U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Michigan > Grand Rapids metro area
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-12-2009, 02:30 PM
 
9 posts, read 19,969 times
Reputation: 11

Advertisements

I appreciate the bluntness about race. It's one of those things that are difficult to really know until you live there -- and that's too late.

Enigmaingr (and anyone else): Of the communities above that you didn't put "no" to, would some be more likely to make friends with a mixed race couple than others?

Please don't hesitate about characterizing a community. It will be understood that individuals vary within any town but that often the area does have a certain tone.

Thanks so very much!!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-19-2009, 10:17 AM
 
484 posts, read 1,106,093 times
Reputation: 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemoon128 View Post
I appreciate the bluntness about race. It's one of those things that are difficult to really know until you live there -- and that's too late.

Enigmaingr (and anyone else): Of the communities above that you didn't put "no" to, would some be more likely to make friends with a mixed race couple than others?
Holland, Saugatuck, and possibly Grand Haven would be your best bets. Holland, at least in the city, probably wouldn't bat an eye at you guys walking down the street. People in Saugatuck wouldn't care either; in fact, you'll get more looks being a mixed gendered couple than a mixed race one.

You may experience an eyebrow or two in Grand Haven but I wouldn't expect much problems even there. Grand Haven is one of those places where people won't really care what color you are as long as the money in your wallet is green and you have plenty of it.

I'd hesitate to suggest Rockford not only because it's not very diverse but because your lifestyle is likely to be very different from the majority. Rockford is a town where everyone comes out to the high school football team and where most people are raising kids. I'm not sure that it would offer many activities for those without kids.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-08-2010, 09:19 AM
 
14 posts, read 31,454 times
Reputation: 10
Default Great Information and inspiration

I'm facing a similar problem to BlueMoon128 in wanting to relocate to somewhere with walkable downtowns and museums, ethnic restaurants, theater etc.

I recently lost my husband, I'm ready to semi-retire to my start up intenet business. I'm not rich, but I'm doing okay, except NJ is now a little pricey for me. If I stay here, there are no extras.

I love Michigan because I used to go on summer vacations to Muskegon. I love the beach, I love the woods, I even love to hunt and fish.

That said, I have a son who is 22 with two years of community college and needing to finish soon. We live in Bergen County in NJ just across the bridge from New York now. But it really is too expensive in every way for us. It was important to live here for my husband's career, but he's gone now.

So I like everything I hear about Grand Rapids. That two professors found it a stimulating place to visit is important. Both my son and I are big city people. Our family lived in LA and New York before Nj. We love museums, theater, music, in addition to wanting access to the outdoor life.

He had thought of moving to Denver, and flew out there to visit, but although he loved it and Colorado Springs, he felt it was just in the middle of nowhere. Fields of fruited grain for vast endless miles with no people. And he said he wanted to be near water. (He still remembers summers in Michigan fondly and also the Jersey shore) It was not for him.

Now he is thinking Seattle. I am not so sure. It's a big move to a very expensive city, although not quite as expensive as here. And there is no sunshine. I think I may need some sunshine to cheer me up after losing my husband of 32 years. Also, the high costs will make so many things that we want to do difficult. Like getting into the great outdoors, driving so see new places, etc.

I am leaning toward a less challenging environment, where everything is more affordable and therefore more accessible, like I might find in Grand Rapids.

But, I don't want to bury this vital, ambitious young man in some backwater where he will be bored to tears. I want to take him to a place where he can continue his education, get a decent job with stimulating people, live affordably and make new friends. A place where there is a lively ferment of ideas, where young people are full of energy and enthusiasm about the future, where things can happen if you make them happen. I can't think that young people are full of vim and vigor only in big cities like Seattle. I've lived in big cities all my life. But those cities have changed and become unaffordable for up and coming young people like I was when I started out, those cities are gentrified beyond the reach of artists and new young people. Can a young person make something of themselves in Grand Rapids?

