• Elizabeth Listerman

Quirks of Living in Grand Rapids

If you read last Thursday’s blog then you might find this one super similar. And it is, but also it’s not. Grand Rapids has a variety of pros for living in the area, and there are a couple that are worth noting that are personal to my own experiences in the area. Grand Rapids is everything I said and more, but now we are going to take it to the next level and discover why I fell in love with GR, and why you might too.

Grand Rapids is a beautiful city sitting on the edge of the Grand River in western Michigan. It encompasses a community full of creativity, innovation, imagination, and dedication. And with every aspect throughout the city, you can see those traits portrayed across the board. It’s important to not only fall in love with the visage of the city but also fall in love with its heart. The heart being the people who wake up every day and make a change and flaunt their passion for the community to enjoy and admire.

Of course, Grand Rapids has beautiful art, a developing downtown, a range of career opportunities, famous breweries, and charitable philanthropists. But it also has sweet, fun little quirks that keep me here—aspects that I find beneficial to my lifestyle and make it so hard to ever think of leaving.

Local Coffee Shops on Every Corner

Being a coffee connoisseur, I make it a goal to have a latte or café miel every day. Due to budgeting and saving, I can’t just drop $5 on a latte every day. Therefore, my roommate makes me a coffee with her handy coffee bean grinder, Moka pot, and handheld milk frother. But other times, I get to visit a few of my favorite places. I love being so close to many local coffee shops. Just down the road, I have Corridor Coffee and Roots Brew Shop, and then a couple of minutes’ drive I have Ferris Coffee Co. and Rowster Coffee. Of course, I have favorites— how can I not, but usually I find myself at Ferris Coffee Co. enjoying an oat milk chai latte while doing schoolwork.

Every coffee shop has a different aesthetic, and every coffee shop has an element that makes it stand out from the last. Lyon Street has a spectacular earl grey lavender latte and the cutest spot on Lyon street. Corridor Coffee has melt-in-your-mouth croissants. Outdoor Coffee Co. has an outdoor seating experience that makes your cup of coffee cozier than normal, especially during the fall and winter season. And Roots Brew Shop encompasses a community full of friendly faces, and helpful hands. Grand Rapids is full of coffee shops that are owned by passionate, kind residents that take great pride in serving their community an amazing cup of coffee.

Proximity to Lake Michigan

In the summer, there is never a day where I am not enjoying the summer weather. Even at work, I find myself gazing out the windows or making the excuse to take customers their orders while they are enjoying the outdoor seating on Wealthy Street. If there is a day where I find myself with no plans whatsoever, then I find myself at Lake Michigan—either alone, with friends, or with my mom who loves the beach even more than me. It’s a relaxing way to spend your day. Take a book, towel, some snacks, water, and enjoy a nice, beautiful Michigan summer day at the beach.

I would not be able to visit the beach as often as I do if I didn’t live in Grand Rapids. Being 30 minutes from the nearest beach, I can easily plan a last-minute trip to the beach and just take off for the day. For many living in the central Michigan area, that is easier said than done. They must plan ahead, gather the kids, take off any work, and pack the car full of every necessity for an hour and a half drive to the nearest beach. Living in Grand Rapids gives me the choice if I want to visit Grand Haven’s beach or Holland’s, and it’s always a hard decision, but I love doing it.

College Lifestyle Meets City Scene

Grand Rapids is home to a range of many universities and colleges: Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Kendall College of Art and Design, Aquinas College, Cornerstone University, and many more! The intermingling of these colleges speckled in between the downtown skyline creates an atmosphere where students are excited to head to class. I love walking down side streets being able to admire the city life around me as I head to my business classes at the downtown GVSU campus.

It’s always a beautiful day in downtown Grand Rapids—bustling with people on their way to work, people admiring the day while walking their dog down the blue bridge, or students heading to the nearest coffee shop after a long day of classes. I always feel like I am truly thriving as I walk downtown. I feel accomplished, mature, and grateful to be able to attend a school with such beautiful buildings and grounds. A school that is small and quaint but is set in a big city setting.

TONS of Good Food

In my hometown, I had three choices on where to eat at a sit-down restaurant, and one was an Applebee’s. In Grand Rapids, there is no way I can visit every possible restaurant that the city has to offer. There are too many. And of course, when you like a restaurant quite a bit, then you can’t help but keep coming back. Every restaurant experience I have had in Grand Rapids have always rocked my tastebuds. I have been to an abundance of local restaurants but continue to find myself wanting to try more and more— but also have that urge to go back to Sovengard, Stella’s Lounge, or HopCat.

It’s a hard life living in Grand Rapids when you are surrounded by culinary masterpieces and tempting night outs. I wish I could visit them all, but I don’t think my credit card could handle it all. I am just grateful to be surrounded by beautiful restaurants housing works of culinary excellence. Makes me look forward to every experience that I get to have out on the town, because I know I will never be disappointed by the atmosphere or late-night bites.

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