What to Do on the Weekend: Exploring Grand Rapids and Beyond

Written by Leah Erben

Posted on October 1, 2019

Just beyond the highway lies a magical land of fantastical off-campus adventures. Spend your weekends trying exciting new restaurants, seeing a show, or exploring new cultures throughout the greater Grand Rapids area. Check out this list of the best things to do on the weekends and you’ll never be bored again.

Pew campus at night.

Mall Shopping Spree

Shop till you drop at one of Grand Rapids’ two large shopping malls.

Woodland Mall: a host of wonderful stores to choose from such as the Apple Store, Lush, and Forever 21.

Rivertown Crossings: some highlights include Dick’s, Macy’s, and a full Celebration Cinema.

Grand Rapids Museums

Spend a Sunday afternoon being sophisticated and classy by visiting the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, or the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum.

Evening at the Theater

Whether you’re into Broadway or the Jonas Brothers, Grand Rapids has a show that you’ll want to see. Start looking into what shows and performers are coming to Van Andel Arena, DeVos Performance Hall, or Grand Rapids Civic Theater. 


If you’re looking to get outside and explore beautiful hiking trails and waterfronts, head to one of the many peaceful parks that surround both GVSU campuses. 

Grand Ravines North County Park and the Grand River Park: two gorgeous locations close to the Allendale campus where you can go study, walk, or hammock. 

Riverside Park: closer to downtown Grand Rapids with a breathtaking view of the Grand River, perfect for a picnic with friends. 

Meijer Gardens: historical artifacts, art, and a butterfly garden! This indoor/outdoor garden will not let you down.

John Ball Zoo

If you want to spend your weekends hanging out with lions and apes, bring some friends to Grand Rapids’ very own John Ball Zoo. Make sure you bring your GVSU ID so you can get that sweet college discount! It’s Michigan’s first zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, meaning one of their goals is to save species and rebuild animal populations.

Beach Day

We are fortunate enough to be a mere half-hour drive from the shores of Lake Michigan, and you can spend your weekends frolicking on the sandy shores with friends or reading a good book in the sun. 

Grand Haven State Park: Grand Haven Pier, sunset over the lake, and stellar Instagram content.

Holland State Park: the “Big Red” Holland lighthouse, idyllic town promenades, and Holland’s gorgeous windmill island gardens

Dinner in Downtown Grand Rapids

Downtown Grand Rapids is full of unique shops and fantastic restaurants that are yours to discover. 

Downtown Market: a wonderful place to find gourmet cheeses, fish, meats, tacos, sushi, noodles, coffee, smoothies, a host of vegetarian options, and so much more. 

The BOB: another popular downtown destination filled with live entertainment and a variety of different eateries.

Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop: reasonably priced soups and sandwiches as well as a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Maru Sushi: 20% off with your student I.D. on Mondays and Tuesdays from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

Stella’s: pinball machines, a dance floor, and gourmet pub food.

There’s so much to do in the greater Grand Rapids area that you don’t have to worry about being bored. Additionally, there’s a whole separate list of fun activities that don’t even require you to leave campus. Check out the Events Calendar to find out which exciting upcoming events you don’t want to miss.

Page last modified January 27, 2022