Jessica’s favorite lunch spots around Kalamazoo

things to do in kalamazoo

Jessica Pawlik is an intern at Discover Kalamazoo and fell in love with the city ever since she became a student at Western Michigan Univeristy. She enjoys summer, exploring different attractions and finding out about all the exciting events going on in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo, Mich. — There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such thing as a cheap one — or at least one that’s worth the cost!

Living in Kalamazoo for the past three years, I’ve had the chance to explore and discover various lunch spots around town. Here are some of my favorite inexpensive spots in Kalamazoo:

JUST GOOD FOOD
• Location: 303 N. Rose St., Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
-Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
-Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
-Sunday: Closed
• About: Just Good Food Deli is a hidden restaurant located in the basement of the Rose Street Market in downtown Kalamazoo! Here you will find food made from scratch using organic, local and fresh ingredients. Just Good Food also offers catering and hosts receptions, private parties and different special occasions in the ballroom.
• Must Try Menu Items: Jen’s Pasta, Feta Spinach Pasta, Spicy Chicken Quesadilla and Chicken Enchilada

santorini

This delicious dish from Santorini includes a salad, chicekn, rice and pita

SANTORINI ISLAND GRILL
• Location: 1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI (Bernhard Center)
• Hours:
-Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
-Saturday-Sunday: Closed
• About: This restaurant is located on Western Michigan University’s campus and offers Greek, Mediterranean and popular grilled items. The menu features pita meals, burgers, burritos, rice bowls, soups, salads and breakfast.
• Must Try Menu Items: Chicken Burrito and Bowl

IRVING’S MARKET & DELI
• Location: 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI (located in the Kalamazoo City Center)
• Hours:
-Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
-Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
-Sunday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• About: I was surprised on how much this small market has to offer! Inside this downtown Kalamazoo hot-spot, you will find a deli, coffee shop, breakfast, grocery items, bakery, fresh produce, frozen items, diary items and more. Everyone at the deli was extremely friendly and helpful. Irving’s offers catering for all types of parties.
• Must Try Menu Item: Turkey and Pesto Panini

Roadhouse, Univeristy, Kalamazoo

Enjoy a huge patio upstairs and downstairs at Univeristy Roadhouse

UNIVERSITY ROADHOUSE
• Location: 1332 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
-Monday-Saturday: 11 am to 2 a.m.
-Sunday: 11 a.m. to midnight
• About: University Roadhouse is a great restaurant to bring your friends and family to. It’s located close to Western Michigan University’s campus and has a great outdoor patio to sit down and enjoy a meal. They have a variety of appetizers, salads, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and entrees.
• Must try Menu Items: BBQ Pulled Pork and Gourmet Mac & Cheese

Taco Bobs, Kalamazoo, Mexican, Funny Tacos

The “Funny Taco” at Taco Bobs! Credit: @krystalbrorson via Instagram

TACO BOBS
• Location: 300 S. Kalamazoo Mall #171, Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
-Monday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
-Sunday: Closed
• About: If you are looking for very-delicious and inexpensive Mexican food, Taco Bob’s is the place to go! Taco Bobs has multiple locations in greater Kalamazoo — the one I went to is in downtown Kalamazoo. Taco Bobs is guaranteed to make your mouth water and keep you coming back for more. The menu consists of tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, nachos, salads, burritos and combos. They offer vegetarian options and catering.
• Must Try Menu Item: The Funny Taco!

PANINI EXPRESS
• Location: 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours: Monday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• About: If you love paninis you’ll love Panini Express! It’s a small sandwich shop located in the Kalamazoo City Center in downtown Kalamazoo. Panini Express offers a rotating menu featuring four different paninis every day. You can check the Facebook page to see what they are serving!
• Must Try Menu Item: Armadillo Panini

Erbellis, Pizza, Kalamazoo

Erbelli’s offers all kinds of pizza including this gluten free one! Credit: @emmayoungdale via Instagram

ERBELLI’S
• Location: 6214 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
-Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
-Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
-Sunday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
• About: If you want award-winning pizza, than Erbelli’s is a place to try! This restaurant has two locations in greater Kalamazoo, but I’ve been to the Stadium Drive location. Erbelli’s is a gourmet pizzeria, Italian bistro and pub. You can choose from delicious pizza, salads, calzones, sandwiches, wraps, pasta and much more! Erbelli’s has won numerous awards for its food and service in Kalamazoo and Portage.
• Must try Menu Item: Any one of their pizzas!

