With frigid temperatures and plenty of snow over the last week, there’s no denying winter is upon us. The winter season brings unique challenges as we try to stay safe and healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with many of us continuing to work, go to school, and quarantine at home. As Punxsutawney Phil predicted another six weeks of winter, it’s time to get creative about enjoying the cold season.
Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and the City of Grand Rapids, with numerous community partners, has brought the World of Winter Festival to Grand Rapids. This festival takes advantage of Michigan’s cold climate to provide interesting ways for people to experience and enjoy the season. All programs and activities are free, socially-distanced, and geared toward both families and adults.
If you’re ready to brave the elements, we recommend bundling up and checking out these cool sights:
The Singing Tree at Canal Park
Start near Canal Park, where parking is a bit easier to find, and check out the Singing Tree. This lighting experience transforms traditional displays into interactive experiences. Interact in real-time by singing, clapping, or yelling to create an unforgettable and magical experience.
Impulse on Monroe
Walk south along the river to check out Impulse on Monroe, another interactive art installation. All ages will enjoy the 15 seesaws that light up and create sound when put into motion.
Hybycozo’s at Ah-Nab-Awen Park
Keep heading south and make your way to Ah-Nab-Awen Park, where you’ll find the beautiful, photo-worthy installations that investigate geometric exploration and patterns through light and shadow.
Ice Luminaries at the Gillett Bridge
Make your way to the Gillett Bridge to check out the ice luminaries! These ten giant icicles have lights frozen in the center.
Winter Tumbleweeds at the Blue Bridge
Keep heading down the river to the Blue Bridge, making sure to check out the Grand Illuminations installation, highlighting the rock cluster in the river. As you get to the Blue Bridge, you’ll find the Winter Tumbleweeds, a playful installation made out of over 5,000 pool noodles.
If you’re visiting after February 12, we recommend crossing the Blue Bridge and heading into downtown, where you’ll find large, colorful hearts scattered around as part of the Have a Heart installation. You can also wander around to find more than 80 ice sculptures as part of the Valent-Ice event.
In addition to the art installations, there are also plenty of family-friendly events you won’t want to miss, including pop-up performers, live ice sculpting, and more!
Need to keep extra cozy? Order a hot beverage from the Corner Bar at Amway or Uccello’s Downtown! Or make a night of it by dining (indoors or outdoors!) at one of the many wonderful downtown restaurants!