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.