It was so great to interview Dan Moyle of The Storyteller’s Network about Kalamazoo, Michigan. Dan’s tips for the best things to do in Kalamazoo are filled with activities, food, and drinks for families and people who like to have fun. Whether you like interesting museums, tasty food, exploring the outdoors, or interacting with animals, there is something for you in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Kalamazoo is more than just a fun name to say. It’s a great town that you should consider visiting. It is located in the southwest corner of Michigan. Kalamazoo is halfway between Chicago and Detroit and about 45 minutes due south from Grand Rapids.
If you love water sports or ice fishing, you’ll love Kalamazoo because Dan says that you’re never more than a mile from the water. Fishing, kayaking, and pontoon boats are just a few of the water activities that await you in Kalamazoo.
Dan says that the best times of the year to visit Kalamazoo are spring, summer, and fall. That’s right… anytime but winter because it does snow quite a bit in Michigan. Dan loves to ride his motorcycle and says that the weather is perfect for riding 8 months out of the year. He says that the scenery while riding along the water is absolutely beautiful.
We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Discover Kalamazoo, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.
Best things to do in Kalamazoo
Here are some of the best things to do in Kalamazoo according to our local expert, Dan Moyle. And I’ve added some additional options based on my research and information from Discover Kalamazoo. Discover Kalamazoo even has a list of 269 things to do in Kalamazoo. (269 is their area code)
- Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum (reviews) – an amazing aerospace museum that is great for kids of all ages. There are 8 fighter planes, flight simulators, rides, and a Real3D WWII movie to experience. They host summer and school camps for kids. There’s even an SR-71 plane inside!
- Climb Kalamazoo – a fun place to do indoor rock climbing.
- Cornwell’s Turkeyville (reviews) – what started out as a turkey farm in the early 1900s is now a popular tourist destination. There is a campground, dinner theater, mini-railroad rides, and so much more. Around Halloween, the train ride turns haunted.
- Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary (reviews) – David Critchlow is a zoologist that rescues alligators. Greenhouses keep them warm during the winter. You can even hold an alligator.
- Discover Kalamazoo – this visitor’s bureau is an excellent resource for anyone visiting Kalamazoo. Stop by for valuable coupons and discounts during your stay.
- Gilmore Car Museum (reviews) – loads of fun cars to see as this museum tells the history of the automobile and its impact on society.
- Gun Lake Casino (reviews) – there are several casinos in the area. Stop by and test your luck. Maybe you’ll leave home a winner!
- Heritage Guitars (reviews) – when the Gibson Guitar Factory moved to Tennessee, some of the employees that stayed behind started Heritage Guitars. Now they are some of the most sought-after guitars in the music industry.
- Kalamazoo Growlers Baseball (reviews) – who wouldn’t want to catch a minor league baseball game in a great stadium overlooking the river on a warm summer night?
- Kalamazoo Nature Center (reviews) – a budget-friendly activity with admission $7 or less for everyone. It is recognized by its peers as one of the top nature centers in the country. The nature center includes 1,100 acres of wooded, rolling countryside.
- Kalamazoo Wings (reviews) – minor league hockey is some of the best hockey that I’ve ever witnessed.
And, you can explore the corn mazes during the fall!
Here’s a short list of the current events happening in Kalamazoo that you can buy tickets for.
Looking for other things to do? Here are the top 10 sightseeing tickets and packages for Kalamazoo.
Or, you can buy one of the Lonely Planet books, which are another excellent resource. Their current promo offers 3 books for the price of two.
Best places to eat in Kalamazoo
When you’re in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the food is fantastic. Kalamazoo is known for having an amazing assortment of breweries, wineries, distilleries, and cideries. Check out the Spirit of 269 for more information. Before you drink all of that, you need to fill your belly with some delicious food. Here are the best places to eat in Kalamazoo, according to Dan.
- Arcadia Brewing Company Kalamazoo (reviews) – they have been brewing British-inspired and American-brewed stable of beers for over 20 years.
- Bell’s Brewery (reviews) – originally started as a homebrew with a 15-gallon soup pot, has now grown into something much larger. It is 100% family owned and absolutely delicious.
- Centre Street Tap House (reviews) – Dan’s pick for happy hour because of their Whiskey Wednesday specials.
- Food Dance Restaurant (reviews) – they are committed to building a thriving and sustainable local food system. Eat here for the freshest ingredients around. Dan suggests getting the huevos rancheros.
- Jaspare’s Pizza and Fine Italian Food (reviews) – Dan’s choice for pizza in Kalamazoo. The original is in Vicksburg. He likes the hand-tossed pizza that has a bit of sweet sauce covered in pepperonis that curl up at the edges to capture the juices.
- Kalamazoo Beer Exchange (reviews) – a fun concept that updates beer prices based on demand (aka “market conditions). A few times a night there is a market crash that drops all beer prices to their lowest prices of the night.
