Top 11 Reasons Grand Rapids/West Michigan is the #1 Place to Visit in 2014

A huge thank you to various national publications for appreciating the gem that is Grand Rapids and West Michigan in the recent year. Most recently added to the list, Lonely Planet, the well-known travel advisor, listed Grand Rapids and the West Michigan Gold Coast as the #1 place to visit in the United States in 2014. A huge honor to the community and the state as a whole, this recognition reiterates what most of us already know.


img_5400-1__largeTo capitalize on Lonely Planet’s distinguishing ranking, we at A Healthier Michigan believe there are even more reasons to visit Grand Rapids and West Michigan, not only in 2014, but any time of the year. Below, in no particular order, are the top 11 reasons Grand Rapids and West Michigan is the #1 place to visit next year.


1. Farm to Table Movement

West Michigan has fully embraced the farm to table movement within the area restaurants. A large number of the area chefs take pride in locally sourcing their ingredients from plentiful farms.

Food Dance Pushes Farm to Table to the Next Level

Farm to Table Movement

-2013 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo


2. ArtPrize

ArtPrize has become an internationally renowned art competition with the largest public prize in the world. This last year represented art from over 70 different countries.

-“Embracing with Strength and Grace” at ArtPrize

Five Must Sees at this Year’s ArtPrize

New ArtPrize Executive Director sees ArtPrize as “home” for artists

Enjoy Great Art and a Great Walk During ArtPrize 2012


3. Wineries and Beer City, USA

Michigan comes in as the fourth-largest grape growing state in the country. Additionally, Grand Rapids has won the title of Beer City, USA for the past 2 years in a row.

April Declared Michigan Wine Month

Grand Rapids says, “Thank You, BEER!”

A Healthier Michigan’s A-Z Guide to Michigan Wineries: 2013 West Michigan Edition

Your 2012 updated, A-Z List of Michigan Breweries


4. Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets provide top-notch access to the freshest, most locally grown food—second only to picking the produce yourself!

Michigan Farmers’ Markets: Downtown Market Grand Rapids

Recipes from the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market (Grand Rapids)

Downtown Market Grand Rapids puts the ‘Grand’ in Grand Opening

Revitalized Fulton Street Market continues to put locally grown food on your table


5. Beaches and Dunes

West Michigan has some of the most beautiful beaches and dunes in the country. In fact, the Sleeping Bear Dunes were recently voted “Most Beautiful Place in America.” Additionally, the winner of this year’s ArtPrize was an amazing quilt of the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

6 Great Michigan Beaches to Take the Family to this Summer

MI Big Green Gym: P.J. Hoffmaster State Park

Enjoy the Summer Surf and Sand at these Michigan Beaches

#MITrailsWeek: Fisherman’s Island State Park


6. Outdoor Recreation

Grand Rapids and West Michigan as a whole has a wide variety of outdoor recreation options throughout the entire year. From hiking to trails to water sports and snow sports, there are options for all fitness levels and passions.

Fun Fitness Classes in Michigan

#MITrailsWeek: Get Outside and Go Hiking This Week!

#MITrailsWeek: Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail

Gearing Up For Shoe Year’s Day


7. Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups

West Michigan has become a hub of start-up talent for the state of Michigan. Through philanthropic support, grassroots initiatives, and community support, these entrepreneurs are becoming the top contenders in the region.

Start Garden is Growing Entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids

West Michigan Entrepreneurs Create Diabetic-Friendly Snack Bar

An EPIC Win for Uptown Kitchen in Grand Rapids

coLab breaks barriers on coworking


8. LaughFest

LaughFest brings together nationally known comedians to West Michigan venues in hopes of spreading laughter, awareness of mental health, and benefits of happiness.

LaughFest’s LaughteRx: Emotional Health Speaker Series

-Gilda’s Club’s David Abbott Speaks on LaughFest and LaughteRx

Terri Tate: Humorist and Two-Time Cancer Survivor

Is Laughter Really the Best Medicine?


9. Healthcare and the Medical Mile

The Medical Mile in Grand Rapids has catapulted the region into being an international hub for healthcare, hospitals, and research. In West Michigan as a whole, there are a number of the top hospital and healthcare systems for the state of Michigan.

Why not pick Grand Rapids for a conference destination?

$200,000 BCBSM grant has big impact in West Michigan


10. Raising a Family

According to Forbes Magazine, Grand Rapids is the best place in the country to raise a family. Additionally, factors such as low cost of living, education system, and more affordable housing options allows for West Michigan to achieve this honor.

Why is Grand Rapids the Best Place in the Country to Raise a Family?

Where to go to find Fall family fun in West Michigan


11. Apple Orchards and Cider Mills

Autumn in Michigan is a truly beautiful experience with all of the colors and activities. Plentiful in West Michigan, apple orchards and cider mills are sprinkled through what seems like every mile of the area.

Your 2013 Guide to Apple Orchards and Cider Mills in West, Northern, and Mid-Michigan

Tis the Season for Apples

Meet our Favorite Michigan Apples!


What else makes Grand Rapids and West Michigan the #1 Place to Visit?



Photo credit: Bobby Pulte Photography



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