Aerial photo of the lagoon at Riverside Park

The Grand River (or Owashtanong) is a beautiful Grand Rapids destination to explore year-round. Here are our picks for must-visit parks and public spaces this winter.

Riverside Park

Riverside Park is the largest river edge park in the City of Grand Rapids. The 200-acre park spans nearly 2 miles of the river’s edge. During snowy months, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department plows the paved multiuse trail for easy access.

Tips for your visit:

  • The park is located at 2001 Monroe Ave NE
  • There are four entrances to Riverside Park, but only the southernmost and northernmost gates are open during the winter. The parking lots are plowed at these entrances.
  • The northernmost entrance is also a free Christmas tree recycling location. Learn more about tree recycling here.
View of the Grand River from the bank in Riverside Park

Fish Ladder Park

Fish Ladder Park features a unique functional piece of artwork by artist Joseph Kinnebrew. Visitors can watch migrating fish jump the series of steps in the fish ladder from a viewing platform.

Steelhead typically show up from early November to mid December with the majority of the Steelhead run between mid February and late April.

Tips for your visit:

  • The park is located at 560 Front Ave NW

Lyon Square

Lyon Square is a small public space along the river that offers spectacular views all year. The park is slated for a redesign in 2022, making it a versatile, four-season destination complete with new lighting and an outdoor fireplace. Learn more about the redesign here.

Tips for your visit:

  • The park is located at 296 Lyon St NE

Sixth Street & Canal Parks

Sixth Street and Canal Parks are downtown favorites for walking, biking, and running along the river. The City’s Parks and Recreation Department plows the multiuse trail during the winter for accessible trails year round.

Tips for your visit:

  • Sixth Street Park is located at 647 Monroe Ave NW. Canal Park is located at 941 Monroe Ave NW.
  • The parking lot at Canal Park is plowed during periods of snow.
Winter view of the Sixth St Bridge from Canal Park (Photo by @fireboltphotos on Instagram)

Ah-Nab-Awen Park

Ah-Nab-Awen Park is home to many winter activities and art installations as part of Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc.’s World of Winter Festival. It also features unbeatable views of the river and Grand Rapids skyline. Learn more about the 2022 World of Winter event series.

Tips for your visit:

Hybocozo art installation at Ah-Nab-Awen Park (Photo by Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. 2021)