Grand Rapids BEST for Families

Who knows our city better than you, the GRKIDS families who make up this amazing community? We knew you’ve scoped out the best family-friendly places to go in West Michigan, and it’s time to share your knowledge with every0ne.

Thousands of you told us your favorite places to eat, shop, learn and play with your family; we can’t believe how many amazing resources for family fun we have in our area.

Best of Grand Rapids for families Grandtastic

Be sure to bookmark this guide, so you can quickly reference this to find Grandtastic places around town!

Every listing in this guide received significant votes from our readers through an extensive social media campaign. Businesses voted in the top 10 were invited to sponsor their section, ensuring that you are getting information on top notch businesses around Grand Rapids.

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To make browsing easier, we broke the list into sections. Use these buttons to get to the section you’re interested in faster.

Learn and Discover
Venues & Events

Learn & Discover

Parents often ask us to suggest the best Grand Rapids places when it comes to putting kids in dance, swimming lessons or music programs. Read on to see the West Michigan’s GRANDTASTIC places to learn and discover with your children!

This section includes the following Grandtastic Award categories:

  • Art Classes/Studios for Kids
  • Swimming Lessons for Kids

  • Dance Classes for Kids

  • Music Programs for Kids

  • Libraries for Kids
  • Field Trips

Art Classes & Studios for Kids

Kids have amazing imaginations and this is never more evident than watching them create art. Looking to encourage this creativity in your child and give them some new skills to express it? Enroll them in one of West Michigan’s top-voted art classes/studios, all listed below.

Voted Top Art Class/Studio for Kids

The Mud Room @ Knapp’s Corner

1 – The Mud Room @ Knapp’s Corner

2- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

3- Grand Rapids Art Museum

4- Accidental Art (Rockford)

5- Brush Studio

6- Cookies & Canvas

7- Paint a Pot (Holland)

8- YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

9- Kendall College of Art and Design

10- Captured in Clay

The Mud Room @ Knapp’s Corner

Sign up for a class, plan a party or stop in during Open Studio hours to paint pottery or wood signs. The Mud Room offers creative fun for all ages! Conveniently located at Knapp’s Corner.

1971 E Beltline Ave NE #103, Grand Rapids MI 49525
FACEBOOK  | 616-259-7269


Accidental Art- A Pottery Painting Studio

355 Northland Drive NE | Rockford, MI 49341


Wine and Canvas

2675 E Paris Avenue SE, Suite E | Grand Rapids, MI 49546


Swimming Lessons for Kids

If you live in West Michigan, learning to swim is probably at the top of your to-do list for your family. With Lake Michigan, numerous inland lakes, and some amazing aquatic centers, the opportunities for swimming are literally everywhere. If you are trying to get your kids enrolled into swim lessons with a trusted instructor, the most loved places for swim lessons are all listed below.

Voted Top Swimming Lessons for Kids

Goldfish Swim School

1- Goldfish Swim School

2- ISR (Infant Swimming Resources) – Michael Petrella

3- Julie’s Swim School

4- YMCA – Mary Free Bed

5- (Tie) YMCA – Wolverine Worldwide Family

5- (Tie) MVP Sports Clubs

6- YMCA – David D. Hunting

7- Miss Patty’s Swimming

8- Miss Rita’s Swim School

9- The Kroc Center

10- Calvin College

Goldfish Swim School of Grand Rapids

Our shiver-free pool and state-of-the-art facility, paired with our play-based teaching philosophy provides your child with lifesaving, long lasting water skills and great memories.

2845 Thornhills Ave. Suite S | Grand Rapids, MI, 49546
FACEBOOK | 616-259-0725


Dance Classes for Kids

Whether it is jazz, hip-hop, tap or ballet, dance classes are great for

kids. Dance gets kids moving, gives them the opportunity to express their creativity and ultimately, allows them to have fun. Parents have spoken and given us their recommendations on the absolute best dance classes in town.

Voted Top Dance Class for Kids

Hearts in Motion

1- Hearts in Motion

2- Caledonia Dance & Music Center

3- Dance Dimensions

4- Grand Rapids Ballet School

5- HIS Dance Academy

6- Ada Dance Academy

7- Kathy’s Dance Co. (Hudsonville)

8- Turning Pointe School of Dance (Holland)

9- Body Language Dance & Theatre Arts Studio

10- Integrity School of Dance Arts

Hearts in Motion Dance

At Hearts in Motion we believe in the power of dance. We believe in the way dance can make you feel. We believe that dance should be fun, fanciful, happy, and magical. We believe in building strength and confidence through dance and fostering a LOVE for the art of dance.

