Readers' Choice 2015: Emerging Destinations
Grand Rapids, Michigan, has emerged on the group tour radar with an array of unique attractions.
ArtPrize, an annual international art competition featuring more than 1,500 works on display throughout the city, attracted more than 400,000 people in 2014.
Grand Rapid's nickname, Beer City USA, is well-earned, with 30+ local craft breweries. Multibrewery pub crawl tours and other beer-themed tours are available. Grand Rapids is a "foodie" paradise with tempting dining options, from the sophistication of renowned steak and seafood houses to casual locations that have elevated hot dogs, doughnuts and other favorites to an art form.
The recently opened Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has drawn record crowds since its unveiling in spring 2015. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Children's Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum and Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts provide a range of learning opportunities within walking distance of each other.
A furniture manufacturing hub, Grand Rapids' industrial past provides for architectural interest, as many buildings have been modernized and repurposed, while preserving a glimpse of the city's history. Glimmering skyscrapers add interest to the skyline, and through it all flows the Grand River, with numerous bridges and parks that provide natural beauty in an urban setting.
Annual festivals and events include LaughFest, GrandJazzFest, Festival of the Arts, Cool Brews. Hot Eats., Restaurant Week, Experience Pink and the Grand Rapids Auto Show. A variety of downtown lodgings provide easy access to all of the city's charms. With intimate theaters, stadium-sized venues, local hockey and baseball teams, and a variety of outdoor activities, Grand Rapids provides something for every interest.
And with an international airport, Amtrak station and easy-to-use public transportation, getting to and around Grand Rapids is easier than ever. www.ExperienceGR.com
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Photo courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids.