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Old 03-14-2010, 04:14 PM
64 posts, read 147,043 times
Reputation: 15


hello- we are considering a move to Grand Rapids & would like to take a short trip there in the spring. I have only been there once several years ago & my husband went to college in GR, but it was some time ago and he was young. does anyone have recommendations on where to stay? are there nice hotels downtown? are there any nice places that would be good for small children (we have 3)? what should we not miss? we also want to scope out the neighborhoods and maybe plan a school visit. thanks so much for reading
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:43 PM
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,019,063 times
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The two best hotels in the area are both fairly cheap if you time it right.

The Amway Grand Plaza is older and not as nice in my opinion. But the pool is nicer and there are a few dining choices, so it's a little more family friendly if you have little kids. It's also got a great rooftop restaurant that serves the best brunch in GR (at least it did last time we ate there... fantastic) and a great mixed drink after dark.

The J.W. Marriot is one of a very select few hotels in the world with that moniker. It's got a great restaurant (six.one.six), brand new rooms and a skywalk to get you to the Amway if you want to try some other places to eat within that hotel.

Either one of those are my recommendations and frankly, I wouldn't stay anywhere else if you're only coming to town every 15 or 20 years. :-)

I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old. We routinely take them out to eat at these places, all local, all within 3 miles of the downtown hotels (some within walking distance).
1) The Brandywine - cheap, family food. great breakfast.
2) Rose's on Reed's Lake - not as cheap, but great kids menu. Best bet when the weather is nice (lake front casual family-friendly dining... which is a hard-to-come-by combination)
3) The Green Well - hip, loud
4) Peppino's - Pizza, TVs, noisy, lots of families (this is a sports bar, just FYI)
5) Big O's - Best pizza in GR. Kid-friendly.
6) Ritz Koney island - Hot dogs, french fries
7) Little Mexico Cafe - authentic mexican
8) San Chez Bistro - authentic Spanish Tapas. Go early. It fills up.
9) Mangiamo's Italian - super-family-friendly Italian.
10) Marie Catrib's Deli - lunch spot of choice. great brownies too.

Have fun. Grand Rapids is a great place to raise a family!
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:53 PM
64 posts, read 147,043 times
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thank you so much! especially for all the specifics. we will definitely be looking into the two hotels you mentioned. thanks again.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:13 AM
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Excellent post Suydam.
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:35 AM
64 posts, read 147,043 times
Reputation: 15
just wanted to update that my family and I visited Grand Rapids for a few days. The JW Marriott was incredible, we went to several museums, Reeds lake, gaslight village, etc. We even made a short trip to Grand Haven and went to the beach. thanks for all the suggestions. it was a great trip!
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