Thinking of relocating to Grand Rapids, Michigan? With its big-city energy and small-town charm, Grand Rapids has become one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Grand Rapids consists of a metropolitan area that includes Wyoming, Kentwood, Walker, Grandville, Rockford, Ada, Forest Hills, East Grand Rapids, Cascade, and Jenison with approximately 1,038,583 people living in the metro area.
It boasts a strong job market and the Grand Rapids housing market has been bustling, with consistent year-over-year increases. With homes of all different sizes and styles entering the market daily, you’re sure to find something that suits you perfectly in one of its fabulous communities.
Affordable Housing in Grand Rapids
Despite a blazing-hot real estate market, Grand Rapids remains one of the most affordable places to live in the Midwest. The cost of living in Grand Rapids falls about 5% under the national average thanks to its low taxes, and transportation, housing, and healthcare costs.
Buying a home here is proving to be a solid investment. Homes are selling about as fast as they go on sale, and despite slightly higher prices, buyers are still getting a bargain due to low-interest rates, which likely result in overall savings, and steadily rising property values.
For more information about Grand Rapids real estate market and to search available properties, visit the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors website.
The Steady Grand Rapids Job Market
Grand Rapids is growing, as its demand for more jobs. With an unemployment rate below the national average, there are openings in just about every industry, including medical care and research, professional and business services, education, hospitality, construction, manufacturing, and more. Those seeking work in the medical field should look to GR’s sprawling “Medical Mile,” and there are plenty of opportunities with some of Grand Rapids’ biggest employers, such as Meijer Inc. and Steelcase.
A Brief History of Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids began as a trading post where French-Canadians would trade with the native Ottawa to supply the fur industry. The settlement grew and was officially incorporated in 1850, named for the temperament of the now-tamed Grand River. The river allowed the lumber and furniture industries to boom during the late 19th and early 20th century, putting Grand Rapids on the map as “Furniture City.” Many furniture companies such as Steelcase and American Seating continue to thrive in West Michigan today.
Arts, Entertainment, & Attractions
Grand Rapids boasts many different destinations, venues, and festivals that support the arts. There are two major art festivals held downtown every summer: The Festival of the Arts, which is a celebration centered around Alexander Calder’s La Grande Vitesse, and ArtPrize, an enormous art competition with installations peppered throughout the city.
Grand Rapids is also home to the historic Royce Auditorium inside the St. Cecilia Music Center, which has been colloquially named “The Carnegie Hall of the Midwest.” There are many different museums to explore, including the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
Just a short drive east of the city lies the Fredrick Meijer Gardens, which has become a national tourism destination. Here you may stroll through the beautiful outdoor gardens and sculpture park, attend an outdoor concert in their intimate amphitheater, or visit them in the spring to see their famous butterfly exhibit.
Grand Rapids has a bustling nightlife, with dozens of restaurants, bars, and craft beer destinations right in the heart of the city. You can visit some of the breweries that made Grand Rapids “Beer City, USA,” such as Founders, Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids Brewing Co., The Hideout, and many more. The B.O.B. is also a favorite restaurant of many, as is New Holland’s Knickerbocker and The Downtown Market.
This is but a taste of some of the things you can do while exploring the Grand Rapids area. If you’re considering moving here, be sure to check out ExperienceGR.com for the latest events, attractions, self-guided tours, and for more information on Grand Rapids’ rich history and culture.
Grand Rapids Schools & Infrastructure
Grand Rapids should be on your short-list if you’re planning on moving to raise a family. Grand Rapids Public Schools is sprawling, with schools dotted all over the metro area. There are also some excellent public & charter schools in the surrounding areas, many with available bussing. After high school, students have a number of colleges to choose from, including Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Kendall College of Art & Design, Calvin College, Aquinas College, Davenport University, and others. Just a short stroll from the Community College and Kendall campus is the expansive Grand Rapids Public Library, containing a seemingly endless collection of books, reference materials, and historical archives.
Grand Rapids is also home to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, numerous public transit routes including the Silver Line and the Dash for downtown commuters, plentiful bicycle lanes and accommodations, and many ride-sharing opportunities.