Beer City USA, art prizes, the great outdoors, booming job market, and one the gayest cities in America – millennials are invading and upgrading Grand Rapids. The second largest city in Michigan, Grand Rapids is one of the top 10 cities for millennials to get a job right out of college, as well as one of the better cities in America for this generation to buy a home – with the median home price well below the national level.
Grand Rapids has 15 colleges in the surrounding area, making the city a growing hotbed for young millennials starting life after school. Health care, tourism and craft breweries are all emerging industries in Grand Rapids, bringing a younger workforce to such growing companies as JW Marriot, Founders Brewing, and Spectrum Health.
Take a look around this architecturally pleasing and top-rated self-sustaining city on the banks of the Grand River and see why so many young millennials are calling Grand Rapids home these days.
Take a beercation
Breweries and beer joints have invaded these parts of Western Michigan. Grand Rapids and surrounding communities have over 40 breweries along the top-rated and award-winning “Beer City Ale Trail” – boasting more craft beer per square mile than many great beer cities around the world. Founders Brewing has been the granddaddy of Michigan beer makers for almost 20 years now, as they continue to collect some of the top beer prizes around the globe, expanding their distribution around the country, all while making great nectar of the almighty beer gods.
Eye on the prize
Innovative artwork dots the town, giving character and culture. A thriving art scene is attracting millennial artists of all kinds to Grand Rapids. Art Prize is an annual art competition that transforms downtown into an artistic haven for local and international artists to showcase their creations while the general public casts their votes on the top prizes.
With a budget as a top concern, millennials are racing to Grand Rapids for it’s affordable living options and rapid job growth. Second only to Austin in job creation, Grand Rapids was named one of the top 10 cities for millennial homebuyers by the National Association of Realtors in 2015. The city has cultivated affordable and unique living options for millennials that include vintage downtown buildings converted into millennial-friendly condo buildings complete with hip restaurants, unique boutiques, and eclectic cafes.
Let love rule
In 2012, Advocate named Grand Rapids one of the ‘Gayest Cities in America’ based on the high number of same-sex couples that have been flooding the area for years. With the sweeping cultural changes in legalizing gay marriage in all states, which now includes Michigan, this city’s gay community will seemingly only continue to swell in population.
Millennials are adopting a more health-conscious and sporty lifestyle, opting to live in communities that are more walkable and active. Grand Rapids is chocked full of running paths for many of their running clubs, while bicyclists can pedal the hundreds of miles of bike paths in out of the city, or cross fitters can join a 75-minute outdoor strength, cardio and flexibility group workout with Eco Trek Fitness that are offered year-round, rain, shine and of course snow.