“This is our first year at Hearts in Motion and we couldn’t be happier with the studio! Reasons why we love it are the teachers, the organization that the studio puts into all details, the families that we have met and the overall happy atmosphere when we walk in each week.” 

4336 Plainfield Ave NE | Grand Rapids, MI 49525
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | 616-226-6412


Caledonia Dance & Music Center

Providing your child with top-notch training by worthy role models in a fun and caring atmosphere, CDMC is your place to start your child’s music and dance lessons AND your place to stay! It’s never too late to enroll. Call today!

“We love Caledonia Dance Center because of the excellent teachers and strong programs. Their class offerings are perfect for every age and ability level, even offering an “all boys” class.”  

Sowerby family, Middleville

131 E Main St SE, Suite E | Caledonia, MI 49316
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | 616-891-1606


HIS Dance Academy

Offering dance classes for both the Recreational (ages two – adult) and Graded Technique (Levels I-VII) dancer. Graded Technique classes for ages 8+ are taught using our Vaganova based ballet curriculum which includes Bible verses relating to all terms and positions. Hip Hop, Ballet, Jazz and Tap Recreational classes allow students to explore dance with a smaller weekly commitment.

2715 29th Street SE | Grand Rapids, MI 49512


Music Programs for Kids

What is so great about enrolling your child in a music program? So many things!

Not only does learning a musical instrument allow kids to develop fine motor skills, math skills and memory skills (to name just a few), these programs are available to kids of all ages and all skill levels.

If you are ready to sign your child up for a music program, reference our list of the most-loved programs below.

Voted Top Music Program for Kids

St. Cecilia Music Center

1- St. Cecilia Music Center

2- Grand Rapids Symphony

3- Kent District Library

4- Academy of Music in Grand Rapids

5- Joyful Sounds Music Studio

6- Meyer Music

7- Kindermusik with Miss Leigh (Allendale)

8- Franciscan Life Process Center (Lowell)

9- Luc James Music Studio

10- Ada Conservatory of Music

Academy of Music in Grand Rapids

West Michigan’s largest private music lesson school offering parent-friendly services, a family safety plan, month-to-month lessons, and top-notch instructors for piano, guitar, voice, drum, string, and ukulele lessons all in one location. Open seven days a week inspiring students ages five and up to dream, believe, and achieve.

“My daughter absolutely LOVES her voice lessons at the Academy of Music. Her teacher is kind and friendly, and my daughter is now enthusiastic about singing! Their staff is welcoming and helpful and provides such a wonderful experience. Love seeing such passion and enthusiasm in a business!”

Heidi Bolduc-Seijas

6159 28th St SE, Ste 24 | Grand Rapids, MI 49546
FACEBOOK | 616-965-1655


Joyful Sounds Music Studio

959 Lake Dr SE | Grand Rapids, MI 49506


Top Libraries for Kids

I always loved the library, but after becoming a mom, the library became invaluable.

Not only can we check out books, magazines and movies, but there are so many interesting classes for kids (and adults alike), as well as fully stocked, imaginative play areas that always bring our family back for more.

The most loved libraries are listed below.

Voted Top Library for Kids

East Grand Rapids Library – KDL

1- East Grand Rapids Branch – KDL

2- Caledonia Township Branch – KDL

3- Cascade Township Branch – KDL

4- Plainfield Township Branch- KDL

5- (Tie) Grandville Branch – KDL

6- (Tie) Kentwood – KDL

7- Main Library – GRPL

8- Herrick District Library (Holland)

9- Wyoming Branch – KDL

10- Byron Township – KDL

Field Trips

Field Trip days were always so special as a kid and I love seeing that same excitement in my kids when a field trip day approaches. And as an adult, I can appreciate the variety of field trips available right in our own town! Check out some of the best field trip destinations where kids can learn, have fun, and make memories.

