Kalamazoo combines big-city energy with small-town charm. There is never a shortage of things to do in Kalamazoo. A vibrant downtown is a scene for an abundance of quality dining, boutique shopping, and cultural attractions. Three universities are located within Kalamazoo, including Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Kalamazoo also has an array of spectacular outdoor venues as well. Listed below are just a few of these worthwhile adventures.
Kalamazoo’s oldest park, named after city founder Titus Bronson, is a 3.5 acre home to fountains, sculptures, and memorials. Bronson Park is a popular location for many downtown events, including public performances, tree lighting ceremonies, and social and political gatherings. It is often referred to as the “front porch” of Kalamazoo. This year, renovations were planned to help maintain the park’s significant importance on local history. Other improvements include a wider variety of programming, enhanced seating options, and standardized upgrades. Bronson Park is the identity and character of Kalamazoo, and we are proud to call it our own!
Arcadia Creek Festival Place is located in the heart of Kalamazoo’s downtown. It is a multi-faceted location, as both a public open space venue and a place to host special events. Families from all over flock to the Festival Place year-round for its vivacious lawns, vibrant flower beds, shade trees, and modern playgrounds. It is open to the public for lunch, play, and relaxation year-round. As a special events venue, it serves as a community gathering place and is home to classic motorcycle and car shows, free music concerts, and more.
Further out of town, the Kalamazoo Nature Center is on Kalamazoo’s north side and has been a popular place for nature lovers to explore since the Victorian era. Considered one of the nation’s top nature centers, it consists of 1,100 acres filled with both forest and wetland habitats. It’s hard-packed gravel and boardwalk footpaths lead through a hardwood forest. It’s vast footage spans across a tallgrass prairie, along a pond and through swaths of native wildflowers. Most delightfully, it features interactive exhibits, live animals, an indoor tropical forest, and a Hummingbird Butterfly Garden. The Hummingbird Butterfly Garden is a must-see and is open seasonally. It is part of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources’ official wildlife viewing area, and a small admission is charged.
Fort Custer State Recreation Area is a 3,033-acre park located between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. The park features three lakes, the Kalamazoo River, a campground, a swimming beach, boat rentals, and more than 25 miles of multi-use trails. The lake offers paddling and fishing opportunities, and the trail system is popular with mountain bikers, equestrians, hikers, and dog sledders. The state park also includes second-growth forests and remnant areas of a prairie. This is because the federal government used the area as an induction and military training center, known as Camp Custer, for the U.S. Army during WWII. The land was handed over to the State of Michigan under President Nixon’s Legacy of Parks in 1971. A perfect space to spend a day hiking, biking, or to reserve a cabin for the weekend.
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