Best City for Raising a Family
Forbes Magazine named Grand Rapids the "Best City for Raising a Family" in 2012.
"Income may be relatively low, but the cost of living is even lower. The local school system ranks in the top third in the country. Commuting to work is a breeze. The housing foreclosure mess didn’t leave Grand Rapids unscathed, chopping about 12% off area home values over the past few years. But that’s still quite modest compared to many other places. Almost 90% of Grand Rapids’ housing stock is affordable to a family at the median income level, the seventh-highest rate in the country. And the local crime rate falls well below the national average." - Forbes, April 4, 2012
Grand Rapids has a variety of diverse neighborhoods that offer something for everyone. If you're considering a move to the area, talk with friends and family about what areas might be right for you and your family. Our Admissions Office has official welcome guides from the Chamber of Commerce to help get you acquainted to the area.
Grand Rapids is ranked:
• No. 1 Travel Destination by Lonely Planet, 2014.
• Second most secure large city in the United States by Farmers Insurance, 2014.
• Second best place to live in the United States by the Wall Street Journal Market Watch, 2011.
• Third best mid-sized city for jobs by Forbes, 2014.
Home to Major Christian Book Publishers
You'll find the name of our city in a lot of books you read. Grand Rapids is the main headquarters of major Christian book publishers Zondervan, Baker, and Eerdmans--all less than 15 minutes from campus. When you visit these publishers you'll find a huge selection of books and greatly reduced prices. In addition, author readings, lectures, and book signings happen year round. Recent authors to visit Grand Rapids have included Mark Noll, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Walter Bruggeman, and N.T. Wright. Not only are there great bookstores in town (in fact, we have one on our second floor!), but there's excellent networking and job potential in the area of Christian publishing.
There's always something happening in downtown Grand Rapids! Whether it's community events in Rosa Parks Circle, a major act performing at the Van Andel Arena, or the annual Grandwich competition, you'll find energy and excitement downtown. Each fall Grand Rapids also hosts Art Prize, the world's largest international art competition. Exhibits take over the city--restaurant walls, city parks, museum exhibit halls--and everyone is out and about to vote for the winner.
Grand Rapids is full of city parks that serve as a standard for other Michigan cities. Campus is just 40 minutes away from the shore of Lake Michigan, and you'll find a number of lakeshore cities that will offer you a getaway for the weekend or, since it's so close, just an evening of watching the sun set over the water. We're a bikeable city, with many roads boasting designated biking lanes and lots of specialty bike shops. There are countless hiking and biking trails, too. You'll find popular campsites less than an hour away, plus all of northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula close enough for a weekend away. There's plenty of mountains to ski and snowboard in the winter, too!
Center of It All
Most of our students are from Grand Rapids, but many commute from Muskegon, Holland, Kalamazoo, and Lansing. The interstates offer easy access to campus and make our location ideal for many students across West Michigan. Download this PDF for an official Visitor's Guide to Grand Rapids.