Kalamazoo is a vibrant town complemented by exciting farmer’s markets, visual and performing arts centers, and community events such as chili cook-offs and vintage fairs. Kalamazoo is one of the best places to visit in the US and the city has a pleasant vibe as unique as its name. You will find many fun things to do in Kalamazoo.
10 Things to do in Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo is a southwestern region city in Michigan State and was initially known as Bronson after its founder Titus Bronson. It was originally a dwelling region of the Native Americans of the Hopewell tradition.
European settlement in this region began to expand in the latter half of the 18th to early 19th century. A study conducted by Pure Wow stated that Kalamazoo, Michigan, is the best US city to live in cost-efficiently.
Here we share some fun things to do in Kalamazoo, Michigan:
Visit Bell’s Brewery
Bell’s Brewery is an independent, famous family-owned brewery in Kalamazoo. A tour of this brewery shows you the beer-making process from the inside.
It also houses the Eccentric Cafe on its premises, from where you can get a taste of their signature beer along with other delicious dishes from the menu.
Attend Kalamazoo Beer Week
Kalamazoo craft beer is famous all over the US. The Kalamazoo Beer Week festival celebrates this fantastic heritage. Visitors become familiarized with the local breweries‘ tastes and making process through special tastings, dinners, and interactive events.
This event helps in boosting local business and provides a fantastic opportunity for beer lovers of the community.
Visit Bronson Park
Kalamazoo State Theatre
Since 1927, the Kalamazoo State Theater has been a vital organization of Kalamazoo downtown. Colonel William Butterfield built it along with architect John Eberson.
History suggests that the theater was based on the Vaudevillian tradition of performance. Events like opera, dramas, big bands, ballet, dance reviews, stage shows, and movies.
Shop at Kalamazoo Mall
When visiting Michigan, shopping at the historic Kalamazoo Mall is a must. It’s the first outdoor pedestrian mall in the country and thus an important spot in modern history. Travelers can find revitalized Art Deco buildings and specialty shops inside.
Stay at the Henderson Castle
Henderson Castle is a 125-year-old timeless structure of fine architecture and historical significance. Visitors can stay in the vast Queen-Anne-style mansion to feel antiquity in a modern space.
Ten guestrooms, a French-style steakhouse, a ballroom, and a banquet hall, stay here for a night to feel the royalty.
Staying at Henderson Castle should definitely be on your list of things to do in Kalamazoo.
Visit Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum
The Air Zoo is the perfect place for learning and entertainment in Kalamazoo. It’s mainly aimed towards children but can also be very fulfilling for adults interested in aerospace and flight mechanics. With the 3D HD, Full-Motion Flight simulator, visitors experience themselves as real-life pilots.
They can take control of a plane, do amazing stunts, visit unusual places, or fight it out against robots. The RealD 3D/4D Missions Theater is the main attraction here, and it creates a simulation while putting you in real-life events like being dropped into the middle of World War II or in outer space between stars and planets.
The museum features more than 50 rare aircraft and the only SR-71B Blackbird left in the world.
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
The museum conducts special watercolor exhibits, sculptures, oil paintings, etc., featuring local and famous artists. The museum is equipped with 11 galleries, and the featured permanent pieces and exhibitions are primarily focused on American art.
The museum management also organizes community events and programs such as Friday Art Hop, held on the first week of every month, monthly Art Detectives gathering on the second Saturday, and a Friday Teen Night.
A gallery dedicated to children and family entertainment has a black light corner, a book nook, mechanical drawing assistants, pegboard art-making, a drawing wall, etc.
The museum conducts special watercolor exhibits, sculptures, oil paintings, etc. Every year they feature both local and famous artists of the country.
The museum is also involved in live performances, special film viewings, community panels, and theater productions for community upliftment. Many of these events are free of cost.
Al Sabo Preserve
This 741 acres area of Al Sabo Preserve is known for its numerous hiking routes. It’s a well-maintained recreational area for the townspeople, and fall is the best time for a hike here. You can also enjoy a thrilling mountain bike ride here.
