Hello! Next year I'm planning on taking our yearly ladies' trip to Grand Rapids for the first time. There are usual 9-10 of us in attendance. We always go in the early autumn. My "rules" for a new location are: 1) it has to be walkable...these ladies like to drink so entertainment, dining, and bars all need to be within reasonable walking distance (we have ages 30-70 in the group). 2) there has to be an area of intersting shopping...not chains but boutiques, art galleries, locally made, etc., 3) there has to be a variety of restaurants that can cater to groups (reservations especially)...more than "bar food", and 4) there needs to be stuff to do besides eating and drinking..museums, tours, boat cruises, cooking classes, etc.. Usually if a locale has all of these, it's going to work out well for our group.
My husband and I are heading to GR next weekend to do a little recon for the ladies' trip. This is a time for me to explore, talk to people, see where things are, etc.
OK...so my question (finally), there seems to be quite a few interesting "areas" of Grand Rapids that could fit the bill. I've tried to research them but the information/articles I'm finding are either a VERY short list of one or two items or don't have enough info (like maps) for me to make an informed judgement call. Can you please recommend some areas/districts that fit one or most of the criteria above so my husband and I can check them out?
Thank you so much and if you want more information to give a better recommendation, please let me know.