8th Annual Best of the West: Arts & Attractions

Coming in at number one in the Art Museum/Gallery category was Grand Rapids Art Museum. Opened in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Gallery, the GRAM soon changed to its current name. One thing that’s remained constant over the years: the breadth of its collection. The artworks on display range from the 19th through the 21st century, and the permanent collection boasts over five thousand pieces.

If the 1950s font used on its website weren’t hint enough, Clique Lanes makes it clear in the description: this is a retro place. It’s not that it’s stood still in the 65+ years since it’s opening; it’s invested in new technology, but it’s done so without sacrificing the nostalgic atmosphere. Come grab a burger and a beer, and see if you can’t bowl a 300.

With 2500 slot machines and 47 dealer-led tables, Gun Lake Casino has room for you, your family, your friends, and people you passed randomly while shopping. After you hit the jackpot, take some of your winnings and indulge in a 40 oz bone-in ribeye in the on-site Chophouse.

If destroying dishes is wrong, we don’t want to be right. Indulge your darker impulses at Break Room Therapy, where you can take out your stress on TVs, computer monitors, and more. Bad day at work? Smash a crowbar into a printer? Better here than in the office, right?

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture was rated the best large-scale attraction, and it’s easy to see why. From impressive art integrated thoughtfully into the natural environment to the gorgeous, perfectly peaceful gardens, Meijer Gardens is a place to recharge and reflect.

Celebration Cinema – Grand Rapids North has all we ask of the movies: comfortable, adjustable chairs; delicious popcorn; big screens; great sound; and cold beer. Oh, and it also has a wide selection. Who’s in for a Barbie/Oppenheimer double feature?

Having taken my daughters to Happy Cat Café, I can attest to its ability to make people happy. Isn’t this what we’ve always wanted, after all: to be surrounded by soft, beautiful animals? Bonus: if you like one enough, you can adopt it.

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre remains the best place in the area to see local theater. The talent on display—from set design to costuming to acting and more—is top-notch, and the season lineups always strike a great balance between well-loved and new and exciting.

*Each category lists the winner with two finalists listed alphabetically below.


Grand Rapids Art Museum  |  artmuseumgr.org

Lafontsee Galleries & Framing

Muskegon Museum of Art


Clique Lanes  |  cliquelanes.com

Spectrum Entertainment Complex

Wengers Bowl


Gun Lake Casino  |  gunlakecasino.com

FireKeeper’s Casino

Little River Casino Resort


Break Room Therapy  |  breakroomtherapy.com

Fowling Warehouse

Woodrow’s Duckpin


Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park  |  meijergardens.org


John Ball Zoo


Celebration Cinema - Grand Rapids North  |  celebrationcinema.com

Studio Park

Wealthy Theatre


Happy Cat Café  |  happycatgr.com

Deer Tracks Junction



Grand Rapids Civic Theatre  |  grct.org

Broadway Grand Rapids

Circle Theatre