Free Things to Do in Grand Rapids, MI
by Elizabeth S.
As the second largest city in Michigan, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Grand Rapids. However, if you don’t have money to spend on weekend activities with the family, it can feel like you don’t have any options for fun or entertaining things to do.
We’ve compiled a list of parks, children’s activities, museums, and historical sites you can enjoy with the whole family — without spending a penny. Enjoy these free activities in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Free Things to Do in Grand Rapids with Kids
Red Barn Market is a family-owned and operated market offering fresh produce, local products, ice cream, and a cafe. They host free events for kids, such as Books in the Barnyard at 10 a.m. every Tuesday morning. Preschool-aged children are welcome to enjoy story time and farm fun!
The library offers free admission and story time for all ages at no cost. Children’s events include Baby & Me, Toddler Time, STEAM Ahead, Pajama Time, and Pajama Time in Spanish. Check out their website for times and details.
Grand Rapids Free Museums and Historic Sites
The Grand Rapids Art Museum offers Meijer Free Days, made possible by a generous donation. Every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday evening from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. the Art Museum offers free general admission to the public.
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Meyer May House is a restored historic home in the Heritage Hill Historic District of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was built in 1908 and restored in 1985. You can tour this unique home for free on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — reservations are required.
12 Free Parks to Visit in Grand Rapids
Perfect for hiking and cross-country skiing, Provin Trails Park is 46 acres of heavily wooded, interconnected loop trails. It’s the perfect place to get away from the city and immerse yourself in nature.
Fish Ladder Park is both artwork and functional design. Joseph Kinnebrew created this structure to allow migrating fish a means to avoid the powerful flow of the man-made rapids in the Grand River. In spring and late summer, visitors can watch the fish jump off the “ladder” in their seasonal migration.
This public park is situated on the banks of the Grand River and the name honors the three major Indian tribes of Michigan — the Ottowa, Potowatomi, and Chippewa. “Ah-Nab-Awen” means “resting place”.
This network of loop trails stretches nearly 1.5 miles along the Grand River shoreline. Visit the scenic deck overlook for a beautiful view of the river and plenty of opportunities for fishing.
This 39-acre recreation space provides a scenic area for walkers and joggers. They offer two pavilions for group picnics and events, a baseball diamond, playground, and fishing ponds.
Equipped with playgrounds, picnic areas, walking trails, horseshoe and volleyball courts, a beach, and swimming areas, Versluis Park is one of the most versatile in Grand Rapids. In the summer, the park is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Throughout the school year, it is open from 7 a.m. to sunset.
Most commonly used as the trailhead for the Fred Meijer White Pine State Trail off Belmont Avenue, Rogue River Park also offers picnic shelters, tennis courts, a playground, and a baseball field. There’s fun for everyone!
Hike nearly five miles across the hills, valleys, woods, fields, and wetlands of Seidman Park. Enjoy a variety of terrain and scenery as you explore this beautiful park. Seasonal restrooms are available.
This park offers a variety of amenities including picnic areas, restrooms, baseball field, volleyball courts, basketball courts, a climbing wall, fishing, grills, tennis, and walking trails. The park is open May 1 through September 30 each year. The park also offers a Splash Pad from June 1 through Labor Day to offer a place for families to cool off in the summer months.
This adorable park is situated along the Bear Creek Valley and offers a variety of picnic areas and shelters for families and groups to enjoy. Complete with a winding hiking trail, large pine plantation, and boardwalk over the natural wetlands, this park is the perfect place to get away from the city on a weekend.
One of the largest urban parks in the nation, Millenium Park spans Grand Rapids, Walker, Grandville, and Wyoming. This park offers six miles of riverside land, including trails and beaches. Visit the park from 7 a.m. until sunset May 1 through October 31.
Located at the intersection of M-37 and 8 Mile Road, Wahlfield Park offers natural-surfaced trails for hikers and bikers. Connect to a network of trails to explore woods, creeks, and open fields. This park is open from 7 a.m. until sunset May 1 through October 31.
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