We know from published research that Americans don’t always leave far when they take time off from work, whether they don’t like to travel or can’t afford to — a reality for about one-third of U.S. workers. If you’re staying around the mitten this summer, Grand Rapids is one of the best places for a “staycation” in Michigan, according to a new analysis.

The personal finance website WalletHub took a look at affordable options for entertainment and relaxation in more than 180 cities. Grand Rapids was the only Michigan city to make the list.

Summer is the time to make the most of the Grand Outdoors, as they like to call it. This means relaxing on a beach or on the water. Wander the grounds of a sculpture park or zoo. Ride a go-kart or a zipline. Golf, fish, bike or hike.

Here are some of the most popular attractions and things to do around the city:

  • ‘Tis the season for outdoor concerts. Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts at Meijer Gardens lead a huge lineup of open-air venues and events on the Grand Rapids Music Trail.Spend an afternoon at the ballpark or a night at the races – see the West Michigan Whitecaps play baseball or visit Berlin Raceway for smokin’ stock-car action.
  • Shop Tanger Outlets , an open-air mall, for brand-name merchandise at discount prices. Shop Fulton Street Farmer’s Market and other outdoor farm markets for just-picked produce from local family farms.
  • Dine al fresco at 120 restaurants with outdoor patios and decks. Sample food truck fare during Truckin’ Tuesdays , Wonderful Wednesdays and Food Court Fridays. Or pack a picnic basket with scrumptious food from downtown’s Russo’s International Market & Bistro or Martha’s Vineyard – then head to one of 100+ nearby parks for a meal with a view.
  • Swim, sunbathe, canoe, kayak, paddleboard, hit the splashpad and explore 20 miles of paved hiking and biking trails at Millennium Park – just five minutes from downtown. John Ball Zoo and the Mines Golf Course are right around the corner.

Click here for the full list.


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