30 Things To Do in Grand Rapids This Summer

Summer’s in full swing, and the number of festivals, concerts, classes and other fun activities to check out is always growing in Grand Rapids! Grab your calendar and buckle up — here are some of the coolest Grand Rapids happenings to keep on your radar for the rest of this summer.


Table of Contents

  1. Cultural Festivals
  2. Family Friendly Events 
  3. Pop-Up Markets & Sales
  4. Food & Drink Events
  5. Art Exhibitions & Workshops
  6. Active Events
  7. Concerts & Entertainment



Cultural Festivals

Grand Rapids Asian-Pacifc Festival

Celebrate the rich traditions of Asia and the Pacific Islands through cuisine, cultural demonstrations, and performances.

Details + Dates:

  • Free admission
  • June 14 & 15: 11am-11pm
  • June 16: 12pm-5pm
  • Calder Plaza


Grand Rapids Pride Festival

On it’s 36th year in Grand Rapids, the Pride Festival is one of the city’s largest one-day events. Expect a day full of live performances, vendors, and food trucks! Though general admission is free, all profits of the day go directly to the GR Pride Center.

Details + Dates:

  • Saturday, June 22nd
  • 12:00pm-10:00pm
  • Calder Plaza


Global Water Festival at Canal Park

This festival showcases how cultures around the world celebrate the water and its centrality to life. Enjoy a global variety of food vendors, artisan booths, live music and more! This year, there will even be a community paddle session where attendees can ride the dragon boats and paddle in the Grand River.

Details + Dates:

  • Free admission
  • July 27-28
  • 9:00am-5:00pm
  • Canal Park


Grand Rapids Hispanic Festival

Come on down to Calder Plaza and celebrate the Latinx culture with authentic food, music, dancing, and fun! The Hispanic Festival is a tradition in Grand Rapids loved by all ages – raised funds go to the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.

Details + Dates:

  • Free admission
  • August 2: 5pm-12am
  • August 3: 11am-12am
  • August 4: 11am-5:30pm
  • Calder Plaza


A Glimpse of Africa Festival

Explore the vibrant diversity of Africana through food, fashion, art, music, dance, and more at West Michigan’s largest African cultural event! Featuring entertainment by local African talent, an art & merch market, hair braiding, henna tattoos, headwrap tutorials, games, and more.

Details + Dates:

  • Free admission
  • August 9: 3pm–11pm
  • August 10: 10:30am–11pm
  • August 11: 10:30am–5:30pm
  • Calder Plaza


Dozynki Polish Festival

Experience Polish culture with this fun, family friendly event is free, featuring live music, dancing and some of the best Polish food in West Michigan!

Details + Dates:

  • Free admission
  • August 23-August 25
  • Calder Plaza



Family Friendly Events

Sciencepalooza by Michigan Science Center

In Grand Rapids for the first year ever, this traveling science exhibit is made to introduce K-7 students to cutting edge science concepts and technology. Each activity station relates to real-world STEM career professionals.

Details + Dates:

  • Free admission
  • Thursday, June 20
  • 11am–5pm
  • Downtown Market


Meet the Machines

Meet all the machines that keep our city going! There will be emergency vehicles, construction vehicles, and everything in between for the whole family to see up close.

Details + Dates:

  • Free admission
  • Tuesday, July 23
  • 11am-2pm
  • Downtown Market


GR Lantern Festival at John Ball Zoo

Experience John Ball Zoo in a whole new light during their annual lantern festival, where a mile-long stretch is decorated with handcrafted Asian lantern displays that will illuminate the Zoo and tell the intersecting story of wildlife and Asian culture.

Details + Dates:

  • Tickets required
  • April 10-June 16
  • Tuesday-Sunday
  • 7:30pm-11:30pm


Return to the River Festival

It’s back and bigger than ever — this year with three Riverwalk locations that are connected and within walking distance! Interactive art installations, live performers, an artisan market, food trucks, body painting, and even more unique surprises will dot the riverwalk for folks of all ages to enjoy.

Details + Dates:

  • Free admission
  • August 24: 1pm-11pm
  • August 25: 1pm-8pm
  • 555 Monroe, Sixth Street Park, and Canal Park



Pop-Up Markets & Sales

The Mitten Vintage Festival

West Michigan has become a hub for vintage fashion in the past couple of years. If you’re in the mood for a shopping spree, hunting down a specific piece, or just like to look, this is a great festival to attend with over 50 vendors selling clothes, accessories, decor, and more!

Details + Dates:

  • July 13
  • 12pm-6pm
  • Calder Plaza


Summer Rummage Sale

Search for new-to-you finds from dozens of community members and vintage sellers at Fulton Street Market. One day only!

Details + Dates:

  • July 28
  • 11am-4pm
  • Fulton Street Farmers Market


Oddities & Curiosities Expo

Partake in all things odd at this expo, brought by select vendors, dealers, artists, and small businesses. It’s a great place to find something one-of-a-kind.

Details + Dates:

  • Tickets Required for Entrance
  • July 27: 10am–6pm
  • July 28: 10am–4pm
  • DeVos Place


Made Market

This handmade market features over 50 makers from all over the region to sell their amazing creations. It’s worth a visit, even to grab inspiration from all the talented vendors that are a part of the market.

Details + Dates:

  • $5 Admission
  • July 14
  • 10am-5pm
  • Goei Center


Fulton Street Farmers Market

A farmers market that has been around for over 100 years is sure to know what they’re doing. This is the perfect place to pick up some locally grown produce. Their covered market hall makes it a pleasant place to shop, rain or shine!