The trails are of several loops of varying distances with moderate elevation changes, making it a favorite hike spot for all. The Al Sabo preserve has more than 25 miles of trails, out of which 7 of these are exclusively for bikers.
Kalamazoo Nature Center
The Kalamazoo Nature Center offers 13 trails covering over 1,100 acres of varied habitats, mainly fens and pine forests. The center hosts interactive exhibits and even has an indoor tropical forest—an 11-acre wide arboretum and live animal viewing area help give insight into the Michigan wildlife.
How to Get Around Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo has its airport, the Kalamazoo Airport, to welcome outstation tourists. The bus and metro rail networks are also excellent here. However, most residents of the city travel by car, and the downtown area are known for high footfall traffic.
Kalamazoo Famous Tours
Wine tours and beer tasting tours are the most famous tours of Kalamazoo, and various travel agencies conduct them. These tours take you to different parts of the city and taste authentic drinks from local breweries and wineries.
Where to Eat in Kalamazoo
The real sense of Kalamazoo lies in its flavor. The number of diverse cuisines found here is pretty impressive. All can be found here, from authentic European to traditional Asian dishes and American street food. You can choose from an array of restaurants to suit your palate.
The Crow’s Nest, a favorite breakfast spot amongst locals, is a well-known brunch spot that gives homely vibes and is perfect for family get-togethers. Their notable dishes include pancakes, breakfast burritos, Merrimack omelette, and pecan french toast.
The restaurant is vegetarian friendly too. It’s a two-story spot with a modern, upscale appearance and gives off a bright and cozy ambiance. Lunch is also served here.
Food Dance is the embodiment of the term “fresh.” All of its ingredients are locally sourced organic produce, and they emphasize natural products and community building. The setup is quite casual and laid-back, and the place is spacious and has a friendly aura. T
They operate throughout the day and serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar area is present at the back of the restaurant.
Notable Items from the menu include Sesame Ginger Salmon, Seared Scallops, Cider-Brined Chops, Fried Green Tomatoes, and many more. The menu also includes vegetarian and vegan options.
Shawarma King in downtown Kalamazoo is a modest and humble food spot serving Mediterranean-influenced cuisines such as Greek, Lebanese, etc. From flavors to staff treatment, everything is perfect here.
The most well-known dishes on the menu are hummus and Lebanese salad, shawarma, falafel, lentil rice, shish kabobs, and more. There is no extravagance about the appearance, and it has a comfortable cafe-like atmosphere. It serves you to order directly from the menu or opt for the buffet.
Greek cuisine is their area of expertise. The food prices here are relatively on the cheaper side.
Accommodation Options in Kalamazoo
Radisson Plaza Hotel
It’s a luxury at Kalamazoo center, offering rooms for 188 USD per night. It’s equipped with all sorts of amenities from suite rooms, gym, spas to meeting rooms and business centers. There is an indoor pool and Jacuzzi set up in the hotel.
Guests can also use the free super-fast Wi-Fi connection for work matters. It’s located 9.7 km from the airport, and the Radisson Plaza Hotel offers a complimentary airport transfer service to all its guests.
Address: 100 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007, United States
Best Western Plus Kalamazoo Suites
The Best Western Plus Kalamazoo Suites has 64 suites starting at 86 USD per night, equipped with an indoor pool, a gym, and free wifi. The complimentary breakfast is served to all guests. It’s near Western Michigan University and the Kalamazoo Air Zoo.
Baymont by Wyndham Kalamazoo East
Baymont is the best budget hotel in Kalamazoo, with rooms as low as 52 USD. The rooms here are cozy with free Wi-Fi and television, and it’s located at a distance of 5 km from the airport. In addition, the hotel has a restaurant, a temperature-regulated indoor pool, a fitness center, and a huge parking area.
Ruma Dey Baidya is a travel blogger and has been backpacking for the last 20+ years. She prefers budget travel to save on expenses. We know that memories are not constant, so she documented them and created this travel diary. The Holiday Story is dedicated to those who are passionate about travel.