Kalamazoo, MI

Travel Guide
Kalamazoo Valley Museum which includes interior views
Explore a city with miles of hiking trails, interesting wildlife and a renowned aviation museum featuring flight simulators and vintage planes.

Kalamazoo in southwest Michigan offers some of the best attractions in the Midwestern United States. Visit its museums to discover important American art pieces from the 20th century and exhibits that focus on entertaining and educating children. Go hiking and see the natural treasures of the area. Enjoy a day at the Air Zoo, a fun aviation museum and amusement park.

The city was originally called Bronson, after its founder Titus Bronson. In 1836 the name was changed to Kalamazoo, which comes from the language spoken by the Native American Potawatomi people. Discover some of the original natural beauty of the Potawatomi land at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. It has more than 14 miles (22 kilometers) of hiking trails among the green scenery of Michigan. You can also view birds of prey and see interesting exhibitions in the Glen Vista Gallery.

While you are visiting Kalamazoo, make sure you stop at the Air Zoo, a famous aviation museum and indoor fun park. See classic planes and experience a 4-D simulated World War II mission on board a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Jump into the flight simulators to fly a combat jet and go to Mars on a rocket.

Kalamazoo has numerous interesting museums. The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is a renowned organization where you can learn about American art and see more than 4,000 works. Visit the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, with hands-on exhibits for kids. Another spot that can be fun for the whole family is the Gilmore Car Museum. It’s located about 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Kalamazoo center and houses one of the largest collections of classic cars in Michigan, the state where America’s auto industry began.

Two major cities in the United States, Chicago and Detroit, are less than 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Kalamazoo. Reach the city by plane using the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport or by train or bus using the Kalamazoo Transportation Center located in the downtown area.

Where to stay in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo which includes flowers and a garden

Kalamazoo Central Business District

4.5/5(31 area reviews)

If you're spending some time in Kalamazoo Central Business District, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and Kalamazoo State Theatre are top sights worth seeing.

Kalamazoo Central Business District
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Western Michigan University - KRPH

While visiting Western Michigan University - KRPH, you might make a stop by sights like James W. Miller Auditorium and Waldo Stadium.

Western Michigan University - KRPH

Paris Cleaners Drop-Off Booth
1524 South Westnedge, Kalamazoo

The legacy of Paris Cleaners can be traced to 1902 in Kalamazoo. First located on O’Neill Street, Paris was one of the few early dry cleaners that lasted, with several satellite shops around the community. Dating to 1954, the South Westnedge branch of Paris Cleaners is a little gem in Kalamazoo. It was patterend after magazine clippings of California drive-throughs sent to its longtime proprietors, the Bell family, by a previous owner. Rumor has it that it was the first drive-through dry cleaner in the Midwest by only two days.
The drop-off booth’s color has an interesting tale behind it. The Bell family, who owned Paris Cleaners in the 1950s, could not afford to paint their old delivery truck when the drop-off booth was opened. All they could manage was a primer coat, which just happened to be bright purple. Associates and clients all responded well, and it hasn’t changed since.

Neon lights, brick glass windows, triangular shape and rounded corners place the Paris Cleaners Drop-Off at the tail end of the Art Deco movement.

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3.5/5(11 area reviews)

Vine might not have many top sights, but Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and Kalamazoo State Theatre are two attractions nearby that you can check out.