And also have a little of the outdoor life we aspire to, but have never had. Naturally coming from Northern NJ, our usual landscape looks a lot like the opening credits on The Sopranos.

I realize that this is asking a lot at any time, but especially now in the current state of the economy. He and his girlfriend both have very good jobs here. Only problem, even with both working full time, they couldn't possibly afford to live on their own anywhere near these jobs. Minimun rent 900 a month, minimum utilities, 150 a month, car insurance 200 a month each, cable 100, and so on. So it's live in parents basement, or the spare room, just like all their friends, which is no life at all for any of us. We're all boxed in here, paying off NJ's big bills.

The whole discussion with the two college professors was very interesting, because we're looking for the same things. The main difference is a I have a young man who needs a place where he can get his start in life, a good start. And my question is, can that happen in Grand Rapids?

I know Michigan unemployment is killer, but I am hoping that that is mostly the problem of Detroit and the auto makers and not Western Michigan.

We plan to visit Grand Rapids and Grand Valley State U in March to get a feel for the place.

I read with great interest all the replies to BlueMoon128. I would welcome any other anecdotes from people in Grand Rapids, or comments, or experiences relating to living in GR.

Thanks so much for all your input.

I also am accessing the Facebook site Michigan by Choice. But there were some caveats there about Michigan making it hard for small business, which condemns all young people to boring jobs at Wendy's and McDonalds. Just don't know what to do.

Last edited by tenthmuse; 01-08-2010 at 10:06 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-09-2010, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,744,725 times
Reputation: 3833
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenthmuse View Post
I'm facing a similar problem to BlueMoon128 in wanting to relocate to somewhere with walkable downtowns and museums, ethnic restaurants, theater etc.

I recently lost my husband, I'm ready to semi-retire to my start up intenet business. I'm not rich, but I'm doing okay, except NJ is now a little pricey for me. If I stay here, there are no extras.

I love Michigan because I used to go on summer vacations to Muskegon. I love the beach, I love the woods, I even love to hunt and fish.

That said, I have a son who is 22 with two years of community college and needing to finish soon. We live in Bergen County in NJ just across the bridge from New York now. But it really is too expensive in every way for us. It was important to live here for my husband's career, but he's gone now.

So I like everything I hear about Grand Rapids. That two professors found it a stimulating place to visit is important. Both my son and I are big city people. Our family lived in LA and New York before Nj. We love museums, theater, music, in addition to wanting access to the outdoor life.

He had thought of moving to Denver, and flew out there to visit, but although he loved it and Colorado Springs, he felt it was just in the middle of nowhere. Fields of fruited grain for vast endless miles with no people. And he said he wanted to be near water. (He still remembers summers in Michigan fondly and also the Jersey shore) It was not for him.

Now he is thinking Seattle. I am not so sure. It's a big move to a very expensive city, although not quite as expensive as here. And there is no sunshine. I think I may need some sunshine to cheer me up after losing my husband of 32 years. Also, the high costs will make so many things that we want to do difficult. Like getting into the great outdoors, driving so see new places, etc.

I am leaning toward a less challenging environment, where everything is more affordable and therefore more accessible, like I might find in Grand Rapids.

But, I don't want to bury this vital, ambitious young man in some backwater where he will be bored to tears. I want to take him to a place where he can continue his education, get a decent job with stimulating people, live affordably and make new friends. A place where there is a lively ferment of ideas, where young people are full of energy and enthusiasm about the future, where things can happen if you make them happen. I can't think that young people are full of vim and vigor only in big cities like Seattle. I've lived in big cities all my life. But those cities have changed and become unaffordable for up and coming young people like I was when I started out, those cities are gentrified beyond the reach of artists and new young people. Can a young person make something of themselves in Grand Rapids?

And also have a little of the outdoor life we aspire to, but have never had. Naturally coming from Northern NJ, our usual landscape looks a lot like the opening credits on The Sopranos.

