17 Free Winter Things to Do in Grand Rapids (Plus Some Inexpensive Ideas, Too!)

World of Winter 2024 lighted walkway concept

Cheap or Free Winter Activities in Grand Rapids

Michigan abounds with free things to do, but which of these things can you do in winter?

Swimming at the beach is a fun idea, but not something you can do when the lake is frozen over. Things like flying a kite or watching a movie outdoors are also… not really winter vibes.

But winter is the only time you can go sledding. Or check out the World of Winter Festival. Watch ice sculpting. See a hockey game.

Here are all the free/inexpensive things to do in winter around GR.

*feature image is of a planned World of Winter 2024 installation.

19 Inexpensive or Free Grand Rapids Winter Activities

1) Experience the World of Winter Festival

January 12 – March 10, 2024
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Downtown Grand Rapids is filled with winter-themed (and some non-winter themed) works of art for World of Winter.

Installations include lunar lamposts, lighted runway, ice sculptures and more.

2) Celebrate All Things Winter at Grand Haven Winterfest

January 25 – 28, 2024
Grand Haven, MI 49417

The Grand Haven Winterfest will be packed with winter fun, including a Kid’s Day, snow angel contest, a Family Dog Pull, a Cardboard Sled Race and much more!


free winter activities: Grand Haven Winterfest cardboard sled race

3) Snowshoe at Blandford Nature Center

Winter Fort Building on January 28
1715 Hillburn Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Check out the many trails and family-friendly programs at Blandford Nature Center, including Winter Fort Building on January 28. (2023 date TBA)

Admission to the property is $3.

4) See Ice Sculptures at Magical Ice Fest

February 2 – 4, 2024
Downtown St. Joseph, MI 49085

Discover the art of ice at the Magical Ice Fest in St. Joseph.

Watch professional ice carvers in action and even interact with some of the carvings.


Ongoing Ideas for Grand Rapids Winter Activities

These free winter activities aren’t limited to just once. You can do them again and again, all season long.

5) Go Roller Skating

Rollxscape Skating Center, 12521 James Street, Holland, Michigan 49424
Jumpin’ Jupiter, 1775 Evanston Ave., Muskegon MI 49442 
GR Skate & Event Center, 14 52nd St. SE, Kentwood, MI 49548
GR Skate & Event Center, 3651 84th St. SW, Byron Center, MI 49315
Tarry Hall Roller Skating Rink, 3330 Fairlanes Ave, Grandville MI, 49418

Rollxscape Skating Center participates in Kids Skate FREE all year long! Bring your own skates, or pay a small fee to rent them. 

You can also check out Jumpin’ Jupiter Skate Center, Tarry Hall or GR Skate & Event Center Kentwood or Byron Center for thrifty skating.

6) Get Building

Various locations

Build something from Home Depot’s Kids Workshops or Lowe’s.

Visit their websites to register in advance for these FREE kids’ workshops.

Home Depot’s workshops are held on the first Saturday of the month from 9 AM – 12 PM. Past kits are available for purchase online and are sometimes available for free in-stores after the workshop is over.

Lowe’s hosts their workshops on the third Saturday of the month from 10 AM – 1 PM. If you miss out, you can stop by afterward and ask if there are any left.

7) Ice Skate at an Outdoor Rink

Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Check out our Ice Skating list in our Outdoor Winter Activities Guide, which lists 15 places to skate around GR!

Included is Rosa Parks Circle, where admission, including skate rental, is only $4 for adults and $2 for children. Their season runs November 24, 2023 – February 25, 2024.

8) Cheer on the Grand Rapids Griffins

Van Andel Arena, 130 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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 Grand Rapids Griffins games.

9) Go Sledding

Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park
462 Scenic Drive, North Muskegon, MI  49445 

Sled at one of the recommended locations listed in our guide, or visit the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex’s family sledding hill.

Admission is FREE, and if desired, sled rental is just $3.

More of our favorites are Ada Vista Elementary and Pinery Park.

sledding hills grand rapids

10) Volunteer With Your Kids

Check out our Volunteer Guide and serve alongside your family.

11) Take a Hike

Pigeon Creek Park
12524 Stanton St, West Olive, MI 49460

Try your hand at skiing and snowshoeing at Pigeon Creek Park in Holland.

Entry and trails are FREE, and equipment rentals are $8.

12) Get a Donut Fix

Stop inside Krispy Kreme when the red light is on for a FREE doughnut while watching them being made (scheduled tours may be available upon request).

13) Jump Into an Indoor Pool

Swim at one of the local pools featured in our Indoor Swimming Guide.

Most pools offer rates of $3/person or less.

14) Try a Program at Outdoor Discovery Center

Join the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland for one of their winter programs, including snowshoe hikes, family ice fishing and more!

Fees range from FREE to $20.

outdoor discovery center snowshoe

15) Make Art

Join Grand Rapids Art Museum for hands-on family activities in the studio every Saturday.

OR visit the GRAM on Tuesdays from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM or Thursdays from 5:00 – 8:00 PM and get in FREE!

16) Throw a Strike

Clique Lanes, 533 Stocking Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Many local lanes offer low-priced games, including the only bi-level bowling alley in West Michigan, Clique Lanes.

Clique Lanes in Grand Rapids

17) Hit Up a Gymnastics Center

Grand Rapids Gymnastics, 1601 Galbraith Ave SE STE 301, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Preschoolers and younger can burn some of their endless energy at Preschool Playtime at Grand Rapids Gymnastics, every Friday from 12:00 PM-1:00 PM, for just $8/child ($6 for members).

Also, GRGymnastics Babies class for pre-crawlers and pre-walkers every Tuesday at 11:45 AM is FREE.

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