I spent a weekend in Grand Rapids, Michigan last fall and had a great time! I definitely recommend visiting in autumn if you’re able to because the changing leaves are so beautiful, but even if you go during another season, you’ll still have a great time. I do think you only need a few days in the city (unless you’re doing to do some day trips to other places) because there aren’t a ton of tourist attractions, so these are the top 7 things you can do in one weekend in Grand Rapids!
Top 7 things to do in one weekend in Grand Rapids
Explore the historic homes in Heritage Hill
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll probably know how much I love historic homes, and Grand Rapids did not disappoint! The Heritage Hill Historic District has over 1300 houses dating from around 1844 through the 1920s, and you can see 60 different architectural styles. I loved all the different styles and colors on the homes, especially with the fall foliage accents!
We actually stayed in Heritage Hill, so the first thing we did after checking into our Airbnb was walk around the neighborhood! You can download a self-guided walking tour of some of the homes or just walk around and see what you find like we did.
Visit the local parks and lakes
There are lots of places to explore outside Grand Rapids, and there are some beautiful lakes and rivers in and around the city. We spent an evening at Reeds Lake, and visiting during golden hour with the fall foliage around the lake was magical. You can take a leisurely hike around the lake or just relax on a dock in the park and watch the sunset.
If you’re looking for a place to eat, Rose’s is right on Reeds Lake and has great food with amazing views! (And if you go when it’s cold, they have a boozy hot chocolate drink that was delicious)
One of things you have to do in one weekend in Grand Rapids is explore downtown and walk along the river. You don’t need to spend a lot of time downtown because there isn’t too much to do (and believe me, we asked lots of people we met downtown what we should see and they didn’t have any recommendations!), but you should at least explore along the river to see Grand Rapids namesake. And there are some cool looking buildings if you’re into architecture!
The one and only thing that people recommended that we do is see the “blue bridge” because it’s a walking bridge and a cool spot for photos. So if you’re planning a photoshoot or anything, the blue bridge is a good spot, especially in fall with the yellow leaves as a colorful backdrop.
Most of downtown is more corporate type buildings, but there are some pretty historic ones scattered throughout! And it was closed while we were there, but the Grand Rapids Public Museum is downtown and has some pretty cool things to see.
Visit the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum
Unfortunately, the Ford Presidential Library was closed while we were in Grand Rapids (and is still closed at the time of this posting) so we didn’t get to go in, but if you’re interested in presidential history, it’s worth a visit if it’s open when you go! My parents went a few years ago and loved it, so I’m hoping it will open again soon so I can visit.
Do some shopping at local stores
While there aren’t many sights to see in downtown Grand Rapids, there are some local shops and restaurants that you can visit! We got coffee from a local café and visited some shops, and we got to sample some delicious olive oil (which I bought, of course) at the Old World Olive Company.
Explore Meijer Gardens
I loved Meijer Gardens so much that I wrote an entire post on it! If you don’t have a ton of time, Meijer Gardens is probably the top thing to do in one weekend in Grand Rapids, so definitely prioritize it.
Meijer Gardens is a pretty large, so I recommend budgeting a few hours to spend there. There are lots of trails with beautiful greenery and sculptures, and there’s a large conservatory with lots of plants. When we visited in the fall, they also had a lot of pretty autumn décor.
Visit Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery
Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery is definitely worth a visit in the fall with all the apple orchards, and it’s still worth visiting any other season. They have apple orchards, corn mazes, a winery, and a shop. If you go in the fall, be sure to get some cider and doughnuts!
So if you have one weekend in Grand Rapids, I definitely recommend these 7 activities! Grand Rapids is a very pretty city, so be sure to take your camera with you- especially in the fall. Have I sold you on visiting in the fall yet? 🙂