Real Estate and Travel & Tourism

Grand Rapids is 'Best River Town' in US

June 14, 2017
| By Pat Evans |
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GR no longer ranked as 'Dying City'
The Grand River moves beneath the series of bridges in downtown Grand Rapids. Photo by Johnny Quirin

Grand Rapids is considered one of the top 25 cities in the country — thanks to the Grand River.

Outside magazine released this month its ranking of “25 of America’s best towns ever,” which includes Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids was named to the ranking as the “Best River Town.”

“The entire state is on rebound, and no city offers better proof of that than the Grand Rapids,” the ranking says. “The Medical Mile — which includes research institutes, a Michigan State University campus and hospitals — interjected billions of dollars into the economy and created thousands of high-paying jobs (median household income: $40,000).”

In the past, Outside’s ranking of best towns was chosen by readers, but this year, the magazine brought together experts to pick the places, said Jonah Ogles, associate editor, Outside.

“Thrill-seekers will never have to look too far in these spots, whether mountain climbing, whitewater rafting or conquering a single-track trail,” Ogles said.

The advisors for the ranking included Ron Jeffries, owner of Dexter-based Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, which has been associated with a property on Bridge Street since last year.

The group of advisors also included PeopleForBikes VP Jenn Dice, Children and Nature Network Co-founder Richard Louv and Avarna Group Founding Partner Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin.

Each advisor picked their top 20 towns, with the towns receiving at least two votes becoming finalists.

“25 of America’s best town’s ever”

Best Multi-Sport Town: Bend, Oregon

Best Top-End Food in Zero-Degree Weather: Portland, Maine

Best Unsung Mountain Town: Salida, Colorado

Best Paddling in the Gulf: Saint Petersburg, Florida

Best Climbing Hamlet to Call Home Before It’s Too Late: Bishop, California

The Shoo-in: Charleston, South Carolina

Best Combination of Mountains and Margaritas: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Best River Town: Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Shoo-in: Missoula, Montana

The Best Rebirth of the American Dream: Dayton, Ohio

Best Mix of Barbeque and Biking: Kansas City, Missouri

Best Big City with Bona Fide Adventure: Seattle, Washington

Best Southern Renaissance:  Birmingham, Alabama

Best Makeover from Pit Stop to Playground: Spearfish, South Dakota

The Shoo-In: Austin, Texas

Best Summer Day: Asheville, North Carolina

Best Blend of Sunshine, Food and Beaches: San Luis Obispo, California

Best Place to Bike Commute Year-Round: Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota

Best Place to Ride Single-Track Past World-Class Art: Bentonville, Arkansas

Best Low-Key Hideout: Reno, Nevada

The Shoo-In: Flagstaff, Arizona

Best Bike-To-Happy-Hour-Town: Fort Collins, Colorado

Best Place to Forget About Time Completely: Kona, Hawaii

Best Rocky Mountain Secret: Boise, Idaho

Best City for Making the Most of Summer: Anchorage, Alaska

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