Due to its expanding economy, excellent education system, and wide range of industries, Big Rapids, MI, is a thriving city.
A unique travel experience that focuses on nature, the arts, and a little bit of history would be a great fit for visitors to this city.
Big Rapids and Mecosta County benefit from the diversity, job opportunities, and excitement Ferris State University delivers with its approximately 13,000 students.
Also, strolling through the city’s historic center and dining at one of the many restaurants lining the streets is an excellent way to learn about the history and culture of the area.
This little city is the perfect destination for weekend getaways or family outings.
Big Rapids is home to various wineries, trails, parks, breweries, rivers, lakes, and other outdoor leisure areas, which will keep you occupied the entire time you’re there.
Big Rapids is a beautiful, relaxed city you should visit if you’re seeking a vacation destination someday.
Below are some things to do in Big Rapids, MI.
Things to Do in Big Rapids, MI
1. Discover the Historic Downtown Big Rapids
Everyone may enjoy some history & quality downtime in Big Rapids’ Historic Downtown.
Just two bends off the US-131 Highway are the downtown district’s seven restaurants serving a variety of cuisines and its fifteen stores and services.
The Big Rapids Downtown Commercial Association manages the city’s historic downtown to foster local tourism and preserve the city’s burgeoning business community.
You should take a stroll through the downtown area before returning home. There, you can eat and shop, as well as run into locals.
Among the best ways to end your trip to the city is with this.
2. Sawmill Tube And Canoe Livery
In order to give locals and visitors to the area a relaxing method to enjoy floating down the Muskegon River, Big Rapids’ Sawmill Tube and Canoe Livery operate.
Two hundred boats & 2,000 tubes are currently part of the recreational facility at 230 Baldwin St. It provides chances for tubing on the Muskegon River as well as fishing, camping, kayaking, and canoeing.
Address: 1003 Maple St, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
3. Stroll through Hemlock Park
A well-liked location for outdoor activities in Big Rapids is Hemlock Park.
This park provides a variety of outdoor activities and is situated near Warren Avenue & Hemlock Street.
Along with a nice picnic area, it has a baseball diamond, tennis courts, and basketball courts for sports.
Both residents and visitors can enjoy the hiking paths, the playground, and the fishing area.
This park in Big Rapids is a great spot to stretch your muscles & pass the time while unwinding.
4. Ferris State Ice Arena
Without the hassle of going to larger university campuses, Ferris State’s ice arena is a wonderful venue to watch division 1 ice hockey. Even though it is small, with only about 2500 seats, viewers are situated very near the action.
This venue sells out quickly, especially when the bigger schools (Sparty/Wolverines) come to visit, so purchasing advance tickets is virtually a necessity.
The student section, also referred to as the “dog pound,” can be fairly boisterous & their enthusiasm quickly spills beyond the area. The parking fee is $5 per event, & the food stalls only take cash.
Address: 210 Sports Dr, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
5. Fish at the Towline Lake
Just outside of Big Rapid’s city borders is Towline Lake.
It has a surface area of around 73 acres and a maximum depth of 50 feet.
At this lake, fishing is the most well-liked outdoor activity.
In order to ensure a plentiful catch at this lake rich with different species of freshwater fish, pack your fishing gear when visiting Big Rapids.
There are lots of Channel Catfish, Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, and Bluegill at Towline Lake.
You can also spend the night at Towline Lake’s marina and campground, where your family can participate in a variety of outdoor recreational activities.
In addition to fishing, the lake offers opportunities for boating, water skiing, & jet skiing.
6. Wander through the Ferris State University
Visits to college campuses are distinctive.
You shouldn’t pass up exploring Ferris State University’s expansive campus grounds because of this.
In 2020, News and World Report ranked Ferris State University as one of the top universities in the nation.
The engineering & social mobility degree programs at this university are well-regarded.
In addition to being a renowned state university in Michigan, the campus is teeming with sights, including art galleries, theaters, sports venues, libraries, museums, and much more.
The university, established in 1884, has expanded greatly and now serves over 14,000 students from all around Michigan.
Define Ferris State University on your itinerary for Big Rapids.
