This article was written by Sarah Williams local real estate expert with The Steve Volkers Group in Grand Rapids, MI. If you would like to write a guest blog, please contact Matt Muscat with Treadstone Funding.
With an abundance of green space, lakes, rivers and downtown action, it’s easy to find amazing picnic spots in Grand Rapids, MI. Whether it’s a playful PB&J-style romp with the kids or a romantic sunset soiree with your sweetie, you’re sure to find a place in Grand Rapids that will provide the perfect backdrop to your picnic outing. Below are 10 of our personal favorites:
1. John Collins Park on Reeds Lake (650 Lakeside Dr SE, EGR). For a peaceful picnic, this simple yet beautiful park is the place to go. Extending west off of Reeds Lake near Gaslight Village, John Collins Park features a lush green expanse of lawn dotted with trees and bordered by benches and a paved walking path. The lake itself offers wonderful views, with plenty of sailboats, ducks, geese and at times even a swan or two. Bring your own food or pick up some delicious fare from the adjacent Rose’s on Reeds Lake restaurant. Dogs are welcome, too!
2. Riverside Park (2001 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids). Plop yourself down along the banks of Riverside Park and let the rolling waters of the Grand River set the scene for an awesome outdoor lunch. This large park features beautiful walking trails, a boat launch, disc golf course (be sure not to set up your picnic on the fairways!) and more. Community events, festivals and even impromptu drumming circles can be found here. Enjoy the people watching or simply daydream in tune to the tumbling rapids.
3. Linus C. Palmer Park (1250 44th St SW, Wyoming). When your picnic is to be more of a party, Palmer Park on the west end of town offers a plethora of pavilions, tables, grills and restroom shelters plus a ballfield, wooded walking trails, multiple playgrounds and adjacent golf course. This is great spot for birthday parties, graduation celebrations and family reunions!
4. Ada Township Park (1180 Buttrick Ave, Ada). Located on the east side of town, this classic neighborhood park covers 57 acres and offers multiple ballfields, tennis courts and even a special fishing spot for children. Countless tables, grills, gazebos and pavilions all make for wonderful picnicking. Enjoy your meal, then take part in some family playtime in one of the most beautiful spots in town!
5. John Ball Zoo (1300 W. Fulton St, Grand Rapids). Looking for a WILD picnic experience? Look no further than the John Ball Zoo! A large picnic and playground area located outside the zoo entrance gates is open for everyone at no cost. For those who say nothing goes better with lunch than lions, tigers and bears, there are exciting picnic spots inside the park, too, overlooking several of the wild animal exhibits. When little tummies are GROWLING for food and fun, John Ball Zoo is the place to go!
6. Ah-Nab Awen Park (220 Front Ave NW, Downtown). When an evening picnic is the plan, this downtown favorite is a great spot. With Free Movie Nights that invite you to BYO blankets, chairs, and yes, even beer, plus numerous citywide events including 4th of July Fireworks and Celebration on the Grand, Ah-Nab Awen turns picnicking into a unique adventure!
7. Calder Plaza (250 Monroe Ave NW, Downtown). For a city-style concrete picnic, downtown’s Calder Plaza located at 250 Monroe Ave NW adjoins the city and county buildings and offers cafe-style seating centered around the city’s hallmark sculpture, La Grande Vitesse. A popular spot with the business lunch crowd, families, lovebirds and lone picnickers alike will fit right in at this bustling downtown hub. A great place to enjoy a bite on the go while watching the world go by!
8. Frederik Meijer Gardens (1000 E. Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids). Imagine yourself picnicking in a paradise of butterflies, exotic Japanese gardens, art sculptures and regional blossoms and of all kinds. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park consists of 132 acres of botanical gardens and art sculptures just waiting to delight your senses. A popular spot for showers, weddings and other special events, it’s also an amazing place to enjoy a quiet picnic with your special someone. The on-site ‘Taste of the Gardens’ cafe offers many delicious choices!
9. Rosa Parks Circle (135 Monroe Center St NW, Downtown). A great year-round picnic destination! In the summer, enjoy lively music concerts and swing dancing in this favorite downtown hot spot. Then, when winter winds wail, pack thermoses of hot soup, cocoa and other cold-weather favorites for a “snow picnic” alongside the famous ice skating rink!
10. The Lakeshore. OK, so we know it’s not technically within the Grand Rapids boundaries, still we just couldn’t overlook this jewel of West Michigan. Whether it’s Holland State Park, Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Saugatuck shores, Grand Haven or South Haven that you frequent, the crashing waves of Lake Michigan beckon you to spread out a beach blanket, break out the sandwiches and enjoy a relaxing afternoon just soaking up some rays. This is pure West Michigan bliss.
No matter where you decide to unpack that picnic basket, beauty surrounds you in full when Grand Rapids is the place you call home. Happy picnicking, and have fun exploring all corners of our wonderful city! For more articles like this visit our blog!
Sarah Williams/Steve Volkers