Just an hour from the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan, Grand Rapids is brimming with the flavors of local food, strong coffee, and plenty to do.
Jolt into your day at Madcap Coffee Company with one of their strong, flavorful pour overs. The Kanzu blend doesn’t disappoint and perfectly compliments a warm chocolate croissant. Once the caffeine is pumping, meander across the street to the LEED Gold-certified Grand Rapids Art Museum and check out some of the standout pieces from ArtPrize, an international art festival hosted in Grand Rapids every year.
Head to the Downtown Market where “local” comes to life. Local food, vendors, and entertainment come together in a culinary collective offering fresh coffee, prepared food, and produce to take home or to stay awhile. Take a lap to absorb the sights and smells of local seafood, handmade chocolate, and oven-fresh breads. Browse and sample the artisanal wines, cheeses, and meats at Apertivo before ordering up a mean Pad Thai and some vegetable spring rolls at RAK. Post up at one of the many tables to enjoy your lunch and watch the buzz of market life. Make sure to grab one (or three) of the decadent cookies at Sweetie-Licious Bake Shoppe for the road.
Cruise over to the Frederik Meijer Botanical Gardens and get lost in the 132 acres of indoor and outdoor gardens and nature walks. This world-renowned botanic and sculptural experience includes butterfly gardens, tropical rainforests, and desert cacti, all flourishing alongside works by Di Suvero and Chihuly.
Next, take a breather on the patio at Founder’s Brewery. Known as “Beer City USA” Grand Rapids boasts a plethora of microbreweries, and Founder’s is a highlight in taste and ambiance. Unwind with the All-Day IPA, an easy classic that goes well with conversation and just about any snack on the menu. Don’t forget to try some of their seasonal and specialty brews that only hit the calendar for a short while.
To wrap up the long day, dine at Grove, a cozy farm-to-table restaurant on Cherry Street. Grove works with local farmers and markets to offer an extensive vegetarian menu with incredible elegance and flavor. Take advantage of the 3 for $28 deal and get your veggie fix in a colorful medley of sweet potato soup, a country farm beet salad, and house-made gnocchi. Other gems are the seared blackfin tuna, hummus and cheese platters, and, of course, the cheesecake and maple custard for dessert.