Grand Rapids, Michigan is the best-kept secret of the Midwest. This great town has a ton to offer visitors. Here are 3 must-see Grand Rapids tours.
Located on the western side of the state, Grand Rapids, MI, has remade itself as a worthy midwestern destination. As the second-largest city in Michigan, this town is arguably the most fun you have in Michigan.
And while beer certainly gets the headlines in Grand Rapids (hey, they don’t call it Beer City, USA for nothing!), there are many other great things to do in Grand Rapids.
Grand Rapids Tours
If you are planning a visit to Grand Rapids it’s likely beer will have a starring role in your trip. Known for amazing microbreweries, Grand Rapids has a lot to offer in that regard. However, while beer may be the headline on many a visit to Grand Rapids, there are also many other great things to do in Grand Rapids that don’t involve beer. Here are 3 tours to take when visiting Grand Rapids – that don’t involve beer.
Of course, if beer is your jam, then don’t miss: Grand Rapids Brewery Tour ideas
Meyer May House
For those who have never visited a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home, the Meyer May House offers a special opportunity. Mid-century modern design is on display with thoughtful architectural choices with the homeowner in mind.
Wedged between downtown market and East Hill, southeast of the river, the Meyer May House offers tours booked in advance online most days of the week. The 90-minute showcase around the home features original furnishings and careful reconstructions capped with a film about the development of the property at the conclusion of the tour.
Visiting the home is one part museum, and one part time travel as everything is as it was when it was constructed. While smaller children may not enjoy the tour in the same way adults do, there is plenty for them to enjoy as well.
The museum is free to tour.
Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum
President Gerald R Ford may have been born in Omaha, NE, but he grew up just miles east of the Great Lakes. The museum documents his life from civic involvement early on, then playing for the University of Michigan, joining the armed services, Congress and then ultimately becoming the only person to serve as both Vice President and President without ever being elected to either office.
The tour will take guests through a replica of the oval office, where he spent 895 days (the shortest of any presidency that did not die in office.) There’s a great deal to know about the President who oversaw one of the most tumultuous of the modern era.
The GRF is part of the museum district which straddles the Grand River. On the west side of the river it is joined by the Grand Rapids Public Museum. On the east side are the Children’s museum and the GRAM (Grand Rapids Art Museum) in downtown Grand Rapids.
There are few opportunities to visit collections for recent political history in the United States and touring this one should be at the top of any visitor’s list.
Meijer Gardens Sculpture Park
Northeast of the city of Grand Rapids is a sculpture gallery like no other. The Meijer Gardens Sculpture Park utilizes Grand Rapids’ beautiful outdoor settings to display one-of-a-kind artwork amidst unique foliage.
The tour, however, is not conducted with a typical walking guide. Due to the expanse of the park, a tram brings visitors through outdoor exhibits with an audio guide speaking through the tram’s speaker system.
This is particularly helpful for visitors that may struggle with the extent of the park, but also for children who can enjoy the ride and view the works of art as the tram chugs along.
Adult tours are $4 while kids 12 and under ride for $2. Schedules are announced each spring when weather permits to begin tours.
BONUS Grand Rapids Tour Idea: John Ball Zoo
Between downtown Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan is the John Ball Zoo. One interesting feature of the zoo is the ability to arrange a private tour ($75/group for members, $100/group for non-members) of an area of the guest’s choice.
Guided tours like this are more expensive than general admission, but the zoo boasts that tour groups “have the whole place to [themselves]” giving them greater access and insight, making more of the trip.
Final Thoughts on Tours in Grand Rapids
Be sure to check out TripAdvisor who always does a great job of listing tour opportunities across the country. You can see all Grand Rapid tour ideas here.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out some of our other destination guides including the great list below: