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Center City


A frontier fur-trading town that continues to evolve as a hub of innovation and can-do spirit, the Center City district of Grand Rapids is the financial and cultural anchor of Michigan's West Coast.

Rising on the eastern shore of the Grand River, Center City features numerous attractions. The Civic Theatre is Michigan's oldest community theatre. The GRAM holds more than 5,000 works in its permanent collection. The Monroe Center walking mall offers a wide selection of coffee houses, restaurants, and boutique shops. Rosa Parks Circle, the district's public park and amphitheatre, hosts weekly blues concerts in the summer and ice skating in the winter.

Another unique highlight is La Grande Vitesse, a large outdoor sculpture at the center of government square, which is distinguished as America's first publicly-funded art installation. The district's major festivals include a three-day arts celebration in June, as well as distinct Polish, Irish, Italian, Native American, Latino, Mexican, German, and African American celebrations of cultural heritage throughout the summer.

Incorporated as a city in 1850 with a population of 2,686, Center City now is the heart of Michigan's second largest city. Once known as the Furniture Capitol of the World, this also is the epicenter of Grand Rapids effort to redefine its identity as a leader of modern medical research and sustainable design.

Features

FTvault

G-Sync: Unleashing your inner superhero right where you are

Do new ideas of doing business really exist anymore? Publisher and Lifestyle Editor Tommy Allen goes downtown to discover the inner superhero in all of us. (It is Free Comic Book Day 2016!)

Drew Coppess

UIX: Now B Corp certified, 616 Lofts is poised as force for environmental good

Walk through any 616 Lofts building and you'll notice exposed brick and other architectural elements lend an identity to the space. It's the same way the company, now B Corp certified, does business, says Director of Environmental Sustainability Drew Coppess.

FTtommy

G-Sync: The Perils of Tommy Allen (Adventures in Gigland)

As our gig economy expands throughout Grand Rapids, and the United States, who is profiting from it? And who isn't?

FTGR

Making Grand Rapids more affordable, inclusive and equitable: Our city's hopes for 2016

As we bid adieu to 2015 and welcome another turn around the sun, Grand Rapidians who are changing and shaping our city share what they hope will happen in 2016.

FTafamart

From Grand Rapids to Muskegon and across the state, art museums find common ground

A major African-American art event at a local museum is about to begin -- and it isn't even February yet? That snarky dig -- based on the impression that the only time black art is featured at museums is during Black History Month -- is beginning to look like an unfair one. Michigan art museums are making an effort to reflect the diversity of their communities year-round.
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