Moving to Grand Rapids

If you've been contemplating a fresh start, may we propose a city bustling with entrepreneurial spirit, thriving arts scene, and unlimited outdoor adventures? Welcome to Grand Rapids, Michigan! Our comprehensive relocation guide is about to unveil the charm and opportunities that wait for you in this metropolis lovingly referred to as 'River City'. This isn't just a move, it's the beginning of your new love affair with Grand Rapids. So, sit back, relax, and allow us to transport you to the vibrant streets, serene parks, and cozy neighborhoods of your potential new home.

Moving to Grand Rapids, MI landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to Grand Rapids

1. Brew City: The Sudsy Side of Grand Rapids

You don't need to be a beer enthusiast to move to Grand Rapids, but it might just push you over the edge! Lovingly known as "Beer City USA", Grand Rapids has an impressive array of breweries, with over 80 in the metropolitan area. Regularly topping lists of America's best beer cities, you'll have the privilege of B.O.B's Brewery, Founders Brewing Co., and more on your doorstep. Expanding your horizons never tasted so good!

2. Nature Is Your Neighbor

Grand Rapids loves its green spaces. With over 1,500 acres of parkland spanning across the city, you'll never be far from a peaceful escape. Whether it's a picnic beside the Grand River or a winter wonderland outing at Riverside Park, Grand Rapids is a paradise for walker's, joggers, and those just looking for a tranquil place to chill. And don't forget to check out the breathtaking beauty of the Frederick Meijer Gardens!

3. The 'Furniture City'

You might not know this but Grand Rapids earned its stripes as the 'Furniture City'. This might sound surprising, but its history is rooted in furniture manufacturing. Even today, the city houses five of the world's leading office furniture companies. Think of this as an encouragement to level up your home decor game!

4. ArtPrize: The City's Open-Art Gallery

Every fall, the downtown area of Grand Rapids transforms into an open-air gallery showcasing the works of thousands of artists from around the globe. It's known as ArtPrize and it's unlike anything you've ever experienced. For art enthusiasts and creative souls, your neighborhood streets becoming an al fresco display of creative expression is just another reason to love Grand Rapids.

5. Culinary Delights: A Foodie's Paradise

Forget what you've heard about the Midwest, Grand Rapids is a foodie's paradise. The city's farm-to-table scene is vibrant with a number of restaurants like Green Wagon Farm and Bistro Bella Vita committed to local produce. Also, it's impossible to ignore Michigan's cherries and blueberries, which feature heavily in local menus - both savory and sweet!

6. Eccentric Museums: Yes, They Have Those Too!

This one's for the curious minds! Did you know Grand Rapids is home to a museum dedicated entirely to fluoridated tap water? The Fluoride Expose Museum is likely the only one of its kind in the world. Grand Rapids also houses the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, showcasing the life and times of America's 38th president. It's safe to say that Grand Rapids definitely has its share of distinctive attractions!

When you move to Grand Rapids, you're not just finding a place to live. You're embarking on a diverse cultural experience that pairs small-town charm with big-city amenities. Adequate preparations are necessary when moving to any new city, but with Grand Rapids' impressive beer, art, eclectic museums, and outdoor scenery, settling in will surely be an adventure worth having! So, pack your bags, unleash your sense of adventure and get ready to call Grand Rapids home.

What to know before moving to Grand Rapids, MI image
See the 10 Best Movers Nearest You
(Unbiased) Ranking of the top movers in every city.

Pros and Cons of Living in Grand Rapids

Pros of Living in Grand Rapids

Thriving Arts Scene

Grand Rapids boasts a lively arts scene that includes award-winning theater, a world-class art museum, and the dynamic ArtPrize competition that takes over the city every autumn. This vibrant cultural atmosphere fosters creativity and provides numerous entertainment and learning options.

Outdoor Recreation Opportunities

From the sprawling Frederick Meijer Gardens to the network of trails and parks, Grand Rapids offers a veritable variety of outdoor activities. The Grand River that flows through the city itself offers opportunities for boating and fishing and adds to the city's picturesque beauty.

Robust Craft Beer Industry

With close to 80 breweries, Grand Rapids is frequently hailed as "Beer City USA." Beer enthusiasts would love living here as the city is full of opportunities to try a diverse range of craft beers, take brewery tours, and participate in an array of beer-centered events.

