Best Places to Live

Grand Rapids, MI

Population: 202,217
Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

People in Grand Rapids are always looking ahead at what’s on the horizon. That spirit of innovation is what drives this pioneering western Michigan city forward in everything from diversity and inclusion in the workplace to sustainability initiatives that are helping the environment. If you want to start a business or advance in your career, Grand Rapids is the place to be. There are tons of initiatives underway to help grow and develop employees, including an impressive number of structured leadership programs and business services.  

Top Industries and Employers: Healthcare and manufacturing

Best Coffee Shop: Squibb Coffee and Wine Bar, a modern-yet-cozy spot that’s great for getting some work done or meeting up with friends. 

Best Local Beer/Brewery: City Built Brewing Company

Must-Have Meal: A massive stuffed burger (filled with things like blue cheese and bacon or white American cheese) and special “Chronic fries” from Stella’s Lounge

Best Co-Working Space: The Factory, which fosters a sense of community with tons of recurring events like “Coffee with Creators” and “Hack Night.”

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): The outdoor biergarten at The Sovengard, where you’ll find an awesome bar made from a shipping container, a bocce ball court and tons of tables for hanging out.

Creative Hub: The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, aka UICA, which offers an incredible lineup of films, gallery talks, artist receptions, performance art events and more as part of the Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University.

Favorite Weekend Activity: Hitting up some of the more than 45 Grand Rapids breweries along the Beer City Ale Trail (there’s a reason Grand Rapids is nicknamed “Beer City USA”).

Free Way to Have Fun: Wandering through the Downtown Market Grand Rapids, home to more than 20 vendors, cooking classes, an incubator kitchen, rooftop greenhouses and more.

Local Dream Job: Director of Sculpture, Art Collections, Exhibitions and Installations at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, which features more than 300 sculptures and hundreds of plant species across 158 acres.

Read More:
5 Best Cities for Families in Michigan
Love Craft Beer? Check Out Grand Rapids.
How Incubator Kitchens Build Economic Opportunity in Grand Rapids

- Sarah Kuta

"Grand Rapids is a cool city with a 'just-right' blend of big-city amenities, close-by natural resources and friendly people. Our thriving art and cultural offerings combine with a nationally recognized craft beverage and culinary scene to make this a great place to live and host friends and family."

Janet Korn
Senior Vice President, Experience Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, MI Ranking Data