With Lake Michigan lapping our western shore, West Michigan is home to a paradise of sugar-sand beaches, lighthouses, wineries and inland lakes. It also boasts impressive performing arts venues, historical museums and unique shopping. Learn more about all West Michigan has to offer by exploring the tabs below.
What’s it like to live in West Michigan?
With scenic Lake Michigan beaches, plenty of wooded parks, lakes, rivers and trails, West Michigan offers an unparalleled variety of seasonal outdoor activities.
West Michigan is also home to Grand Rapids, the state’s 2nd largest city and the urban center of a growing region of more than 1 million people. The area is within a 3-hour drive to Detroit and Chicago, and a day trip from many major eastern and Midwest metro areas.
- U.S. News and World Report ranks 14 West Michigan high schools in Michigan’s top 50.
- The region is home to more than 20 colleges and universities with high-ranking programs in areas ranging from engineering to cybersecurity.
- There are 8 school districts designated as Michigan “Promise Zones,” using private funds to help students earn an associate degree or certificate.
- The Challenge Scholars program provides Grand Rapids’ Union High School students in the class of 2020 and beyond a last-dollar scholarship to a Michigan public college or university of their choice.
- Grand Rapids was named the 13th best place to live and the 2nd best city for raising a family in the U.S.
- Travel + Leisure named Grand Haven as “One of the Best Secret Beaches on Earth.”
- Holland was ranked as one of the happiest places to live in the U.S.
- Grand Rapids has been named Beer City, USA.
- The region offers farm-to-fork dining, eclectic shopping and thriving nightlife.
- Sports fans will enjoy West Michigan Whitecaps baseball and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey.
- 27,678,445,667,345 places to fish!
What do people do for fun in West Michigan?
From experiencing cultural events and festivals to exploring pristine beaches and quaint lakeside communities, West Michigan is full of places to discover and things to do.
Places to see, things to do
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is one of the world’s 100 most visited art museums and one of the top 30 must-see museums on the planet.
- Lake Michigan beach towns across West Michigan offer 200 miles of freshwater beaches, plus dunes and 1,300 inland lakes. The region also has 14 state parks, providing an abundance of options for day hikes, backpacking and camping.
- In addition to an impressive collection of 2,000 animals, John Ball Zoo offers the only funicular in the Midwest.
- Windmill Island Gardens provides a view into the region’s Dutch heritage with an authentic windmill and Dutch dancing.
- The Silver Lake Sand Dunes is the only place east of Utah where you can drive a motorized vehicle on sand dunes.
Culture & events
- Festivals that attract international attention—ArtPrize, Tulip Time, Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, just to name a few.
- Music, Broadway and regional theater venues offer a variety of genres as well as a rich museum scene.
- The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) is the world’s first LEED® Gold certified art museum. The 125,000-square-foot building features 20,000 square feet of gallery and exhibition space, and it also offers many opportunities and events for children.