When planning your next vacation in Minnesota, we recommend giving the city of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, a try! Grand Rapids, in Minnesota, is a favorite of locals and tourists alike! Here in Grand Rapids, you will find so many must-see attractions, no matter if you plan to visit in the spring, summer, fall, or winter.
Let’s look at why the city of Grand Rapids, needs to make it on your “places to go” list this year and what you can expect to see and do while you’re there.
Whether visiting the different sites, exploring the outdoors, or enjoying the local food and drink spot favorites, you will love visiting and trying all of the best things to do in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
Unique Things to Do In Grand Rapids
Judy Garland Museum
First, The Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota, located across 2 acres of land on Pokegama Avenue South, is a great spot to explore! This is a great museum for movie buffs and those who love the famous movie “The Wizard of Oz.”
Here at the Judy Garland Museum, you’ll find fifteen thousand square feet purely dedicated to the late actress Judy Garland. This museum features exhibits, artifacts, a museum store, and the Lincoln Carriage home featured in the movie “The Wizard of Oz”!
You can even explore Judy Garland’s childhood home and learn about her Hollywood career! Additionally, you’ll find the world’s most extensive collection of The Wizard of Oz collectibles.
Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway
This scenic byway is for sure a sight for sore eyes!
You will find The Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway along Minnesota’s State Highway 38. This byway begins in Grand Rapids and continues into the Northwoods of Minnesota.
The byway continues to stretch for 47 miles north to the city of Effie and passes by many lakes. Also, you will see a scenic variety of forests filled with black spruces, birch, and white cedar trees, just beautiful!
Myles Reif Performing Arts Center
Myles Reif, Performing Arts Center, is connected to the Grand Rapids High School. This performing arts center is the home of a long range of artistic programs.
Reif Performing Arts Center has many scheduled events, including different live performances, cultural seminars, and even some community workshops!
If you are looking to see a show or even enroll children in the K-12 age group, this is the home of the Children’s Performing Art series.
Macrostie Art Center
Another cool thing to explore in Grand Rapids is the Macrostie Art Center. This center is a non-profit organization with a mission to incorporate art into daily conversations.
At Macrostie Art Center, you will indeed find a comprehensive display of colorful and multicultural art creations from local artists in Grand Rapids!
They offer a workshop for both adults and children with the hope of helping to inspire future art for the center to display.
Historic Central School
Digging into some history in Grand Rapids, you could explore this historic central school built in 1895.
Historic Central School is a state-building that has already carried out its purpose as the elementary school for children in Grand Rapids. This school was in session for nearly eight decades before they had to close their doors.
The community of Grand Rapids took the school and restored it by making it into what is now called the Historic Central School Marketplace!
Eateries and Places To Go For A Drink
You will find Pokegama Grill located on the Pokegama Golf Course! After enjoying a day on the golf course, you can indulge in a hearty lunch or dinner.
Here at Pokegama Grill, you can expect to enjoy a variety of good eats such as burgers, sandwiches, and wraps.
The Pickled Loon Saloon
The Pickled Loon Saloon is a parking lot and boating dock area location, which is very popular with the locals and a great place to eat!
Here you can enjoy a variety of food such as Asian lettuce wraps, nachos, cheese curds, and for the pickle lovers: fried ale battered loon pickles.
Northwoods Candy Company
Do you have a sweet tooth? Northwoods Candy Company is a small town sweets shop located in the middle of downtown Grand Rapids.
You can enjoy some gourmet candies and cupcakes, and on a hot day, indulge with some delicious scoops of ice cream!
Rapids Brewing Co.
Next on our list of best things to do in Grand Rapids is to meet the gang at Rapids Brewing Company. Do you love craft beers? Then, visit Rapids Brewing Company to find their rotating tap list of in-house brews. You can also enjoy some pizza, snacks, and appetizers large enough to share!
Rapids Brewing Co. is known as a popular downtown watering hole located in the lovely Downtown Grand Rapids.
Brewed Awakenings Coffee
Lastly, visit Brewed Awakenings Coffee shop located on the corner of Fourth Street and First Avenue.
Relax with a good book and enjoy a delicious cup of hot “coffee house” coffee. If you want baked goods, Brewed Awakenings Coffee shop has a tasty variety of baked goods for purchase as well!
Outdoor Activities To Check Out In Grand Rapids
Forest History Center
You will have to check out the Forest History Center here in Grands Rapids. This center provides hands-on learning and outdoor education for the whole family!
Make sure to check out the charming 1900’s Era Logging Camp and the 100- foot Fire Tower; you can also interact with living history characters on your visit.
Finish off your visit by boarding a floating Wanigan and learn about forest fires in a reconstructed 1930’s Minnesota Forest Service patrol cabin.
The Mesabi Trail stretches over 135 miles is now complete as of the summer of 2020! A fun historical fact about this trail is it was initially a railroad and historical mining route connecting the Mississippi River with the boundary waters.
Bicycles are the most popular way to explore the Mesabi Trail, but in addition, you’ll also see inline skaters and walkers. You can put on your snowshoes in the winter and come cross-country ski!
Pokegama Golf Course
Pokegama Golf Course is located south of downtown Grand Rapids, on the shores of the massive Pokegama Lake.
At this golf course, you will find 18 holes of scenic surroundings and availability for both drop-ins and public tee-times, along with season passes if you want to join for the season!
If you have a junior golfer, it’s an excellent place for them to practice. Lastly, practice your golf swing skills at the two available driving ranges located at this golf course.
American Legion Memorial Park
American Legion Memorial Park is a beautiful park located on the northwest side of Grand Rapids in the Legion Baseball field.
You can experience the handful of trail systems, play the 18-hole disc golf course, and check out the Cody Siem Memorial Skateboard Park when you visit.
In the winter, American Legion Memorial Park has outdoor ice skating rinks you can enjoy with the whole family!
Wrapping Up Things to Do in Grand Rapids, Minnesota
When it comes to Grand Rapids, Minnesota, you now see all the wondrous things you can go and do, eat and drink, along with the outdoor adventures that await you!
We hope you make the best memories on your next vacation to Grand Rapids while discovering what makes this city located in Minnesota so great!
Do you have favorite places in Grand Rapids you’d like to share with us? We would love to hear your recommendations below!
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.