Address: 1201 S State St, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
7. Enjoy the Festive Mecosta County Free Fair
In addition to an amusement park, entertainment, exhibits, & several family-friendly activities, the Mecosta County Free fair is a regional agricultural event in Big Rapids.
Numerous visitors from Big Rapids & other communities in Mecosta County assemble at the fair every July for an entire week to enjoy themselves and buy local farmers’ fresh products and livestock.
The Skerbeck Family Carnival, which has more than a dozen attractions, a large range of food sellers, and enjoyable game concessions that you typically find in theme parks, is one of the fair’s highlights.
Therefore, it would be wonderful to plan your trip to Big Rapids for July in order to see & experience the joyous atmosphere of the Mecosta County Free Fair.
8. Stroll through the Big Rapids Riverwalk
The Big Rapids Riverwalk stretches for about 3.5 miles alongside the lovely Muskegon River, connecting the city’s downtown to a number of parks.
You can easily go there with your loved ones for a morning or afternoon stroll because this city’s outdoor attraction is open to everyone.
There are benches on both sides of the route, picnic tables, fishing platforms, bike racks, & a 250-foot wooden bridge you can use to cross.
Summertime activities there include biking, hiking, and swimming.
There is another place to trek and explore at the White Pine Trail State Park, which is accessible through a route from the northern end of the Big Rapids Riverwalk.
9. Watch Live Performances and Concerts at Williams Auditorium
The Williams Auditorium at Ferris State University offers top-notch entertainment in Big Rapids, including live shows and concerts.
The 1,644 seats of the theater are outfitted with contemporary lighting and sound systems to give the audience a first-rate theatrical experience.
University-related activities are the main uses of the theater.
However, it also features a full calendar of public performances of music and theater.
Along with the Ferris State University art department, the West Central Concert Band and the FSU Band/Orchestra frequently perform at the theater.
You can look up the Williams Auditorium’s schedule of events on its website to learn who will perform there.
Address: 630 S Michigan Ave, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
10. Have Quality Leisure Time at Gypsy Nickel Lounge
The Gypsy Nickel Lounge is a popular dining/drinking establishment in Big Rapids.
It treats everyone with 15 taps of fantastic craft beer & a sizable cocktail menu while maintaining a warm and welcoming ambiance for visitors.
Furthermore, the Gypsy Nickel Lounge is popular for its quick service menu, which includes traditional American comfort foods, including Mac and cheese, Fish and chips, tacos, & many others.
Numerous events are held at the restaurant/bar every night, including their well-known karaoke evenings on Wednesdays.
The Gypsy Nickel Lounge’s stunning terrace, from which visitors may enjoy a breathtaking view of the Muskegon River, is one of its main attractions.
It’s a lovely location for relaxing while taking in the soothing sounds of the river stream.
Address: 228 Baldwin St, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
11. The Northend Park
Northend Park, another free public park in Big Rapids, is a great place to spend some time outside.
The park, situated along Fourth Avenue, provides users with various sporting amenities.
Due to the two standard-sized disc golf courses, it is well-known among residents and tourists as a sports recreation location.
In addition, there are sand volleyball courts, playgrounds, pavilions, picnic areas, hiking areas, nature paths, and cross-country skiing tracks in the winter the Northend Park.
Check out Northend Park if you’re looking for a pleasant area in Big Rapids to relax or play sports with your family.
Address: PG86+VH5, Trestle Bend Dr, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
12. Cruise along the Muskegon River
To Lake Michigan, the Muskegon River runs through Big Rapids.
The Muskegon River is not only the second-longest river in Michigan, but it’s also a well-liked outdoor destination for both locals and tourists.
Boating and fishing are popular pastimes on the river.
The Muskegon River Watershed Assembly also offers free educational tours for everyone.
You can engage in various outdoor activities with your family or alone when you visit the Muskegon River.
You can bring your fishing equipment and catch various freshwater fish, including rainbow trout, steelhead, and king salmon, as you float on a boat and take in the area’s beautiful and natural scenery.
It won’t be difficult to visit the river because it is accessible from all parts of the city.
13. Kilwins Chocolates
When you are nearby or in Big Rapids, you should buy Kilwins Chocolate if you love chocolate and want the best.
You’ll want more because of the delicious, silky flavor. Bring additional cash if you’re bringing your family or children because they might want more than you can afford. Then, when you visit, you will undoubtedly have a blast.