Garden Gate Cafe, Kalamazoo

Stop inside to see how pretty and pink this café is!

GARDEN GATE CAFÉ
• Location: 230 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
-Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
-Friday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
-Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• About: This adorable downtown Kalamazoo café feels like you are walking into Barbie’s bakery! The menu has breakfast options, as well as fresh salads, soups, paninis, wraps and a kid’s menu. This café is known for its delicious cupcakes (which can be ordered, delivered or displayed for weddings and events)!
• Must Try Menu Items: Cherry Chicken Salad and Three Cheese Tomato Melt with Pesto

burrito, los amigos, kalamazoo

The biggest burrito I have ever eaten!

LOS AMIGOS
• Location: 3317 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
-Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
-Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
• About: If you want a wide-variety of Mexican food, Los Amigos has it all! This authentic Mexican cuisine has different appetizers, soups, salads, chicken, steak and pork dishes, lunch specials and fajitas! This restaurant was voted as the Kalamazoo Gazette’s Readers’ Best Mexican Restaurant choice in 2011.
• Must try Menu Items: Burrito California and a margarita

 

UNION CABARET & GRILLE
• Location: 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
-Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
-Friday: 11 a.m. to midnight
-Saturday: Noon to midnight
-Sunday: Closed
• About: The Union Cabaret & Grille in downtown Kalamazoo has a very relaxing atmosphere with a “jazzy” feel. The all-day menu features classic southern-inspired dishes. You can find small plates, soups, salads, mac-n-cheeses, sandwiches, burgers, barbecued-foods and more. Enjoy live music every Thursday through Sunday night!
• Must Try Menu Items: Chicken Gumbo Soup, Union Mac-N-Cheese and the Leftovers Turkey Sandwich

Union Cabaret and Grille, Kalamazoo

The Union is a great lunch and dinner spot with a performance stage

Click here for a list featuring more than 450 Kalamazoo restaurants!

Click here for a list of things to do in Kalamazoo!

Local Spotlight: Candace Faistenhammer’s favorite things to do in Kalamazoo

kalamazoo beer exchange

Named the No. 1 Bar in Michigan by RateBeer.com in 2013 and 2014, it’s no wonder that the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange is an attraction in itself! Starting at 6 p.m. nightly, enjoy the stock-market-like situation for craft beer, as prices change based on supply and demand!

things to do Kalamazoo

Candace Faistenhammer is an intern at Discover Kalamazoo who loves being a Bronco at Western Michigan University, spending her free time fishing with her family and all things Detroit Lions! She is excited to spend her summer trying Kalamazoo breweries and restaurants she’s never tried! :)

• Favorite place to grab a drink?
The Beer Exchange. Prices of the beer here are based on real-time sales, like the stock market, and occasionally the market will crash bringing prices to an all-time low. It’s fun to watch the market and taste beer from all over the world.

• Favorite restaurant?
To be honest, I’ve never eaten at a place in Kalamazoo that I didn’t love! If I’m going off of my favorite food, which is pizza, Erbelli’s is my favorite place to grab a slice, hands down! Their food is DELICIOUS. If you’re not into pizza, they have a large menu and a great beer selection.

• Favorite attraction?
WMU hockey games are a must see! Going to Lawson Arena for a Bronco Hockey game is much more than simply watching a sport, it’s an experience. Nobody is more passionate about their hockey than WMU and the Kalamazoo community.