Voted Top Field Trip

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

1- Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

2- John Ball Zoo

3-Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

4- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

5- Critter Barn (Zeeland)

6- Dairy Discovery – Swiss Lane Farms (Alto)

7- Blandford Nature Center

8- Binder Park Zoo (Battle Creek)

9- Grand Rapids Public Museum

10- Post Family Farm (Hudsonville)

Best Place to Play around West Michigan

This is where to fin the best playgrounds, beaches and indoor play places. We’ve collected a list of all the most GRANDTASTIC places around West Michigan for kids to play inside and out

This section includes the following Grandtastic Award categories:

  • Outdoor Playgrounds/Parks

  • Outdoor Venues/Experiences for Families

  • Beaches for Families

  • Water Play Places (splash pad, pool)

  • Indoor Play Places

Outdoor Playgrounds/Parks

Fresh air and tons of options for play? It doesn’t get much better than play time at a playground or park.

Even better, my kids are usually happily exhausted after an afternoon at one of these top-voted locations. Check out some old favorites or new soon-to-be favorite parks below.

Voted Best Outdoor Playground/Park

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

1- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

2- John Ball Park

3- Millennium Park (Walker)

4- Hager Park (Georgetown Twp.)

5- Frog Hollow Park (Wyoming)

6- Cascade Township Park

7- Ada Township Park

8- Fallasburg Park (Lowell)

9- Grand Haven State Park

10- Rosewood Park (“Charlie’s Dump” in Jenison)

Outdoor Experiences/Venues for Families

There is nothing quite like a day in the great outdoors, especially when the great outdoors is in our great city.

From taking in meticulously kept gardens, to watching nine innings of West Michigan’s favorite baseball team, there is something for every person during every season.

Check out the top outdoor experiences for families below.

Voted Top Outdoor Experience/Venue for Families

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

1- Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

2- John Ball Zoo

3- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

4- Blandford Nature Center

5- Critter Barn (Zeeland)

6-Michigan’s Adventure (Muskegon)

7- Millennium Park (Walker)

8- West Michigan Whitecap

9- Nelis’ Dutch Village (Holland)

John Ball Zoo

1300 W. Fulton St | Grand Rapids, MI, 49504


Beaches for Families

There are so many special things about West Michigan, but certainly one of those has to be Lake Michigan. Sandy beaches, fresh water, and lighthouses seem to be a staple around here.

Did you know we have some pretty amazing inland lakes too? Check out our list below of the best spots to spend a day at the beach.

Voted Top Beach for Families

Grand Haven State Park

1- Grand Haven State Park

2- Holland State Park

3- Millennium Park (Walker)

4- Tunnel Park (Holland)

5- P.J. Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon)

6- Grand Haven City Beach

7- Oval Beach (Saugatuck)

8- Kirk Park (West Olive)

9- Duck Lake State Park (Muskegon)

10- Gun Lake (Wayland)

Water Play Places

Looking for a way to cool down when the temperature outside is rising? Water play places keep kids entertained for hours and are sure to make your summer bucket list.

With so many indoor options, it might just make your fall, winter or spring bucket list, too. The top-rated water play places for splashing, swimming and all-out fun are listed below.

Voted Top Water Play Place

Millennium Park Beach & Splash Pad

1- Millennium Park Beach & Splash Pad (Walker)

2- Michigan’s Adventure Water Park (Muskegon)

3- Holland Community Aquatic Center

4- Frederik Meijer Gardens – Great Lakes Garden

5- Maplewood Park Splashpad (Jenison)

6- The Kroc Center

7- Goldfish Swim School

8- David D. Hunting YMCA

9- MVP Athletic Club – Crahen

10- Allendale Splash Pad

Holland Community Aquatic Center

Visit the Holland Community Aquatic Center for fun for the entire family! Located in the heart of Holland, HCAC offers activities for kids of all ages.

550 Maple Ave | Holland MI 49423
FACEBOOK | 616-393-7595


Indoor Play Places

After the days upon days of sub-zero temperatures this past winter, indoor play places became a lifesaver.

Indoor play places aren’t great just for winter, though. Nothing beats some indoor play to avoid the cold, the heat, the rain, or any other weather situation thrown at us.

Find the top places below for kids to play, all indoors, all year long.

Voted Top Indoor Play Place

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

1- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

2- Catch Air (Kentwood)

3- Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park (Kentwood)

4- Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena (Jenison)

5- Dave & Busters

6- Altitude

7- For the Kidz Gymnastics (Wyoming)

8- Jester’s Court

9- Chuck E. Cheese’s

10- GR Kroc Center

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is a place where imaginations soar — with two floors of permanent and rotating exhibits, there’s always something new to explore!

