The love of design is massive in this city that is home to five of the top office furniture manufacturing companies. Grand Rapids’ love for good design and art can be found on display throughout the city. From grand sculptures to historic homes, here are the most iconic outdoor landmarks in Grand Rapids.
1. La Grande Vitesse
— Scott Moore 🏒⚾🎙️ (@voxomsu) June 13, 2013
This bright red art installation sits near City Hall and has a French name that translates to “the great swiftness” or “grand rapids.” Alexander Calder created it in 1969, the same year it was later installed. Known around town as “the Calder” this piece of art features 43 feet tall steel pieces that measure 54 feet long and 30 feet wide. The entire piece weighs 42 tons.
La Grande Vitesse is a favorite landmark for tourists and residents to meet and gather.
2. Beer City Ale Trail
The city of Grand Rapids has been voted Beer City USA as well as named Best Beer Scene in 2017 by USA TODAY readers. The Beer City Ale Trail includes more than 80 breweries that create unique and delicious craft beers. The world-renowned Founders Brewing Co. is also located within the city. You’ll find beer festivals, events, classes, and activities all around the city as well as plenty of gear to stock up on trying to make your brew.
3. The American Horse
— Lorraine Hickman (@shortyblueyes5) July 4, 2017
Located at the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, The American Horse by animal sculptor Nina Akamu was inspired by the work of Leonardo da Vinci. The massive 24-foot horse was cast in 52 pieces that were later welded together.
The American Horse is a testimony to the impressive ability of artists today as well as the significant role they played in Milan centuries ago. It is also one of the most striking landmarks in Grand Rapids.
4. Heritage Hill Historic District
The city’s first neighborhood was Heritage Hill, and its beautiful homes date back hundreds of years. The Heritage Hill Historic District features a community of 37 historic homes that show different architectural features. There are examples of Queen Anne, Tudor, and Federal homes as well as Georgian Revival, Gothic Revival, and Italianate. Take a walking tour offered by the Heritage Hill Association for a closer look at these homes.
5. Fish Ladder
This concrete sculpture by artist Joseph Kinnebrew sits on Front Avenue. The 5-step multi-functional ladder allows spawning salmon to reach the other side of a 6-foot dam. Visitors come and watch the fish working their way up the ladder within close range. Migrating trout and steelhead also use the ladder to make their upstream voyage.
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