Weekend Getaway! How to Explore Grand Rapids, Michigan
Just a quick drive from the hustle and bustle of Chicago, you’ll find Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Brand New Full Episode at End of Blog) Or as locals and travelers alike call it… “Beer City, USA.” Even though Grand Rapids is only 2.5 hours north of Chicago, I had never made the trip until now. The saying “better late than never” has never been more true. Here are some things about Grand Rapids you may not know:
Grand Rapids has a KILLER Food scene!
My first stop on my journey up to GR was a brand new (massive) restaurant called Noco Provisions. Noco means “Northern Comfort” and not only do they hit the mark of what typical comfort food would be, but they surpassed it by far. They have a strict farm-to-table mentality and everything on the menu is a unique take on a classic comforting and delicious dish. PLUS it has really re-energized the dining and nightlife scene in the area as it’s quite the go-to hot spot already, do not miss it! Check out the episode of Eat Travel Rock TV featuring Noco Provisions below!
My second stop was to Stella’s Lounge. Not only did it bring back all of my fondest memories from the 80’s and 90’s (like The Simpsons, Double Dare, and Mad Dog shhhhh)… But their food was incredible, too! And if you’re not a meat eater, they have some of the best vegetarian and vegan options I’ve ever seen.
Grand Rapids has an amazing DRINK scene!
No visit to Beer City, USA would be complete without checking out Founders Brewing Co. Founders is one of the most famous craft breweries in the country, and we couldn’t pass it up. The venue is massive. They have live music, great food, and of course, you can only drink their homemade brews. Their IPA is one of the most flavorful I’ve ever had.
However, Grand Rapids isn’t ALL BEER?! You heard right, folks…Long Road Distillers was GR’s first distillery. And man, they are doing it right. First off, the space is gorgeous. Their distillery room looks like something out of Willy Wonka’s factory. The food menu is one of the most creative and delicious I’ve seen. Their cocktails…OUT OF THIS WORLD. But, what stood out most to me: Aquavit. What?! Yep, Aquavit. It’s the unique spirit they masterfully distill. So masterfully that they’ve won awards for producing the best in the world! They’ve even beat out brands from the native Scandinavian countries from where Aquavit hails. They say it’s a cousin of gin. It’s herbal and flavorful, yet it’s made with dill and caraway vs. juniper berries. It’s incredibly tasty… and if you’re curious you’ll have to head over to Long Road since they don’t distribute nationally yet.
Grand Rapids Has a Killer Music Scene!
Not only were we able to check out some awesome live music while we were at Founders Brewing, but it was so cool to see how many live music venues there were around town. I love when a city has something for everyone, arena concerts, and tiny hole in the walls where you can see an up and coming band. What I wasn't expecting was that Frederik Meijer Gardens, one of the most beautiful botanical gardens and sculpture parks I've ever seen would be hosting a Jethro Tull concert! Nature rocks!
I’m already itching to make the short drive north again to Grand Rapids, now I see why I’ve always heard such positive feedback from anyone who has traveled there. I was thoroughly impressed with the vibe, the food, the people, the scenery, and of course, the drinks! Who’s comin’ with me?!
Check out the full Grand Rapids Episode of Eat Travel Rock TV Below!