11 Sheldon Avenue NE | Grand Rapids, MI 49503
FACEBOOK | 616-235-4726


Jester’s Court

Come on over to Jester’s Court! Our indoor facility features approximately 20,000 sqft of action-packed fun for kids 12 years old and younger. Softplay, inflatable slides, obstacle courses, jumps, interactive games and more will keep your kids happy, healthy, and active. Follow us on Facebook for specials and events!

“Perfect place for a day out! Ton of inflatables and a jungle gym. There was a baby/toddler area too, great for families with different aged kids! There was a room with a party happening and everyone seemed to love it! We will be back and we spent a lot less money than going to other indoor places.”  

707 Northridge Dr NW | Grand Rapids Charter Township, MI, 49544
FACEBOOK | 616-784-5437


Catch Air

Catch Air is West Michigan’s largest and most fun, indoor play facility for children 10 and under!

2978 28th St | Grand Rapids, MI 49512
FACEBOOK | 616-200-6956


Sky Zone

3636 29th St SE | Kentwood, MI, 49512


Best Family Events, Birthday Parties & Daycare Centers

Planning a birthday party? Looking for a high-quality daycare provider? This section covers the best, GRANDTASTIC family-friendly events and venues around town!

This section includes the following Grandtastic Award categories:

  • Events for Family Fun
  • Birthday Party Venues

  • Daycare Centers

Events for Family Fun

Annual events mark the change of seasons here in West Michigan.

We know spring is around the corner when we watch the tropical butterflies fly around at Meijer Gardens and that fall has arrived as we wander through downtown soaking in the biennial ArtPrize.

Find the best events for families below, for fun, adventure and memories all year long.

Voted Top Event for Family Fun

Butterflies are Blooming – Frederik Meijer Gardens

1- Butterflies are Blooming – Frederik Meijer Gardens

2- ArtPrize

3- Zoo Goes Boo! – John Ball Zoo

4- West Michigan Whitecaps Game

5- Hudsonville Community Fair

6- Coast Guard Festival (Grand Haven)

7- Tulip Time (Holland)

8- Kent County Youth Fair (Lowell)

9- Celebration! Cinema – Flick’s Family Film Fest

10- Grand Rapids Griffins Game

Birthday Party Venues

While some parents love the fun of decorating and preparing food for a birthday party at home, others enjoy the convenience of hosting the party outside of the home.

Birthday parties at a venue typically require very little preparation for decorations, food and entertainment. Many times, this is already all built in to the birthday package!

Check out some of best spots around town to celebrate your child’s special day.

Voted Top Birthday Party Venue

Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park

1- Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park (Alto)

2- Craig’s Cruisers (Wyoming)

3- Chuck E. Cheese’s

4- Catch Air

5- Rebounderz (Jenison)

6- Sky Zone (Kentwood)

7- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

8- For the Kidz Gymnastics (Wyoming)

9- BattleGR

10- (Tie) The Mud Room

10- (Tie) R Athletics

The Mud Room @ Knapp’s Corner

Pottery painting, potter’s wheels and more! The Mud Room offers parties that are FUN for the kids and EASY for the parents! Online booking available.

1971 E Beltline Ave NE #103, Grand Rapids MI 49525
FACEBOOK  | 616-259-7269


BattleGR Tactical Games

4735 Lake Michigan Dr NW Suite E | Grand Rapids MI 49534


Daycare Centers

When trying to choose a daycare center for my daughter after she was born, I was asking everyone with young kids what daycare center they loved.

A personal recommendation on a center from someone I trusted tipped the scales in that center’s favor big time. And thanks to the Grandtastic guide, getting recommendations is so much easier!

Below are the top daycare centers parents trust for their families.

Voted Top Daycare Center

Milestones Child Development Center

1- Milestones Child Development Center

2- AppleTree & Gilden Woods Early Care & Preschool

3- Big Steps Little Feet (Ada)

4- Rainbow Child Care Center of Grand Rapids

5- Orchard Hill Christian Preschool & Child Care

6- The Goddard School For Early Child Development

7- Adventures Learning Centers

8- Tutor Time

9- (Tie) Treehouse Child Care – Grandville Public Schools

9- (Tie) Childtime Learning Centers

10- Bright Horizons

Milestones Child Development Center

Milestones Child Development Center is locally owned and offers 4 program locations in Cascade, Caledonia, Belmont and Portage. Open since 2005, Milestones enriches each child’s life with intentional educational techniques, authentic experiences all while providing a nurturing and safe environment. Milestones state of the art facilities offer secure buildings, warm interiors and expansive natural playgrounds.

