|Lower Peninsula of Michigan|
A broad definition of West Michigan.
West Michigan and Western Michigan are terms for an arbitrarily selected region in the U.S. state of Michigan in its Lower Peninsula. Generally, West Michigan refers to the Grand Rapids- Muskegon- Holland area, however there is no official definition for what constitutes "West Michigan."
In general, "West Michigan" often refers to the area bounded by the cities of Muskegon (in the north), Grand Rapids (in the northeast), Kalamazoo-Battle Creek (in the southeast) and St.Joseph-Benton Harbor (in the southwest). However, definitions of the boundaries of the region vary widely; in some contexts, the term "West Michigan" is applied only to the counties of Allegan, Kent, Muskegon, and Ottawa, which together compose the Grand Rapids-Wyoming-Muskegon SMSA. Other definitions include the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek and Benton Harbor-St. Joseph regions, which can be considered distinct regions or parts of other regions such as Michiana, Southern Michigan, or Southwest Michigan, in the case of Benton Harbor-St. Joseph.
The northern boundary of the region is also poorly defined; the population density, land use, economic and cultural character, and physical geography most often associated with West Michigan fades in northern Muskegon and Kent Counties, however areas as far north as Ludington and White Cloud may be included because of their close economic ties to the cities to the south. Other areas, such as Montcalm County in the northeast corner of the region, are transitional areas that straddle Michigan regions but are included for classification purposes. In the case of Montcalm County, the area around Greenville in the county's southwest corner is closely tied economically with Grand Rapids, while the area around Vestaburg and Edmore in the northeastern corner of county are more closely associated with the cities of Mount Pleasant and Alma, which are included in almost any definition of Central Michigan.
- See also List of Michigan state parks and geography of Michigan.
- The area is considered to be part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids.
- In northwest Kent County is Fruit Ridge, which is a prime fruit-growing region; that accounts for 65% of all Michigan apple production.
The following table contains the largest municipalities of West Michigan according to the 2010 Census. This list holds for nearly every geographic definition of West Michigan. If Battle Creek were included, it would be ranked fourth.
|5||Georgetown Charter Township||Ottawa||46,985|
|8||Holland Charter Township||Ottawa||35,636|
|10||Plainfield Charter Township||Kent||30,952|
|11||Gaines Charter Township||Kent||25,146|
|14||Kalamazoo Charter Township||Kalamazoo||21,918|
|15||Oshtemo Charter Township||Kalamazoo||21,705|
|16||Allendale Charter Township||Ottawa||20,708|
|18||Muskegon Charter Township||Muskegon||17,840|
|20||Cascade Charter Township||Kent||17,134|
|21||Grand Rapids Charter Township||Kent||16,661|
|23||Grand Haven Charter Township||Ottawa||15,178|
Five of the above cities, Wyoming, Kentwood, Portage, Norton Shores, and Walker, are former suburban townships that incorporated in the 1960s in order to prevent annexation by an adjacent city. The presence of these cities in the top ten reflects both the large geographic area of these cities, as well as the long and continuing growth of suburban areas in West Michigan.
- ArtPrize in Grand Rapids
- National Baby Food Festival in Fremont
- Big Rapids Riverdays in Big Rapids
- Celebration on the Grand in Grand Rapids
- Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven
- Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids
- Fruitport Old Fashioned Days in Fruitport
- Spring Lake Heritage Festival in Spring Lake
- Kalamazoo Irish Fest in Kalamazoo
- Michigan Irish Music Festival in Muskegon
- Muskegon Bike Time in Muskegon
- Muskegon Air Show (now defunct)
- Muskegon Film Festival
- Muskegon Summer Celebration(now defunct)
- Rebel Road in Muskegon
- Red Flannel Festival in Cedar Springs
- Rothbury Music Festival in Rothbury
- Tulip Time Festival in Holland
- Unity Christian Music Festival in Muskegon
- Venetian Festival in St. Joseph
- Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck
Universities and colleges
Prominent West Michigan corporations include:
- Gerald R. Ford International Airport
- Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport
- Muskegon County Airport
- West Michigan Regional Airport
- Norfolk Southern Railway
- Grand Elk Railroad
- Coopersville and Marne Railway
- Grand Rapids Eastern Railroad
- Michigan Lake Shore Railroad
- Grand Trunk Western Railway
- I‑96, running from Muskegon to Detroit
- I‑196, splitting from I-96 in Grand Rapids and going west-southwest and merging with US 31 near Holland before intersecting I-94 near Benton Harbor
- I-94, running from Billings, Montana to Port Huron, Michigan
- US 12 Michigan Avenue and Chicago Road
- US 31, running from Mackinaw City, Michigan to Mobile, Alabama
- US 131, running from north of Middlebury, Indiana to Petoskey, Michigan
- Grand River Avenue, running from Grand Rapids to Detroit
- The S-Curve, a famously crooked stretch of US 131 in downtown Grand Rapids
- M-6, also known as the South Beltline, bypasses Grand Rapids connecting to I-96 east of town and I-196 west of town
- M-37, running from the southwest corner of Battle Creek at exit 92 on I-94 to the Mission Point Light on Old Mission Point in Grand Traverse County.
- M-43, a highway in southwestern and central Michigan from South Haven to Webberville
- M-45 (Lake Michigan Drive), running east-west from Grand Rapids through Allendale and ending at Lake Michigan.
- M-46, a cross-peninsular road, running across the entire mitten of the Lower Peninsula including the Thumb, from Port Sanilac on the Lake Huron shore, through Saginaw near Saginaw Bay, and on to Muskegon on the Lake Michigan shore.
- M-40 running North and South from Mottville, Michigan to Holland, Michigan.
Notable residents or former residents
More comprehensive lists are available at individual cities, villages, etc.
- Gillian Anderson, actress
- Johnny Benson, stock car driver
- Terry Crews, actor
- Debarge, music group
- Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States
- Frank Daniel Gerber, Founder of the Gerber Products Company
- Al Green, R&B/Gospel artist
- Derek Jeter, New York Yankees shortstop
- Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers wide receiver
- Maynard James Keenan, Tool and A Perfect Circle vocalist
- W.K. Kellogg, Kellogg Company founder
- Anthony Kiedis, Red Hot Chili Peppers vocalist
- Stanley Ketchel, Middleweight Champion boxer
- Taylor Lautner, actor
- Buster Mathis, heavyweight boxer
- Mustard Plug, SKA band
- Del Shannon, musician
- Wayne Static, Static-X lead singer/guitarist
- Sojourner Truth, abolitionist
- Brian Vander Ark, Verve Pipe frontman
- Sinbad, actor and comedian
- Ernie Hudson, actor
- James Frey, writer
- Jason Newsted, musician, Metallica
- Andy Richter, television entertainer
- Dick York, actor
- Iggy Pop, punk rock icon
- Nate McLouth, professional baseball player
- Harry Morgan, actor
- West Michigan Tourist Association
- Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliography on Michigan (arranged by counties and regions)
- Michigan Geology -- Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University.
- Great Lakes Coast Watch
- Info Michigan, detailed information on 630 cities
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources website, harbors, hunting, resources and more.
- List of Museums, other attractions compiled by state government.
- Michigan Historic Markers
- Michigan's Official Economic Development and Travel Site.
- "Historic Light Station Information and Photography: Michigan". United States Coast Guard Historian's Office.
- Map of Michigan Lighthouse in PDF Format.
- Seeing the Light, Terry Pepper on lighthouses of the Western Great Lakes.