The event: ArtPrize 2012 opens Sept.19 and runs through Oct. 7. Admission is free and is centered in a 3-square-mile area of Grand Rapids, Mich. Details: www.artprize.org.
Where to stay: The Amway Grand Plaza is centrally located and near the art venues as well as shopping, restaurants and entertainment spots (1-800-253-3590; www.amwaygrand.com).
Other things to see: The Gerald R. Ford Museum sits on the bank of the Grand River. (1-616-254-0400; www.fordlibrary museum.gov).
"La Grande Vitesse" sculpture, a 43-foot-high sculpture created by Alexander Calder, is the symbol of the city and a must-see: The name is roughly translated as "The Great Swiftness," evoking the Grand River that runs through downtown. It was installed in front of City Hall in 1969 and was the first piece of public art in U.S. history to be financed jointly by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and private funds. Its likeness appears on everything from letterhead to street signs to garbage trucks. It's known locally as "the Calder."