Strong Community Spirit

Grand Rapids is recognized for its strong sense of community. The city regularly ranks high for its level of volunteerism and philanthropy. It's also known for hosting community events throughout the year, building a strong sense of belonging and camaraderie among residents.

Affordable Living

Compared to many other cities in the U.S, Grand Rapids offers an affordable living standard. This affordability is not only evident in housing but also in areas like groceries, healthcare, and entertainment, which is advantageous for family living and for people looking to retire.

Cons of Living in Grand Rapids

Harsh Winters

Grand Rapids experiences long, cold winters with plenty of snow. The average snowfall is higher than in many other U.S cities. If you're not a fan of cold weather, this could be a major disadvantage of living in Grand Rapids.

Higher State Taxes

Michigan, including Grand Rapids, has a slightly higher state tax rate when compared to the national average. This can add to the cost of living for residents, affecting their overall disposable income.

Limited Public Transportation

While there are bus services in Grand Rapids, the public transport system is somewhat limited especially for those used to robust transportation options in larger metropolitan areas. This may require dependence on personal transportation to commute or for daily activities.

Less Diverse Food Scene

In comparison to larger, more cosmopolitan cities, the food scene in Grand Rapids may seem less diverse. While the city offers a range of restaurants and cuisines, those seeking specific international or gourmet options may find the choices limited.

Fewer Job Opportunities in certain sectors

While the job market is strong in sectors like healthcare, education, and manufacturing, there may be fewer opportunities in other sectors. People in specific careers such as technology, fashion, or entertainment might find it harder to find opportunities in Grand Rapids.

Modern day picture of Grand Rapids, MI highlighting pros and cons of living in Grand Rapids, MI

Is Grand Rapids a Good Place to Live?

Grand Rapids, MI is a great place to live because of its thriving arts scene, diverse culinary experiences, and rich cultural heritage. Its neighborhoods are teeming with historic charm and modern conveniences, that blend perfectly with its vibrant downtown offering plenty of unique shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Not to forget, the city takes great pride in its abundant parks and outdoor spaces, perfect for all kinds of recreational activities - making it an exciting place full of life and spirit!

What Is Grand Rapids Famous For?

Beer City, USA

With over 80 breweries, Grand Rapids proudly earned the title of 'Beer City, USA' in a nationwide poll. From small-town ales to hop-filled IPAs, your taste buds are sure to embark on an adventure no matter which brewery you choose to visit.

The Furniture City

Grand Rapids was once known as the furniture capital of the world. Its rich history in furniture manufacturing and design has made it a great destination for furniture enthusiasts and interior designers from around the globe.

ArtPrize Festival

Art lovers unite at the annual ArtPrize festival. Hosting art from both around the world and locally, Grand Rapids transforms into a living art gallery where everything from parks and bridges to museums and bars becomes a canvas.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

Step back in time as you stroll through the Grand Rapids Public Museum. With extensive collections on history, culture and science, the museum provides a fascinating window into the past and the present.

Capital building of Grand Rapids, MI in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

In Grand Rapids, MI, as of 2023, the average property tax rate is about 2.13%. This rate is comparatively higher than the national average, which sits at around 1.07%.

Sales Tax

The sales tax in Grand Rapids, MI, remains at a rate of 6% as of 2023, which is on par with the average sales tax rate across the US. Many states vary between rates of 4% - 7%.

Income Tax

For 2023, the income tax rate in Grand Rapids, MI, is 4.25%. Compared to other states in the US, this is relatively low, as many states have rates that range from 1% to 13.3%.

Housing Market

The Grand Rapids, MI housing market is competitive compared to other US regions. Home values have seen a significant rise over recent years, around 8.7% annually. Median home value stands at approximately $188,000, lower than the national average. The vibrant rental market has a median rent of about $1,100 per month. The city's homeownership rate is robust at around 67%, indicating a healthy mix of both owners and renters. However, potential homebuyers and renters should note high demand and limited inventory potentially driving up costs.

Cost of Living

Currently, the cost of living in Grand Rapids, MI is considerably lower than many other cities in the United States. Housing costs are particularly favorable, multiplying Grand Rapids' appeal for those seeking a good quality of life at an affordable cost. Although healthcare and transportation costs trend slightly above the national average, the overall cost index is still invitingly low. Compared to larger metropolitan areas on both coasts, Grand Rapids presents a financially welcoming scenario without compromising on the amenities and conveniences of city living.