I realize that this is asking a lot at any time, but especially now in the current state of the economy. He and his girlfriend both have very good jobs here. Only problem, even with both working full time, they couldn't possibly afford to live on their own anywhere near these jobs. Minimun rent 900 a month, minimum utilities, 150 a month, car insurance 200 a month each, cable 100, and so on. So it's live in parents basement, or the spare room, just like all their friends, which is no life at all for any of us. We're all boxed in here, paying off NJ's big bills.

The whole discussion with the two college professors was very interesting, because we're looking for the same things. The main difference is a I have a young man who needs a place where he can get his start in life, a good start. And my question is, can that happen in Grand Rapids?

I know Michigan unemployment is killer, but I am hoping that that is mostly the problem of Detroit and the auto makers and not Western Michigan.

We plan to visit Grand Rapids and Grand Valley State U in March to get a feel for the place.

I read with great interest all the replies to BlueMoon128. I would welcome any other anecdotes from people in Grand Rapids, or comments, or experiences relating to living in GR.

Thanks so much for all your input.

I also am accessing the Facebook site Michigan by Choice. But there were some caveats there about Michigan making it hard for small business, which condemns all young people to boring jobs at Wendy's and McDonalds. Just don't know what to do.
I do have to warn you that there is not a lot of sunshine in West Michigan during the winter. I'm not kidding when I say we sometimes go 20 - 25 days straight with total cloud cover. Lake Michigan is an awesome organism to live near, but it also affects our weather greatly (why we have so many cloudy days in the winter). It also dumps a lot of snow on us, much like Upstate NY. What people tend to do here is either take Vitamin supplements, head South for winter vacations, or truly embrace snow activities and take up downhill or cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, ice-skating, snowmobiling, etc.. Or they sit around and complain about the cold and lack of sun.

But the costs and amenities you are looking for can easily be found here in Grand Rapids. You won't find New York caliber arts and cultural institutions, but there is a lot here that you might actually find to be better than New York (everything is closer and more accessible). We have the State's only ballet company, opera, symphony, multiple small and large theaters, a huge new art museum, a contemporary arts museum, the Meijer Gardens, hundreds of art galleries and lofts, etc.. And the long Summer days are fantastic.

I think someone mentioned Rockford in this thread. Actually today, they have an Ice Festival where they have outdoor ice carving and other activities (think an outdoor winter festival). Should be fun!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-09-2010, 11:17 AM
 
356 posts, read 933,881 times
Reputation: 201
Grand Rapids would be good for both of you. Your son can get his education in an interesting student town. Housing is inexpensive enough that he might be able to move out on his own soon.

Unemployment is a problem but it sounds like your son needs to finish school before he starts a career, and he can always move on somewhere else after college if need be. By the time he is done with his education, the economy may have changed. In any case, he should be able to get out on his own relatively easily.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-09-2010, 06:18 PM
 
14 posts, read 31,454 times
Reputation: 10
Magellan, you answered some of my most pressing worries. A ballet company, and opera, symphony orchestra, this is where I live and what I can't live without. And it's the kind of environment a young person needs to develop intellectually.

I know winter there is gruelling, but I used to live in upstate New York and got quite good at cross country skiing. Of course it's been a few years and I'm not as spry as I used to be, so I may just sit around with hot cocoa and watch.

And I'm very encouraged by what skyl4rk says about my son being able to get out on his own pretty easily. I think that might help me sell the idea to him. He seems to have his heart set on Seattle, the adventure and romance of it.

But more than anything he wants to be on his own. At this point he is quite happy working a more or less menial job as the principle dairy clerk at our local supermarket. He works long and hard, but he's still stuck at home with me. It's very frustrating for him not to be able to pay his own bills.

Thank you both so much for you responses. This is a big decision and it won't be easy to make. I want to make the best decision I can. Hearing from people who live someplace is so interesting and so revealing. It's so helpful.

