As a former resident of multiple cities across the U.S., few other cities have charmed and made me feel as at home as Grand Rapids. But what makes this city special? While widely recognized for events like ArtPrize and a top-notch craft brewery scene, GR also ranks among one of the most walkable and bikeable cities in the U.S. This was one of my top must-have’s for buying a house here. If you are in the house market and want to know the most walkable neighborhoods in Grand Rapids, look no further than the short list below.
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Determining the most walkable neighborhoods in Grand Rapids combined my personal knowledge of the city, as well as search tools recognized by leading academic researchers in urban planning, real estate, and public health. Neighborhoods with a high number of grocery stores, parks, transit stops, and more within a five-to-ten-minute walk of most houses were considered highly walkable. Here are the neighborhoods to shop in if walkability is a must-have for your next home.
Heartside-Downtown has dozens of great restaurants, shops, coffee, theaters, museums, and historic buildings all within a 5-to-10-minute walk of each other. Feed your soul (and your pets) with a beautiful stroll a series of connected trails that lead to parks, views of the Grand River, and of course, the cities iconic Blue Bridge, one of the longest truss bridges in Michigan. With numerous events throughout the year, Heartside-Downtown is a walker’s utopia and a great Grand Rapids neighborhood to shop for your next home (link to contact).
If living downtown is not your flavor, but you still want a five-to-ten-minute walk to restaurants, parks, bars, and shops, the East Hills neighborhood may be the right choice. Offering a diverse range of options between its three business strips and five historic districts, as well as being close enough to walk to downtown, East Hills affectionately refers to itself as the ‘center of the universe’ for a reason – not only do its residents love walking their beautiful tree lined streets to places like Art of the Table, Donkey Taqueria and Brewery Vivant, but there is a real sense of community and belonging that does not go unnoticed by its visitors. The streets here unapologetically belong to the people. Like Heartside, East Hills is a walker’s utopia, and a kid and pet friendly neighborhood. Contact me to shop for your next home in the walkable East Hills neighborhood (link to contact)!
The Midtown-Fulton Heights neighborhood is often described as vibrant neighborhood with a rich, very walkable experience. A small but growing centrally located neighborhood, Midtown is near the Medical Mile and hosts the nearly 100-year-old Fulton Street Farmers Market, where one can find an amazing assortment of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and artisanal foods year-round. Midtown is also home to some of the most popular food and drink destinations such as Martha’s Vineyard and Grand Butchers, and takes pride in having an eclectic identity with several sub-neighborhoods honoring its geographic attributes and history. Contact me to explore Midtown for your next walkable home in Grand Rapids.
The Baxter neighborhood in Grand Rapids offers a dense suburban feel with lots of bars, coffee shops, and parks within walking distance. Like other Grand Rapids neighborhoods, it is very community oriented. Expect to say hello to just about every person setting on their porch as you walk to Joe Taylor Park, or two of my personal favorites, Hancock restaurant or The Meanwhile Bar. The homes in this neighborhood are also known for being full of character and highly detailed. Make your next Grand Rapids home a walkable one in the Baxter neighborhood.
The Heritage Hill neighborhood is not only one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Grand Rapids but is the largest and one of the most admirable concentration of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century historic homes. Often referred to as an ‘open air museum,’ walking tours are a staple in the spring and summer, which includes the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Meyer May House. While not typically on the tour, President Gerald R. Ford’s childhood home is here as well, where he lived from the ages of 8 and 17.
In addition to its historic significance, Heritage Hill is a five-to-ten-minute walk from downtown Grand Rapids, and is home to Pleasant Park, garden tours, and several great restaurants. Among those great places to eat are the only pizza place my husband and I will order from – Heritage Hill pizza (the Beverly Hills cop is his absolute favorite).
Grand Rapids has more walkable neighborhoods such as South Hill, West Grand, and Creston Heights that have a lot to offer. Contact me for the latest houses for sale in Grand Rapids.