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Big Rapids Checklist

A long to-do list for a small town

by Published: May 23, 2013

Work of Art: The Artworks gallery, located downtown Big Rapids, mostly features work from local artists. The gallery also has a gift shop and art studio where arts and craft activities are held. Photo By: Eric Trandel | Photo Editor

Work of Art: The Artworks gallery, located down­town Big Rapids, mostly fea­tures work from local artists. The gallery also has a gift shop and art stu­dio where arts and craft activ­i­ties are held. Photo By: Eric Trandel | Photo Editor

Tubing, tub­ing, all the time
Tubing is as close to a required sum­mer activ­ity as there is in Big Rapids. Activities on the river—tubing, canoe­ing, and kayak­ing— are the go-to out­door fun for Big Rapids res­i­dents. Nature is the town’s biggest sell­ing point. Michigan’s sec­ond longest river, the Muskegon, cuts through town, and busi­nesses such as Sawmill Tube and Canoe cater to the wide­spread desire for a long float that’s brought out by the sum­mer sun.

Disc golf
Northend Riverside Park offers a more dry out­door option. The park’s disc golf course offers casual fun and a walk with friends in the sun, with only a sin­gle disc required. A num­ber of play­ers take the game seri­ously, tot­ing along large bags packed with a vari­ety of discs—and there are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent kinds—who have taken to the 18 hole course time and time again. No expe­ri­ence or overly com­pet­i­tive nature is required, though—just a disc.

Take a waLk
If the river seems too wild and disc golf far too tir­ing on those backpack-sore shoul­ders, take a sim­ple walk through an area with more wilder­ness than many other col­lege towns. Stroll along the Riverwalk and watch all those poor, soaked water sports fanatics.

Intramural sports
By press time, Ferris will have released all the reg­is­tra­tion infor­ma­tion and dates for the college’s intra­mural sports. For slightly less high-stakes par­tic­i­pa­tion in sports, sum­mer soc­cer and other sports will be offered for the athletics-starved stu­dents still in or around campus.

Schuberg’s burg­ers
Schuberg’s Bar and Grill is just one of Big Rapids’ estab­lish­ments offer­ing either bar or grill, but it’s the go-to for burger rec­om­men­da­tions. With a burger menu rival­ing Pepper’s sand­wich menu in size, includ­ing options for veg­e­tar­ian cus­tomers, the down­town diner’s burg­ers are often, if not always, the first food rec­om­mended to those new in town.

Tooth-rotting good­ness
Few things are quite so mouth­wa­ter­ing as a candy shop, and Kilwin’s is one of the places den­tists’ night­mares are made of. The store, also in the mid­dle of down­town, offers treats made from every­thing from choco­late to pret­zels to ice cream. If that weren’t enough, ice cream is avail­able in many places, includ­ing both an old-school A&W and an old-school walk-up Dairy Queen.

A tune or two to tap your toes to
Every town, no mat­ter how big or small, offers music. Big Rapids has plenty from both on and off-campus all year round. Whether it be the con­certs down­town, the Wheatland Music Jamboree or the reg­u­lar enter­tain­ment at eater­ies like Crankers, local music can be found all over town. We even have a music shop in Quinn’s, where they actu­ally know what they’re doing.

Retail-free food
Good weather means the return of the farm­ers mar­ket. Beginning again May 28 in the park­ing lot south of City Hall, the weekly event will give peo­ple a chance to buy pro­duce and other farm fare from local farmers.

A night on the town
Some like their nights illus­tri­ous; oth­ers pre­fer sim­ple, quiet fun, but it’s good to get out regard­less of the adjec­tives asso­ci­ated. Whether it be a drink at The Pub or a din­ner down­town, it’s healthy for res­i­dents to hit the town for some good, legal fun—whatever that good, legal fun may be.

Animal Shack
The local pet store of largely glow­ing reviews from both on– and offline cus­tomers offers more than just the fish at the retail out­let, includ­ing rep­til­ian ani­mals with the poten­tial to grow quite large. It’s worth at least a few steps out­side the norms.

Artworks and other art
Big Rapids is no big city; the artis­tic or cre­ative options are unfor­tu­nately fewer sim­ply due to a smaller pop­u­la­tion of peo­ple and a larger pop­u­la­tion of pesky wilder­ness things. There are still options, though, for the mind starved for art, whether that art be oral, visual or brought up on a screen. Artworks is just one of the places to offer cre­ative outlets—even more than just sim­ple “artwork.”