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5 Things to do in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is full of hidden gems and popular sites. People of all ages can find fun activities for low prices anywhere in the city. Individuals, couples, and groups can enjoy the following places on a free afternoon or evening.

 

1. Happy Cat Cafe

Cat-lovers can visit this cafe to eat snacks, drink a variety of beverages, and (of course) play with cats. Patrons can purchase a thirty-minute time slot or an hour time slot, for $7 or $10 respectively. This not only gives them access to a room full of adoptable cats and kittens, but also a free drink of choice (including coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soda, and others). Those who post on social media can also have a complimentary snack. There are play structures and toys for the cats’ entertainment. Customers can pet or play with cats, but not pick them up or disturb them while they are sleeping. The cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m., but it opens one hour early on Saturdays and two hours late on Tuesday and Thursday.

Four cats from the Happy Cat Cafe. Photo credit: Jill Pierangeli.

2. Swing Dancing Lessons 

The non-profit organization Grand Rapids Original Swing Society hosts swing dancing classes for the community at Calvin University on Wednesday nights. Their indoor location is the Calvin University Covenant Arts Center, and the class runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. They teach beginner and advanced East Coast swing, as well as a different specialty dance each week. The specialty dance the next two weeks is tango. Dancers pay $5 for admissions to the lesson, which goes towards venues and music for the events. Admission for the night includes two twenty-minute lessons and open dance sessions. There is no dress code. Dancers dress as formal or informal as they like, and no partners are necessary. Single dancers often ask strangers to dance and many ask a different person each song so no one feels left out. There are also special songs where people can switch partners throughout or ask someone they do not know. Swing dancing lessons are for people of all ages and skill levels, as long as they are ready for a good time. The organization also hosts open swing dances for $5 as well on Tuesday nights from 7:30 to 9:30 with a lesson from 7:00 to 7:30. Information and location is located on their website.

Anna Rapaport (’21) and Abby Brewer (’21) swing dancing in Rosa Parks Circle. Photo credit: Carli Maltbie

3. Grand Rapids Art Museum 

The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) is a Grand Rapids staple. It features over 5,000 pieces and currently hosts an abstract exhibition and a Billy Mayer exhibition. Admissions are free Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hours are available on their website, and the price on non-free days is $6 for 6-17 year-olds and $8 for older students. Admission offers unlimited access to the artwork, including paintings, drawings, and sculptures, as well as a GRAM sticker. Patrons can wander around the spacious museum for as long as they like, a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon!

GRAM logo on a provided sticker. Photo credit: Jill Pierangeli

4. Great Lakes Glow Golf 

Great Lakes Glow Golf offers glow-in-the-dark mini-golf and a selection of new and vintage arcade games. The course has 18 holes under black-lighting with neon accents and decor. It has fun twists and animal sculptures, but overall is not too challenging. It is perfect for beginners! The arcade also features about 25 games, and there are concessions (including ice cream) available for guests to purchase. The cost is $10.50 per person per game, which comes with unlimited arcade access. They are open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

Golfer attempting final put at Great Lakes Glow Golf. Photo credit: Jill Pierangeli

5. Robinette’s

FHE Cheer team at Robinette’s. Photo credit: Tara Kloostra

Robinette’s is a classic local site, yet still worth mentioning. They have recently opened their fall activities, including their corn maze, hayrides, petting zoo, jumping pillow, and apple picking. This year’s corn maze theme is space in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Tickets are $8 per person and it is open every day. Hayrides are offered Saturdays and Sundays (tickets are $7) and the petting zoo is open Sundays. They also feature a unique, air-filled jumping pillow installed in the ground. Children 3 and older can have unlimited access jumping for the day for $5. They also have a year-round bakery that sells fruit, donuts, cider, and other pastries, as well as a lunch menu.