Ten ways to have fun in a West Michigan winter

Michigan is cold. Especially in West Michigan, winter brings not just freezing temperatures but months of snowy weather. However, there are a multitude of fun things to do on the weekends or whenever you’re free during the winter. As students, we need breaks every now and then, so getting outside or off campus is just what we need for a brain break. If you’re out of things to do or places to go, here’s ten fun things to do in West Michigan before the warm weather comes.

  1. World of Winter 

This event provides fun activities to do in the winter in Grand Rapids. This festival has been going on since January 7 and will end March 6. Many of the events are free or low-cost; perfect for broke college students. If you are interested in art, this is made for you. Go and see multiple outdoor exhibits, from the Light Maze (on 555 Monroe), to the Submergence, an immersive walk-through experience (on Gillett Bridge). Other upcoming events are Modelo Meltdown (winterized street party celebrating the arts), Zumba class, Pop-Up performer night (performances around downtown Grand Rapids) and Noodle Fest ($5 noodle-based dishes). If you’re interested and would like to learn more, check out the dates and locations on their website: https://worldofwintergr.com/ 

  1. Cannonsburg Ski Area

Located only about 30 minutes away from campus is a small ski area where students can have fun on the slopes. It is a great place to learn how to ski or snowboard before hitting larger places like Boyne Highlands or Crystal Mountain. The ski/snowboarding rentals are only $30 and the all day tickets max out at $45 on the weekends. Cannonsburg also offers tubing for the non-skiers or snowboarders.

  1. Winter Market

Many people know about the downtown Holland farmers market when the weather is nice, but there’s also a winter market that still takes place every first and third Saturday, January through April. It is held inside the Holland Civic Center with over 25 vendors. Go enjoy fresh produce, treats and drinks, all while supporting local businesses. 

  1. Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park

If you want to try an Olympic sport, go to this sports park and try the luge. You are able to receive gear and training before going down the luge track. There is also cross country skiing, snowshoeing, an ice rink and an ice skating trail. The prices vary with each activity, but I recommend the ice skating trail which takes you on a skating experience through the woods. To rent skates and a day pass, it costs $18. This park is located only about an hour north of campus. 

  1. Downtown Market

One of my favorite places in Grand Rapids is the Downtown Market. This market offers amazing restaurants, small stores, and a lovely venue for a wedding or party. You can go grab some lunch and study, or come with your friends to explore new foods. My recommendations for food are Fish Lads for some fish and chips, Tacos El Cunado for some quality tacos, or Slows Bar-B-Q for some hearty ribs. There is also an amazing ice cream place called Love’s Ice Cream and Chocolate that has vegan, dairy, and gluten free options. 

  1. GLC Live at 20 Monroe

Another great place to go is to see a show at 20 Monroe. Upcoming events will feature Dylan Scott, Jordan Peterson, Mt. Joy and Chris Lane. Tickets aren’t too expensive and this will guarantee you a good night. 

  1. Laugh Fest

Held in Grand Rapids from March 16th to the20th, this festival benefits Gilda’s club. There are over 200 free or ticketed events at multiple locations around Grand Rapids. This includes, stand-up, improv, community showcases, and musical performances. Prices range from free to $35 tickets. Check out their events on their website: https://www.laughfestgr.org/ 

  1. Grand Rapids Griffins Hockey

Feeling sporty? Go check out Grand Rapids’ own hockey team in Van Andel Arena. The next upcoming  games will be held on February 25 and 26 and March 5, 6, 9, and 11. For tickets as low as $16, you can enjoy some hockey and a hot dog. 

  1. Frederik Meijer Gardens

A garden full of art and sculptures is open year round in Grand Rapids. There are many exhibits indoors and outdoors. So get a group of friends and go explore these gardens for a cheap entry price of only $18. 

  1. Food Tour of Holland

Go out with friends or a date and visit three new restaurants. Get an appetizer from one, a main course at another, and a dessert at a third. This is a fun way to have a nice (non-Phelps Dining Hall) dinner while being on a mini adventure. 


Therese Joffre ('24) is studying chemistry and plans to pursue a PhD in chemistry. She is the Opinion Editor of The Anchor.


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