Thanks again.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2010, 08:16 AM
 
484 posts, read 1,106,093 times
Reputation: 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenthmuse View Post
Magellan, you answered some of my most pressing worries. A ballet company, and opera, symphony orchestra, this is where I live and what I can't live without. And it's the kind of environment a young person needs to develop intellectually.

I know winter there is gruelling, but I used to live in upstate New York and got quite good at cross country skiing. Of course it's been a few years and I'm not as spry as I used to be, so I may just sit around with hot cocoa and watch.

And I'm very encouraged by what skyl4rk says about my son being able to get out on his own pretty easily. I think that might help me sell the idea to him. He seems to have his heart set on Seattle, the adventure and romance of it.

But more than anything he wants to be on his own. At this point he is quite happy working a more or less menial job as the principle dairy clerk at our local supermarket. He works long and hard, but he's still stuck at home with me. It's very frustrating for him not to be able to pay his own bills.

Thank you both so much for you responses. This is a big decision and it won't be easy to make. I want to make the best decision I can. Hearing from people who live someplace is so interesting and so revealing. It's so helpful.

Thanks again.
Your son will be fine in GR. This area is growing with 20 & 30 somethings, mostly students and graduates of GVSU and Calvin who come here from wherever and discover that GR is actually a pretty cool place. We actually have a mini-strip of bars and clubs downtown near the Arena if he's into that sort of thing.

Speaking of the Arena...we attract our share of popular concerts and activities. Even Metallica made a stop here not too long ago. The Pistons (NBA team out of Detroit) plays a game here once a year. Of course, we love our local sports teams. We have Griffins hockey, a minor league affiliate of the Red Wings, and the Whitecaps, minor league affiliate of the Tigers. Tickets are cheap ($10 tickets for students and dollar beer/hot dog night every Friday) and if your son is a sports fan, he'll like the fact that we get our fair share of stars coming through as they work their way back up to the major leagues from injury or whatever.

GVSU is becoming an outstanding institution in its own right. It has just been named one of America's 100 best values in higher education. It has something like 15,000 students so your son will have plenty of friends to make.

Cost of living will help both of you. This is one of the most affordable places to live in the country. If you are comfortable with $900 rents, get ready to live in a mansion here. An expensive meal costs $20...and that's if you're eating at one of those fancy joints with the cloth napkins. You'll be hard pressed to pay more that $4 for a beer. Most people wait a week to buy milk when it "goes up" to $2.29/gallon.

As you know, we are 30 minutes from Lake Michigan. Grand Haven is probably the closest beach that resembles a coastal beach in terms of having a boardwalk for people watching and the whole nine yards. We are also about 3.5 hours from Chicago and 3 hours from Detroit if you want a big city fix. Chicago is especially convenient because we have an Amtrak train that makes daily runs there in about 4 hours.

Of course, there are some things you'll have to get used to. It's pop, not soda. We don't get much sunshine, especially in the winter. You'll get to the point where you'll wonder "what's that bright thing in the sky?". Winters are tough and you can expect anywhere from 90 to 110 inches of snow over the winter. This all makes us a hardy but friendly people. It's not at all uncommon, even in the city, to wake up and find that your neighbor shoveled your sidewalk while they were out doing theirs. It's just what we do.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-11-2010, 06:21 PM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,657 times
Reputation: 236
I agree... your son would be fine here. GR is not a bad place for the 20-something crowd. My wife and I remarked, after an awesome dinner at a hip restaurant a couple weeks ago how old we felt. We are 35 and looking around the restaurant we were probably oldest people in there. Granted, there are plenty of places that we don't feel old, and more still where we're 30 years younger than anyone else.... but this is not a backwater full of married adults.

One tip: Rockford is that backwater. It's nice, but your son is not going to embrace the smaller towns around GR if he's a single 20-something. The cute little towns you love are where the married people go to raise kids. Consequently there's a little less "action."