Address: 118 N Michigan Ave, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
14. Unwind at the Schuberg’s Bar & Grill
The Schuberg’s Bar and Grill has been serving clients in Big Rapids with their renowned hospitality and delectable burgers since the late 1800s.
This spot is popular among residents, notably college students from Ferris State University, who come here to unwind and enjoy tasty meals and cool drinks.
When Mecosta County’s lumber industry was booming, the tavern first opened.
Back then, lumberjacks looking for a spot to hang out made up most of its customers.
Over the years, the tavern has witnessed many important events in Big Rapids, MI.
It has outlasted the difficult times of the Great Depression as well as the era of alcohol prohibition.
With its mouthwatering specialty burgers and cocktails, Schuberg’s Bar & Grill still exudes a friendly, welcoming atmosphere today.
Address: 109 N Michigan Ave, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
15. Explore the Card/Riley Conservation and Wildlife Education Center
It’s a lovely spot to bring kids and environment enthusiasts to this 5,000-square-foot facility at Ferris State University.
The Card/Riley Conservation & Wildlife Education Center goes beyond what you may expect from a museum.
There are a considerable number of taxidermied animals there, representing 52 different nations.
You’ll see well-preserved bears, tigers, lions, antelopes, elks, & other creatures that will no certainly astound you.
The wildlife center displays around 200 taxidermied creatures.
Everyone can learn about the various creatures in this lovely location, but students and kids, in particular, will like it.
Typically, the wildlife center’s trained students from the biology department at Ferris State University conduct frequent educational excursions for guests.
The wildlife center serves as a major educational resource for Ferris State University students and children in grades K–12.
Casual visitors can still enter there, though.
The only drawback to this great location that will essentially take you on a safari tour is that the animals are not moving anymore.
Address: 820 Campus Dr, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
16. Indulge in Delicious Food at the Raven Brewing & BBQ
The Raven Brewing & BBQ, which serves barbecue and house-brewed craft beer, is situated in the city’s historic downtown.
This eatery/bar is a well-liked spot to unwind, eat delectable food, and drink high-quality craft beer.
Don’t forget to try “Farmers Choice,” their house specialty craft beer, a type of blonde lager produced with unique ingredients by the restaurant/owners. bar’s
Also available at the Raven Brewing & BBQ are mouthwatering Texas-style barbecue dishes, including pulled pork and beef brisket, which are expertly smoked over low heat.
They also offer quick orders such as the well-known poutine, mac & cheese, burgers, & smoked Cuban sandwiches.
Address: 121 N Michigan Ave, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
17. Pay a Visit to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia
The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, located at Ferris State University, reminds everybody of the significance of advancing social justice.
The museum’s curators hope that by using historically discriminatory pictures and portrayals, visitors will become more conscious of the tragic reality of racism & discrimination against African-Americans in the United States.
Six display rooms across the museum cover various eras of African-American oppression, including slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow Era.
Due to his enforcement of anti-black laws, Crow rose to fame in the racial caste system.
Crow’s policies mostly reduced African-Americans to second-class status.
It’s a great location to understand the unflinching truth about some of American history at this special museum in Big Rapids.
Address: 1010 Campus Dr, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
18. Hike at the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park
Beautiful pathways spanning more than 92 miles can be found in the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park, which begins in Cadillac and ends in Comstock Park.
Given that the entire path was formerly a Michigan rail line, it is made up of a mix of gravel & asphalt.
Following the area’s closure in the middle of the 1980s, it quickly became a well-liked outdoor destination in Big Rapids & the nearby towns & cities.
Today, residents of Mecosta County and tourists enjoy this state park.
People either jog or hike along the trail, as the surrounding greenery provides a panoramic backdrop.
Additionally, those who enjoy riding snowmobiles in the winter have made the White Pine Trail State Park a popular destination.
You should start your trip to Big Rapids by visiting this state park, especially if you are traveling with children.
Address: White Pine Trail, Big Rapids, MI 49307, United States
Unassuming Big Rapids is home to a wealth of undiscovered treasures.
It is the ideal vacation spot for the whole family because its attractions primarily focus on leisure, history, education, & relaxation.