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

Free Winter Activities roller skating

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’s 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.

kids sledding at Mulick Park
Mulick Park sledding

X Inexpensive or Free Things to do in Winter around Grand Rapids

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1) Hike at Blandford Nature Center

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 15. Admission to the property is $3.

blandford snowshoe
Blandford Nature Center is a great place for snowshoeing

2) Celebrate All Things Winter at Grand Haven Winterfest

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!

The event runs from January 27 – 30 and admission is FREE!

1) World of Winter

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1) World of Winter

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Magical Ice Fest

Discover the art of ice at the Magical Ice Fest in St. Joseph, February 4 – 6, 2022. FREE

Downtown St. Joseph, MI 49085

St Josephn Magical Ice Fest alien sculpture
St. Joseph Magical Ice Fest

Appreciate Winter Beauty

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

Installations include bunnies, light maze, ice sculptures and more.

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

World of Winter Light Maze
Light Maze is one of the art installations at World of Winter 2022 Photo: City of Grand Rapids

Ongoing Ideas for Grand Rapids Winter Fun


Go roller skating

Jumpin’ Jupiter Skate 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 Tarry Hall or GR Skate & Event Center Kentwood and Byron Center for thrifty skating.

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


Get Building

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

While we are still in pandemic-mode, these kits are available for pick-up at the store. Minimal supplies of your own are needed (sometimes just a hammer) in order to build them at home.

Home Depot’s kits are available on the first Saturday of the month on a first-come, first-served basis. Past kits are available for purchase online and are sometimes available for free in-stores.

Lowe’s requires pre-registration for their kits. If you miss out, you can stop by the following Monday and ask if they any left.

Home Depot Kids Workshop Ward
Build for free from Home Depot

Practice Your Figure 8s

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 $2 for adults and $1 for children (cash only). (Opening delayed for 2021 – 2022 season.)

girl ice skating at rosa parks circle
Rosa Parks Circle

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 Grand Rapids Griffins games.

Grand Rapids Griffins Liams Sign

Soar downhill

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.

kid sledding in winter wearing goggles

Help Others

Check out our Volunteer Guide and serve alongside your family.


Explore Nature

Free family programs are offered at Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve on the first Saturday of each month.


Take a Hike

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.

pigeon creek snowshoe 1


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.


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.

outdoor discovery center snowshoe
Snowshoe at the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland

Get Moving

For only $7, 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!


Be Creative

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!


Get a Strike

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.)

kid bowling at Clique Lanes
Clique Lanes

Bounce, Tumble and Play

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 12:00 PM is FREE.

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