Kalamazoo is the largest city in the southwest region of the Michigan
. It got the nickname the “Mall City” in 1959 because it had the first downtown pedestrian mall in America.
Kalamazoo has three local breweries and brewpubs that produce a variety of beer styles.
Perhaps the best-known is Bell's Brewery. The annual "Eccentric Day" at Bell's Eccentric Cafe celebrates the brewery's Eccentric Ale on the December Friday that marks the end of finals at Western Michigan University.
Kalamazoo is full of great events
, don't miss Super Saturday in June, New Year's Fest or the USTA Boys National Championship in August. For a small city, Kalamazoo also offers an interesting and walkable downtown, with unique lodging, shops, restaurants and the free Kalamazoo Valley Museum.
Accommodations, vacation rentals and condo rentals surrounding the town are varied as the area itself.
The city's most prominent art museum is the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, whose collection has more than 3,600 works and a focus on 20th-century American art.
Staying in a local vacation rental, condo rental or accommodation is a comfortable way to travel with the kids and in Kalamazoo downtown is the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, a "hands-on" museum aimed largely at children
; it has a planetarium and a Challenger Learning Center. Northeast
of town, in Hickory Corners, is the Gilmore Car Museum, which includes cars used in Walt Disney movies.
For bigger kids and daddies alike there is the Kalamazoo Air Zoo, just south of town, has several dozen aircraft on display, from biplanes to jets.
Nature lovers enjoy the 1,100-acre Kalamazoo Nature Centre
, which offers indoor and outdoor activities for all ages. Exhibits include a three-story tropical rainforest, an 11-acre arboretum and a hummingbird garden. Outdoor fun is also found at the Echo Valley Winter Sports Park, where tobogganing, ice skating and tubing are popular activities during the winter months. In nearby towns accommodations and vacation rentals are in abundance and has visitors within striking distance of all Kalamazoo has to offer.
The Lake Michigan resort towns of South Haven and Saugatuck-Douglas are about an hour west
of Kalamazoo. Gull Lake
(NE) and Gun Lake (North) are clear, spring-fed lakes of over 1000 acres each. Each offers boating, water-sports opportunities and wonderful waterfront accommodation and vacation rental options.