Weather & Natural Disasters

Grand Rapids, Michigan, experiences a typical Midwestern climate with four distinct seasons. Winters can be quite rigorous, with substantial snowfall and temperatures dipping into single digits, often accompanied by gusty winds. The spring season is unpredictable, sometimes snowy, but generally mild and rainy, paving the way for a lush display of wildflowers. Summers are warm and humid, with temperatures reaching the mid-to-high 80s. In the autumn, Grand Rapids is adorned with brilliant leaf colors with a clear, crisp air which makes the season quite enjoyable. Natural disasters, though rare, include occasional tornadoes, winter storms, and flooding, often due to the Grand River's rising levels. Despite the variability of weather patterns, Grand Rapids embraces each climatic challenge with a preparedness that enhances the residents' resilient spirit.

Typical weather in Grand Rapids, MI

Economy & Job Market

Healthcare and Social Assistance


Retail Trade

Education Services

Accommodation and Food Services

The economy of Grand Rapids, MI is diverse and vibrant, with strong roots in both manufacturing and healthcare. Historically, the city was known as the "Furniture City", a testament to its powerful position in the furniture manufacturing industry. While manufacturing remains an important sector, new growth areas have emerged. Today, top employers in the region span an array of industries, from healthcare and social services to retail trade and education. Grand Rapids also has a growing food and hospitality sector, being known as "Beer City, USA" for its numerous microbreweries and craft beer bars.

If you're considering a move to Grand Rapids, MI, you'll be pleased to know that the city boasts a lower unemployment rate than the national average. And if you're wondering where to focus your job search, healthcare and social assistance is a great place to start, with Spectrum Health and Mercy Health Saint Mary's among the city's top employers. Manufacturing is also still going strong with companies like Steelcase and Amway offering many employment opportunities. For those interested in retail, Meijer, a supercenter chain, is one of the largest employers in the area. Professionals in the education sector will find opportunities with Grand Rapids Public Schools and Grand Valley State University. Lastly, let's not forget the food and hospitality industry, where there's always demand for workers, especially considering the rapidly growing craft beer scene.

Traffic and Transportation

Strap in for a joyride around Grand Rapids, MI! Here, the average commute time is near 21.8 minutes, a far cry from those grueling city traffic jams most of us dread! Zipping past the city's scenic greenery on your way to work is simply icing on the cake. For those who prefer the charm of public commutes, the city's public transportation is super accessible with The Rapid, providing over 1,300 stops! For globetrotters, Grand Rapids keeps you conveniently connected with the world via its Gerald R. Ford International Airport. With direct flights to 30 major market destinations, you're just one takeoff away from your next adventure! So whether you're road tripping through the town, taking a bus ride, or soaring in the skies, Grand Rapids has got your transportation game in check!

What is the traffic like in Grand Rapids, MI?

Best Neighborhoods in Grand Rapids

1. East Grand Rapids

First up is East Grand Rapids, a family-friendly neighborhood that radiates a homely suburban feel. Its tree-lined streets are bustling with activity: joggers in the early morning, families on bike rides, people walking dogs, neighbors chatting on porches... it's a sight that resembles a perfect television show. East Grand Rapids is known for its well-maintained parks, trail system, and the picturesque Reeds Lake where you can sail balmy summer afternoons away. The Gaslight Village downtown area offers cute boutique shops, delightful restaurants, and charming cafes that add a dash of urban flavor to this suburban idyll.

2. Heritage Hill

Heritage Hill boasts some of the city's most splendid historic homes. This highly walkable neighborhood is an architectural lover's dream with structures dating from the 1840s to the early 20th century. It exudes an undeniably enchanting, genteel atmosphere. The neighborhood also provides easy access to downtown's vibrant nightlife, art, and restaurant scene, making it a perfect choice for those who crave a balance between tranquility and urban energy.

3. Fulton Heights

Fulton Heights deserves a shout-out for its rich sense of community, patchwork of local businesses, and easy access to exciting downtown amenities. Here, you'll find the city's Community Garden where neighbors bond over their love for fresh produce, and the Fulton Street Farmers Market, the oldest farmers market in Grand Rapids. Want an added bonus? The neighborhood is only a stone's throw away from outdoor recreational fun at the Hillcrest Dog Park!

