2023 WORLD OF WINTER FESTIVAL Grand Rapids MI | Event Schedule, Must-See's, January and February Walking Map of Art, Ice Sculptures, Light Exhibits | Largest Winter Festival in the Midwest! 

2023 WORLD OF WINTER FESTIVAL Grand Rapids MI | Event Schedule, Must-See's, Walking Map of Ice Sculptures, Light Exhibits | Largest Winter Festival in the Midwest!

By: Sherry Trautman | Travel-Mi.com | Updated: February 9, 2023

Every January and February, Chris and I bundle up to see over 44 incredible outdoor art installations in downtown Grand Rapids during the World of Winter Festival!  Valent-ICE (popular ice festival Grand Rapids MI) is also great to see.  Be sure to grab our recommended walking route!

Awesome Michigan Winter festival with lots of outdoor winter fun, and family-friendly activities!

When Is World Of Winter in Downtown Grand Rapids? (Southwest Michigan)

January 6, 2023 to March 5, 2023

Interactive Map of Art Displays To See at World Of Winter in Grand Rapids Michigan

Be sure to use our interactive Google Map of World of Winter to use when you get to the Grand Rapids winter festival.

You will just love these huge lit Roaming Gnomes, located at Ah-Nab-Awen Park right next to Starry Night. I mean who doesn't love giant inflatable gnomes?

Four Tip Before You Go

1. Use our map above to mark out a route before you go to the Grand Rapids winter festival so you can see the most art installations as possible during your intended time frame.  Then of course, use our map when you get there!

2. As an observation, many of the sculptures involve lighting so, while they are pretty during the day, they are just brilliant after dark and well worth the wait.  You may want to see the art exhibits during both the day and night so arriving around 4:00 pm will allow you time to do just that!

  • Chris and I arrived at 4:00, parked at the Devos Place, got dinner at Real Seafood very closeby and then walked around at 6:00 pm until about 8:00 pm.

3. Chances are it will be very cold, so plan to wear thick coats, gloves, scarves, hats and boots!

4. Plan on parking fees, as the garages and lots range around $15 to $27 for daily rate. 

See Starry Night by artists Ivana Jelić and Pavle Petrović, we just love it! This incredible artwork is located at Ah-Nab-Awen Park where you can see Van Gogh’s famous painting sparkle in the night with 1,400 glowing light tubes.

Our Favorite Sculpture and Art Installations at the Grand Rapids Winter Festival

See our map for these locations, they are Red with White Stars!

  • World of Winter | Affinity art installation - Starts Feb 3, 2023. 555 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI
  • **House of Cards - Freakin' cool at night, located at Calder Plaza
  • **Talking Heads - (best by far at night), located at Gillett Bridge.
  • The Singing Tree - Sing or talk to the tree and it will light up based on the sounds you make. Located at the Grand Rapids Public Museum
  • **Starry Night - Van Gogh’s swirling starry night is so pretty at Ah-Nab-Awen Park.
  • Massimals - Located at the Blue Bridge
  • **Huge Gnomes - Located at Ah-Nab-Awen Park.

**Our top picks.  See? There's plenty of great reasons to visit Grand Rapids this wintertime!

Be sure to see World of Winter's Freakin' Awesome House Of Cards in Grand Rapids Michigan! There are 128 light boxes in the form of playing cards. They were designed by several artists from around the world or around town. So Cool!

We just loved the Talking Heads by Hungarian designer Victor Vicsek located at the Gillett Bridge.  There two of these huge heads containing more than 4,000 LED lights.  Watch as the lights create different facial expressions. 

Our Walking Route for Viewing the Outdoor Art at World Of Winter Festival

We like to park at Devos Place (costs $16-25 depending on how long you are there). There are at least 10 World of Winter installations to see within a short distance. 

1. Walk across the street to Calder Plaza to see Infinity Mountains and House of Cards

2. Then head south on Monroe to see a couple there and then walk to the Gillett Bridge to see Messie the Grand River Monster, Talking Heads, Tropical Tundra and other installations (including Starry Night and the Gnomes) at Ah-nab-awen park.  It's seriously a dazzling winter wonderland!

3. We will walk south to the Grand Rapids Public Museum to see three installations including the Singing Tree

4. Next stop is heading back across the Grand River on the Blue Bridge to see Massimals and Angels of Freedom

5. We will then walk to Rosa Parks Circle to go ice skating and see 5 or so more art installations in the Ottawa/Pearl Street area (see our map above). Then back to Devos Place parking!

Infinity Mountains located at Calder Plaza.  You can see the House of Cards in the background. It reflects such lovely wintertime vibes!

Where To Eat Nearby

Lunch or Dinner Options:

  • **Real Seafood Company-(our pick for fantastic steaks, salads, drinks) - M-T open 4-10 pm. W, Th, F open 11:30-10pm or 11:00 pm. 
  • The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck in the Amway Grand Plaza (opens around 4:00 pm)
  • Sundance Bar and Grill (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • The Chop House Grand Rapids (opens at 5pm)

2023 World Of Winter Festival Schedule of Events: January 3-March 5, 2023

The official World of Winter events begin January 6, 2023 but the Architectural Walking Tours begin on January 3, 2023. Dates/times may be subject to change. 

