. This bakery has everything you’d ever need from a cafe. From scones to sandwiches, to pizza, this place has it all. Not to mention a great selection of high-quality coffee and lattes.
  4. Social Misfits – Social Misfits is a quirky restaurant located on Fulton St. that specializes in gourmet waffles. This company prioritizes non-conformity and being true to one’s self. For those seeking a more indie alternative this restaurant is the hangout spot.
  5. Daisies Place – Located on Ionia Ave, this restaurant specializes in brunch. Their small menu selection is more than made up for by the exquisite flavor of their dishes. We highly recommend the “Steak N Eggs” or the “Chicken and Waffles”. Easily one of the top 15 things to do in Grand Rapids.

Top 4 Stores in GR

  1. Redux Books – Redux Books is a quaint used bookstore located on Lake Dr. right off of Wealthy St. This store offers a large selection of used and antique books that are sure to make any book lover’s mouth water. Redux specializes in rare and antique books but still has a great selection of used contemporary and genre fiction. Definitely check this store out.
  2. Century Antiques & Warehouse One Antiques – While these two antique stores are not related they are right next door to each other so it just feels right to include them in the same number. Both of these stores are actually inside an abandoned factory, meaning they are HUGE. These stores offer a great selection of antiques and collectibles that will satisfy even the thriftiest of thrifters.
  3. Grand Rapids Downtown Market – The GR Downtown Market is a must-see for anyone living in or visiting the Grand Rapids area. The downtown market offers a great selection of gourmet food and shopping experiences in the pursuit of bringing the community closer together. In today’s society, there are not too many public spaces like this left, making this an easy pick for one of the top 15 things to do in Grand Rapids.
  4. Horrocks Market – Horrocks is a great shopping experience for students with a green thumb. This beautiful greenhouse doubles as a market with great gourmet food and produce.

GR’s Top 6 Hangouts

  1. House Rules Lounge – With over 600 board games to play, House Rules is the perfect hangout spot for college students. This store offers a unique experience by allowing you to try different card and board games each time you visit. Additionally, they offer these games for purchase. So when you and your friends find a game you love, you can buy a copy and take it home with you.
  2. The Bitter End Coffee Shop – While this might fit into the “restaurant” category of this list, it’s more a gathering spot than a restaurant. This coffee shop is open 24/7, every day of the week. This spot is perfect for students who need to stay up late to study for exams. And to do that, you’ll need some coffee.
  3. Rosa Parks Circle – Rosa Parks Circle is a beautiful park area located at the heart of Grand Rapids. This park is especially beautiful during the winter months. All the trees are lit up and decorated for the holidays and the park is converted to an ice-skating rink. The skating rink is the perfect spot for a date or hanging out with friends. Not to mention the many options for dining around the park for warming up afterward.
  4. Music Venues – To those who aren’t familiar with GR, it can be surprising to find out how much of an entertainment hub it is. Grand Rapids has a surprising amount of different concert venues, with a great selection of artists. Van Andel Arena, DeVos Performance Hall, The Stray Café, and 20 Monroe Live are all great concert venues.
  5. Grand Rapids Public Museum – The Public Museum’s a great space that typically goes unappreciated. The museum offers a variety of interesting and fun exhibits that are perfect for all ages. They’re constantly changing and expanding exhibits, so even if you’ve been before it’s still worth another visit.
  6. Frederik Meijer Gardens – The Frederik Meijer Gardens is an eye-opening place to walk, sit, and enjoy both indoor and outdoor art. It features a 158-acre botanical garden, along with an art museum and sculpture park.

Bonus: ArtPrize

ArtPrize is an annual competition held in Grand Rapids that highlights the amount of artistic talent its residents have. Walk around our beautiful city as you take in all the different art exhibits placed all over town.

Request More Info

If Grand Rapids and all it has to offer sounds like the city for you, Grace may be a great fit. Request more info to see all Grace Christian University and Grand Rapids have to offer. Our friendly staff is ready to answer any questions you may have about our high-quality education programs.

Read More

Life Happens: Catch Up!

Life Happens: Catch Up!

Life happens. We all encounter moments when our plans get derailed. Perhaps life got in the way of you earning a college degree. Maybe it was due to a lack of funds, family responsibilities, relationships, or friendships. Sometimes, you just need some time off....

read more
Annual Whitecaps Game

Annual Whitecaps Game

Grace Christian University recently hosted its annual night at the West Michigan Whitecaps game at LMCU Ballpark. The event brought together friends, alumni, and supporters, creating an evening filled with excitement and fellowship. Setting the Stage As the sun set...

read more

Sign up for President Kemper's Emails

Grace Christian University Testimonial

Student's Name