4. Creston

If you adore character homes, a lively arts scene, multigenerational family-owned stores, and funky little breweries, Creston would be a top contender. It is one of Grand Rapids' oldest neighborhoods and houses diversity in both age and background. The winding streets follow the snaking Grand River, adding an element of natural beauty to an already charming locale. The Creston neighborhood also celebrates the Creston Market every year, a delightful community gathering filled with food, local art, and music.

5. Eastown

Last but not least, we have Eastown, often referred to as Grand Rapids' most cosmopolitan neighborhood. Known for its artistic and eclectic vibe, you'll stumble upon edgy boutiques, art galleries, indie music venues, and some of the city's best ethnic restaurants here. Eastown buzzes with youthful energy and hosts the popular Annual Eastown Street Fair. It's the place to be for those craving a hip, urban lifestyle within a friendly community setting.

In conclusion, Grand Rapids, with its diverse and vibrant neighborhoods, has much to offer any potential resident. Whether you are in search of a family-friendly suburb, a historic district, or a hip and lively neighborhood pulsating with character, Grand Rapids has got you covered. So pack your bags and get ready for your grand adventure in one of these incredible neighborhoods!

Best neighborhoods in Grand Rapids, MI image

Things to Do

Welcome to Grand Rapids: a city teeming with delectable breweries, tremendous art culture, remarkable historic sites, thrilling activities, and more. Whether you are new to the city or just passing through, here are 7 must-do things you absolutely cannot miss.

1. Brewery Hopping

The city, often referred to as 'Beer City USA', is home to more than 80 breweries. The breweries unique to this city offer beer tours where you can learn all about the art of brewing while tasting some genuinely unique brews. From Founders Brewing Co to Brewery Vivant, each stop on your brewery tour will be filled with unique flavors and unforgettable experiences.

2. Visit the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

A trip to Grand Rapids is incomplete without a visit to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. It's a stunning 158-acre botanical garden and a world-class art museum. From stunning landscape designs, internationally acclaimed sculpture and works of art, the Gardens is a place you'll never forget.

3. Adventure at John Ball Zoo

An adventure awaits at John Ball Zoo--with over 1,300 animals including lions, tigers, bears and more. Explore the aquarium, ride the funicular for an amazing view of the city, or visit during the summertime for a chance to feed the budgies.

4. Check Out the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Immerse yourself in the history of Grand Rapids at the public museum. With everything from a 1928 Spillman Carousel to an actual slice of the Kent County night sky, this museum offers a unique exploration of the past that you won't find anywhere else.

5. Take a Stroll Down the Heritage Hill

One of the best ways to see the City of Grand Rapids is just by going for a stroll. The Heritage Hill, a neighborhood known for its vast collection of historic residences, features houses dating back to 1844. The area includes more than 1,300 homes in a variety of architectural styles, making it a living museum of American architecture.

6. Enjoy Live Performances at Circle Theatre

As far as hidden gems go, the Circle Theatre is perhaps one of Grand Rapids' best-kept secrets. Located in the Aquinas College campus, the theatre puts on an array of high-quality live performances year-round. This includes everything from Broadway plays to musical tributes.

7. Explore the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital's Art Collection

The Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is not just a place of healing, but also a surprising spot for art lovers. The hospital publicly displays an extensive collection of artwork from diverse artists, aimed to foster a healing environment for patients. It's a free, unique way to experience the local art scene.

From unparalleled beer tasting experiences to top-tier artistic displays and historical exploration, Grand Rapids is vibrant in every aspect. Join in the fun, drink in the culture, and fall in love with the unique Michigan charm of Grand Rapids. Welcome, new residents and visitors alike!

Things to do in Grand Rapids, MI?

Find Movers for Your Grand Rapids Relocation

Having explored the beauty, culture, and opportunities of Grand Rapids, it's time to make the move a reality. Simplify your transition with the expert movers that Great Guys Moving connects you with. By submitting basic information about your move, you can promptly receive quotes from our network of licensed, insured, and highly reputed moving companies. Don't just move to Grand Rapids, do it with absolute ease and confidence. Start your journey to this wonderful city by requesting a free moving quote today. Let the experts at Great Guys Moving assist you in making this move your best move yet.

See The Best Movers For Moving To Michigan From...

Find out how much your move costs!