Grand Rapids in Top Ten for Most Affordable Housing in Nation
Brochure: West Michigan Overview
West Michigan is an amazing place of live, work and play.
Our region is growing in all the right places, and offers exciting career and life opportunities.
Learn more by visiting hellowestmichigan.com
Grand Rapids is the business, financial, legal and cultural center of West Michigan and is the second-largest urban area in the state. With a population of approximately 1 million, the Greater Grand Rapids area has been among the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the Midwest.
Grand Rapids enjoys a diversified economic base that includes numerous service industries and manufacturers of furniture, musical instruments, electronics, automobiles, aircraft components and consumer products. More than 100 of our organizations are engaged in global trade. Fortune Magazine named Grand Rapids one of the top 10 "Best Cities for Business." Industry Week labeled Grand Rapids a "world-class manufacturing community."
The city has successfully combined new development with a concern for preserving the past. The 1980s saw the construction of a convention and performing arts center, a downtown pedestrian shopping mall, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and a 28-story riverfront hotel. Those successful developments spawned several restoration and development projects in the 1990s, including the construction of a downtown campus for Grand Valley State University, two additional downtown hotels and a $35 million public museum and planetarium. Also built in the 1990's was the Van Andel Arena, ranked 16th in the world for annual entertainment ticket sales.
The Van Andel Research Institute opened in 2000 and underwent a $200 million expansion in 2009. Designed by renowned New York architect Rafael Vinoly, this facility houses a world-class medical research laboratory and cutting-edge science education program. The Institute, part of the ever-expanding Medical Mile in downtown Grand Rapids, is a key player in scientific and translational research, both statewide and across the country
In 2009, a unique event called ArtPrize turned downtown Grand Rapids into a giant art gallery. More than 1,200 artists participated in the contest, which gained international attention. For 17 days, people viewed art that ranged from traditional canvas paintings to performance art, balloon sculptures, wood carvings and myriad other mediums of artistic expression. They then voted on their favorites. The winner walked away with $250,000. The second annual ArtPrize in 2010 promised to be bigger and better than the first.
For those who enjoy the arts, Grand Rapids has a renowned professional symphony orchestra, an opera company, a ballet troupe and traditional and experimental theater companies. The Broadway Theatre Guild annually brings several Broadway plays to DeVos Hall. The city boasts a national reputation for its collection of public art, which includes major outdoor works of sculpture by Calder, DiSuvero, Morris and others. Leonardo DaVinci's 80-ton, 24-foot-tall high horse, Il Cavallo, stands proud at Frederik Meijer Botanical Gardens and Sculpture Park, another area gem. Grand Rapids also has an art museum, a natural history museum and planetarium, and a zoo. The city's three-day arts festival on Calder Plaza draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and is the largest all-volunteer arts festival in the United States.
Grand Rapids offers many housing alternatives, from downtown condominiums and loft apartments and the Victorian houses and apartments on Heritage Hill (all within walking distance of the firm), to suburban and country living (within minutes of downtown). Several members of the firm have chosen to live on Lake Michigan or on one of the many nearby inland lakes.
Residents enjoy minor-league baseball and hockey. Both the West Michigan Whitecaps and Grand Rapids Griffins are affiliated with major-league teams in the state. Michigan's natural beauty presents unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation. Lake Michigan and numerous other lakes, forests and recreational areas are within a short drive for those who enjoy sailing, power boating, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing, hunting, camping, skiing, snowboarding and other outdoor activities. West Michigan is a golfer's paradise, with more than 700 public and private courses. In fact, Michigan has more golf courses than any other state.
Grand Rapids is known as a big city with a small-town personality. From block parties to ballet, opera to sporting events, natives and newcomers alike will tell you -- Grand Rapids has it all.