Parks and Recreation

photo of teenage boy mid air doing skateboard tricks on a skateboard ramp  

Overview

Want to enjoy the City's parks? How about sign up for youth sports or adult fitness classes? We're here to help you rent park facilities, hold a special event, and take care of cemetery needs. We also make sure you're surrounded by green with our forestry division. 

Did you know there are 74 city-owned parks? We manage these to make sure they're clean and safe for you to use. Some park sites are home to outdoor art, sculptures and historical monuments. 

See a directory of all City parks

Highlights

Fish Ladder Park

This functional piece of artwork, designed by the artist, Joseph Kinnebrew, provides a practical application as well as an aesthetic pleasure. Watch fish jump up the ladder in a seasonal migration in the spring and late summer!

Rosa Parks Circle

In the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, a public art space designed by the world-renowned artist, Maya Lin.  Outdoor ice skating is offered from approximately the first week in December to the first week in March.  Numerous concerts, events, and festivals are also held here throughout the year. 

Westown Commons Park

The much-loved skatepark is a large draw for area youth who put many volunteer hours into cleaning up and helping redesign the park.

Fitness classes, youth sports, ice skating, and more! There are lots of ways to get active in Grand Rapids. Find what's best for you.

Visit the Recreation homepage 

Looking to escape the city bustle? Visit one of our trails and explore the natural beauty of Grand Rapids.

Aman Park

  • Park acres: 339
  • Miles of trails: 6.4
  • Features: natural hiking and cross country skiing trails, bridges, interpretive trails, natural wooded areas
  • Trail map

Burton Woods

  • Park acres: 6
  • Miles of trails: 0.4
  • Features: natural pathway, wooded areas

Plaster Creek Trail

  • Park acres: 141
  • Miles of trails: 2.7
  • Features: paved pathway for non-motorized recreation, interpretive trails, views of Plaster Creek

Ball Perkins Park

  • Park acres: 80
  • Miles of trails: 0.65
  • Features: natural pathway, wooded areas, wetland overlook, rest areas
  • Trail map

Riverside Park

  • Park acres: 187
  • Miles of trails: 2.3
  • Features: paved pathway for non-motorized recreation, river overlooks, bridges
The Office of Special Events coordinates year-round activities and entertainment options for all Grand Rapids residents and visitors to enjoy. This starts with the Special Event Permit application process. You'll need to apply for a Special Event Permit if you have an activity or series of events or activities planned for a specific time and place. Typical special events include festivals, parades, races, concerts and neighborhood fairs. 
 
As you're planning your event, make sure to reference our Special Event Planning and Resource Guide. This has all the information you'll need for the small details. 
 
Want to check out what's happening in Grand Rapids near you? Check out My Neighborhood to enter your address and find events near you!
 
Want to see the full listing of upcoming events? Check out the link below!
 

Events and Activities

A cemetery is a resting place for those who have passed on and a place of comfort for the living to remember their loved ones. There are many choices when considering a burial option. We recommend pre-planning. We'll help you with pricing, lot selection and peace of mind with this decision.

 

Visit the Cemeteries homepage

The Forestry Division ensures healthy tree canopy in Grand Rapids. We keep an inventory of all street, park and cemetery trees. We use this to assess tree health and track progress for tree canopy goals.

Visit the Forestry homepage

Park Improvement Projects 

We're improving our parks all the time! Grand Rapids voters approved a 7 year Parks Millage on November 5, 2013. We use these funds to make improvements, repairs and rehabilitate parks, pools and playgrounds. Click here for more information.

Master Plan

Our 5-yearMaster Plan outlines long-term development, programming, and sustainability of parks, public spaces, and recreation facilities. Click here for more information.

2018 Michigan Department of Natural Resources Grant Applications

Improvements to Clemente Park - This proposal includes a new playground, picnic shelter, green infrastructure, and restrooms for Clemente ParkClick here to see the draft application.

Improvements to Riverside Park – This proposal includes an accessible kayak launch, new restroom, and new shelter for Riverside ParkClick here to see the draft application.