Located two hours to the west of Detroit, Kalamazoo seamlessly combines natural beauty with cultural attractions, ensuring a variety of activities during all seasons!
The city boasts extensive cycling trails, including the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Families with children will delight in the Binder Park Zoo, offering a memorable experience. If you prefer indoor adventures, Kalamazoo has you covered with attractions like the Midwest Miniatures Museum, the Valley Museum, and the renowned Gilmore Car Museum.
And for the adults that seek the refreshing taste of craft beer, numerous local Michigan breweries await your exploration. The moral of the story is there are plenty of things to do in Kalamazoo for all! Whether you’re drawn to outdoor adventures or indoor cultural experiences, Kalamazoo provides a fulfilling and diverse getaway.
The Best Things to Do in Kalamazoo
1. Kalamazoo Valley Museum
- Address: 230 N Rose St, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 – 4:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm,
Sunday 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Monday: Closed
- Cost of Admission: Free
The first entry on our list of best things to do in Kalamazoo assures genuine wholesome family fun for all ages, and the best part is that admission is free. Open Tuesdays to Sundays, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum has interesting exhibits, artifacts, a space-themed exhibit, and a planetarium with regular shows.
One of the highlights is the Children’s Landscape exhibit, an interactive, self-guided, hands-on experience for preschoolers aged up to five. Themes change regularly, and there are many different attractions to keep both kids and parents occupied, such as a spaceship and a school bus filled with different interactive and sensory-filled activities.
2. Kalamazoo Nature Center
- Address: 7000 N Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday: 1:00pm – 5:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: Adults 18-54: $7.00, Adults 55+: $6.00, Ages 4-17: $4.00.
3 & Under: Free
The Kalamazoo Nature Center is one of those rare places where hiking enthusiasts, ecological researchers, conservationists, and art lovers can all come together. The Center features 15 miles of hiking trails through different Michigan habitats, with some beautiful spots and amazing wildlife to spot along the way.
The Arboretum features beautiful sculptures, and art lovers will also enjoy the numerous art shows and fairs, workshops, and exhibitions at the Glen Vista Gallery. With so much to do, and only a $7 admission fee, you’re getting a lot of value for money and can enjoy a great day out with the family.
3. Kalamazoo State Theater
This Spanish-styled atmospheric theater has been a fixture of downtown Kalamazoo since 1927. This historic theater remains in operation with regular live performances and classic film showings that are a must-watch when in Kalamazoo.
The Theater is more than just for shows and movies, as it is a historic building with notable architecture, it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2021.
Guests can even take guided tours to learn more about the architecture, history, and overall design of the Theater (including the marvelous atmospheric sky), are alluring enough but the Theater’s historic organ and pipes put the icing on the cake.
4. Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
- Address: 314 S Park St, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Wednesday – Saturday: 11:00 am -5:00 pm, Sunday: 12:00 am – 4:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: Adults $5 / Students $2, Free for members, children through age 12, and active military personnel
Art lovers rejoice, for this 80,000-square-foot non-profit art museum and school has a lot to offer. With 10 galleries and an 11000 square foot exhibition space, you’ll be sure to catch an art show, exhibition, or seminar that will pique your interest.
There are almost 15 exhibitions each year revolving around different topics and art forms. The permanent collection is also quite impressive, with more than 4600 original works from many notable artists such as Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, and Andrew Wyeth.
The art school also offers many classes and seminars on a variety of art topics including painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, jewelry-making, weaving, and fiber arts.
5. Gilmore Car Museum
- Address: 6865 W Hickory Rd, Hickory Corners (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: For ticket information, click here.
Kalamazoo entertains gearheads and grease monkeys as well, with the Gilmore Car Museum. Spread across 90 acres, the Museum houses over 400 vintage and rare automobiles from different eras, with regular car meets and shows.
With so much to see you could make a day trip out of it, and seeing beautiful cars isn’t the only thing on offer. Young grease monkey devotees can take advantage of “Gilmore Garage Works”, an after-school enrichment program with welding, painting, and fabrication classes. There are also lectures on Sunday afternoons on a variety of car-related topics.
6. Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market
- Address: 1204 Bank St, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Tuesday & Thursday: 8:00 am -1:00 pm, Saturday:7:00 am -2:00 pm
If you’re looking to buy local organic produce and artisanal items, then the Kalamazoo Farmers Market is the place to be.
With more than 120 farmers, food businesses, and artisans offering their goods (including alpaca socks!), you’ll have a lot of choices. Stock on every stall in the Market is going to be limited so make sure you get there on time to get your hands on all the good stuff.
The Market is open on Saturdays from 7 AM to 2 PM, and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 AM to 1 PM.
7. Kalamazoo River Valley Trail
- Address: Kalamazoo (GPS)
The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail is a planned 35-mile non-motorized trail (of which 24 miles have been completed) that is asphalt-paved and 10 feet wide.
The Trail runs through Kalamazoo County and offers cyclists and hiking enthusiasts a great chance to immerse themselves in the local nature. It opens daily at 7 AM and closes at sunset.
You can walk the trail or ride a bicycle, but that’s about it. No other vehicles are allowed, and pets must be kept on a leash and pet owners should always clean up after their dogs.
8. Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum (Air Zoo)
- Address: 6151 Portage Rd, Portage (GPS)
- Hours: Monday- Saturday 9: 00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday: 12:00 pm -5:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: Adult: $18.00, Child 5-17: $16.00, Senior: $15.00, Child 0-4: Free
Flight enthusiasts will enjoy this next attraction in Kalamazoo, which consists of an aviation museum and an indoor amusement park – all rolled into one fun destination for all ages!
The Air Zoo, known originally as the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum, houses more than 80 different aircraft, most of which are still airworthy. The amusement park is also a lot of fun and has unique attractions such as the 180-degree theater that shows a simulation of a bombing mission by a B-17 during World War 2. There’s even a simulation of a rocket trip to Mars.
9. The Henderson Castle
- Address: 100 Monroe St, Kalamazoo (GPS)
This large 25-room manor is a must-see spot if you’re visiting Kalamazoo. The sheer beauty of the architecture, design, and craftsmanship is enough to keep you occupied.
If a tour of the Castle isn’t enough, you can also visit the winery for a wine tasting or add to your wine collection with the Castle’s signature red, pinot grigio, chardonnay, riesling, and merlot wines.
If the winery and tours of the Castle don’t interest you, the Castle also offers various dining options such as the H Prime Chophouse, an excellent high tea service, and an amazing Sunday brunch.
The Castle and its surroundings are so beautiful that many take advantage of the Castle Inn and stay a few nights in the many comfortable and beautifully decorated rooms.
10. Milham Park Golf Course
- Address: 4200 Lovers Ln, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
Kalamazoo also has a lot to offer to golfers with the Milham Park Golf Course. This renowned 18-hole, par 72 golf course is as beautiful as it is challenging. A round of golf spent on this Course won’t just offer sightseeing, but also a satisfactory game of golf.
The on-site pro shop is so good that it’s won awards, the practice facilities will help anyone improve their game, and the eating options are also just as amazing.
11. W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary
- Address: 12685 E C Ave, Augusta (GPS)
- Hours: Wednesday- Sunday: 9: 00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday – Tuesday: Closed
Wildlife enthusiasts can also have a fun time exploring the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, with three miles of hiking trails and many different habitats.
Located 15 miles north of Kalamazoo and 12 miles northwest of Battle Creek, visitors get to see the wildlife of Wintergreen Lake in their natural surroundings, including waterfowl, raptors, and game birds.
Make sure you’re properly dressed according to the weather and wear shoes with a good grip. You should also keep a water bottle handy, especially when such a long walk is involved in exploring the entire Sanctuary.
12. Hike The Kal-Haven Trail
- Address: 4143 10th St N, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
One of the best things to do in Kalamazoo is go for a hike! Michigan is known for its nature and wildlife and one of its crown jewels is the Kal Haven Trail. One of Michigan State’s premier tourist destinations, the Kal-Haven Trail is a 34-mile-long trail connecting Kalamazoo to South Haven and has been certified as a Pure Michigan Trail.