Details + Dates:

  • Open Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays
  • 8am–2pm
  • Main Season runs May-October



Food & Drink Events

Relax at Rosa

This lunchtime entertainment series aims to gives workers the opportunity to step away from their desks, get out of the office, and enjoy the benefits of working in a vibrant Downtown. This event series boasts a diverse lineup of local bands, a variety of food trucks, and oversized lawn games!

Details + Dates:

  • Thursdays
  • 4:00pm–7:00pm
  • Rosa Park Circle


Food Truck Fridays

Grab some fresh air and tasty food from a selection of food trucks! With over a dozen trucks serving every cuisine from American soul food to Swahili-TexMex fusion, everyone can find something they’ll savor. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets to hang out by the river and enjoy the beautiful summer weather.

Details + Dates:

  • Fridays
  • 5:00pm–9:00pm
  • Until July 26
  • Riverside Park


Taco & Tequila Festival

Tacos paired with a great drink makes for the ideal summer combo. You can have it all with this tequila tasting festival, complete with food trucks, live music, and more!

Details + Dates:

  • Tickets Required, VIP Tickets Available
  • July 27
  • 4pm-8pm
  • Riverside Park


Art Exhibitions & Workshops

Festival of the Arts

Immerse yourself into nearly every kind of art imaginable by visiting the Festival of the Arts here in Grand Rapids. These are three days full of visual art, dance, music, film, literature, design and more.

Details + Dates:

  • Free
  • June 7: 12pm-10pm
  • June 8: 10am-10pm
  • June 9: 10am-6pm
  • Calder Plaza


Flying Jewels & Other Lofty Insects

Have you heard the cicadas yet this summer? Take a close up peek at bugs of all different varieties at this exhibition going on at the Fredrik Meijer Gardens. Don’t worry, there is no creepy crawling — these bugs are just for looking.

Details + Dates:

  • Free with general admission
  • Through August 18
  • 7:00–7:45pm


Drop-In Studios at the GRAM

If you’re like us, then odds are you, too, get inspired after visiting an art museum. Well, the GRAM gives visitors of all ages the opportunity to get those creative juices flowing with their Saturday Drop-In Studios. Each activity is inspired by what they are currently showing in the gallery, and all materials are included!

Details + Dates:

  • Saturdays
  • 11am-3pm
  • Free with Regular Admission



Active Events

Gran Fondo

A signature Grand Rapids bike race — Gran Fondo has four route lengths to include a wide range of bikers, from casual riders to serious cyclists, and even has options for tandem bike pairs. The best part? After you finish your selected path, you get to celebrate at the Finish Line Festival!

Details + Dates:

  • Race Registration Required
  • June 22
  • 5:30pm–6:15pm
  • Starting Point: Van Andel Arena


Tuesday Night Swing Dancing

Get your dancing shoes on and join in on Swing Dancing at Rosa Parks Circle! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, get your grove on to live music.

Details + Dates:

  • Tuesdays
  • 7:00pm–9:30pm
  • Until October 8
  • Free
  • Dogs welcome!


POUND on the Blue Bridge

Using lightly weighted drumsticks, POUND transforms drumming into a creative workout combining cardio and strength training with yoga and Pilates-inspired movements. These sessions are welcome to all fitness levels, so let loose and make some music!

Details + Dates:

  • Thursdays
  • 5:30pm–6:15pm
  • Until August 17
  • Free, no registration required


Grand River Historical Walking Tours

Our city’s namesake Rapids disappeared from the Grand River the later part of the 1800s – but last year, work began to restore the natural rapids. Get the scoop on our river, its rich history, and the restoration work in progress on this guided walking tour, spanning about 1 mile!

Details + Dates:

  • Fridays
  • 6:15pm–7:00pm
  • Until September 1
  • Free, no registration required
  • All fitness levels welcome



Concerts & Entertainment

Breakaway Music Festival

Returning for the 6th year, Breakaway will be bringing some big-name artists (like DeadMau5 and Tiësto) to Grand Rapids this August! General admission tickets will include access to all main stage events, a silent disco, local food trucks and vendors, as well as assorted activities!

Details + Dates:

  • Tickets Required
  • August 16 & 17
  • 4pm-11pm
  • Belknap Park


Sunset Cinema

Do you ever feel torn between watching a movie or enjoying the outdoors during the Summer? Especially in Michigan, we need to make the most of our sun-filled months! Well, with this movie series from Studio Park, you don’t have to choose! Go watch one of these fan-favorite films with lounging around the Studio Park Piazza!

Details + Dates:

  • Free
  • Select Saturdays, June through September
  • 8pm
  • Bring your own seating


Music on the Farm

Sit back and enjoy live music at Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm Market. It’s the best treat after going out for their produce U-Pick. Just be sure to bring your own fold-out chair or your favorite picnic blanket!

Details + Dates:

  • Fridays: 6pm-9pm
  • Saturdays: 1pm-4pm
  • Free admission


Euchre Thursdays

How good is your poker face? House Rules has a friendly Euchre Tournament every Thursday night that allows you to try your luck (and your skills) to compete for one of their prizes. This is a great way to practice the game and meet new people!

Details + Dates:

  • $5 Tournament Entry
  • Thursdays
  • 7pm-10pm


Vinyl Nights

There’s nothing like the sound of music from vinyl! If you have some records you’d like to share, show off, or even trade, this is the event for you! Toast to your love of all things analog at Broad Leaf Brewery every Thursday night!

Details + Dates:

  • Free
  • Thursdays
  • 6pm-10pm


Looking for more things to do?


Get ready for a summer filled with fun activities!