“It’s been so fun to see Grand Rapids grow over the years into one of the coolest cities in the country,” says Julie Wylie, the founder and artist behind Michigan-based paper goods company Whimsy and Wild. “It’s been named Beer City USA, the #1 place to visit in the USA, and the #1 Emerging Destination for good reason. Grand Rapids is on the rise, and it just keeps going!” We recently teamed up with Julie to share a few of her favorite spots around this up-and-coming city, accompanied by a few hand-written notes in Julie’s signature style. Happy exploring!
632 Wealthy St SE
My first spot in GR has to be Rowster Coffee. They make my absolute favorite sweetened latte and their baked goods sourced from other local businesses, Field & Fire and GR Bagel, are hard to resist. Their clean and modern aesthetic is beautiful and makes for the perfect backdrop for catching up with a friend or getting some work done. Whenever I’m in the area, I make sure to stop in and I’m never disappointed.
1409 Robinson Rd SE
I also love visiting one of my earliest and favorite stockists, Rebel Reclaimed, which is a rad little shop in Eastown. Filled with so many fun and beautiful items, it is the perfect place to grab a gift for someone or to treat yo’ self! The owners, Chip and Dann, are some of the friendliest people I’ve met. Whenever I stop in, we have a great chat before I’m off ogling their amazing collection of greeting cards to add to my own stash at home. From jewelry, to plants, to coffee mugs, to kids’ items, you are sure to find something here that you’ll want to bring home immediately.
435 Ionia Ave SW
The Downtown Market is a market hall of vendors, a greenhouse, a demonstration kitchen, an event space, and more! I love coming here to grab lunch at one of the many interesting restaurants, which is usually followed up with organic ice cream from Love’s. The aforementioned Field & Fire Bakery is housed here, where they sell their full range of baked goods daily. The Market is also host to different events in their outdoor market space throughout the year. It is a very popular place to check out and for good reason.
53 Commerce Ave SW
If you like really good food then Stella’s Lounge is the place to be. Their menu is full of some insanely delicious picks, including their famous stuffed burgers (they were named Best Burger in America by GQ in 2012) and spicy chronic fries. My favorite menu item is their Nada Cubano sandwich, which won the Grandwich competition in 2014. Clearly they know what they’re doing! And if you’re into whiskey, they’re very well-known for having over 250 kinds for you to try.
Julie Wylie is the founder and artist behind Whimsy and Wild, a line of modern hand lettered and illustrated greeting cards + paper goods. Characterized by simple design and a neutral palette, Whimsy and Wild’s mission is to create beautiful, earth-friendly work that you are proud to use or display in your home. With each card she designs, Julie hopes to inspire people to slow down and connect with others through the art of the handwritten note. Stay up to date with Whimsy and Wild on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.