• Favorite thing about Kalamazoo?
The atmosphere around Kalamazoo is unbeatable. Downtown gives you a big-city feel with small-town comfort. There are so many things to do and all within walking distance. Being a college town, there are always people around and everyone is approachable.

kalamazoo new year's fest

Kalamazoo New Year’s Fest brings the community together for a night of fun-filled activities for the entire family! Enjoy musicians, magicians, impersonators, artists and more!

• Favorite Kalamazoo festival/event?
New Year’s Fest is my favorite annual event downtown. I had the pleasure of working the event this past year, and it was amazing! There are tons of bands and activities in different locations surrounding Bronson Park leading up to fireworks at midnight. It’s great for the whole family.

• Best late-night spot for college kids?
The Campus Pointe Mall area is perfect for the nights you and your friends want to bar hop, but aren’t interested in taking a taxi downtown. The Grotto at Capone’s, The Mix and AFB Bar and Grill are all located within a one-block radius and are popular bars among the college scene. They each feature daily deals and are only a 10-minute walk from campus and many popular apartment complexes.

western michigan university

Founded in 1903, Western Michigan University celebrated its 111th birthday in 2014!

• Fun Fact about Kalamazoo:
Western Michigan University celebrated their 111th birthday earlier this year (2014)!

• Best breakfast?
Crow’s Nest. The Banana Bread French Toast and house potatoes are to die for! They’re also open 24 hours on the weekend, so you can breakfast anytime! This is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing meal on a Sunday morning after a long night on the town.

asylum lake kalamazoo

Asylum Lake Preserve is a 274-acre parcel of land that is owned by Western Michigan University. Photo courtesy of Brian Wolfe.

• Top hangout?
My friends and I love spending time outside, and Kalamazoo has a ton of outdoor adventures to be had. A place I frequently explore is the Asylum Lake Preserve. It’s so peaceful and there are great trails for casual walking and catching up with a friend.

• Fun places for kids/families?
Bittersweet Ski Resort. Since we can’t change the five months of winter West Michigan is usually blessed with each year, we may as well embrace it! Instead of letting winter trap you in the house, enjoy the natural snow outside and hit the slopes. Bittersweet is perfect for all ages! They have ski classes and hills ranging from beginner to expert, and you can also rent all of your equipment on site.

If you’re not interested in learning to love the snow, try Airway Fun Center for the family! It has go-carts, bowling, bumper cars, laser tag and more! Who wouldn’t love that place?

Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo

Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo features a full bar with 32 draft taps, wine, mixed drinks, coffee, tea, soda, shakes and more. It’s extensive food menu is made from local ingredients.

• Fun date?
The Alamo Drafthouse. This one-stop shop movie theatre is perfect, if you’re not interested in driving all over the place for dinner and a movie. This is perfect place to get a bite to eat, grab a beer and catch a flick all in one place.

• Perfect day trip?
Head about 45 minutes west on West Main Street and you’ll hit Lake Michigan. South Haven is a prime location for having a picnic, tossing a football, and enjoying Pure Michigan. The beach is clean and the drive is easy. South Haven hosts the annual Fourth of July fireworks, and there’s Haborfest in June, where you can enjoy a pancake breakfast and Dragon Boat Races! It’s perfect if you’re looking for a little getaway for the day.

Click here for the largest database of Kalamazoo events!

Kalamazoo’s Top 10 Instagram Photos in July

Here are Discover Kalamazoo’s top 10 photos from July on Instagram!

Thanks for sharing the beauty of greater Kalamazoo with us!

1.

storm, clouds, weather, kalamazoo

Did everyone catch a glimpse of that crazy #Kalamazoo sky yesterday? If not, take a look! #kzoo #storm #weather #puremichigan

2.

puremichigan, kalamazoo, kzoo, art

Check out this awesome painting by @abalestrii! There are so many reasons to #love #Kalamazoo! What are some of yours? #kzoo #puremichigan

3.

kzoo building, kalamazoo, downtown

Amazing photo of Kalamazoo’s first skyscraper! Photo credit: @josembecerra #kalamazoo #kzoo #puremichigan #love #downtown

4.