“Milestones’ staff understand the developmental importance of play and how to engage my children’s natural curiosities. My children love attending, excited for what new adventures and lessons await each day. It is hard to find trusting people to watch and guide your children. I have never doubted my trust in Milestones.”

Milestones Parent

4527 Cascade Rd SE Ste B | Grand Rapids, MI 49546
8270 Broadmoor AVE SE | Caledonia, MI 49316
FACEBOOK |  INSTAGRAM | 616-536-2523


AppleTree & Gilden Woods

Providing high quality childcare and early education in a safe, nurturing environment. Visit your child anytime online using the AppleCam and receive daily activity reports online, in real-time, via our AppleGram. We enhance your child’s experience with music, technology, foreign language, gymnastics, and S.T.E.M. enrichment opportunities all included in your tuition.

“Great environment for our child. The teachers really care about him and he has learned so much in just a short time. Highly recommended!!!!”  

AppleTree & Gilden Woods Parent

Adventures Learning Centers

The journey down the road to kindergarten is full of adventures, exploration, new discoveries, investigations, problem solving, and curiosity! There are multiple steps we use to help prepare them, with your help!

3710 29th St. | Kentwood MI 49512
FACEBOOK | 616-301-2030


Best Places to Eat Out or Grab Candy or Ice Cream with Kids

As a parent, sometimes the best food can be the food we don’t have to prepare.

Whether it is for a quick stop for candy or ice cream or a sit down meal at a restaurant or brewery, read on for the GRKIDS readers’ GRANDTASTIC choices for eating out.

This section includes the following Grandtastic Award categories:

  • Restaurants for Families

  • Breweries for Families

  • Candy Stores

  • Ice Cream Shops

Restaurants for Families

Let’s be honest, eating out with kids can be challenging. And if you’ve ever tried to keep a few small hungry kids sitting and quiet while you wait for your food, you understand.

I soon learned though, dining at the right restaurant made all of the difference. Family-friendly restaurants understand (and welcome) all the fun and challenges kids can bring.

Check out the most loved spots to keep kids entertained & well fed when you head out to eat.

Voted Top Restaurant for Families

Uccello’s Ristorante

1- Uccello’s Ristorante

2- Red Robin

3- Russ’ Restaurants

4- Pizza Ranch

5- Downtown Market

6- Arnie’s

7- Peppino’s Sports Grill & Pizzeria

8- Vitale’s of Ada

9- Twisted Rooster

10- (Tie) Big Bob’s Pizza (East Grand Rapids)

10- (Tie) Brann’s

Breweries for Families

Babies and breweries together? Why not! You may be surprised to learn that a trip to a local brewery does not need to be saved for a date night, but that many breweries can make for a family-friendly day or night out.

And if you live in a city given the name Beer City USA, then it is a safe bet that you will have a great list of options to choose from, including parents’ favorites, all listed below.

Voted Top Brewery for Families


1- Founders

2- The Mitten Brewing Co

3- Perrin

4- Brewery Vivant

5- VanderMill

6- City Built Brewing

7- Harmony Brewing Company

8- Jolly Pumpkin

9- Latitude 42

Candy Stores

Kids love candy. Walk into a candy store with a few kids in tow and you'll know this is 100% true.

And what is not to love? The bright colors, interesting shapes and of course, the taste!

If you are looking to bring your kids out for a special treat, be sure to stop at one of the top-voted candy stores that families love.

Voted Top Candy Store

Holland Peanut Store

1- Holland Peanut Store

2- Jersey Junction (East Grand Rapids)

3- Sweetland Candies (Plainfield)

4- Kilwins Chocolates and Ice Cream

5- Sweet Tooth of Rockford

6- Rocket Fizz

7- Cosmic Candy Company (Woodland Mall)

8- Albertus Koeze & Company - Gourmet Nuts

9- Krissy's Kandies (Grand Haven)

10- Lakeside Emporium (Muskegon)

Ice Cream Shops

Summer and ice cream go hand in hand. But who am I kidding, ice cream goes well with spring, fall and winter too.

Whether it is Rocky Road, Strawberry Cheesecake, or good old fashioned vanilla, our top ice cream shops have got you covered.

The best ice cream shops, according to local parents, are all listed below.