If you really want the ballet company, and all that comes with it, you should consider living in town anyway. Or maybe EGR? It's very close to town (3 miles from "downtown" EGR to downtown GR).

Rockford has more of that "up north" feel you're after, but it's also further from downtown. If you're really after the culture, it can be a powerful disincentive to have it 20 minutes away (or 30 in snow) compared to 5 minutes away. Have you considered condo living downtown in GR? You sound like a textbook candidate.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-26-2010, 09:31 AM
 
14 posts, read 31,454 times
Reputation: 10
Default Thanks Enigmangir and suydam (sp)

Gee it sure sounds great. I'm a little worried about the snow. That's more snow than I imagined. We get snow here in the East, but nothing like that. I guess you have to own a snowblower. I think I'd prefer to be in Grand Rapids itself, now that I'm older and alone, once my son moves out. It's nice and necessary to be around people and people doing things.

Thank you so much for your help and advice. It's awfully hard these days to know what to do. I feel I have to move to better my son's prospects, but with everything in flux in the ecomony, it's confusing, very confusing.

You've been a great help and I really appreciate it. I'll let you know what we do.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-28-2010, 10:23 AM
 
14 posts, read 31,454 times
Reputation: 10
Default The big discussion

It's come down to Seattle vs Grand Rapids. And I'm leaning heavily toward GR.

Two things worry me 1) 90 too 110 inches of snow. That's a lot of snow. Whew!!
and
2) the cost of electricity. From what I can glean from the net, Michigan has pretty high costs for electricity. The electricity problem is what makes me hesitate.

In my place here in NJ with Washer drier, computers TV etc, (only 900 sq. feet) I pay about $175 a month. And my landlord pays the heat. So that adds a lot to my rent. And I worry about my son and his GF getting jobs. The first thing they always say in business is 'how much does it cost to turn on the lights.' I think utility costs can kill entrepreneurship, jobs, and opportunities for young people.

Washington State has low utility costs. Amazingly low. But it is so far north that it's dark early in winter, lots of cloudy days, and earthquakes. I did earthquakes in LA, two biggies, the Whittier and the Northridge. For the Northridge I was in Sherman Oaks. It was terrible. Really. We didn't move back East right away, it took us four years, but I was happy to leave quakes far, far behind.

This is probably the hardest decision I will ever have to make. As much as I care about my son and what he wants, I think I have to use my mature judgment and assessment of the situation to make the best call.

He has contemporary friends who moved to Seattle from here and are doing great, albeit they still can't afford a car.

But GR sounds so good to me, snow and electric cost, and high unemployment and all. If they could just have jobs that afforded them the chance to live on their own, I can help them with the cost of schooling. And I think we'd all have a better quality of life in GR. I don't think that metropolitan areas have a monopoly on forward thinking, interesting people, anymore.

But the lure of a big city is very real, and it's mostly all I know. New York 20 years, LA, 10, NJ near New York, 13. But the funny thing is I try, but I just can't imagine moving back to NYC or LA. And this area in NJ is so in between, all the disadvantages of a small town, and none of the advantages of a big city. No sense of community, no outdoor accessible stuff, but NYC is expensive to get to and even though only 30 minutes by bus away, really it's an all day excursion-marathon.

Pardon me, I think I'm thinking out loud here on this blog, but maybe lots of people are wondering and trying to relocate to make their lives work better, too. Maybe it'll be some help to somebody, especially me.

I really, really appreciate all your advice and the time you've taken to answer my worries. And it really sounds like GR is great. I think I'm leaning toward GR very strongly. I think my son and I need to try a different answer than big cities.

Does anyone know how bad unemployment is in the GR area? I know overall Michigan unemployment is pretty scary.

What's the employment scene like in western Michigan?

Is it McDonald's or forget it?

Thanks for taking the time to read this and advise me. You don't know how helpful this is to me. I am very, very grateful.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Michigan > Grand Rapids metro area
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top