Grand Rapids

Nicknamed Furniture City, Grand Rapids claims some of the world’s most luxurious furniture designers and manufacturers such as Steelcase, Herman Miller, and Haworth. For seven fall seasons in a row Grand Rapids hosts an international art competition known as ArtPrize, bringing thousands of entries from around the world to claim up to $500,000 in winnings, voted democratically by its citizens and tourists. Recently listed in the New York Times 52 places to visit in 2016 article, it’s clear that Grand Rapids is getting a lot of attention.
Grand Rapids Skyline spanning the Grand River, dividing East and West GR

Things not to miss.

Calder Plaza

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Artprize

Kendall College of art and Design

Rosa Parks Circle

THe blue bridge

Lake Michigan

Often referred to as the ‘Golden Coast’, Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes, is a hard rival to the beaches of California, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Spanning the distance of over 300 miles, dozens of cozy coastal towns and beaches are always within reach – including Holland State Park, Grand Haven State Park, St. Joseph, and Saugatuck
Photo: Facing west, the coast of Lake Michigan allows for some unforgettable sunsets

Spots not to miss.

Holland State Park

Grand Haven State Park

Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Downtown Holland

Famous for its Dutch heritage, Holland Michigan certainly deserves its own category. Every spring the people of Holland celebrate this heritage with a cultural festival called Tulip Time – with nearly 4.5 million tulips planted, it earns the name. Living in Holland means you’re always within 5-10 minutes from Lake Michigan. Come here for the quaint downtown, city parks, shopping, Dutch Village, and the infamous “Big Red”.
Photo: Spring time down a residential Holland parkway

Things not to miss.

Downtown

Big Red

The Windmill

Tulip Time

Dutch Village

City Parks

The Seasons

Michigan boasts four distinct seasons, proclaiming a wide range of colors, temperatures, and available experiences. From apple orchards in the fall to Fredrick Meijer Gardens in the spring, every season has something unique to offer. And don’t let the long winters scare you, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing – it’s all about being prepared. Plus, nothing beats sledding down a mountainous snow pile. Bountiful Springs, joyous Summers, colorful Autumns, and majestic Winters keeps living in Michigan as dynamic as it comes.
Photo: Michigan tree's changing color in early October

Seasonal experiences not to miss.

Apple Orchards

Fall

Kayaking

Summer

Snow Sports

Winter

Fredrick Meijer Gardens

Spring

Shopping

For the luxurious types, you’ll be in for a treat. West Michigan has three major shopping malls, carrying every brand imaginable and then some. And to those that prefer boutique shops, we have that too. Breton Village, located in East Grand Rapids boasts stores like Lululemon, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor Loft, Leigh’s, Roeda, and Jb & Me – the variety can seem endless. With Rivertown in Grandville (West), Woodland near Kentwood (South), Gaslight Village (East), and the Rockford shopping district (North) you’re always within reach of fullfilling all your shopping desires.
Photo: Exterior of Rivertown Crossings in Grandville, MI

Shopping Malls

Rivertown Crossings

Grandville

Tanger OUtlet Mall

Grand Rapids

woodland Mall

SE Grand Rapids

Boutique Shops

A.K. Rikk's

Grand Rapids

Rockford shopping district

Rockford

Breton Village

East Grand Rapids

Monroe Center

Downtown Grand Rapids

Gaslight Village

East Grand Rapids

Downtown Holland

Detroit

Travel Time: 3 Hours
The city of Detroit is one of America's crowning jewels. Once the pillar of the Industrial Revolution, Detroit boasts some of the world's greatest architecture, sports teams, art and uniquely rich history. Take a trip here to get a sense of what the hardworking people of Michigan are all about.
MacArthur Bridge: spanning the Detroit River between Detroit, Michigan and Belle Isle.

Places not to miss.

Detroit Institute of arts

Comerica Park

Somerset Mall

Lansing

Travel Time: 1 Hours
While not the largest city in Michigan, the capital, Lansing, certainly has a charm of its own. Lansing, with a population of 460,000+, sits in the middle of The Mitten and is home to the Michigan State Capitol building, built in 1872. While a major city, Lansing has a hometown feel with dozens of locally owned businesses, restaurants, and music. You’ll get the best of this in Lansing’s Old Town district and Downtown on Michigan Avenue. Adjacent to Lansing, Michigan State University ranks among the 75 universities in the U.S. with the country's best graduate programs in elementary and secondary education, nuclear physics and industrial/organizational psychology.
Photo: A view of the Capitol building down Michigan Avenue over the Grand River

Places not to miss.

The Capitol Building

Old Town

Cooley Law Stadium

Potter Park Zoo

Impression 5 Science Center

Michigan State University

Chicago

Travel Time: 2.5 Hours
Just around the bend of the southern point of Lake Michigan is none other than the infamous “Windy City”, Chicago, IL. Sitting at 3rd largest metropolitan city in the US, with a population of 9.5 million, Chicago holds an exciting diversity of experiences that compares to few. A trip is nothing more than a three hour train ride with Amtrak for all of the art, sports, cuisine, shopping, and music your wandering hearts desire – a trip worth investing in.
Photo: A Chicago skyline meets Lake Michigan Drive as dusk settles in

Experiences not to miss.

The Bean

United Center

Sears Tower

Art Institute of Chigago

Magnificent Mile

Adler Planterium

Up North

Travel Time: 2 Hours and beyond
If you have heard that Michigan is beautiful, the pinnacle of that statement is what the locals refer to as “going up north” (typically, most Michigander's have either a family cottage or they are one degree of separation from knowing someone who does). The West Michigan area definitely has it’s own sense of beauty, but once you get past an hour north of Grand Rapids it can start to feel like infinite green and endless opportunity for something exciting. From Traverse City’s Annual Cherry Festival to taking a ferry to Mackinac Island (say it: mac-i-naw) the beauty available is unprecedented and is absolutely essential to life in Michigan.
Photo: Aerial shot of the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Experiences not to miss.

Traverse City

Pictured Rock

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Lake of the clouds

Mackinac Island

Upper Tahquamenon Falls

West Michigan

This location has it all.

West Michigan comes with access to a wide array of culture, shopping, and nature. While you're here, make sure you check out the downtown area, Lake Michigan, and plenty of other amazing spaces to explore.

Take a trip

Something great is just a drive away.

Studying abroad in Michigan would not be complete without a road trip or two. Here, you'll be within short range of some of the greatest, most beautiful cities and landscape the United States has to offer.