The Airport Viewing Area is a Hidden Gem in Grand Rapids
For a different Grand Rapids park experience, head to the Airport Viewing Area!
Pack a picnic and watch planes take off or land or time your visit to take advantage of the food truck days.
GRR reports that on any given day as many as 300 aircraft may take off or land at the international airport so chances are there will be planes to see when you stop by.
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What the Airport Viewing Area is Like
The GRR Airport Viewing Area has plenty of parking, a few picnic tables, a pavilion with clean bathrooms, and filtered water fountains.
Address: 4820 Kraft Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Hours: 8 am – 8 pm and it’s open year-round
Listen in at the Airport Viewing Park
When you visit the airport viewing park, be sure to tune your radio to 1650 AM.
You’ll be able to listen to air traffic controllers, pilots, and GFIA airfield operations staff as they coordinate aircraft into and out of Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
Will You See Planes?
If you time it right, you’ll be more likely to see planes take off and land at the observation park.
Check the flight schedule at grr.org to see when there will be the most activity and coordinate your visit with that.
Food Trucks at the Airport Viewing Area
Two Wednesdays a month, From May to September you can watch planes and enjoy some great food at the Airport Viewing Park this season.
In 2023, food trucks will be around on the first and third Wednesday of the month according to this schedule:
May 3 (10 am – 4 pm)
May 17 (4 – 8 pm)
June 7 (10 am – 4 pm)
June 14 (4 – 8 pm)
July 5 (10 am – 4 pm)
July 19 (4 – 8 pm)
August 2 (10 am – 4 pm)
August 16 (4 – 8 pm)
September 6 (10 am – 4 pm)
September 20 (4 – 8 pm)
Get Close to the Planes
This is one of the best places to watch planes take off — unless you’re actually boarding a flight.
This is a much more laid back experience – no TSA, no parking fees. Just a nice green space where you can bring a picnic and hang out with family.
Sunsets are Gorgeous at the Airport Viewing Area
The best part of the Airport Viewing Park is the scenery.
This is where you can get a closeup view of airplanes taking off and landing.
It’s fun to listen to the engines and seeing the different types of planes that come into and leave the airport.
You’ll see commercial passenger planes, but you’ll also likely see cargo ships and smaller, private planes as well.
It’s also one of the best places in Grand Rapids to watch the sunset.
How to Find the GRR Ford Airport Viewing Area
Finding the viewing area can be tricky.
Most people wrongly assume that they should drive to the airport to find the viewing area.
GRR International Airport Viewing Area is not accessed via the main airport entrance, though.
To find the Airport Observation Area, you need to approach the airport from the south, on Kraft. Kraft will dead-end at the viewing area entrance.
The airport observation park is located on Kraft Avenue, south of the airport.
Be sure to visit the Viewing Park Facebook page for more information.
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25 thoughts on “GRR Airport Viewing Area: Enjoy Food Trucks & Plane Watching in 2023”
When does this open in the spring and close in the fall?
We were in Greenville South Carolina over spring break this year and found the coolest park. It was called “Runway Park” and even had a small restaurant called Runway Café! The entrance to this park was the top part of an airplane With window seats and kids faces on them, it was like a small tunnel. It was actually a scaled down size runway with the lights and everything that went to the other end of the park where you could sit and watch planes land and take off. There were also two small playgrounds, a picnic area and the was a track around the entire park were people were walking, kids riding scooters or bikes. It was the neatest park I have ever been to. My four year old grandson told his mom it was the best day of his life! I’m going to check out our new viewing area and then maybe bring some pictures of runway park for officials to see!!
I/We take our grandson there often.
I thought you guys were going to do improvements to the viewing area. When is that going to start?
Happy 4 of July
Don’t forget the sunscreen!
You can go to the airports website to look up landings and departures to make sure you’ll see some planes while you are there too. http://www.grr.org/RTFI.php
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When is the best day and time to go?
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We used to do this all the time when we were kids. Then they closed the one we went to when they expanded and I didn’t know they had opened another one!! Very cool we will have to have a picnic lunch there very soon!!
We play a little game where we make up stories about where we think the people are going.
my kids call this going to the airport park. we usually take a snack or lunch. great way to wave goodbye to a traveling daddy or departing family member who has been visiting! wendy’s is on the way if you drop someone off!
We did a couple of times. I have a handheld scanner (former pilot), so we used that instead. With a good cell phone connection, you can listen in on liveatc.net too.
I was there this afternoon, but the radio connection wasn’t working for me? Has anyone tuned into 1650 with success?
One of our favorite things to do!
One of our favorite things to do!
I had no idea! That sounds like a lot of fun. I have always been fascinated with airplanes — it is amazing to me that something so large and so heavy can look so graceful. Thanks for sharing 🙂