Visit to Grand Rapids Downtown Market

One thing I’m always sure to do when traveling is visit food markets. It’s a delicious way to get a taste of the regional flavor and to mingle with the locals. Some of the best meals I’ve had while traveling were either at food markets, or I bought ingredients at the market and prepared the meals myself. Meals as simple as fresh meats, cheeses, and bread from an outdoor market in Orvieto, Italy; to “Greek pizza” and baklava at Kenosha HarborMarket in Kenosha, Wisconsin. So when I was planning to visit Grand Rapids, Michigan, last fall, I knew I needed to visit the Downtown Market.

Grand Rapids Downtown Market is a year-round, 24-vendor indoor hall. During the warmer months, there is an outdoor market, as well, featuring local farmers and artisans. I visited in October and only the indoor market hall was open; it was fine with me. I was there on a weekday, right after the lunchtime rush, and I practically had the entire place to myself. ArtPrize had just ended the day before but many pieces were still on display throughout the city; some were at Downtown Market, so I felt like I didn’t really miss out on ArtPrize.

A B See? by Joel Schoon-Tanis | ArtPrize 2014 | Grand Rapids

On display: A B See? by Joel Schoon-Tanis

The merchants I encountered were eager to talk with me about their products. I spent a great deal of time speaking with a young lady from Montello Meat Market. She explained that their meats are all-natural and all from local pastures. On certain days of the week, they conduct whole-animal butchery on-site and shoppers can watch the butchers in action (I’m really not into that sort of thing but I know others are). I was just amazed by the variety of meats available in their display cases. I spied everything from cubed goat to linguiça. There were so many things I wanted to buy at the market but it was the beginning of my trip. Instead, I just hung out in a comfy chair at Simpatico Coffee, enjoying my mocha and the complimentary wifi. I did make another stop at Downtown Market on my last day in Grand Rapids to pick up goodies for home, namely caramel corn from Dorothy & Tony’s Gourmet Popcorn; pecorino from Aperitivo; and cupcakes from Sweetie-licious Bake Shoppe.

Sweetie-licious Bake Shoppe | Grand Rapids Downtown Market

Sweetie-licious Bake Shoppe

As they say at Downtown Market, the “produce isn’t the only green thing” about the place. You see, Grand Rapids Downtown Market is the first LEED-certified market in the U.S. It was built using all recycled, repurposed, and reused materials; and built upon geothermal wells, which provide heating and cooling for the building, thereby conserving energy. It’s all quite fascinating.

Grand Rapids Downtown Market

Looking down on the vendor hall

Grand Rapids Downtown Market is a destination all on its own. It will become a regular stop for me on my future trips to Grand Rapids, and I’m especially excited to check out the outdoor market this summer.

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9 Responses to Visit to Grand Rapids Downtown Market

  1. Emily Ray February 27, 2015 at 7:24 am #

    Wow, this looks amazing – and very organised too, which is always great to see! I’m now feeling ridiculously hungry….
    Emily Ray recently posted…Top 5 Things To Do In CologneMy Profile

    • Francesca March 1, 2015 at 8:05 am #

      Ha ha! Yes, Downtown Market is all of the above. And it’s such a welcoming, comfortable place. I could just sit in there for hours!

  2. Elaine J. Masters March 3, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    I love great markets. if you ever come to Los Angeles don’t miss the Grand Central Market and come hungry.
    Elaine J. Masters recently posted…Through John Steinbeck Country – A Central California Road TripMy Profile

  3. Traveling Ted March 4, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    I cannot wait for the Drinkin Grand Rapids downtown market media party. #drinkinGRdwntnmkt
    Traveling Ted recently posted…Gatineau Loppet winter frostbite adventureMy Profile

  4. the lazy travelers March 6, 2015 at 10:46 am #

    love food markets! i could spend hours wandering around reading terminal in philly (and eating all the cheesesteaks and pretzels). bonus for the eco-friendly design too!
    the lazy travelers recently posted…style spotter: travel day essentialsMy Profile

  5. lola March 7, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    I love the name Sweetie-licious! So cute. Food Markets are so great. Perfect place to pick up gifts too.
    lola recently posted…The Buzz about IcelandMy Profile

  6. Lance | Trips By Lance March 8, 2015 at 11:34 pm #

    This market sounds great. Can always find a good meal in a market. Maybe next time I head up to Traverse City (there must be a next time) I can combine it with a visit to Grand Rapids and all that beer … and this market.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted…Baseball Spring Training Travel in PhoenixMy Profile

  7. Tawny of Captain and Clark March 12, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    I want ALL the foods. I’m with you. One of my favorite ways to explore a place is through its markets and local delicacies.

  8. craig zabransky (@StayAdventurous) March 18, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

    Such a fan of food markets too, i never consider it in the states as a must visit, so thanks for reminding me, yes we have great markets in the states too and also, the midwest.

    stay loving food, Craig
    craig zabransky (@StayAdventurous) recently posted…Dive into Guerrero from the Cliffs of La Quebrada in AcapulcoMy Profile

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