Architectural Walking Tour - Every Tuesday from January 3, 2023 to February 14, 2023 in the front lobby of the JW Marriott! 12:00 - 1:00 pm. Meet at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids, 235 Louis St NW Grand Rapids, MI.

Circus Wonderland - Saturday, January 7, 2023, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Calder Plaza, 300 Monroe Avenue Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI. Enjoy seeing amazing balance acts by stilt walkers, LED performers, fire breathers, and aerialists located near the international installation, House of Cards.

Ice Park & Food Truck Rally - The Ice Park opens on Friday, January 20, 2023 and will remain until it melts!  Located at 555 Monroe Avenue Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI. Fun ice park games include shuffleboard, plinko and foosball. Oh, and there will be food trucks, too!

WOW Scavenger Hunt - Friday, January 6, 2023 - Sunday, March 5, 2023. 8:00 AM - 3:30 PM. How to play: Download the FREE Goosechase App, select “Play as Guest," enter “Grand Rapids” in the search bar and find the WOW HUNT.

So yeah, this is Chris's Mardi Gras pose...  In his defense, I was like, "get in there, do something fun!" And this is what he came up with...in one take. LOL!   Carnevale by Mandy Cano Villalobos at DeVos Place, Grand Rapids.

I just love love love the Angels of Freedom on the Blue Bridge! It gives us wings AND halos!  It's gorgeous at night! This incredible lighting experience is a perfect spot for photos and selfies!

Cultural Story Time Series - Sunday, January 15, 2023, and January 29, 2023, 2:00 PM -  4:00 PM at Studio Park Piazza, 121 Ionia Ave SW Grand Rapids, MI

Ice Piano Performance with Hannah Laine - Enjoy a live performance on an ice piano!  January 20, 2023, 6:30 PM -  7:30 PM on the Grand Rapids Public Museum's back lawn next to The Signing Tree, a light art installation that interacts with the performer’s music! 118 Front Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI.

Ice Piano Performance with David McDonald, Saturday, January 21, 2023, 6:30 PM -  7:30 PM located at the Grand Rapids Public Museum back lawn next to The Signing Tree, a light art installation that interacts with the performer’s music!  118 Front Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI.

Beat Box DJ Pop Up, Friday, January 27, 2023, 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM located at the B.O.B./20 Monroe outdoor space, 147 Fulton St W Grand Rapids, MI.

Fire & Ice, Saturday, January 28, 2023, 5:00 PM 9:00 PM at Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI.

Art Installation Walking Tour - Saturday, February 4, 2023 from 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM, also on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 6:00 PM - 7:15 PM and also on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, 6:00 PM-  7:15 PM. Meet at Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI.

Rosa Park's Birthday - Walking Tour: Black History, Saturday, February 4, 2023, 2:00 PM -  3:00 PM, also offered Sunday, February 12, 2023, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM and on Monday, February 27, 2023, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM. Meet at Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center Street Northwest Grand Rapids, MI

Silent Disco - Saturday, February 4, 2023, 7:00 PM -  10:00 PM. Wear wireless headphones and tune in to your choice of DJs' channels. Fire pits, food trucks, performers! So much fun this February in Grand Rapids! 555 Monroe Avenue Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI

Great Lakes Snow Snake Competition - Sunday, February 5, 2023, 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM. Sixth Street Park, 647 Monroe Avenue Northwest, Grand Rapids. 

What is a Snow Snake? It's a traditional northern Native American game with the idea of throwing a wooden "snow snake" the farthest along a smooth trough made in the snow. To compete, you must have your own snow snake but there will be practice snakes for everyone to experience.

  • Valent-ICE (ice festival Grand Rapids MI)- February 10, 2023 - February 16, 2023, 8:00 AM - 11:00 PM. During the World of Winter Festival, come out to see the dozens of professionally-carved ice sculptures all throughout the downtown Grand Rapids region.  Very cool, indeed! 

Snowga - Saturday, February 11, 2023, TIME: 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM. Meet at 555 Monroe Avenue Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI for a warm up run and then yoga! See the art installations and enjoy snacks!

I love this Starlight art installation, what a great way to take advantage of Michigan's beautiful winter!

Ice Sculpture Walking Tours - Saturday, February 11, 2023, Walking tours are offered at multiple times, 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, or 4:00 PM. Meet at Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center Street Northwest Grand Rapids, MI

ICE Breaker - Saturday, February 11, 2023, 12:00 PM -  3:00 PM, The Ice Guru, Randy Finch, and the Ice Brigade will be carving up a 5,000 pound block of ice! Guaranteed to be super cool! Located at Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center Street Northwest Grand Rapids, MI

Human Hungry Hungry Hippo Tournament - Saturday, February 25, 2023, 12:30 PM - 7:00 PM. Located at Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center Street Northwest Grand Rapids, MI.

Noodle Fest - Saturday, March 4, 2023, 12:00 PM -5:00 PM, Located at 647 Monroe Avenue Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI. Enjoy $6 noodle bowls from 12 different competitors. Vote on your favorite bowl.

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