A Hot Second

Written by Veronica Peterson


The Studio has been hot, uncontrollably hot. We were dripping sweat on the press and the racks. We decided that we did enough work for the day and figured any shop talk could be said with sand between our toes and a cool water’s breeze. Millennium Park was close to downtown and convenient to get to, it’s only a ten-minute drive from the city. Founded in 2000, as one of West Michigan’s largest recreational parks it’s hard to imagine how a place like this could stay ‘hidden.’ I’ve been living in Grand Rapids for around two years now and there is still half of a city I have yet to see. How much of the city do people take for granted and how much of it isn’t advertised?

Grand Rapids sits as a little nook, a hub in Western Michigan, conservative-maybe but full of art and life. Millennium park features a 6-acre beach, a splash pad, and 18 miles of trails. There was just something wonderful about a garage full of sweaty people sprinting to the beach to swim with our jeans on.


After our trip, I started to ask around — what other places are there in Grand Rapids that generate excitement, and might otherwise have remained hidden? People mostly responded with places to grab a bite to eat. A couple of people recommend Belknap Park, a park established in the early 1900’s that features tennis courts, a baseball field and a hill for sledding.

Getting involved in the music scene was also something suggested; but unless you’re a fan of the modern day ‘punk’ scene, then these venues aren’t for you. Grand Rapids has a number of music venues that exist underneath skate spots, or in the upper rooms of churches. These are great if you enjoy loud music and dancing, but are harder to get involved with if you aren’t immersed in the culture. They tend to only be open on select nights and it would involve more effort than a simple Google search to get into.

Now I suppose I’ll extend the question out to you, what hidden gems does your city hold? Do you think the way they are advertised or not advertised, contributes to the excitement or how we explore?

This post is part of a series of writings by the members of Not Design.