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I did not intend to take a month off from writing new content, but the coronavirus quarantine has created so many new challenges and frankly, I couldn’t muster up the time. Cooking three meals a day, still going into work, and taking much more time to disinfect every surface was enough for me. I took time to rest my shoulders from continuous computer work + stress, and worked around the house. While travel is clearly not an option right now, maybe once the dust settles, you’ll consider visiting some of the lovely places the Midwest has to offer.
Did you know that Grand Rapids, Michigan is one of the cloudiest cities in the United States? Sometimes cloudy days are just that: ideal, sunglass-free backdrops for wedding photos. Other times, they’ll turn into downpours that soak through your shoes, right to your toes. That’s what happened during my Grand Rapids weekend away. Luckily for me, there are loads of fun activities for when a Grand Rapids weekend gets rained out. And since I hate crowded spaces, I found some pretty quiet places to enjoy. Read on to find out all the fun things you can do when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
1) Enjoy the Indoor Exhibits at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
In my opinion, the most “can’t miss” site of Grand Rapids is the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. While the nearly 200 acres of attraction includes an outdoor sculpture park and loads of outdoor exhibits, many of the gardens and rotating exhibits are housed indoors.
Entry Fee at time of Publication: $14.50/adults, $4-$7 for Children, $11/seniors or students
2. Head to Wax Poetic Pour Your Own Candle Bar
One of the most unique experiences of my Grand Rapids weekend was visiting Wax Poetic Candle Bar. Here, you can make, title, and pour your own candles, exactly how you want them. With over 200 scents to mix and max, the decision making process to candle pour takes about 45-60 minutes. Once poured, you must wait 2 hours until you pick up your candle. On a busy day, you can reserve your spot in advance through their website.
Cost: Candles start at $20/each
3. Spend Part of your Grand Rapids Weekend at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
No matter where you line up on the political spectrum, a U.S. presidential library is cool. For those of us in the Chicago area, this is currently the nearest presidential museum we can visit. Check out the Oval Office replica, learn about the Ford presidency, and take some time to learn about Betty Ford. Considered the model for today’s modern First Lady, Betty Ford was a true trailblazer.
Cost: $10/adults, Free-$8 for kids, Seniors, and/or Military
4. Take a Walk Around Grand Rapids’ Historic Heritage Hill
Visiting historic neighborhoods is something that I do in nearly every place I visit. I absolutely love it. Grand Rapids’ Heritage Hill is no exception. The Heritage Hill neighborhood came to be in 1843, its 1,300 properties (wow!) has representations of nearly every style of American architecture. The Heritage Hill Association has a great self-guided tour that you can either walk or potentially drive. I swear by a number of waterproof tools that allow me to stay warm and dry for walking tours on rainy days.
Interested in seeing more of Michigan?
Check out these 7 Quick Michigan Getaways.
5. Check out the Grand Rapids Beer Scene!
Did you know that Grand Rapids is home to one of the largest breweries in the US? Founders Brewing established Grand Rapids as a craft-brewing mecca way back in 1997. After nearly succumbing to bankruptcy, the owners sold off the beer filter/pasteurizer in order to pay their employees. Now known for unfiltered beers, they’ve become one of the nation’s most well known and largest breweries. Check their website for brewery tours and special events when you are next in town.
But your Grand Rapids weekend won’t just be about one brewery. There are many local breweries that have sprouted up all throughout the city. Follow the Beer City Ale Trail to check out all of the brews that Grand Rapids has to offer!
6. Maybe You’d Prefer a Tour of Wine Instead?
If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I am a wine girl. It may surprise you, but Michigan wines are a major force in the wine world. Whether your Grand Rapids weekend away includes rain or shine, I highly recommend checking out the various wine bars of Grand Rapids.
Forty Pearl: This wine bar serves almost exclusively Michigan wines, extraordinarily paired with small plates.
House of Wine: With 70 wines by the glass, even the most finicky of wine drinkers will find something to enjoy. They have a retail shop of over 250 bottles on premise as well!
Of course you cannot forget about Grand Rapids’ stellar food scene, but that deserves a post on its own. Stay tuned for more Grand Rapids content coming soon!
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