Grand Rapids has an affinity for public art, and its craft brewery scene is one of the best in the nation. A scenic spot perched on the Grand River – Michigan’s longest waterway – Grand Rapids has evolved from its 19th-century roots as a hub of furniture production to the modern-day metro area that is attracting college students and young families with its healthy job market, affordable housing and outdoor recreational activities.
From the doctors and nurses working in the region’s booming health care industry, to the strong LGBT community that hosts the much-feted annual Grand Rapids Pride event, to the numerous artists and musicians, the region is home to people from all walks of life. Grand Rapids’ neighborhood associations are incredibly active, bringing the metro area’s population together for community events such as the Eastown Street Fair, which draws people to the artsy neighborhood for food, music and more. The city is home to numerous cultural organizations such as the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Symphony, Grand Rapids Ballet, Opera Grand Rapids, and the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. DeVos Performance Hall, Van Andel Arena, Civic Theater, 20 Monroe Live, and St. Cecelia Music Center are among many venues that present local and touring performers in the city. Annual events such as ArtPrize and Festival of the Arts attract people from all over the state.
Midwest friendliness is no exaggeration in Grand Rapids, which, despite being the second largest metro area in Michigan, exudes small-town warmth. Walk down almost any residential street in Grand Rapids, and you’ll often be met with a wave and a “hello” from people caring for their lawns or hanging out on porches.