It’s not a monotonous journey, as the Trail passes through different settings including farmlands, orchards, a glacial moraine, small villages, wetlands, and even some ghost towns.
Once you’ve crossed the Trail you won’t be disappointed either, as the Trail ends at Lake Michigan; a picturesque end to an exciting journey.
13. Fun For All at the Airway Fun Center
- Address: 5626 Portage Rd, Portage (GPS)
- Hours: Monday -Thursday: 10:00 am -11:00 pm, Saturday: 9:00 am – 12:00 am
Sunday: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: For ticket information, click here.
If you’re looking for a single destination that’s packed with fun games, activities, and attractions for all age groups, then the Airway Fun Center is the place to be.
With a long list of activities including bowling, palladium, a climbing wall, go-karting, a gyroscope and coaster ride, laser tag, a laser maze, virtual reality, a rope course, and mini golf too, there’s plenty to do.
The Airway Fun Center can also be a great way for mom and dad to sit and rest while the kids run around playing.
14. Markin Glen County Park
- Address: 5300 N Westnedge Ave Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 am- 9:00 pm
This 160-acre state park, which was once a private estate, is an outdoorsman’s paradise. With fishing, hiking, and 38 modern campsites, Markin Glen County Park can make for a great camping holiday.
The surroundings are incredibly beautiful and offer extraordinary views of the Michigan wilderness. The Park is home to one of Kalamazoo’s highest peaks and also features a mature beech-maple forest.
Each campsite includes a picnic bench, a fire ring, and hookups for electricity, water, and sewerage. The campgrounds also have clean modern restrooms and showers available on-site.
15. Lawton Ridge Winery
- Address: 8456 Stadium Dr, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Saturday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Sunday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
The Lawton Ridge Vineyard was established in 1974, but their first in-house vintage was in 2008, and the Winery released wines such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Traminette, Two-Handed Red, and Cabernet Franc.
While this Michigan winery may be relatively young, the wines they produce are still of notable quality while maintaining an affordable price range.
The tasting room at the winery is also worth a visit, costing only $7 per person, which includes a tasting of 6 wines. The Winery also hosts regular events and classes for its many visitors.
16. The New Vic Theater
Fans of live stage performances and theatrics will find the New Vic Theater to their liking. The Theater’s rendition of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and the annual Christmas Concerts are always popular attractions, and welcome visitors from all over Southwest Michigan and Northern Indiana.
These holiday performances have become a Christmas tradition for many locals and regular patrons. The Theater was founded by residents Ted & Mary Jo Kistler to give the artistic community an outlet and offer fellow residents wholesome and sophisticated entertainment.
Today the Theater holds a very significant place, even presenting some Broadway shows before they became popular in New York.
17. Exploring the Al Sabo Land Preserve
- Address: 6310 Texas Dr, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:30 am – 8:00 pm
Yet another spot for the enthusiastic outdoorsman, the Al Sabo Land Preserve offers 741 acres of pristine Michigan wilderness.
Even though the land was originally given protected status for its underground water resources, the land above is what has attracted so many guests. With diverse systems such as woods, wetlands, and open meadows, there’s a lot to explore.
There are many hiking trails as well, some of which are not mapped out properly. If you do choose to go on any unmarked trails, be sure to take a map and a compass with you.
18. Glass Art Kalamazoo
- Address: 326 W Kalamazoo Ave #100, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Saturday: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm,
Sunday – Monday: Closed
Glass Art Kalamazoo, located at the Park Trades Center in downtown Kalamazoo, is a non-profit education center focusing on glass arts.
In addition to having a gallery and shop that displays some beautiful glass art, Glass Art Kalamazoo also offers classes for glass blowing, torchworking, kiln fusing, and cold working.
There’s even a summer camp for those looking to keep their kids occupied long-term during the summer holidays. They also host regular events, allowing artists from all backgrounds to come together and appreciate the art of glass working.
19. Gene The Pumpkin Man
- Address: 22637 M-43, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Cost of Admission: Free admission
One of the first things visitors will notice at this attraction is the many things colored orange. This place is orange and everything about it reminds you of pumpkins and Halloween, especially during fall in Michigan.
