Grand Rapids may very well be the most under-rated cultural center of the Midwest.

The city boasts an extensive selection of fine arts attractions.  There’s the aptly-named Grand Rapids Art Museum , which provides the art connoisseur with much to mull over, what with all its Picassos and Diebenkorns and other 5000 masterpieces.  And the Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is one of the most enthralling cultural draws in the entire Midwest.  Both art museum and botanical retreat, Meijer Gardens boasts works from such masters as Rodin and Oldenberg.  A visit to Grand Rapids practically necessitates a trip to the Meijer Gardens.

The Van Andel Museum Center is Grand Rapids condensed into a three-story time capsule.  Travel through the reaches of history into the museum’s numerous exhibits about the city’s past, or to the reaches of space in its planetarium.  As the hometown to former president Gerald Ford, the Gerald R. Ford Museum provides a peek into presidential life hard to find anywhere else.

Grand Rapids also contains a vibrant classical music scene, with both an established opera house and a renowned symphony orchestra .  A stop at the Opera Grand Rapids makes for a wonderful high-brow excursion, particularly around the fall when its season opens, and the Grand Rapids Symphony puts on well-balanced programs of modern and traditional masterpieces from September to May.