Thinking about living in Grand Rapids? River City is one of the best U.S. cities for families, thanks to its affordable housing, excellent schools, abundance of parks, and fun family-friendly activities. Here are the top five best neighborhoods in Grand Rapids for families!
Want to raise your kids in one of the most affordable Grand Rapids neighborhoods? Consider Alger Heights! Families can settle into spacious Bungalow, Tudor, and Cape Cod homes, and kids can attend nearby public and private schools like Alger Middle School, Grand Rapids Christian High School, and Ottawa Hills High School. Community events like the seasonal Eastern & Alger Popup Market—where local artisans sell original artwork, clothing, jewelry, and more—keep residents connected, and shady sidewalks and convenient parks are available for active residents and their pups. Plus, this tree-lined neighborhood is great for those who need to commute, since it takes about ten minutes to drive to Downtown Grand Rapids, and the bordering streets all feature convenient bus lines for traveling throughout the city.
Crawl inside the nature amplifier or explore the great network of Grand Rapids hiking and biking trails at Ken-O-Sha Park. Let your kids run around the playground, play a game of volleyball, and challenge each other on the tennis courts at the large urban park, MacKay-Jaycees Park. Read your favorite novel in the dedicated reading spaces, attend book readings, or watch your kids enjoy the large children’s play area at Grand Rapids Public Library – Seymour Branch. Hit the driving range, join a golf league, and play 18 holes at Indian Trails Golf Course. Start your morning with brunch items like the Breakfast Monte Cristo, Smoked Chicken Skillet, and Monster Omelet at Real Food Cafe. Dig into gourmet pizzas like The Greek Goddess, Honey Dijon Chicken, or Meet Lovers at JB’s Pizza. Craving Mexican food? Order the Tostada de Ceviche, Gordita Tradicional, the Coctel de Camaron Grande, and more at Tacos Don Beto’s. Or try dishes like the Lemon Pepper Chicken Sammy, Braised Short Ribs, and Chef Patty Melt at Brass Ring Brewing.
Located east of the Grand River, expansive Creston-Cheshire is marked by colorful murals, local businesses, and warm neighbors—great for Grand Rapids families who want a close community. Residents can take advantage of neighborhood events like weekly Creston Community Walks and annual events like Art Bash, Lights on Creston, and Creston Night Out! For families who like having access to plenty of green space, Riverside Park, Huff Park, and Lamberton Lake Fen Nature Preserve offer convenient outdoor recreation like cross-country skiing, disc golf, and hiking trails—in addition to the family-friendly Creston Community Garden. Those hoping to purchase Grand Rapids real estate can find affordable housing options ranging from Craftsman, Colonial, and Mid-Century Modern houses to spacious townhomes and apartments.
Practice your golf swing, go for a dip in the pool, or play a game of pickleball when you become a member at Kent Country Club. Lob your axe and try to hit a bullseye at Wood Splitters Axe Throwing. Shop for handcrafted vases and other ceramics, or become a member and have access to a 24/7 pottery studio at Grand Rapids Pottery. See who can get the most strikes in a row when you go bowling at Northfield Lanes. Try elevated bar fare like the Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese, Smoked Salmon Dip, and Lamb Gyro at Creston Brewery. Split the Short Rib Sando or Shepherd’s Pie and finish off dinner with the Choc Tort for dessert at Graydon’s Crossing. Looking for Chinese food in Grand Rapids? Order the Pineapple Chicken, Sesame Shrimp, and Mongolian Beef combos at China City. Or try vegetarian and vegan dishes like the Mean Green Burrito, Cornbread French Toast, and Portobello Beet Bread Burger at Gaia House Cafe.
Eastown has something for everyone, making it one of the best Grand Rapids neighborhoods for young adults and families! Full of character and a rich history, this walkable GR neighborhood offers residents peaceful strolls past classic Craftsman, Foursquare, and Colonial homes with well-maintained lawns. Kids can start school at Campus Elementary, while those looking to continue their education can attend Aquinas College or Grand Rapids Community College, which is only ten minutes away. As a job option, healthcare professionals can take advantage of nearby Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital. And events like the monthly CloseKnit! Queer Community & Crafting Hour, annual Uptown Shop Hop, classes like Backyard Conservation and Mushroom Identification, and the neighborhood community garden mean connecting with your neighbors will be easy!
