Cheap or Free Winter Activities in Grand Rapids
Feature image is of Rosa Parks Circle
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.
19 Inexpensive or Free Things to do in Winter Around Grand Rapids
1) Experience the World of Winter Festival
January 6 – March 5, 2023
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 roaming gnomes, talking heads, ice sculptures and more.
2) Celebrate All Things Winter at Grand Haven Winterfest
January 27 – 30, 2023
Grand Haven, MI 49417
The Grand Haven Winterfest will be packed with winter fun, including a Kid’s Day, an ice cream eating contest, a Family Dog Pull, a Cardboard Sled Race and much more!
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.
Admission to the property is $3.
4) See Ice Sculptures at Magical Ice Fest
February 3 – 5, 2023
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 Fun
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 and Byron Center for thrifty skating.
6) Get Building
Build something from Home Depot’s Kids Workshops or Lowe’s.
These FREE kid’s workshops are back for in-store build sessions. Visit their websites to register in advance.
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 9 AM – 12 PM. If you miss out, you can stop 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 December 1, 2022 – February 26, 2023.
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.
11) Explore Nature
Free family programs are offered at Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve on the first Saturday of each month.
12) 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.
13) 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).
Swim at one of the local pools featured in our Indoor Swimming Guide.
Most pools offer rates of $3/person or less.
15) Make Discoveries
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 $10.
17) 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 – 6:00 PM or Thursdays from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM and get in FREE!
18) 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.
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. (Currently not available due to covid.)
19) 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.