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Located minutes away from Lake Michigan, Grand Rapids is a city that blends natural coastal beauty with a hip, eclectic, and inclusive vibe. Many know it as the “Furniture City” for the fact that it is one of the largest furniture manufacturing cities in the country, but it was also recently honored by The Advocate as one of the “Gayest Cities in America”. Expedia also recently declared it “among the cream of the crop of cool cities to visit in the United States.” Truly, Grand Rapids is known for being inclusive, hip, and fun.
A Glimpse at Grand Rapids History
Grand Rapids initially began as a fur-trading post in the early 1800s, eventually growing into a village, and officially a city in 1850. As it continued to grow, various industries became popular, until it eventually became a major lumbering center in the late 19th century – an industry that would give rise to a great deal of fine furniture manufacturing, and the nickname “Furniture City”. It’s not only furniture that Grand Rapids is well known for, though – it is also known as “Beer City USA” because of its nearly 100 craft breweries, and it is also known for its thriving and advanced health care industry, in addition to many other opportunities it offers to those who live and work there. It is truly a wonderful place to call home, with much to offer visitors and residents alike.
Grand Rapids Fun Facts
Find more fun facts about Grand Rapids here.
The LGBTQ Community in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids has a warm and welcoming LGBTQ community, and it offers a number of resources and community centers to celebrate and support the community’s continued growth.
The Grand Rapids Pride Center is an LGBTQ community center in Grand Rapids that has been dedicated to empowering the LGBTQ community in Grand Rapids through supportive services and awareness since the 1980s. Located in the Eastown neighborhood of Grand Rapids, the Pride Center is an active and involved community partner and place of acceptance, education, support, and social connection for the LGBTQ community.
Grand Rapids Weather
Grand Rapids typically has warm and partly cloudy summers and cold dry winters. Spring and fall are usually pleasant and mild, and residents can expect to experience the beauty of all four seasons. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 18°F to 83°F and is rarely below 3°F or above 90°F.
Can’t-Miss Events in Grand Rapids
The Grand Rapids Pride Festival is one of the largest one-day events in Grand Rapids, bringing LGBTQ community members and LGBTQ businesses, allies, and organizations together to celebrate diversity, inclusion, and celebration. With over 150 vendors, a community stage featuring local LGBTQ artists, a family fun area, and a main stage showcasing local drag queens and three national artists, the festival offers something for everyone.
PFLAG is a large, grassroots organization with locations across the country supporting the LGBTQ community. PFLAG works continually toward making sure that all people – LGBTQ people, friends, and allies are valued by society, and take pride in and value themselves as well. This is accomplished through providing peer-to-peer support, education, and advocacy. The Holland-Lakeshore branch of PFLAG serves the greater Grand Rapids community.
Where to Live in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids is a city full of welcoming spaces and friendly people. In fact, it would be difficult to find a neighborhood that wasn’t that way. With that said though, here are a couple of the areas in Grand Rapids that are most popular with the LGBTQ community:
Some have described Eastown as the Greenwich Village of Grand Rapids – meaning that it is eclectic, artsy, and with a hip, diverse vibe. It is a 70-square block district known for being very popular with and welcoming to the LGBTQ community. The median home value in Eastown is currently approximately $237,000.
The downtown area of Grand Rapids is popular with the LGBTQ community, an offers a diverse variety of entertainment, dining, and shopping opportunities, all within a 10-minute walk. Those who visit the downtown area will encounter safe, clean streets and friendly people. The median price of homes sold in downtown Grand Rapids is currently approximately $184,000.
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Arts and Entertainment
The Grand Rapids Art Museum has been bringing fine art to the Grand Rapids community since 1910. The current building, constructed in 2007 is an architectural marvel. Inside, it is just as marvelous, housing collections from Renaissance to Modern Art and everything in between.
The Saugatuck-Douglas area was recently named by Midwest Living magazine as one of the top vacation destinations in the United States. These two communities form what is known as the “Art Coast” of West Michigan because of their strong artistic heritage. Also the site of popular Oval Beach, the Saugatuck-Douglas area is particularly popular with the LGBTQ community.
Parks and Recreation
The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is one of the world’s 100 most-visited art museums. It prides itself on showcasing masterpieces of art and nature in its 158-acre space. It’s a wonderful place to spend a day enjoying the outdoors, and appreciating art at the same time.
Grand Rapids has 28 golf courses within fifteen miles of downtown, making it one of the top cities in the country for per capita public golf courses. If you love golf, or if you’d like to learn, Grand Rapids is a great place to do it.
The Fifth-Third Riverbank Run is America’s largest 25K road race. It draws participants from around the globe – over 20,000 per year, in fact!
Grand Rapids Nightlife
The Apartment Lounge is Michigan’s oldest gay bar, and it is a can’t miss LGBTQ destination for those who want to fully experience Grand Rapids nightlife. It is a comfortable, low-key bar that has a long history of offering wonderful theme nights and regular drink specials.
Rumors Night Club is a popular LGBTQ night club with a fun dance floor, great DJs, karaoke, and drag shows. Expect an evening full of socializing, dancing, and fun.
Contact a Grand Rapids Realtor Today
If you’re ready to begin finding out for yourself all that Grand Rapids has to offer, now is a great time to get started. Contact a Grand Rapids gay realtor today for a free, no-obligation consultation!