Henderson, Castle, Kalamazoo

Did you know?…The Henderson Castle has a hot tub on the roof that overlooks the city! Thanks for the picture @lisamariesakura via Twitter! #henderson #castle #unique #old #beautiful #love #kalamazoo #kzoo #puremichigan #puremi Michigan

5.

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, WMU

Embracing #WesternWednesday with an awesome shot from @kevinl943 of the sunset over #WMU’s campus! #kalamazoo #love

6.

Dark Horse Nation, Brewery, Michigan

Are you watching the premiere of “Dark Horse Nation” on The History Channel? It features our friends from Dark Horse Brewing Co. located in Marshall, Michigan! #darkhorsenation #puremi #drinklocal #mibeer #craftbeer #puremichigan #love #historychannel

7.

Fishing, lake, kalamazoo, summer, kzoo, michigan

Another incredible night on the water #fishing #outdoors #michigan #puremichigan #puremi #itsinmynature #whatgetsyououtdoors #uafish #sunset #passion #beauty #kalamazoo #kzoo credit: @sherwood95

8.

nature, klienstuck preserve, kalamazoo

Great photo of Klienstuck Preserve, @lizzpaige! #kalamazoo #kzoo #puremichigan

9.

brewery, map, kalamazoo, michigan

Check out #Kalamazoo’s very own Brewery Map! #drinklocal #craftbeer #beercity #kzoo #puremichigan #puremi Click this link to download the map! http://www.discoverkalamazoo.com/kalamazoo-brewery-map-177/

10.

bronson park, fountain, kalamazoo

Let’s kick off this lovely Monday with an amazing photo of the fountain in Bronson Park! Great shot, @michiganderik! #kalamazoo #kzoo #love #michigrammers #puremichigan

Want to see more photos of the greater-Kalamazoo area? Follow Discover Kalamazoo on Instagram at @discoverkzoo!

Click here to find more cool things to do in Kalamazoo!

Discover the Brew in Kalamazoo: A Guide to Kalamazoo Breweries

 

things to do in kalamazoo

Jessica Pawlik is an intern at Discover Kalamazoo and fell in love with the city ever since she became a student at Western Michigan Univeristy. She enjoys summer, exploring different attractions and finding out about all the exciting events going on in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo, Mich. — What is Kalamazoo known for besides its unique name?… It’s BEER!

With 10 breweries in Kalamazoo County (and more on the way), here are just some of the reasons that you should come experience Kalamazoo breweries:

Kalamazoo was ranked as the No. 4 top Beer City in the nation from liveability.com in 2012

Kalamazoo was ranked as the No. 3 Beer Town in America from Business Insider in 2013

Kalamazoo came in second in the Beery City USA contest from examiner.com in 2013

Kalamazoo opened six new breweries in 2013

Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids was named among the 20 best beer towns in America from matador network in 2013

Kalamazoo was named one of the eight Underrated Beer Cities in the World, according to U.S. World & News Report in 2014

With all the buzz about Kalamazoo’s craft beer, I wanted to tap into the brew scene. Here’s a list of what you can find at each local brewery! Also, check out Kalamazoo’s very own Brewery Map!

Arcadia Ales, Brewery, Kalamazoo, Beer

Hundreds of people packed the brewpub and patio of Arcadia Ales’ Kalamazoo Riverfront Brewery, Pub and Kitchen on its grand opening day.

