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Grand Rapids Winter Activities

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Horse-drawn carriage rides through World of Winter celebrations 2021 | Photo by Breegan Petruska

By Chloe Ranger-Raimundi

Experience Grand Rapids has put out a list of COVID-19 friendly winter activities for those who are bored and may be looking for a way to lift their spirits. 

“The Grand Rapids area is easy to get to, easy to get around, and easy to enjoy,” says Katie Lieto, Director of Marketing at Experience Grand Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau in an email to The Collegiate. “We’ve got all the best amenities found in a larger city, with the charm and ease of a smaller town.”

Amidst these difficult times of trying to follow COVID-19 guidelines while still trying to be active and entertain yourself, there are a variety of indoor and outdoor activities detailed by ExperienceGR. These activities include everything from ice fishing to laser tag to dining at a recently opened restaurant in GR.

“Frederik Meijer Gardens is the most visited attraction in the Grand Rapids area,” says Lieto. “The amazing blend of garden and sculpture creates a place that anyone can find enjoyment in, no matter their interests. They’ve also done an excellent job adapting their safety protocols for COVID-19.” 

Lieto explains that the Gardens are one of the most visited attractions this time of year. They feature sculptures that glisten in the snow and Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory where you can experience the tropics. 

You can plan a visit to Frederik Meijer Gardens to participate in their LMCG Interactive Winter Walks at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday or other winter events found on their website calendar.

Another main attraction is ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle. This classic winter activity in Downtown GR has adapted to COVID- 19 guidelines and is taking reservations from now until Feb. 21. With a $2 admission fee, you can skate Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There are only a few spots available for this season. Reserve your spots online or call, at 616-456-3696.

While not listed on the ExperienceGR website, Classic Carriage LLC is another fan favorite winter activity. Carriage rides around Downtown GR are available now until March 1, Friday & Saturday nights starting at 7 p.m. They offer half hour carriage rides for $60 and full hour carriage rides for $90. They highly recommend calling, at 616-498-6090, to make a reservation, as they are busy this time of the year. They provide friendly and reliable service. 

These are only a few of the recommendations from Experience GR. You can visit their website for more information on winter activities, including ice fishing, skiing, and visiting the World of Winter Festival.

The ExperienceGR website also recommends numerous newly opened restaurants that follow the COVID-19 guidelines. 

Going out to eat used to be a part of everyday life. That was put to an end during the first shutdown in March of 2020. Coming out of this most recent dining room closure, many people are on the lookout for safe, available dining options that follow COVID guidelines. 

“I’ve also been really impressed with the way that our restaurants in the area have adapted and created fun and usable winter outdoor dining spaces,” says Lieto. 

Below are some restaurants recommended by ExperienceGR: 

And, of course, the classic eating you can experience at Grand Rapids Downtown Market.

If nothing on their website piques your interest, bundle up and head outside. “I’ve really enjoyed having the opportunity to explore more of our area parks and nature trails,” Lieto said. There are a variety of trails and parks in the Grand Rapids area, great for exercising or relaxing.

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