On the classic Michigan Hand Map, Grand Rapids is located roughly in the middle of the right hand, between the ring finger and pinkie. If you don't know about the Hand Map, and you're considering a move to the great state of Michigan, we suggest you get to know it ASAP. Believe it or not, Michiganders really do often utilize these “handy” bodily maps as visual aids. So, what's so great about living in this part of the north paw? Plenty, actually. Cultural opportunities abound, commutes are a cinch, public spaces are ample, the beaches of that one really big lake are just 30 minutes away and, most importantly, the local beer is good. For a 10 minute tour of the city and a peek at nearly 3,000 of its inhabitants, just watch Rob Bliss' world record-breaking Lip Dub video.
With average winter low temps hovering around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, living in Grand Rapids pretty much requires a car. With snow tires. GR does offer reliable (and cheap) public transportation around downtown and between suburbs via The Rapid and Dash systems.
Lifestyle considerations may prove to be a deal-breaker or maker for some house-hunters. While Grand Rapids is widely considered to be an 'up and coming' American community, it's not exactly a world capitol, so competition for vacant units is usually a non-issue. Investigate GR's neighborhoods, and take it from there.
Grand Rapids is basically divided into four sections, NE, NW, SE and SW:
Southeast: This area has a variety of housing options.
Northeast: Includes the areas of Rockford and Kent county, and holds a plethora of hiking, biking and golfing opportunities.
Southwest: Composed of the suburbs of Wyoming, Grandville and Byron Center, this area is known fo– Hey! Look at that giant mall!
Northwest: A more rural area.
Eastown, so hot right now . . . Eastown. GR's most happening 'hood offers everything you need to get through your day: art galleries, bookstores, a legendary breakfast spot, dive bars, coffee and hot yoga. Located just 5 minutes east of downtown Grand Rapids, snaggable rentals include townhomes, mid-rise apartments and second floor apartments.
Founded in 1848 (hence the name) Heritage Hills' rental inventory consists primarily of old, stately manors carved into apartments, and single-family homes. By the way, the whole freakin' neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Lookout has a diverse selection of rentals. The farther east you go, the nicer it gets.
This neighborhood is smack in the center of town, and somewhat of an ongoing project. A recently opened farmers market and nightlife district and the assortment of LEED-certified apartment buildings.
Grand Rapids is, quite simply, an extremely friendly place to live, if you didn’t notice from the lip dub. It offer a vibrant downtown, cool neighborhood shopping districts, and green development plans. So here’s a final insider tip for you, go out and buy a jacket, you don’t want to miss the boat on this one. Hurry and find your rental – before global warming ruins your chances!