ARCADIA ALES
Location: 701 E. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
- Tuesday-Saturday: Noon to 1 a.m.
- Sunday: Noon to 8 p.m.
- Monday: Closed
History: Kalamazoo’s newest riverfront brewery had its grand opening in May 2014. Arcadia Brewing Company is a microbrewery specializing in handcrafted British-style ales. All of the beers are produced in small batches using a 25 Barrel Peter Austin Brewery. These methods originated in England, allowing this style of beer to reflect more than 25 years of world-class brewing heritage. Arcadia’s original brewery is located in Battle Creek, Mich.
Beers at Arcadia (what you may find on tap):
- Classic Beers:
Sky High Rye, Loch Down Scotch Ale, Thunder Trial ESB, IPA and Anglers Ale
- Specialty Beers: B-Craft Black IPA, Hopmouth Double IPA, London Porters and Cocoa Loco
- Seasonal Beers: Whitsun, Jaw-Jacker and Nut Brown Ale
- Reserve Beers: Big Dick’s Olde Ale, Imperial Stout, Hop Rocket, Cereal Killer Barleywine and Shipwreck Porter
Bragging rights: At the 1998 World Beer Championships Arcadia’s India Pale Ale took the gold

Bell's, Beer, Kalamazoo, Eccentric Cafe

Bell’s Eccentric Café is located downtown Kalamazoo offering different craft beers, delicious food, live music & entertainment and more.

BELL’S ECCENTRIC CAFE
• Location: 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
-
Monday-Wednesday: 11 a.m. to midnight
- Thursday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Sunday: Noon to midnight
• History: This microbrewery is the oldest in Michigan and the first Michigan brewery to open an onsite pub and serve beer by the glass to the public. At The Eccentric Café, customers can taste different Bell’s well known beers and small batch brews that are not distributed outside of the pub. This café offers food, live entertainment, dancing, special events and a beer garden open during summer.
Beers at Bell’s (what you may find on tap): View Bell’s Eccentric Café Live Tap Cam to see the beer available!
• Bragging Rights: In 2014 alone…
- Bell’s Brewery, Inc. was named the Top Brewer in Michigan*
- Bell’s Two Hearted Ale was named the Top India Pale Ale in the world*
- Bell’s Hopslam was named the No. 4 Double India Pale Ale in the world*
- Bell’s Blacknote Stout was named the No. 4 Stout in the world*
- Bell’s Expedition Stout was named the No. 14 Stout in the world*
(*Awards from RateBeer.com)

Bilbo's photo

Try Bilbo’s six homemade brews (Lord of the Rings-theme) at the Stadium Drive location in Kalamazoo.

BILBO’S PIZZA IN A PAN
• Location: 3307 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI
• Hours:
- Monday-Friday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Saturday: Noon to 2 a.m.
- Sunday: Noon to midnight
• History: Bilbo’s offers six homemade brews (Lord of the Rings theme) with additional 16-18 beers on tap. Bilbo’s serves pan pizza, sandwiches, pasta and salads. Bilbo’s beer is only served at the location on Stadium Drive.
Beers at Bilbo’s (what you may find on tap): Sledgehammer Wizard Wheat Dragon Red Ale, Raspberry Wheat Rocky Mountain Lagor, Charlie Brown Ale Honey blonde, Oatmeal Stout All American Pale Ale, Honey Porter 90 Schilling Ale, Copper Ale Doppelback.

BOATYARD BREWING COMPANY

Boatyard Brewing Co.  West Michigan Beer Tours

Boatyard Brewing Co. – photo courtesy of West Michigan Beer Tours

Location: 432 E. Paterson St., Kalamazoo MI
Hours:
-Tuesday-Friday: 2 p.m. to 9 pm
- Saturday: Noon to 9 p.m.
- Sunday-Monday: Closed
• History: Boatyard Brewing Company had its grand opening in June 2014. The idea came up in the summer of 2011 to form a brewery with exceptional craft beers. You can taste some of Boatyard’s best traditional ale recipes and unique offerings. There are eight taps in the front room and six taps in the smaller tap room.
Beers at Boatyard (what you may find on tap): EZ Ale, Frosted Harbor Dark Raspberry, Kalamazoo Cream Ale, Kalamazoo Shandy, North Bay IPA, The bitter End.

kalamazoo breweries

Bravo! is recognized for its Tuscany-inspired cuisine, wine list, beers and more.

