Travel and Hotels

Travel and Hotels

Meeting Location

SIPS 2018 will take place in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. All meetings will take place at the Pew Campus of Grand Valley State University in the Eberhard Center.

Date and Time

We are having an informal Saturday evening social event with meeting activities commencing Sunday at 1 pm and continuing 8-5 on Monday and Tuesday. There will also be an all-conference dinner on Monday evening, which is included with your registration.


SIPS has blocked rooms at two hotels for your convenience. We encourage you to make your reservations as soon as possible because very few rooms remain (and we will not be able to block more). Currently, we have made 50-72 rooms per night available at the Holiday Inn and 20 rooms per night at the Courtyard. Both hotels are within 5 minutes walk of the meeting space. [April 2: Hotels are 85% booked. Holiday Inn rooms have been added and are available all nights. Additional Marriott Courtyard rooms have also been added.]

Holiday Inn – $139-$149/night (+15% tax, includes parking and wifi)

Book here (no booking code needed) or call 616-235-7611 to book directly (mention SIPS).

Note: The online booking site will not allow you to mix and match room types. The $139 rooms are “standard” rooms, whereas the $149 rooms are “features” rooms (with mini fridges). As of April 2, 11 rooms remain Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and 5 rooms remain on Tuesday. We have hit the limit of rooms we can block, so once these rooms are gone, we will be sold out. If you receive an error code, please try your search again with fewer nights. When in doubt, you may call Holiday Inn directly (616-235-7611), and they can assist you. Make sure to mention that you are with the SIPS conference. 

Courtyard by Marriott – $179/night (+15% tax)

Book here (no booking code needed) or call 1-877-901-6632 to book directly (mention SIPS). As of April 2, eight rooms remain for Saturday, seven for Sunday and Monday, and 12 for Tuesday.

Travel to Grand Rapids

You can reach Grand Rapids by flying (aiport code GRR). There are 120 daily nonstop flights from six airlines. Downtown is accessible by Lyft/Uber, taxi, or city bus.

International travelers might prefer to fly to Chicago (ORD or MDW; 3 hours by car) or Detroit (DTW; 2.5 hours by car) and then drive to Grand Rapids.

Chicago is connected to Grand Rapids by once daily Amtrak train or three times daily Greyhound bus. It is also possible (but by no means convenient) to take a bus from Detroit to Grand Rapids (using a combination of Michigan Flyer and Greyhound).

Attractions in and around Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is known for its breweries! Beer City USA has over 60 breweries, distilleries, and meaderies at your disposal. There are also many restaurants to choose from. Check out for more activities and events, including the Gran Fondo (a big bike ride that will be happening on June 23).

You might also wish to take advantage of close proximity to Lake Michigan beaches or relatively close proximity to Northern Michigan vacation spots. The closest beaches are Grand Haven, Muskegon, and Saugatuck. Traverse City is just two hours north, and Mackinac Island is accessible in bit over 3 hours (plus a ferry ride!).

Food and Drink

Your conference registration comes with breakfast and coffee (Monday and Tuesday), snacks and soda (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday), informal Saturday evening social hour (Founder’s Brewery; cash bar), and all-conference dinner (B.O.B. Brewery; includes dinner and one free drink). We are also planning one box lunch (Tuesday).

For your other meals, there are a few areas you’ll want to explore. Within walking distance, three different options are:

  1. Downtown ($-$$$): Just over the blue pedestrian bridge, check out a variety of restaurants lining Monroe Center or nearby streets (favorites = HopCat, Luna, Stella’s). Accessible on foot (0.2-0.6 miles from GVSU).
  2. Bridge Street ($$-$$$): Just north of the conference, there is an up and coming neighborhood with lots of new restaurants (favorites = Butcher’s Union, Ando Asian Kitchen, The Knickerbocker, Søvengård). Accessible on foot (0.7 miles from GVSU or by free Dash bus (#20).
  3. Downtown Market ($-$$): Indoor urban food market with a variety of cuisines (tacos, pizza, sushi, thai, vietnamese, BBQ, coffee, bakery). Order at your preferred food stand, eat outside or in a common seating area. Accessible on foot (0.9 miles from GVSU) or by free Dash bus (#20).

If you intend to drive or take a cab to eat or drink, you likely want to check out the East Hills area (esp. Brewery Vivant for Belgian beers; other highlights = Maru, Green Well, Marie Catrib’s) and Eastown (Terra, Wolfgang’s for breakfast).

Coffee shops – The two best and most proximal coffee shops are MadCap and Ferris. There is a Starbuck’s in GVSU’s DeVos Center, and another one in the Amway Grand Hotel (both accessible by foot). For ambiance, I prefer Lantern (although it’d be a little bit of a hike from the conference).