Kalamazoo is a fun city to spend a day a weekend or your life. There are plenty of things to do on any given day and you get the friendliness you’d expect in a mid-sized Midwestern city. Check out our list of the best things to do in a day in the city of Kalamazoo.
Water Street Café
If you’re a coffee snob like me, Water Street Café is a must visit for you. Water Street Café downtown location dates back to 1993 but the building itself was built in 1934. The location is wedged on a fork in the road and borders railroad tracks and is very close to the new welcome sign as you enter downtown Kalamazoo.That made it a convenient location historically as a gasoline station. The downtown location also features local artists in the area on a bi-weekly basis.
The location in downtown Kalamazoo is the original location but they have another one in the Oakland neighborhood that is a popular go-to, and they also have art exhibits at that location. Just about a year old now is the Portage Drive thru location, which is perfect for getting your favorite coffee on the go.
One a busy street in downtown Kalamazoo, the street was closed off and opened up as a giant sidewalk with shops lining the road. There are a number of stores along the Mall and everyone can find what they’re looking for. Gazelle Sports, Urban Cottage and other shopping spots are all on that stretch. Also, Rustica, my favorite restaurant in Kalamazoo is located there.
Catch a Game
The Western Michigan University Broncos always have something going on. Their football team is always quite good and their basketball program occasionally makes it to the NCAA tournament.
Kalamazoo College’s campus borders Western Michigan University and it is easy and usually free to catch a game there.
Just Hanging Out
Looking for a few great options to kill some time, these are places to check out.
- Breweries – there are quite a few
- Movie Theatre – The Alamo drafthouse is a great one
- Western Michigan – Catch a game, walk around the campus
Kalamazoo Nature Center
A great place for any age, the Kalamazoo Nature Center is a great location. Their entrance building is full of information on natural Michigan ecosystems and they have fun activities for all ages. Go on a hike and explore their property first hand. You can also go “fossil digging” in their large quarry on their property. It’s one of the highest elevations in the area and you get great views of downtown Kalamazoo.
Probably Kalamazoo’s coolest museum, the Air Zoo is filled with old planes and fun rides. They have flight simulators and games for kids while providing all sorts of historical information on the airplanes in their exhibit. They also have a great space and NASA history exhibit to give you a sense of the future of aviation. If you can, arrange ahead of time to get a tour guide for your trip to the Air Zoo as they’ll provide a lot more information than what you’ll get from walking around on your own.
Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Located right in downtown Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum is a great spot for all ages. The main floor offers a planetarium to allow you to view stars and constellations. The upstairs has a rotating exhibit, so you can come back and always expect to see something new. There also typically an exhibit on Kalamazoo’s or Michigan’s history. The last time I went I learned about the cab assembly and production lines located in Kalamazoo.
If you have kids along for the ride, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum is a full day activity. There are so many great activities for kids at the Museum including a kids room, a weather station and a space training and simulator experience.