Another weekend, another girlfriend getaway! Missy and I headed up to Grand Rapids, Michigan in search of some of the best brews in the Midwest (spoiler alert: we found ’em).
Before I delve into my favorite spots in Grand Rapids, let me give you a few tips on things to keep in mind while you’re there:
- Many bars don’t open until 4pm, even on weekends
- Nightlife doesn’t get going until after 10pm
- Because Grand Rapids is a popular beer-cation spot, you can receive a passport featuring all of the area breweries. Get stamps at eight of them and earn a t-shirt!
- Definitely take a brewery tour early in your trip–you’ll not only get to try some fantastic beers, but you’ll get a TON of insight on places to eat and things to do
- Downtown is really compact; you can easily walk to many of the breweries Grand Rapids is known for, so bring comfy shoes!
With that said, check out some recommendations for making your trip to Grand Rapids a great one:
Wowza–if you’re looking for a fantastic brunch at a great location and price point, go to Social Kitchen and Bar. You will eat like a king with huge servings and frequent coffee refills at a low price. I loved my avocado toast (seriously, it looked like there were about 4 avocados on it!) and Missy was a fan of her breakfast sandwich. We could have easily split an entree and had leftovers. Don’t miss this gem!
Need a break from boozin? The Downtown Market is an adorable smorgasbord of food counters and shops located under one roof. Check out the bakeries, spice houses, fish stands, and more while meandering through cute wine stores and souvenir shops.
Get your caffeine buzz at the adorable Mayan Buzz Cafe, just a block away from Founder’s. Hearty yet affordable breakfast items, high-octane coffee drinks, and a chill and cute atmosphere make Mayan Buzz a winner. Bonus: they have a chalkboard where you can draw your fave Pokemon character!
We took a 3-hour walking tour with Grand Rapids Beer Tours, where we got to taste nine beers at four Grand Rapids Breweries. I highly recommend taking this tour, as it’s a great way to explore downtown Grand Rapids while trying some of the most popular local brews that can’t be found elsewhere. As I mentioned before, breweries in the Grand Rapids area provide you with a Passport to track your brewery experiences–take advantage of this fun and free incentive to check out some great spots! Take a look at the four spots we hit up through GRBT:
A beer-lovers staple, we started our tour at the ever-popular Founder’s, located in the heart of downtown. We were given two samples, the Reds Rye, and the Nitro Oatmeal Stout–both fantastic, and both unavailable outside of the taproom. Even if a beer tour isn’t in your future, you do not want to miss out on Founder’s. Everything from the main bar to the patio is worth a look!
This fun and lively bar has a reputation for the best loaded fries, appropriately naed crack-fries (unfortunately we didn’t have them, but man did they look tasty!) and some of the best brews out there. I loved the HopCat Beer Right Meow! I mean seriously, isn’t that the cutest name?
The Big Ol’ Building, a.k.a. BOB’s Brewery is a multi-level brew-and-food experience, with a cozy basement lounge, a spacious main level with restaurants and history, and Bobarino’s a top-level bar and restaurant. We tried three beers at BOB’s, and the Spaceboy Stout was, well, OUT OF THIS WORLD!
A beautiful, rustic bar and restaurant, Grand Rapids Brewing Company is such a treat with some cool history to boot. The reclaimed wood walls make for a comfortable, welcoming environment, and the friendly staff is eager to share their knowledge about the beer and brewery. Try the One Night in Cologne if you are like me a love a great Kolsch!
Need a cool, nostalgic vibe with a ton of drink options? Head to Pyramid Scheme, a pinball bar downtown! Take a gander at the fantastic decor, comprised of tongue-in-cheek artwork, old school comic book style posters, and great music. They offer a bunch of beer from Shorts Brewing, and you’ll love the laid back setting.
Need a great dinner at a cool local establishment? Look no further than the baseball-themed Mitten Brewing Company! The food is creative and delish (hot dog pizza anyone?) and the beers are fabulous. The friendly staff is happy to help you choose a beer best suited to your tastes; I loved the Relief Session IPA and the Extra Innings. As for food, the beer cheese and the Stromboli (stuffed with sausage, artichoke hearts, and broccoli) were AH-mazing.
Looking for a great burger and a cool vibe? Who isn’t! Stella’s Lounge came highly recommended to us, and I can see why! This 90s-themed whiskey and burger bar is a Grand Rapids staple, with some of the tastiest stuffed burgers I’ve ever had. I loved the Hot Stuff, a burger stuffed with jalapenos and pepperjack, with a side of deliciously seasoned fries.