The last 20 years have witnessed a dramatic transformation of the downtown area of Grand Rapids, Mi. Downtown Grand Rapids is one of Michigan’s best kept secrets! An article in the Grand Rapids Magazine highlighted some of Grand Rapids, Michigan’s best kept secrets which included the following facts:
- You Can Live Tax Free in Grand Rapid’s Renaissance Zone!
The First Green Museum in the Whole World (The New Grand Rapids Arts Museum) is currently under construction in Grand Rapids, Michigan!
The Greater Downtown Grand Rapids area has 10 Public parks!
When I’ve taken family members, visiting from out of state downtown, they are always surprised by how vibrant & sophisticated the downtown area has become. In addition to a varied and eclectic collection of restaurant options, the downtown area also has a good variety of museums, parks and entertainment venues such as the Van Andel Arena and the recently renovated and expanded DeVos Hall.
Going downtown in Grand Rapids for dinner or lunch can be a special treat! Here are some of my favorite downtown restaurants. If you enjoy fine food, you will find that downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan rivals many world class locations!
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel: A premier, first rate hotel, the Amway features several excellent restaurants which range from upscale to casual. The Cygnus 27 restaurant high atop the top floor of the hotel, offers stunning views of the city vista as well as a sophisticated decor & creative menu entrees. The 1913 Room is a perennial favorite for special occasion dining & features a first class menu. I also recently enjoyed a wonderful Birthday Celebration at Bentham’s, a more casual eatery on the main floor level. (616-774-2000) Located at 187 Monroe NW, Grand Rapids, MI.
A new entry into the Amway family of hotels is the JW Marriott’s Six.One.Six Restaurant. This contemporary eatery features a demonstration kitchen where guests can observe some of the prep work and an intimate setting for more a more casual approach to an upscale menu.
San Chez…A Tapas Bistro: Located at 38 W. Fulton, just a stone throw from the heart of city’s business district, this Spanish Tapas style restaurant features authentic dishes with a Cuban, Mediterranean and Spanish flair. The concept of a tapas was initially foreign to me…a meal of appetizers??? It’s a very interesting dining experience. The inventive preparations from the extensive menu are enjoyed on small appetizer sized plates. The entrees are tasted and shared by all. It’s a social experience as well as a cultural one. It’s surprisingly filling so…make sure you leave room for dessert! (616-774-8272)
Leo’s: If you’re a seafood lover, you will want to make sure you visit Leo’s restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Nominated by readers of the Grand Rapids magazine in 2006 for the Restaurant of the Year Award, Leo’s delivers excellent service and a great selection of menu options. Fresh seafood is the signature trademark, but meat lovers will also enjoy the wide variety of steak and pasta creations. Located at 60 Ottawa Ave, NW. (616-454-6700)
Heritage Restaurant: This is definitely one of Grand Rapids, Michigan’s best kept secrets! It’s a fine dining restaurant which is run by students and the faculty of the Grand Rapids Community College. The Heritage is located in the middle of the downtown campus and the restaurant is only open for portions of the year to accommodate the availability of the college students. But if you call ahead to make sure they are open and to make a reservation (616-234-3700), it promises to be a great value with good service, and an interesting array of menu selections plus… perhaps a chance to meet a future famous chef!
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