Short-term housing in
furnished rentals in Grand Rapids, Michigan starting at $80/day
short-term housing in the Grand Rapids area
all rentals come fully furnished with utilities & housewares included in rent
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Grand Rapids city overview
Grand Rapids, Michigan is the second largest city in the state and is located on the Grand River. With a city population of around 200,000 people and a metro population of a little over a million, it is a significant city with a diverse culture and economy.
Brief history of Grand Rapids
The region that Grand Rapids sits in has been populated for thousands of years. Successive Native American tribes have settled and moved around the area until the 17th century when the Ottawa people settled and began farming. French fur traders moved up and down the river and traded with the Ottawa for many years until the first settlers appeared in 1806.
Joseph and Madeline La Framboise traveled up the river and established a trading post in the current site of Grand Rapids in 1806. The couple traded with the Ottawa across the river for many years until more settlers came to the area in 1824. Gradually, more people settled by the trading post, setting up their own businesses until Louis Campau arrived in 1826. Credited with being the father of Grand Rapids, Campau set up his own trading post and bought 72 acres of land which he steadily sold for development.
By 1835, the city had a school, doctor, stores and a population of around 50. From there it grew steadily thanks to the arrival of steamboats, manufacturing, the automobile and the country’s first hydro-electric dam.
Doing business in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids is now known for its gypsum mining and as Furniture city. Mining has largely disappeared, with the largest mine in the area, Alabastine Mine, being converted into an underground server farm and document storage facility. Furniture is still a big part of the city economy. While not as influential as it once was, it is still a leader in the manufacture of office furniture.
Other aspects of the Grand Rapids economy is retail, general business and low level manufacturing. It is a diverse economy that enables the city to weather the worst of economic storms and grow slowly but steadily.
Highlights of Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids is a typical Midwestern city. Friendly, hard working and hospitable. There is an emphasis on a solid work ethic as well as a liking for the outdoors and sports. Culture and the arts are well supported here, with the city having been the place where the first public artwork was unveiled in 1969.
The city has lots of galleries, museums and cultural venues as well as many more statues and public works. There is also a nod to the city’s heritage with a number of historical sites. Grand Rapids was named the No. 1 US travel destination by Lonely Planet in 2014.
Things to see in Grand Rapids include; Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Van Andel Museum Center, Gerald R. Ford Museum, Grand Rapids Symphony, Grand Rapids Ballet, Opera Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Fulton Street Artisan’s Market and Blues on the Mall.