Grand Rapids | World’s Best Cities

Grand Rapids

Sure, it gets cold in Grand Rapids, which ranks a dismal #47 for Weather, but that doesn’t keep residents of Michigan’s laid-back second city from living all four seasons outdoors. That might mean paddling along the state’s longest river, taking in ArtPrize (the annual international art competition), sampling brews at the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival—or simply enjoying life in the growing city that retains its small town feel. Locals insist that you can’t miss the stunning Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, a sprawling complex of botanical treasures accented by the work of international artists. But that’s not the only celebration of creativity in this cultured city. Architecture buffs will want to schedule a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Meyer May House, and the enormous Alexander Calder statue outside City Hall can also be found on the city’s official logo. Grand Rapids is clean, friendly and safe (with a stellar #5 ranking in Safety), making it a prime spot to raise a family. Kids can romp through some 1,200 acres of parks, as their parents enjoy the option of cycling to work along one of the city’s many trails, even if it’s just for Active Commute Week, which sees residents ditching their cars for bikes, kayaks and other human-powered modes.