25 Free Things to do This Winter in Grand Rapids (Plus some Inexpensive Ideas, too!)

Free Winter Fun Feature Image sledding kids snow

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 to celebrate the holidays, it is refreshing to see the great amount of thrifty winter fun West Michigan has to offer families!

kids sledding at Mulick Park
Mulick Park sledding

Take a look at our list below and let us know if you have anything to add.

Over 25 Inexpensive or Free Things to do in Winter around Grand Rapids

Events Happening January – February, 2020

  1. Discover the art of ice at the Magical Ice Fest in St. Joseph, January 31 – February 2.  It’s FREE!
  2. Check out the many trails and family friendly programs at Blandford Nature Center, including Winter Fort Building on January 11 and Winter in the Cabin on January 18. Admission to the property is $3.
  3. 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! The event runs from January 23-26 and admission is FREE!
  4. Celebrate the snow with an awesome FREE event, including the snowman building contest and fat tire bike rides, at Winter West. (January 4 at Richmond Park in Grand Rapids).
  5. Snowfest is returning to Downtown Muskegon February 1, featuring a soup/chili cook-off, a snow cornhole tournament, snow volleyball, FREE kids activities and more!
  6. Attend a Grand Rapids Symphony Lollipops Concert for just $5 per person. Upcoming shows include Peter and the Wolf on January 25 and Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” on March 28.
  7. Celebrate winter while skating with Griffins players at the Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle on January 18 and 19. The event includes sports demonstrations, sled dogs, family activity tent,  and more…all for FREE!
    Rosy Mound Winter
    Hike Rosy Mound

Ongoing Ideas for Grand Rapids Winter Fun

  1. Go roller skating! 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).
    Home Depot Kids Workshop Ward
  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).
    Ice Skating Rosa Parks Circle Ward winter
  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 family sledding hill! Admission is FREE, and if desired, sled rental is just $3! More of our favorites are Ada Vista Elementary, Provin Trails, or Pinery Park.
    Kids Sledding Guider winter snow
  6. Check out our Volunteer Guide and serve alongside your family.
  7. Explore nature at 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. 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).
  10. Swim at one of the local pools featured in our Indoor Swimming Guide. Most pools offer rates of $3/person or less.
  11. Enjoy Family Night at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum on Thursdays from 5:oo PM -8:00 PM. Admission is just $1.75 per person, for those ages 1 year and above.
    boy playing bubbles at GRCM
    Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
  14. Join Grand Rapids Art Museum for hands-on family activities in the studio every Saturday, OR, visit the GRAM on Tuesdays, or on Thursdays from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, and get in FREE!
  15. 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.
    kid bowling at Clique Lanes
    Clique Lanes
  16. Visit Barnes & Noble for Storytime at Woodland Mall every Friday at 10:30 AM.
  17. 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. Also, GRGymnastics Babies Class every Tuesday at 11:00 AM – FREE.
  18. Head to 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!
  19. 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.
    Critter Barn Birthday with Chicken
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  • free outdoor art coming to grand rapids in Jan, Feb 2021

“World of Winter” FREE Outdoor Art is in Grand Rapids for Jan, Feb 2021 – Includes Glowing Seesaws, Ice Luminaries, Giant “Koosh Balls” & MORE

Interactive Art Returns to Grand Rapids, MI for World of Winter 2021 Every year in January and February, Grand Rapids celebrates winter with the WORLD OF WINTER FESTIVAL in an attempt to get people outside and enjoying the Michigan winter and we think they've hit it out of the park for 2021! This year, the festival promises to be bigger and better, with the DDA pouring extra funds into the event. Numerous family-friendly large-scale, interactive art exhibits are en route to Grand Rapids right now, including a 20-minute colorful light show [...]

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