“Do it for the ’gram.” That’s the Influencer’s guiding principle. They’re not snobby, but you need to keep the aesthetic in mind when searching for a gift. You’re best off sending them somewhere that will make their followers think, “Oooh, I want to go there.” With that, we can help!
If you think a café run out of a truck can’t be photogenic, think again. Shrubs, string lights, hammocks, plants — Outside Coffee is one of the cutest and coolest spots in West Michigan. The thoughtfully curated space right outside Woosah Outfitters is perfect for a surprisingly large menu of picture-perfect coffee, tea, ice cream and toasts. Don’t fear the cold: Outside Coffee’s heated geodomes will keep you warm amidst the wind and snow.
734 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids
When I first exited the elevator leading to this rooftop lounge, I saw a couch that I immediately had to take a photo on before being seated. The host then said, “That’s probably the most Instagrammed couch in Grand Rapids,” which tells you everything you need to know. Step outside and you have an unbeatable open-air view of the city, with fantastic drinks and snacks to boot. Send the Influencer here with a gift card and they’ll have content for days.
New Hotel Mertens
35 Oakes St. SW, Grand Rapids
Sovengard was designed in a lab by the world’s leading social media engineers to be the top space for photo ops in West Michigan. The biergarten is practically famous in Grand Rapids — but with the winter weather heading in, you should really get the Influencer a reservation for upstairs at HOST. It’s the Scandinavian restaurant’s new seasonal farm-to-table dining experience, featuring a constantly rotating menu of gorgeous food that explodes with color and artistry. #eatlocal
443 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids
The UICA’s building itself is practically its own form of art, only enhanced by the cutting-edge works inside. Head there now and you'll find On the Scene, a solo exhibition exploring the cultural aesthetic of “club” photography and painted backdrops. Visitors are encouraged to take pictures with a vintage backdrop themselves and then spend some time pondering the value of status and materialism in our lives. It’s a photo op and a learning opportunity in one!
Larry Cook: On the Scene
Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
2 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids
Walking into The Plant Parlor is a breath of fresh air, in more ways than one. The shop is absolutely packed with plants of all shapes, sizes and species. All Influencers are required by law to have at least one hanging plant and five succulents, so this is the perfect place to beef up their home backdrop. After they open your floral gift, tell them to head to the shop for an oasis of Kodak moments.
The Plant Parlor
1059 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids
The Bachelor is a reality show first and a breeding ground for influencers second. These people make a living off their Instagrams — and your Influencer friend would kill to meet them. Get them a seat at this new live experience, which brings the show’s premise onstage with an eligible hometown Bachelor looking for love among hopeful West Michigan women from the audience. Who knows, the Influencer could even end up onstage!
The Bachelor Live on Stage
DeVos Performance Hall
303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
April 5, 2020