- Theo & Stacy’s Downtown (reviews) – classic Greek cuisine that is prepared fresh daily. Dan loves their gyros.
- West Michigan Beer Tours (reviews) – there are many breweries to check out in Kalamazoo. Reserve one of their beer tours to sample the best in town.
- Webster’s Prime (reviews) – Dan loves this steakhouse for its amazing food. Located in the Radisson Plaza Hotel. Don’t miss the 27-day dry-aged filet mignon. Order the tasting menu to get 4 steak experience like none other: Kobe, corn-fed, grain-fed, and dry-aged.
Dan says that there are some great food festivals that visitors should check out when visiting Kalamazoo during the summer. Some of Dan’s favorites are Rib Fest, Taste of Kalamazoo, and the Donuts & Beer Festival.
Best places to stay in Kalamazoo
When you come to visit “the Mitten” (aka Michigan), here are the best places to stay in Kalamazoo.
- Baymont by Wyndham Kalamazoo East (reviews) – With Wyndham Rewards, any hotel is available for a fixed 15,000 per night.
- Best Western Plus Kalamazoo Suites (reviews) – this Best Western category 4 hotel is 20,000 points per night.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton Kalamazoo-Portage (reviews) – this Hilton Honors category 4 hotel is 20,000 to 30,000 points per night.
- Hyatt Place Lansing/Eastwood Towne Center (reviews) – this World of Hyatt category 1 property is an hour outside of Kalamazoo, but it is only 5,000 points per night.
- Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center (reviews) – this Radisson Rewards category 5 property is 44,000 points per night. Dan’s top restaurant pick, Webster’s Prime, is also located inside this hotel.
- Residence Inn by Marriott Kalamazoo East (reviews) – this Marriott Rewards category 3 hotel is 15,000 to 20,000 points per night. I love the free breakfast and mid-week happy hours.
- Staybridge Suites Kalamazoo (reviews) – this IHG Rewards category 3 hotel is 20,000 points per night.
AirBnB is also a great option. Use our referral link to get $40 off your first AirBnB stay.
If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.
Getting around Kalamazoo
The local airport is Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport, which is 3 miles southeast of the city’s downtown. It is serviced by American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines. For other airlines, Grand Rapids is 45 minutes north and Chicago and Detroit are both a little over 2 hours away.
If you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.
The Final Countdown
1) If a traveler could only have one meal in Kalamazoo – Dan highly recommends Webster’s Prime for one of their dry-aged steaks. I can’t wait to try the steak sampler when I visit Kalamazoo!
2) Favorite memory of Kalamazoo – Dan’s favorite memory is watching his brother play in a punk music band at a place called “Club Soda.” The club is now closed, but it was similar to CBGB in New York back in its heyday.
3) Happiest Happy Hour in Kalamazoo – there are two places that Dan recommends for happy hour. Centre Street Tap House during Whiskey Wednesdays and the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange during a “market crash.”
4) Best place for pepperoni pizza in Kalamazoo – Jaspare’s Pizza and Fine Italian Food is Dan’s pick for the best pizza in town. He says that the way that the pepperonis curl up and save the juice is just wonderful. Dan says that some people call that grease, but he calls it amazing.
Places we talked about on the podcast
Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Dan Moyle about Kalamazoo, Michigan. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.
- Red dots = best places to eat in Kalamazoo
- Green dots = best things to do in Kalamazoo
- Yellow dots = best places to stay in Kalamazoo
Who is Dan Moyle?
Dan Moyle loves to tell stories. He created The Storyteller’s Network Podcast to speak with storytellers about their craft and inspiration. Dan’s goal is to help people tell better stories that resonate with readers and listeners.
Here are a few of his most recent podcast episodes:
- Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner
- Geraldine DeRuiter of @everywhereist
- Dominick Domasky of Motivation Champs
I’ve listened to a few episodes and you can tell that Dan loves crafting stories and learning from other experts in the field. If you love a good story or are interested in creating your own, you should listen to his show.
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Stay tuned for our next episode
Join us in the next episode when Shubhayan Mukherjee of World Cup Travels shares what you need to do to attend the next World Cup. We hope to see you when We Travel There.
What’s your favorite part of Kalamazoo? Let us know in the comment section below or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!
To learn more about the Midwest, listen to our other episodes from this area of the U.S.:
- Riding Harleys and Fear the Deer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Jenna Kashou
- Deep Dish Pizza, Baseball, and The Bean in Chicago, Illinois
- Best Things to Do in Ann Arbor, Michigan with Dan McPherson
- Motown, Auto Show & International Riverwalk in Detroit, Michigan
- Capitol Building, Hawk Island & Lansing Art Festival in Lansing, Michigan