About Grand Rapids
Situated just 30 miles east of Lake Michigan along the Grand River, Grand Rapids is one of the cultural and economic hubs of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Once sprung up as a village capitalizing on the trade of fur and gypsum, and later known for its large timber and furniture-crafting industries, the city is now a modern metropolis that continues to pay homage to its Native American roots.
Grand Rapids offers many in the way of attractions and things to do. Cultural visitors will enjoy the city’s many museums, planetariums, and urban historic districts. While its robust food scene (with authentic German and Polish treats) is sure to delight any foodie. The city also has a fast-growing craft beer culture, as well as many outdoor spots, offering exciting activities like fat-tire biking, snowshoeing, hiking, rafting and more.
With four distinct seasons, Grand Rapids offers activities and venues for planning the perfect event no matter what the time of year. The World of Winter Festival brings unique opportunities for beautiful snow-themed weddings and cozy corporate retreats. The region’s ideal spring and fall seasons are perfect for outdoor occasions, including team-building retreats, birthday bashes and more. And with more than a few local vendors to assist - from experienced event planners to first-class caterers - hosting an event in Grand Rapids is sure to delight, no matter the occasion.
Event Options in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Whether you’re planning a milestone birthday or anniversary, a wedding, gala, or corporate retreat, Grand Rapids has a quality vendor to suit all your event needs. Contact a local caterer, baker, designer, or entertainer to make your event an outstanding success.
Food is an important part of any gathering, ensuring your guests feel welcome to relax and socialize or discuss business over lunch. From small bites and appetizers to a four-course meal with a chocolate fountain, Grand Rapids has more than two dozen caterers ready to offer you a variety of cuisines, including delicious options for those with special dietary needs or preferences.
With a variety of eclectic, globally-inspired offerings, Kangaroo Kitchen offers colorful creations for all tastes. The company provides several dining options, from down-home favorites served family-style to elegant fine dining. For casual gatherings or corporate meetings, Kangaroo Kitchen can whip up colorful trays of sandwiches and wraps for a crowd and can also provide tasty vegan options.
- Event Decor
No matter what kind of venue you book for your special event, the décor is what takes it from a backyard or banquet hall to an applause-worthy event space. Grand Rapids has several design and rental companies ready to provide you with decorations large and small, from elaborate table centerpieces and stemware to branded stationery and signage. Some companies specialize in floral art for weddings and galas, and many can provide tents or gazebos from basic white to fancy and colorful.
- Live Music
Set the mood for your event with live music in a variety of genres, ensuring guests of all ages are excited and engaged. Grand Rapids is home to musicians of all genres, from string quartets to rock’n’roll cover bands and easy listening favorites. Performers can be booked by the gig or by the hour, and some also provide emcee services to keep the event moving seamlessly.
Want some mementos of your Grand Rapids event? You can let one of Grand Rapids’ many talented photographers capture special moments from the ceremony, party or gala, from posed photos of family to candid shots of cake-smashing, dancing, or celebration. Some local photography studios also offer videography services, providing souvenir videos for guests or conference attendees.
Event Planning Companies in Grand Rapids, MI
- Shoreline Event Design
Shoreline Events Design founder Megan Westers not only has an eye for elegant design and a mission to personalize every event, she also has several years of experience managing a wedding venue. Westers specializes in creating the perfect wedding experience for the couple and guests alike, from design concept to day-of coordination. She also provides corporate meeting and conference management services, ensuring attendees are able to have a great time while meeting your event goals.
- Matrix Entertainment
Have something different in mind for your Grand Rapids event? Let Matrix Entertainment provide the perfect plan to make it happen. Operating in the region for more than 40 years, Matrix provides ‘educational event experiences’ via simulators and virtual game environments, as well as interactive experiences like virtual reality, tactical laser tag, dance parties, casino nights and more. Contact them to make your event out of the ordinary.
- Bridge Street Events
Bridge Street Events provides quality party planning services and rentals across western Michigan. The company specializes in homegrown events, providing tent, table and chair rentals for graduation parties, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings and more. Bridge Street Events can also provide concessions and beverage services, along with décor like custom balloon arches and art. Bridge Street offers a variety of packages and offers customizable quotes to suit your budget and needs.
Pros and Cons of Hosting an Event in Grand Rapids
- Many activities
Outdoor recreation opportunities are abundant, but you don’t have to love the outdoors to find something to do. There are museums, activities and a decent nightlife scene.
- Green spaces
Not only is the city very environmentally friendly, it’s also got a variety of farmer’s markets and eateries serving up vegetarian and vegan cuisine.
- Walkable city
Lodging, restaurants and activities are generally within a comfortable walking distance in many areas of the city.
- Long winters
The average temperature hovers just above freezing during the coldest month, and the area logs more than five feet of snow per year.
- Not much diversity
Most of the population is white, so you may not be able to find much in the way of ethnic cuisine or entertainment options.
- High crime
Grand Rapids has the second highest crime rate in Michigan, with a majority being property crimes.
Famous Event Locations in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Not only does Grand Rapids offer great venues and local services, it also has many unique and entertaining attractions to keep all your event guests entertained.
- Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Step into former President Gerald Ford’s Oval Office and experience a White House State Dinner at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. The museum includes permanent collections exploring Ford’s early life in Grand Rapids and his time at the University of Michigan, which shaped him into a congressman, vice president and eventually president. You can even take a look at the original Watergate burglary tools and pay your respects to the former president and first lady, who are buried on the property.
- Tree Runner Adventure Park
Fun for all ages, Tree Runner Adventure Park includes an aerial park with more than 60 obstacles and zip-lines across seven different courses. With different difficulty levels, the aerial park is perfect for everyone aged 4 and up. The park also includes educational information about the region’s forests and is a great way to participate in eco-tourism. The park also hosts special experiences throughout the year like glow nights, which provides safe after-dark fun.
- River City Improv
If you’re looking for something a bit different, head over to River City Improv for a night of laughs and crazy shenanigans from the troupe’s talented performers. The group was established in 1993 and has been performing since. All of the actors are western Michigan natives and have a great time poking fun at their beloved city. River City Improv shows are fun for everyone, which makes it the perfect outing for friends, family and coworkers.