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An unforgettable city with an unforgettable name, Kalamazoo is a destination for both nature and local culture. The city is the proud home of a strong brewing culture and an abundance of delicious eateries, and is the site of the Kalamazoo Mall, the nation's first outdoor pedestrian shopping mall. With a number of lush parks and rivers right at its doorstep, Kalamazoo is a hub of outdoor recreation and wildlife. The city celebrates the arts and education through interactive museums and the engaging Kalamazoo Nature Center, making it family-friendly vacation stop.
Kalamazoo's charm comes from its small-town appeal that puts a focus on community. The city constantly works to better its vibrant downtown, quaint neighborhoods, and lush parks.
Kalamazoo's Downtown is the living heart of the city. Visit the Kalamazoo Mall, the first outdoor pedestrian mall opened in the United States. Nearby, the historic Arcadia district is home to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and the Arcadia Creek Festival Place, which hosts the city's most beloved events like the annual Ribfest and the Kalamazoo Blues Fest.
Composed of marshes, forests, streams, and rolling hills, the Al Sabo Preserve is full of recreational opportunities just outside the city. Hiking and mountain biking trails wind through the 741-acre (300-ha) preserve, with numerous outlooks providing panoramic views of the landscape. The preserve's defining natural feature is the Atwater Millpond, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River fed by Portage Creek. Explore the lush paths and look for wildlife like sandhill cranes and beavers.
The Kalamazoo Valley Museum offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to discover something new. With permanent and rotating exhibits and a planetarium, the museum covers everything from the origins of Kalamazoo to the origins of the universe. Stop by the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, which houses a permanent collection of 20th-century American art as well as several traveling galleries by contemporary artists. For a look into history, stop by the Air Zoo to see historic aircrafts like the SR-71B Blackbird.
Kalamazoo is a mix of local culture and engaging activities. Get a taste of the city's rich beer culture by following the Give a Craft Beer Trail, which highlights 13 local craft breweries, or by visiting the annual Kalamazoo Beer Week, where you can meet local brewers and sample their unique creations. In summer, weekly farmers markets let you sink your teeth into local produce and homemade treats. Immerse yourself in nature at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, which features live animals, an indoor tropical forest, an arboretum, and plenty of outdoor trails to explore with the family. The Nature Center is an official Michigan Wildlife Viewing Area, designed to bring you closer to the natural world. Families can find both history and excitement at the Air Zoo, an aviation museum and indoor amusement park which houses historic and rare aircrafts as well as flight simulators. Stay active in the city by taking to the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, a wide and paved path made for recreation like running and biking that winds through Verburg Park, Mayors' Riverfront Park, and downtown Kalamazoo.