Travel and Hotels

Travel and Hotels

Meeting Location & Parking

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. If you will drive to the meeting, parking is free in the Fulton Lot (located in C7 in this map.) Holiday Inn guests also have parking included with their hotel rooms.

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.


Hotel blocks have ended for 2018. The conference hotels are listed below.

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

Call 616-235-7611 to book directly (discount no longer valid). 

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

Call 1-877-901-6632 to book directly (discount no longer valid).

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).