Thinking About Moving Your Family to Grand Rapids, MI?
If you’re considering a move to Michigan’s fastest-growing metro area and second-largest city, this handy guide will help you sort out relocation your family to West Michigan.
Why do people move here?
Maybe you have family here or maybe you grew up in West Michigan.
Perhaps, you’re a fan of craft beer, and living in Beer City USA seems irresistible. Maybe you’re simply drawn to Midwest family values or the low cost of living found in West Michigan. There are many reasons for relocating to Grand Rapids!
If you’re considering a move to Grand Rapids, you’ll want:
Before you move, you’ll need to find a great Realtor. Check out our preferred partner realtors HERE and give one of them a call to get your moving plans rolling.
2) Discover the Community that Fits Your Vibe
As you start house hunting, check out our Community Pages to learn more about all the specific areas you could opt to live within greater Grand Rapids. Whether you are looking for a small town vibe, a neighborhood city, trying to find your dream farmhouse or looking for a place north or west of Grand Rapids, our detailed community pages will help inform your decision.
3) Scope out Your New School
We know figuring out child care, preschool, and where to send your big kids to school are high on your priority list, too. Be sure to read our Child Care, Preschool and Schools Guidefor lots of practical, helpful information.
4) Get in With the Best Docs Around
Once you’ve moved, you’ll want to quickly find quality health care providers for your family. You can find the cream of the crop in our annual, reader-voted Top Health Care Providers Guide, whichcovers the top-voted providers from pediatricians to dentists to OB/GYNs and more!
Last but not least, you will definitely want to read through our Grandtastic Awards guide. A reader-recommended list of all the BEST places for families around greater Grand Rapids. This guide will point you to the best places to eat, dine, play, learn and shop with your family.
Now that we covered all the all-important basics, keep reading for other helpful information and resources to ease your transition to Grand Rapids…
It won’t take you long, to notice that West Michigan natives use a lot of acronyms and slang.
Study up and you’ll be interpreting GR lingo in no time (you can thank us later for this crash course).
Inside the Acronyms
CRC = Christian Reformed Church
EGR = East Grand Rapids
FMG = Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (also called Meijer Gardens)
GR = Grand Rapids
GRAM = Grand Rapid’s Art Museum
GRCM = Grand Rapid’s Children’s Museum
JBZ = John Ball Zoo
U.P. = Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
The BOB = The “Big Old Buildling” in downtown that houses multiple restaurants, bars, and a comedy club
Inside the Lingo
G-Rap/G-R/ = Grand Rapids
Lake-Effect Snow = ALL the snow. Expect TONS of snow during the winter, thanks to being on the eastern bank of Lake Michigan. Residents of Holland and south to Allegan get even more snow than Grand Rapids.
S-Curve – An S-shaped part of the 131 freeway running through downtown Grand Rapids (that can often be car accident prone).
The Beltline – M-44, a state trunkline highway, is named “East Beltline” or is often just called “The Beltline.” (It turns into Broadmoor south of 28th Street.)
The Big Lake/The Beach – Lake Michigan
‘Ope! – An amalgamation of sorry and oops, we often say ‘Ope! as a way to be polite and show deference to the other person who we almost bumped into or cut off in line. (You can take this knowledge with you anywhere in the Midwest.)
ArtPrize – Grand Rapid’s bi-annual public art competition, the most attended public art event in the world.
Small Group/Community Group/Life Group – Bible study church group
Knapp’s Corner – shopping area with a movie theater and restaurants off of East Beltline
Medical Mile – A designated area within the city that has medical-related development in the Hillside District of GR, bordering both sides of Michigan Street.
East – East Grand Rapids or East Grand Rapids schools (e.g. “She’s a senior at East”). Do not confuse this with Eastown, an artsy Grand Rapids neighborhood just down the street from East Grand Rapids.
Blue Bridge – an iconic pedestrian (blue) bridge, located in the center of downtown GR between Pearl and Fulton. (Fun fact: this use to be a rail bridge!)
Up North – Michiganders love to get away “Up North,” but there is no exact definition of what constitutes northern Michigan. “Up North” generally refers to anywhere farther north of where you are located, but still in the Lower Peninusla of Michigan.
Yooper– Someone who lives in the Upper Peninsula.
Troll – Someone who lives south of the Mackinac Bridge.
The Calder – “La Grande Vitesse” is a public sculpture created by American artist Alexander Calder. It is located on the large concrete plaza referred to as “Calder Plaza” near City Hall in downtown GR.
Neighborhood/Community Names – Grand Rapids transplants may get confused about all the little neighborhood names around town like “Heritage Hill” and “Eastown,” that aren’t actual cities, but just neighborhoods. Find out about the various communities around GR through these community info pages.
The Weatherball – The WZZM 13 Weatherball is a large steel structure, which gives visual weather information based on the color of the weatherball. There is also a well-known Weatherball song that goes, “Weatherball red, warmer weather ahead. Weatherball blue, cooler weather in view. Weatherball green, no change foreseen. Colors blinking bright? Rain or snow in sight.“
Michigan U/Michigan Left – A “Michigan Left” is a design which replaces a left turn with a U-turn and is also called a median U-turn crossover or boulevard turnaround