BRAVO! RESTAURANT & CAFE
Location: 5402 Portage Road, Kalamazoo, MI
Hours:
-
Monday-Thursday: Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Dinner: 5 to 10 p.m.
- Saturday : Lunch: closed; Dinner: 5 to 11 p.m.
- Sunday: Brunch: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• History: Bravo! offers a delicious dinner, lunch and Sunday brunch menu along with handcrafted beer. The beer is brewed using all-natural ingredients, one keg at a time. The beers and ales are crisp, refreshing and paired easily with meals.
Beers at Bravo (what you may find on tap): Chefs Ale-Amber Ale, Quattro Hop-Imperial IPA, Sweet Bravo! Brown-Nut Brown

kalamazoo brewery

Gonzo’s features eight handcrafted beers and an upscale American menu.

GONZO’S BIGGDOGG BREWING
• Location: 140 South Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo, MI
Hours:
- Monday-Wednesday: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Thursday-Friday: 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- Saturday: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
- Sunday: Noon to 11 p.m.
• History: Greg “Gonzo” Haner began brewing micro-brewed beer in 1992 and has produced many batches of beer, homemade wine, whiskey and single-malt scotch. His unique talent and passion for brewing led him to establish Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing, which opened up in November 2013. Gonzo’s menu includes appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and pizzas.
Beers at Gonzo’s (what you may find on tap): The Premier, Dogg Days Ale, Burning Sun Red, Magic Trick Hefeweizen, Nimble Limbo, Unloosend III Blonde Ale, Melons on a Blonde, Showroom IPA w/Cascada, Sub-Continental IPA, Cloak of Darkness Black IPA, Vanilla Porter Ale, Into The Night Stout.

michigan brewery

First brewery in Portage featuring a New-American-style menu paired with craft beer.

LATITUDE 42 BREWING COMPANY
Location: 7842 Portage Road, Portage, MI
Hours:
- Monday-Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Wednesday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to midnight
- Sunday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• History:
The first brewery to open in Portage, MI., offers a variety of beer on tap, craft food, private parties and events. The menu includes soup, salad, appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, box lunches, pizzas, kids’ menu, entrees, desserts, Michigan wines and beer to go.
Beer’s at Latitude 42 (what you may find on tap):
Check out the list here!
Bragging rights:
- Latitude 42 won a total of 20 medals in the Indiana Brewers Cup
- Powerline (porter), Tinderbock (wheat) and Poppin Pills (pilsner) won gold at the World Expo of Beer in 2014 (Power Porter won 4 gold medals!)
- Tinderlock Lager and Powerline Porter both won gold in the 2014 Indiana Brewers Cup
- Okctoberfest Marzen and Mikes Camaro – California Common Ale won silver in the 2014 Indiana Brewers Cup

Olde Peninsula, beer, kalamazoo

Kalamazoo’s first brewpub with an on-site brewery

Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant
Location: 200 E. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI
Hours:
- Monday-Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Wednesday-Thursdays: 11 a.m. to midnight
- Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to 1  a.m.
- Sunday: Noon to 11 p.m.
• History: Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant is Kalamazoo’s first brewpub! Olde Peninsula is located in downtown Kalamazoo and offers five permanent beers on tap as well as seasonal handcrafted ales. The menu includes a variety of items and entrees with a regular and seasonal menu. Olde Peninsula has a brewery tour and guide tasting of each beer on tap for $10. Enjoy happy hour specials, $2 Pint Night and Euchre tournaments on Wednesday and $1 off all Growlers on Thursday’s!
Beers at Olde Peninsula (what you may find on tap): Haymarket Cream Ale, Sunset Red, OP IPA, Rockin’ Razberry Wheat and Midnight Stout.

kalamazoo beer

Rupert’s features eight handcrafted brews and live entertainment six nights a week. Captain Stooby is sleeping in the background!

