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Kalamazoo Culture

Get to the heart of Kalamazoo’s character downtown, where shops, restaurants and theaters make for a lively scene. Visit five historic districts to see buildings of architectural significance and learn the history of the area. Tour the Dr. Nathan Thomas House, one of the state’s most prominent Underground Railroad sites, and the W.K Kellogg Manor House, former estate of the breakfast cereal magnate and now home to a bird sanctuary and conference center. For history buffs, there’s the Gilmore Car Museum. Housing nearly 400 automobiles in historic buildings, it’s rated one of the top five automobile museums in the country.


Crafting Greatness

To get a real sense of Kalamazoo, sample the food and drink scene. With 450 restaurants – and growing opportunities for farm-fresh, locally sourced dining experiences – Kalamazoo is getting a lot of attention for its cuisine. Michigan is particular smitten with craft beer, and the love affair started right here in Kalamazoo. Bell’s Brewery is the oldest and largest microbrewery in the state and its beers enjoy a cult-like following around the world. In fact, Bell’s Two Hearted was named the No. 1 India Pale Ale in the world, according to Take a beer-venture on the Give A Craft Beer Trail, a fun way to explore all the local breweries and to earn some swag at the end of your trek.


Contagious Creativity and Curiosity

Offering 10 live performance theaters, a world-class art museum, numerous schools of art and design, offbeat galleries and a vibrant monthly Art Hop, Kalamazoo is a mecca for the arts. Spend a day at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, where you’ll find dynamic exhibitions, films and other events along with the permanent collection of modern works. Be inspired at Air Zoo, an aviation museum full of interactive exhibits and rides that will blow your mind, and then stop by the Kalamazoo Nature Center to discover the natural world along many trails or by visiting the center’s DeLano Homestead Farmyard.

Fun Fact

Plenty of guitar history in Kalamazoo
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Orville Gibson started the Gibson Guitar Corporation in the late 19th century in Kalamazoo.

Photo: Heritage Guitars/Discover Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo-built Checker cab on display
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The iconic Checker taxis that once dominated the streets of New York and Chicago were built in Kalamazoo.

Photo: Kalamazoo Valley Museum/Discover Kalamazoo

Much more than a baker’s dozen on offer at Sweetwaters Donut Mill
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Sweetwaters Donut Mill has been named one of the top donut shops in the world by AOL, Thrillist, MSN and more.

Photo: Discover Kalamazoo

Aerial view of Asheville, North Carolina
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Nearby Experiences