The results are in again and people just can’t seem to get enough of Grand Rapids!
West Michigan’s most popular city can lay claim to many things, including being named Beer City, USA, and the home of the nation’s top sculpture park. Now Grand Rapids is also home to the nation’s best small airport.
The Grand Rapids Airport – more formally known as the Gerald R. Ford International Airport – has been named the top small airport in the country, according to a USA Today Readers’ Choice 10Best Awards list.
The awards sought to honor smaller airports, which help take the headaches of travel away and make travelers feel welcome with friendly service, amenities, and convenient commercial flight offerings.
The Ford Airport was up against 20 other contenders and took top honors ahead of Huntsville International Airport in Alabama and Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower International Airport in Kansas.
Myrtle Beach International Airport and Long Island MacArthur Airport rounded out the top five, but the Grand Rapids Airport was the only one chosen from the Midwest.
According to a news release from USA Today, the Grand Rapids Airport got the nod in part because of its dedicated military welcome center, plane-themed playrooms, and craft beer offerings, which can be found at the MI Tap Room.
A Small Airport in a Bustling City
Located about 13 miles southeast of downtown Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids airport was renamed for Gerald R. Ford, a Michigan native and 38th U.S. President, in 1999.
The airport is Michigan’s second largest airport behind Detroit Metropolitan Airport and the biggest commercial airport in West Michigan.
While the Gerald R. Ford Airport may be considered small, it manages to stay very busy. The hub serves around three million passengers each year and is easy for travelers to navigate, whether they’re flying to take a family vacation, coming to town for a conference, or jetting across the country.
The airport offers more than 100 daily flights and more than 30 nonstop routes to cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Las Vegas among many others.
Travelers also have plenty of options when it comes to picking airlines as Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Allegiant Air are among those companies with both regular and seasonal routes.
Make the Most of Your Time in Grand Rapids
Away from the hustle and bustle of the airport, Grand Rapids has something to offer every visitor, whether they’re trying to kill some time before a flight or they’ve just arrived in town and want to explore a bit.
Visit a Grand Rapids Brewery
As Beer City USA, Grand Rapids has a multitude of craft beer options to quench hungry customers’ thirst. These ales, pilsners, and IPAs are hand-crafted with quality and taste in mind and craft beer enthusiasts may just find a new seasonal favorite that results in return trips to the city.
Enjoy the Scenery of Frederik Meijer Gardens
Recently named the No. 1 Sculpture Park in the nation by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park leaves visitors young and old in sheer amazement.
Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park houses one of the nation’s top horticulture parks, has an impressive collection of sculptures, draws a wide spectrum of musicians and artists for annual performances and exhibitions, and is frequented by millions of visitors each year.
See the Wonders of a Grand Rapids Museum
Grand Rapids clearly has great craft beer and a welcoming airport, but it’s also a happening cultural hub with excellent museums for visitors of all ages.
Grand Rapids museums including the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum — to name just a few — allow visitors to learn about history, science, and other subjects through impressive artifact displays, hands-on exhibits, and much more.
Rain or shine, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon (or even a full day!)
Marvel at Animals at the John Ball Zoo
Michigan has more than two dozen zoos, but the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids is one of the best. It’s also one of the oldest in the state and delights visitors of all ages.
The zoo’s features include an aquarium, hands-on petting zoo experiences, an exhibit of African mammals, birds, and primates, and much more. By the time visitors have explored the entire zoo, they’ll have seen a colorful, exciting collection of animals in a wide variety of habitats.
Make Your Own Grand Rapids Itinerary
But sometimes the best thing for residents and visitors alike to do is to get out, explore on their own, and see all that Grand Rapids can offer. With a multitude of museums, craft breweries, a sports/concert arena, a zoo, a vast array of restaurants, and much more, Grand Rapids has something to offer everyone!