Grand Rapids, approximately 25 miles east of Lake Michigan, is named after a series of Grand River rapids that have now been covered over by the city's expansion. In Kent County, the city has today a population of only 189,000, but the foot traffic swells during the warmer months when many people frequent summer homes in the lakes surrounding the city. Grand Rapids event venues also receive much international traffic, thanks to the city's being the world headquarters of Amway.
For a small city, Grand Rapids has a very large airport: Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR), is four miles south of downtown Grand Rapids, has domestic service covering a large chunk of the United States (24 U.S. cities) as well as international service to Toronto, Canada, with Air Canada.
Chief city's convention center is DeVos Place, which has 162,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom, 26 meeting rooms and a 2404-seat theater.
Hotel venues in Grand Rapids that are able to host events and meetings include the 340-room JW Marriott Grand Rapids, which includes a ballroom able to host 1,500 persons; the 320-room Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids, which can accommodate events of up to 600 persons; the 226-room Hilton Grand Rapids Airport, which has 2,000 square feet of meeting space; the 214-room Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Grand Rapids, which has seven meeting rooms with more than 10,000 square feet of space; and the 79-room Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Grand Rapids Airport, which has 2,000 square feet of meeting space and a 10,000-square-foot indoor water park.
Grand Rapids event venues include the DeltaPlex Arena & Conference Center, which has a 20,000-square-foot arena able to host 6,500 persons, as well as the 22,300-square-foot Westside and 16,500-square-foot Hillside halls; and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, which has its grounds, lobby and 250-seat auditorium for events. Also in the city are the Grand Rapids Public Museum, which in 2013 stages Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit and has space for functions of up to 1,200 persons; the very celebrated, 132-acre Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, which has 15 spaces for events, some of which overlooks its 30 acres of wetlands and one of which, the Grand Hall, can cater to banquets of up to 660 persons; and Crossroads Conference Center, which contains the 4,032-square-foot Great Lakes Ballroom.
Excellent restaurant selections for groups include the Acorn Grille at Thousand Oaks Golf Club, which has two private dining spaces for 73 and 16 persons, respectively; The B.O.B. (an acronym for Big Old Building), which is in fact an entertainment complex featuring five restaurants and a brewery; another brewery, Vivant, which is in a former church, specializes in Belgium beer and cuisine and caters to groups of 15 or more; The Chop House, an upscale steak house, which has two private dining rooms for 20 and 40 persons, respectively; and Mojo's Dueling Piano Bar & Restaurant, which opens between Wed. and Sat., puts on dinner shows, with dueling pianos, too, and can rope off its second floor for groups.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons author : Rachel Kramer