About a month ago my hubby surprised me with a fabulous idea…to plan a night out to celebrate our 3rd anniversary…finally (our anni is in June). After we lined up grandma to babysit for the eve, I was off to planning.
I knew he might want to go somewhere scenic, but I really just wanted to dine out at a fancy spot — something that’s a bit more difficult to do these days with a little one. I was on my computer researching when a lightbulb went off.
“Let’s go to Grand Rapids!” I said.
And with that, I was asking everyone for recommendations. Facebook friends posted detailed itineraries and I reviewed tons of reviews on Yelp, my favorite website/app for finding what the locals love.
Soon, I had a massive list of things I wanted to do. Problem? A $200 budget to do it all in. Thankfully, we had a free stay in the Courtyard Marriott due to points the DH earned through business travel, so that helped.
Fall in Michigan generally means unpredictable weather, so we decided to skip the local beaches just in case. We love doing outdoorsy things though, so we thought of the next best thing: Canoeing. After some research, I found a reasonably priced livery on the Thornapple River, just 30 minutes southeast from Grand Rapids. The views were beautiful and it was so peaceful. Along our route, I spotted tons of turtles (and no snakes), so I was a content gal.
Once we were through canoeing, we headed into the city for our night out. Once we were there, we parked the car and didn’t move it until the next day.
We started out our evening by having a lovely dinner at Bistro Bella Vita, an upscale spot with a menu with a Mediterranean flair. We enjoyed our own gourmet pizzas and a bottle of wine on the patio.
After, we checked out Founders Brewing Company and I tried the Breakfast Stout, a new dark beer on the menu with notes of coffee and chocolate. It was delicious.
From there, we went to hear live comedy at Dr. Grins Comedy Club. We saw a past semi-finalist from Last Comic Standing and he, along with the opening comics, had us laughing the entire time.
After the show, we headed to Hopcat, another local brewery with 49 (!) beers on tap. We ordered some “crack fries” as recommended by Yelpers, and paired with the cheese sauce, we were not disappointed. I had a raspberry brew from St. Louis and it was divine.
We were pretty tired after our big day, so we didn’t stay out too late, although there were about 50 more spots I was hoping to check out.
We slept in and then went to breakfast at the Electric Cheetah, an artsy spot with a unique breakfast menu, chock full of all local and organic items. The Ze French Toast I had was amazing with a hint of orange – something I’ve never tasted in the Motor City.
We had an great time in Grand Rapids. The food and vibe in the city was fabulous, but we were most amazed with the people. Every person was so unbelievably nice to us and interested in why we were visiting from Detroit.
For your next romantic excursion, I highly recommend a visit to Grand Rapids.
I was not compensated for this post or any of the items listed…I just wanted to highlight the great businesses we experienced!
What is your ideal date night?