If you’re planning on moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan, you definitely need to brush up on your knowledge about the city’s culture, industries, statistics, and the types of entertainment and places to live. The second-largest city in Michigan and a former thriving center of indigenous peoples thousands of years ago, the Grand Rapids area has had something for everyone throughout time. Better known as “GR” by locals, the city was named the number 1 travel destination in the United States by Lonely Planet. Get better acquainted with your new home by learning a few facts and getting a few tips about the city.
Because of Grand Rapids’ rich history, many of its central neighborhoods are home to historic buildings, houses, and museums. Heritage Hill, for instance, is one of the largest urban historic districts in the U.S., located just northeast of downtown.
Let your passions guide you when you seek to find an apartment in Grand Rapids. If you’re a nature lover or like spending time outdoors, you might want to live near the vast Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park which includes an amphitheater that hosts several events a year. If you want to live close to the bustling side of town, the Hillside District will put you right near the Grand Rapids Medical Mile.
The Rapid provides public buses in the metro area, and Megabus began serving the area to several Great Lakes cities. There is an Amtrak rail that serves the area as well, but most personal transportation is done by car on the city’s main highways, I-96, I-196, and US 131. And when you’re moving, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport can get you in and out of the city as quickly as you please.
Dominating as the urban center of West Michigan, Grand Rapids is 25 miles east of Lake Michigan and lies on Grand River. With the Great Lake comes plenty of snow in the winter, but also warm, humid summers – a great place for people who like to experience all four seasons.
In the 19th century Grand Rapids became the center of furniture manufacturing due to its significant lumber industry, earning it the nickname Furniture City. Since then, it has become a center for health science. Spectrum Health is the top employer in the area and the Grand Rapids Medical Mile is home to several world-class health centers and facilities that focus on health sciences. Further, Grand Rapids is a major hub of GE Aviation.
The city is also home to a community college, an ITT Technical Institute, and several public and private K-12 schools, including the oldest co-ed Catholic school in the U.S. For more statistics and information about Grand Rapids, visit an online community tool.