Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Weekend in Your City

I've been tagged by ExPat Mom for the A Weekend in Your City meme, started by Kailani. This looks like fun! :)

Here’s how it works. Pretend that you have out of town guests visiting your city for the very first time and you’re the tour guide. Where would you take them? What would you do? Then tag 5 other people so they can proudly show-off their hometown, too! Remember, you can only mention one thing in each category.

I'm expanding this slightly since there's a lot just outside my city but still in the area you could do in a weekend that's completely worth seeing. So, here's West Michigan in a nutshell (or a weekend anyway)...

Best Place to Eat: I don't know if it's the best, but my favorite is called Brann's Steakhouse and Grille. They're a local Michigan chain with 9 restaurants (7 in our area). We eat here on birthdays mainly since it's a bit expensive (for us anyway) but I love their salads and their yeast rolls. Not to mention the sizzling steak, of course! The girls like the mini pizzas on the kids menu. I also like that they're very family friendly and with only a couple of exceptions, we've always had great service. And the couple of times that we've had issues with the service - they've gone out of their way to make it right.

Best Shopping Mall: There are a couple of great malls here in town, but my favorite is still really the one where we used to live, 30 minutes away. The Lakes Mall was built right after Abby was born and I was thrilled to actually have a mall in town. I loved being able to take her (and later Hannah too) to play and just get out of the house. Not to mention the shopping, of course! It's not a huge mall, but it's one of the best I've ever shopped at. Somehow it just has the right mix of stores, and a fun play area for the kids.

Famous Landmark: There's not one specific thing that comes to mind on this one - we don't have mountains or anything that necessarily stands out as a landmark. But, what we do have (nearby) is Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is the only one of the great lakes that is located entirely within the US, and is the largest freshwater lake in the country. It's also a huge source of tourism in the area, offering awesome beaches, sand dunes, boating, fishing, hiking and gorgeous sunsets (see below). I love that we're only a half hour away although with gas prices lately, we don't get over there as often as I would like.

Best Tourist Attraction: This would probably have to be the Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. It's become an international tourist destination and has 125 acres of sculpture park, gardens, a children's garden, nature trails and features sculptures by many very well known artists. One of the more popular ones is the Leonardo DaVinci American Horse. And every spring you can see their wonderful butterfly exhibit - we've been a couple of times and it's amazing.

Entertaining the Kids: We love the Grand Rapids Children's Museum. It's got 2 floors of fun activities and exhibits for kids of all ages and parents can join right in. Whether you want to make giant soap bubbles, create works of art, see yourselves on television, or build with all kinds of different materials, every kid I know has a blast there. There are even lots of things for smaller kids and babies like a special 'crawlers only' area where you don't have to worry about your little one getting run over or trampled by the 'big kids'.

Breathtaking Views: This we definitely have. There's almost nothing like a gorgeous sunset from atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes. Or even just from the beach. Words can't really describe it, so here's a couple of photos that I found online - I can't access the ones I've taken right now but I have many of my own too (not as good though). In any season, the view of the lake can be breathtaking...

Popular Outdoor Activity: Well, normally I'd say the beach, but I think I have that one pretty well covered in a couple of the other categories. So I'll say that this one would probably be Michigan's Adventure. It's the largest amusement park in Michigan and is actually made up of two parks - the amusement park and a large outdoor water park. It's "two parks for the price of one" as the commercials say. And it's also home to Shivering Timbers, one of the best wooden roller coasters in the world. I haven't been to the park in several years, but I'd love to take the girls now that they're getting a bit older and may even be brave enough to go on a few rides now. Or maybe we'll wait until our daredevil Becca is old enough to show her big sisters how it's done...

So that's it! If you're interested in a longer stay, I did a T13 post on the top 13 reasons I love West Michigan a little while back, so check that out too! :)

I am going to tag the following five people because I'd love to see more about where they live (only if they want to do it though):


Disclaimer: All photos obtained from the Internet and don't appear to be copyrighted - click on each photo to be taken to the original web page.

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5 wonderful people said...:

kailani said...

Is that water frozen on the pier? I've never seen anything like that before!

Expat Mom said...

Thanks for sharing with us. I can´t believe that everyone except me lives near the beach! Though that ice storm didn´t really make me want to move back to cooler climates. :D

Jen@BigBinder said...

I don't even have a good comment - just wanted to report that I am beaming with pride for West Michigan! I love living here :)

martoon said...

thanks for all this, if im ever there will have to check out the giant horse - it looks amazing, and MASSIVE.

seems like you guys had allot of fun.

Syracuse Hotels said...

The Lakes Mall is my favorite place to shop.