Gene’s farm is even colloquially known as the land of orange and the people who work here are referred to as ‘pumpkin people’.
The pumpkin mailbox, the six feet wide orange play pumpkin, the orange barns, tractors, cars, and trucks all add to the charm of Gene the Pumpkin Man. Gene is somewhat of a local celebrity and the farm grows quality pumpkins, winter squash, Indian corn, gourds, and honey.
There’s even a pumpkin cookbook! Visiting depends on the season, and the farm is only accessible to visitors from mid-September to November, from 10 AM to 8 PM.
20. Farmers Alley Theater
- Address: 221 Farmers Alley, Kalamazoo (GPS)
Kalamazoo still has more to offer to the fans of the stage and the Farmers Alley Theater provides quality stage performances for Kalamazoo’s locals and other residents of the greater surrounding area.
In the heart of Farmers Alley, the Theater mostly puts on performances by up-and-coming writers and artists, but there are still some mainstream plays and shows being performed every so often.
The most notable feature of the Theater is that it is a non-profit enterprise. So, if you visit and enjoy your time and want to support the Theater, don’t forget to donate.
21. VerHage Fruit Farm & Cider Mill
- Address: 8619 West ML Ave Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Thursday – Friday: 9:00 am -5:30 pm, Saturday: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
If you’re a fan of organic homemade food goods, then make sure to stop at the VerHage Fruit Farm & Cider Mill. Here you can buy fresh produce, baked goods, such as pies, donuts, cupcakes, bread, and pastries.
The Farm’s apple cider vinegar is notable, and many visitors buy multiple bottles to take back home. There are also other fresh organic products available, such as honey and maple syrup. You can even take a group tour of the cider mill, and, during Christmas time, you can find live trees and wreaths for sale.
22. Lillian Anderson Arboretum
- Address: 7787 W Main St, Kalamazoo (GPS)
This 140-acre facility, owned by Kalamazoo College, comprises marshes, meadows, and pine and second-growth deciduous forests. The College’s goal is to preserve the Arboretum in its natural state and suffice it to say they have done a brilliant job so far. Hiking through the Arboretum is an absolute delight and also gives bird watchers a lot to do with the thriving local wildlife.
During the winter, there’s also cross-country running and skiing, making a trip here one of the best things to do in Kalamazoo in the winter.
23. Confections with Convictions
- Address: 116 W Crosstown Pkwy #101, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Closed: Sunday – Monday
Those with a sweet tooth should make it a point to visit Confections with Convictions, an artisanal confectionary that makes delightful chocolate treats. Their treats include truffles, caramels, barks, chocolate bites, and even some vegan options.
The delicious treats notwithstanding, what sets this place apart is that they employ fair trade practices and hire people with a criminal record, giving them a second chance to build their lives.
Confections with Convictions also do wholesale and bulk orders for any events that you might have during your visit to Kalamazoo.
24. Miller Auditorium
- Address: 1341 Theatre Dr, Kalamazoo (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Friday: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Located on the campus of Western Michigan University, the Miller Auditorium is considered the premier performing arts venue in West Michigan and the Auditorium has lived up to its reputation.
The Auditorium’s goal is to enhance the cultural life of the Region with the use of live theater. Over the years the Auditorium has hosted a variety of events including touring Broadway productions, concerts, stand-up comedy, and family shows.
The University continues to work on the Auditorium periodically ensuring that it has state-of-the-art facilities. In addition to being a patron, you can also donate to the Auditorium to help them further their mission.
25. West Michigan Beer Tours
- Address: 8619 W Ml Ave, Kalamazoo,(GPS)
- Hours: 24 hours
If you’re a beer lover, then the West Michigan Beer Tours are sure to offer you some fun entertainment. This company offers tours, both public and private, which take visitors on a trip to multiple beer/spirit breweries and wineries.
Visitors also have the option of a walking tour or to visit sites on a bus. One of the more popular tours is Kalamazoo’s Beer Trail, which consists of 14 different stops where tourists can taste the local craft beer. Be sure to pace yourself and not overdrink. Also, keep drinking water to keep yourself hydrated!
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