Cheap or Free Winter Activities in Grand Rapids

If Christmas Broke Your Bank, We’ve Got Some Ideas for You

After all of the spending we do preparing for the holidays, it is refreshing to see the great amount of thrifty winter fun West Michigan has to offer families! Take a look at our list below and let us know if you have anything to add.


31 Inexpensive Ways to Have Fun in Grand Rapids This Winter

Put it on the Calendar

  1. Discover the art of ice at the Magical Ice Fest in St. Joseph, February 2-4.  It’s FREE!
  2. Explore winter fun through the lens of nature at Active Saturdays! at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings. Different themes each week include Outdoor Winter Fun (Jan 6), Winter Birds (Jan 13), Trees (Jan 20) and Animals (Jan 27).
  3. Check out the many trails and family friendly programs at Blandford Nature Center, including Winter Fort Building on January 13. Admission to the property is $3.
  4. The Grand Haven Winterfest will be packed with winter fun, including a Kid’s Day, an Intergalactic Human Sled Race, a Family Dog Pull, a Cardboard Sled Race and much more! The event runs from January 25-29 and admission is FREE!
  5. The Lowell Arts! Players are presenting “James and the Giant Peach” on January 18. Admission is $7.
  6. Attend the Kids and Family Expo at DeVos Place on January 27. The event will feature a zip line, rock wall, a Lego build, crafts, ga-ga pit, bounce house and more! Adults are $7, children 3-15 are $3 and kids 2 and under are FREE!
  7. Celebrate the snow with some awesome FREE events, including the snowman building contest and fat tire bike rides, at Winter West, held January 13 at Richmond Park in Grand Rapids.
  8. Find the same Winter West fun at Mulick Park on January 27.
  9. Snowfest is returning to Downtown Muskegon February 2-3, featuring a soup/chili cook-off, a snow cornhole tournament, snow volleyball, FREE kids activities and more!
  10. Attend a Grand Rapids Symphony Lollipops Concert at DeVos Performance Hall for just $5 per person. Upcoming shows include Little Red Riding Hood on February 3 and Green Eggs and Ham on March 3.
  11. Celebrate winter while skating with Griffins players at the Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle on January 20 and 21. The event includes sports demonstrations, sled dogs, family activity tent,  and more…all for FREE!


  1. Go roller skating! The Kentwood Fun Spot, Byron Fun Spot and Jumpin’ Jupiter Skate Center all participate in Kids Skate FREE all year long! Bring your own skates, or pay a small fee to rent them. You can also check out Tarry Hall for thrifty skating.
  2. Build something at Home Depot’s Kids Workshops. The events are FREE, but pre-registration is required (and they fill up fast).
  3. Check out our Ice Skating list in our Winter Outdoor Play Guide, which lists 15 places to skate around GR! Included is Rosa Parks Circle, where admission, including skate rental, is only $2 for adults and $1 for children (cash only).
  4. Cheer on the Grand Rapids Griffins! Children with Griff’s Reading Goals bookmarks (distributed in schools and libraries throughout the greater Grand Rapids area) receive 2 FREE upper level tickets to select games.
  5. Sled at one of the recommended locations listed in our guide, or visit the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex’s new family sledding hill! Admission is FREE, and if desired, sled rental is just $3!
  6. Check out our Volunteer Guide and serve alongside your family.
  7. Explore nature at the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve. FREE family programs are offered on the first Saturday of each month.
  8. Try your hand at skiing and snowshoeing at Pigeon Creek Park in Holland. Entry and trails are FREE, and equipment rentals range from $5-8.
  9. Check out one of the many Grand Rapid’s museums, gyms and indoor hot spots in our Indoor Play Guide.
  10. Stop inside Krispy Kreme when the red light is on for a FREE doughnut while watching them being made (scheduled tours are available upon request).
  11. Swim at one of the many local pools featured in our Indoor Swimming Guide. Most pools offer rates of $3/person or less.
  12. Enjoy Family Night at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum on Thursdays from 5-8pm. Admission is just $1.50 per person, for those ages 1 year and above.
  13. For only $5, kids in grades 5-9 can have a blast at the 3 Mile Project. A former warehouse, it now contains sports courts, theaters, a skate park, a Reball arena, video games, table games and more!
  14. Join the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland for one of their winter programs, including snowshoe walks, family ice fishing and more! Fees range from FREE to $10.
  15. Join the Grand Rapids Art Museum for hands-on family activities in the studio every Saturday (and two additional days during winter break), OR, visit the GRAM on Tuesdays, or on Thursdays from 5:00-9:00 pm, and get in FREE!
  16. Go bowling. Many local lanes offer low-priced games, including the only bi-level bowling alley in West Michigan, Clique Lanes. Or go to Buck Night at Hudsonville Lanes where they offer $1 games, shoe rental, pop, hot dogs, fries and nachos, every Monday and Thursday (late) night.
  17. Visit Barnes & Noble for Storytime at Rivertown Crossings, every Thursday at 10:30 am. Admission is FREE!
  18. Kids under 6 can also enjoy Preschool Playtime at Grand Rapids Gymnastics, every Friday from 11:00 am-12:00 pm, for just $5/child.
  19. Head to the Caledonia Dance & Music Center for Story Time with a Twist! This FREE activity is held every Tuesday at 10:00 am, and combines storybooks with music, dance, rhymes, and more!
  20. Get your farm animal fix in at The Critter Barn in Zeeland, from 10 AM – 1 PM, Monday-Saturday. Admission is a free-will donation.

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By |2018-01-02T20:30:05+00:00January 1st, 2018|Categories: Free, Winter|Tags: , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Stephanie P
Stephanie is an architect, turned graphic designer and PTO momma of 3. A wannabe photographer, travel agent, party planner, and do-gooder at heart, she enjoys filling her family's schedules and the lives of others, while obsessively documenting it along the way.

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