Palling Around: Fun With Friends

There’s so much more to do with friends in West Michigan than just eating and drinking.

Especially as a segment of people shift away from alcohol and seek out other ways to gather, it’s key to know about fun options available year-round in town. Casual games, brain-teasing challenges, VIP experiences—we have a wide variety of activities and attractions for a great day with friends.

From immersive escape rooms to adrenaline-pumping axe throwing, and even cooking together, here are some fantastic places where you and your friends can have an unforgettable time in West Michigan.

Escape Rooms: Unlock the Adventure
Escape rooms have gained immense popularity in recent years, and West Michigan has a variety of captivating options to choose from. These interactive experiences challenge your problem-solving skills and teamwork while providing an exciting adventure. With multiple themed rooms to choose from, such as solving a murder mystery or escaping a zombie apocalypse, you and your friends will be immersed in a thrilling race against the clock.
A few options: The Great Escape Room, The Ruse, Locked460

Axes and Allies: Axe Throwing Fun
The satisfaction of hitting a target, the exhilarating experience of challenging your skills, the friendly competition between peers, and a little bit of physical activity—just a few reasons why axe throwing has exploded in popularity recently, not to mention all the other experiences local spots have begun to offer. For instance, FlannelJax has not just axe throwing, but crosscut sawing and “Thump the Stump” too. Anywhere you go to throw, experienced instructors will guide you, so you don’t need to be a lumberjack to join.
A few options: FlannelJax, Wood-Splitters, BattleGR Tactical Games

Board Games and Brews: Game Night At The Bar
For a more laid-back yet entertaining night, gather your friends and head to a bar with board games. One of the best spots around for this is House Rules Lounge, which combines craft beer, cocktails, non-alcoholic drinks and board games, creating the perfect atmosphere for a game night extravaganza. Choose from a massive extensive selection of board games or bring your own! Unwind, strategize, and engage in friendly competition as you bond over the nostalgic joy of tabletop gaming.


Artistic Adventures: Paint and Sip
Unleash your creativity and enjoy a night of painting and sipping at one of the many studios around town. Gather your friends and follow step-by-step instructions from experienced artists to create your own masterpiece. Whether you’re a seasoned painter or a novice, this lively and relaxed environment is perfect for unleashing your inner artist while enjoying your favorite beverages. Take home your artwork as a memento of your fun-filled evening with friends.
A few options: Painting with a Twist, Brush Studio, Wine and Canvas

Fowling Warehouse: The Fusion of Football and Bowling
For a truly unique and entertaining experience, head to the “Fowling Warehouse” in Grand Rapids. Fowling is a hybrid game that combines elements of football and bowling, aiming to knock down the opposing team’s pins by throwing a football at them. It’s an exciting and social activity that lets you and your friends compete in a casual way, cheering and laughing the whole time. The Fowling Warehouse provides the perfect setting with multiple lanes, a large bar, and a lively atmosphere that guarantees an evening filled with fun and friendly competition.

Virtual Reality Escapades: The Future of Fun
Step into the realm of virtual reality (VR) and embark on extraordinary adventures with your friends. Virtual reality arcades provide a wide variety of play experiences, where you can explore virtual worlds, fight zombies, solve puzzles, or engage in multiplayer battles. Whether you just want to play some classic VR or immerse yourself in one of the newer, more unique free-roaming experiences that take things to the next level, West Michigan has it all. 
A few options: Amped VR, Nova VR, Zero Latency

Elevate Your Dinner: Chef’s Tables
A chef’s table is a very unique dining experience that often involves sitting inside the kitchen. While we don’t have exactly that available in town (though you might be able to make it happen with enough charm (and money)), there are two chef’s tables to choose from in GR. Since opening, One Twenty Three in Studio Park has offered a chef’s table, which sits near the kitchen, and the chef will create an entirely unique menu just for you, based on your preferences. Meanwhile, Noto’s offers a similar experience in the wine cellar or the center of the dining room, with customized multi-course meals. 

Get Cooking: Local Epicurean
Discover the art of culinary excellence at The Local Epicurean in Grand Rapids. Offering a range of engaging and hands-on cooking classes, this renowned establishment invites food enthusiasts of all skill levels to expand their culinary horizons. Led by expert chefs, these classes provide a unique opportunity to learn essential techniques, explore global flavors, and create delectable dishes using locally sourced ingredients.