This is a sponsored post, however, all opinions are my own.
I recently saw someone wearing a shirt that read, “Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo.” I can attest that there is, and it’s a Midwest destination you should visit!
Kalamazoo, Michigan, has world-class brewing, dining, parks, music, art, theatre, and culture. The city’s heavy focus on arts and entertainment was evident as the downtown was abuzz with live theatre, music, craft markets for shopping, and maker’s spaces for classes and experiences.
The city also has a rich history. There are 5 historic wards in Kalamazoo with landmarks, buildings, and stately homes showcasing various architectural styles along tree-lined streets. I recently learned that Kalamazoo County was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The home that was a safe house, the Dr. Nathan Thomas House, is located on Cass St. in the southwest part of Kalamazoo County in Schoolcraft.
Where is Kalamazoo, Michigan
Kalamazoo is located in the Southwest Region of Michigan, about 145 miles from Chicago. We drove for about 2 hours. Amtrak will also take you from Chicago to Kalamazoo. The station is a 10-minute walk from Kalamazoo’s Central Business District.
Where to Stay in Kalamazoo, Michigan
We checked into two Bed & Breakfasts for one night each during our stay.
Kalamazoo House Bed & Breakfast
Friday evening, we checked in at the Kalamazoo House located in the South Street Historic Ward. The bed and breakfast is run out of a beautiful 1878 Victorian home a short walk from restaurants, shops, and nightlife. There are many stunning homes in the South Historic Ward, so be sure to take a stroll around the neighborhood.
I absolutely adored the Kalamazoo House as well as the owners. We’d definitely do a return stay.
Stuart Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast
Stuart Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast is in a lovely 1886 Victorian mansion in Kalamazoo’s Historic West End. The innkeepers and their sweet dog Arlo were terrific and showed exceptional hospitality!
I really enjoy the intimate setting that a bed and breakfast offers. It’s an excellent opportunity to connect with strangers and hear their stories. For example, I met a woman visiting Kalamazoo from South Carolina during breakfast Sunday for her granddaughter’s graduation. She told me about the different places she’s lived and her family over coffee, and she listened and engaged as I told her about mine. It was a wonderful encounter.
Where to Eat and Drink in Kalamazoo, Michigan
Kalamazoo has many tempting choices when it comes to eating and drinking, which made our decisions difficult.
Kalamazoo Food Truck Rally
We arrived Friday evening, and it should come as no surprise that our first stop involved food. Dinner was at the Kalamazoo Food Truck Rally, which hosts about 12 trucks and street food vendors. The smells heightened our anticipation for what was to come:
- I made a beeline for the Teresa’s Kitchen food truck selling authentic Mexican. I was significantly rewarded with amazing steak tacos and elote!
- I tried the samosas and falafel from Cairo’s Kitchen. Cairo’s Kitchen sells Egyptian food; holy yum! I’m still dreaming about their samosas with curry aioli!
- Dave stopped at Smoked Down BBQ for their pulled pork and mac n’ cheese, also very good!
Two Twins Coffee
We stopped in at Two Twins for coffee, which had a friendly atmosphere for good coffee and conversations. If we hadn’t had kayaking scheduled, I’d have hung out for a while.
Did you know that Kalamazoo is a craft beer destination? One of my favorite breweries, Bell’s, is located there. Bell’s Brewery has been named Best Brewery in America 4 years in a row. No trip to Kalamazoo is complete without a stop there.
Principle Food and Drink
Everything that touched our table, at Principle Food & Drink, from the creative cocktails to the entrees were outstanding! This farm-to-table restaurant should not be missed!
600 Kitchen and Bar
Our brunch before hitting the road tradition took place at 600 Kitchen and Bar. Another winner! We devoured a pancake board, frittata, some of the tastiest chicken and waffles I’d ever had, and the Island Girl: poached eggs and lobster, English muffin, hollandaise, and pickled onion. I took our leftovers home, and everything was just as delish at dinner!
Fun Things to do in Kalamazoo, Michigan
State on State Street
We headed to downtown Kalamazoo for State on State Street Friday after checking in at our bed & breakfast. State on State has free live music every Friday night. They have tables and a bar set up to enjoy cocktails during the entertainment.
Side Note: you can order to-go drinks to consume while strolling around designated downtown areas. There are markers displayed by participating businesses that let you know that you can stop in for refills while exploring.
The State Theatre, designed by renowned architect John Eberson, has been a fixture in Kalamazoo since 1927. It was developed in the atmospheric theatre style. It’s stunning! We plan on returning to see a concert there in the fall.
Kayak the Kalamazoo River with Plainwell Kayaking Company
Our Saturday activities began with hilarious kayak shenanigans along the Kalamazoo River. The tour started in Plainwell, about 12 miles from Kalamazoo. There were many fumbles due to inexperience. However, we had a delightful time and even managed to stick to the course. The kayak company wasn’t expecting us to get through it in the time we did, so we patted ourselves on the back. The Kalamazoo River stretches 135 miles and flows into Lake Michigan.
Afterward, we rewarded ourselves with ice cream at Dean’s. There was a car show happening in Plainwell, so we stuck around and swooned over a few cars.
Art Class at Glass Art Kalamazoo
We took a fused-glass sun catchers class at Glass Art in Kalamazoo. Glass Art is a community-based nonprofit organization founded by a local group of glass artists. Both Dave and I thoroughly enjoyed this experience.
Vintage in the Zoo
Vintage in the Zoo is a monthly vintage shopping experience in Downtown Kalamazoo. The market showcases vintage clothing, accessories, jewelry, furniture, and retro items. Check it out on the second Saturday of each month. So many feelings of nostalgia surfaced while looking through the market.
Make Fragrances at The Aroma Labs
The Aroma Labs fun and interactive perfume-making experiences put both of us in a laughing, cheerful mood! Our host Carly was fabulous! I’m so in love with my new perfume!
Kalamazoo was both lively and vibrant, with live music and activities happening throughout the weekend. There was an abundance of things to get into! So much we could’ve easily stayed an additional night.
Hopefully, when you’re planning your next getaway, you’ll think of Kalamazoo!