Let your kids run around the playground, have an afternoon picnic, and play a game of tennis or basketball at Wilcox Park. Expand your skills in the kitchen by taking cooking classes like Pasta 101, A Night in Naples, and Dinner in Venice at The Local Epicurean. Attend musical performances like Tick, Tick… Boom!, You Can’t Take It With You, and A Raisin in the Sun at Circle Theater. Purchase rare, out-of-print, and antique books at Redux Books. Start your morning with fresh Everything, Sesame, or Italian Herbs & Cheese Bagels with the Pimento Cheese Schmear at Terra Bagels. Enjoy breakfast items like the Bread Lady French Toast, Jamaican Jerk Chicken Frittata, and Sriracha Crab Benedict at Wolfgang’s, a must-have staple in Eastown. Order Detroit-style pizzas like the Shroomer, Quentin Quarantino Deluxe, and It’s All Greektown To Me at Quarantino’s. Or order the best hot dogs in Grand Rapids like the Krautdog, Veggiedog, Ultradog, and more at Yesterdog.
Fulton Heights is a great place for families who want to live a quieter lifestyle while staying near the city’s arts, culture, and entertainment. This Grand Rapids neighborhood is known for its tight-knit community and seamless blend of historical American Foursquares, Craftsmans, and Bungalows with modern-style homes. There are also plenty of schools that children can attend in Fulton Heights such as Living Stones Academy, William C. Abney Academy, and Empower U. Residents living in Fulton Heights have quick, convenient access to Downtown Grand Rapids attractions as well as nearby coffee shops, restaurants, and farmers markets. And families can enjoy outdoor recreation and activities at Fuller Park in the northwest part of the neighborhood.
Take your dog for a walk or play a game of fetch at Hillcrest Dog Park. Join your neighbors and help grow fresh fruit and veggies at one of the largest community gardens in Michigan, Hillcrest Community Garden. Peruse and support local vendors at the Fulton Street Market, which has been providing farm-fresh produce, baked goods, art, and more to families for over a century. Drive a few minutes east for tram rides through the sculpture park, indoor and outdoor gardens, or summer concerts at Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Start your morning with a Coffee Float, Matcha Latte, or Nitro Cold Coffee on tap at Madcap Coffee. Order breakfast and lunch dishes like the Western Omelette, Country Fried Steak, Olive Burger, and more at Bill’s Family Restaurant. Browse, sample, and purchase 90 different cheeses from around the world at The Cheese Lady. Try the Curry Chicken Wrap, Chipotle Black Bean Burger, Braised Pork Shoulder Steak, and more at Vander Mill Grand Rapids. Or enjoy the Corned Beef Special, California Ruben, and Schnitzel Club at Schnitz Deli.
As part of the downtown area on the western side of the Grand River, West Grand is one of the best neighborhoods for families in Grand Rapids. Filled with plenty of older Craftsman bungalows, American Foursquare homes, and newly renovated townhomes, families will have no trouble finding a place to settle down, and they can stay connected to the community through the West Grand Neighborhood Association. Good schools nearby include Zoo School and West Catholic High School, and this Grand Rapids neighborhood has several parks—such as Richmond Park and Lincoln Park—where kiddos can burn off energy through fun outdoor recreation. As a bonus, getting around West Grand is also a breeze thanks to various transportation options like the free downtown DASH shuttle and major highways like I-196 and Hwy-131!
Knock down some pins in the two-story bowling lanes or join a bowling league for friendly competition at Clique Lanes. Attend a comedy show or take improv and sketch writing classes at The Comedy Project. View art pieces on display or take interactive classes and workshops at Muse GR. Discover captivating habitats like the Aquarium and Budgie Aviary, let your kids saddle up for a camel ride, or take a behind-the-scenes tour at John Ball Zoo. Fill up on a West Side Philly Sandwich, Smash Burger, Junkyard Tots, and more at Blue Dog Tavern. Order the Hot Chicken Sando with a side of Nonla Way Fries and the Shake of the Day at Nonla Burger. Try gourmet pizzas like Da Meat Hook, Hog Heaven, and Westerdog at The Mitten Brewing Co. Or enjoy Asian-fusion dishes like the Honey Garlic Shrimp, Hibachi Glazed Chicken, and Bulgogi Donburi Bowl at Maru Sushi Bridge Street.
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Neighborhood statistics from AreaVibes.
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