Grand Rapids, MI downtown

2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live In America Sponsored by: See homes for sale on Movoto by OJO

liv score
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 24
Demographics 54
Economy 59
Education 64
Health 62
Housing 63
Infrastructure 49

#53. Grand Rapids, MI

The secret is out about Grand Rapids, MI. This Western Michigan city has bustling breweries and a thriving arts and culture scene, which helps it rank high in the amenities category. An award-winning public transportation system makes it easy to get around this friendly city, and affordable housing and green initiatives add to the appeal.

Top Colleges/Universities: Grand Rapids Community College & Davenport University

Top Industries & Employers: Health care and manufacturing

Weekend Plans: Embrace the arts with a visit to the 200-acre Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, which, in addition to sculptures, also has Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory, summer concerts and a storytelling garden for children. 

Favorite Place to Feast: Enjoy a progressive dinner at Grand Rapids Downtown Market, with a happy hour charcuterie at Aperitivo, fish and chips at Fish Lads and then dessert at Love’s Ice Cream & Chocolate.

Beloved Beverage: Beer! Explore “Beer City, USA” on the Beer City Ale Trail that boasts 80-plus breweries.

Outdoorsy Activity: With 75 parks, it’s easy to get out and about in Grand Rapids. Our personal favorite is Rosa Parks Circle, located in the heart of the city. The public art space hosts numerous concerts and festivals and even transforms into an outdoor skating rink during the winter!

Rooftop Bar: Sip beer and enjoy Dutch and German snacks like soft pretzels with every kind of dipping sauce you can imagine at Knoop Rooftop Beer Garden at Canopy by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown. 

Why Your Pet Will Love It, Too: The city has two dog parks, Covell and Hillcrest.  

Remote Work Perk: When you want to “go into the office,” there are plenty of coworking spaces, including The Factory that has an on-site podcast studio, room booths, conference rooms and more. 

One More Thing … Grand Rapids was known as “Furniture City” in the 19th century because of its fine wood furniture artistry. 

– Brittany Anas

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