RUPERT’S BREW HOUSE
• Location: 773 W. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI
Hours: Every day: 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.
History: Opened in October 2013 Rupert’s Brew House has eight handcrafted brews on tap and nightly local music. In 2014, Rupert’s received a license to make wine and hard liquor. Stop by the brewery, and you might run into Rupert’s Great Dane, Captain Stooby!
Beers at Rupert’s (what you may find on tap): Twice Licked Kitty- American Style Pale Ale, Double High IPA, Mastif Drool Nitro Stout and Britani’s Cream Ale

Tibbs Brewing Co

Tibbs produces handcrafted small-batch beers on a one-barrel system.

TIBBS BREWING COMPANY
Location: 402 South Burdick St., Kalamazoo, MI
Hours:
-
Wednesday-Thursday: 4 p.m. to midnight
- Friday: 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- Saturday: 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- Sunday-Tuesday: Closed for brewing
• History: Tibbs Brewing Company opened in 2013 and is a small nano-brewery in downtown Kalamazoo. This brewery uses a one-barrel system producing handcrafted small-batch beers which allows for experimental batches and staple beers.
Beers at Tibbs (what you may find on tap): Belgium Triple, Honey Citra, Imperial Red and Strawberry Blonde.

Click here for more information on Kalamazoo Breweries!

Click here to find more cool things to do in Kalamazoo!

Local Spotlight: Janis Clark’s Favorite things to do in Kalamazoo

kalamazoo art fair

The annual Kalamazoo Art Fair happens every spring in Bronson Park in downtown Kalamazoo.

things to do kalamazoo

Janis Clark is Director of Business Engagement at Western Michigan University, and her passion is people. She loves making new friends and connecting them with the old. She has never met a stranger. You can find Janis laughing and chatting at venues all over town – unless it is summer – then head for the beach!

Favorite Kalamazoo festival/event?
I like Kalamazoo’s Art Hop anytime of the year, but the first Friday in June is the one event I look forward to the most. That is also the Kalamazoo Institute Arts – Art Fair in the park and on Art on the Mall, and it kicks off the summer festival season of fun-filled outdoor activities. From the Mixers on the Mall to Ribfest to Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Sundays in the park, every week has at least one reason to grab a friend and celebrate the summer downtown Kalamazoo style; and you are sure to meet hundreds of others having the same idea.

Favorite thing about Kalamazoo?
My favorite thing about Kalamazoo is the altruistic spirit of our citizens and our commitment to make Kalamazoo a better place to live, work and visit for everyone from every walk of life. What other community would initiate a program like the Kalamazoo Promise, which gives every child who goes through and graduates from our public schools the knowledge and certainty that they will be able to attend college without having to worry about the cost of that invaluable education?

Favorite restaurant?
I love the lunch buffet at Saffron, because one bite is better than the next! Plus, I don’t have to choose what to order (because I can never remember the names of the dishes I like). Saffron’s salad is amazing, and the naan just soaks up every yummy bite.  It also has the only rice pudding I’ve ever liked. I also go to Martell’s a lot, since it has always been my neighborhood place; Martell’s outside patio overlooking the lake is a true escape from your day and in the winter the bar has always been a comfortable meeting spot.

kalamazoo restaurants

Martell’s is one of Janis Clark’s favorite restaurants in the greater Kalamazoo area. Enjoy the outdoor patio or cozy up to the indoor fireplace at this popular restaurant.

best breakfast kalamazoo

The simple glazed donut from Sweetwater’s Donut Mill is one of Janis Clark’s favorite places for breakfast. Sweetwater’s Donut Mill was named as one of the top dozen “Best Donuts Ever” across America by AOL!

Best breakfast?
I am not a morning eater (coffee and more coffee), but the cherry pecan muffin at Grand Traverse Pie and the simple glazed donut from Sweetwater’s Donut Mill are two places I go to for a breakfast-like, carb-happy treat later in the day. For a brunch, however, I love the eggs benedict at Cosmo’s and Bravo’s Sunday buffet (the bacon and the seafood salad alone make this girl quite happy).

kalamazoo theatre

Janis loves seeing the stars at the Kalamazoo State Theatre. Check out a show at this beautiful building in downtown Kalamazoo.

Favorite attraction?
I love going to performances at the State Theatre. I went there when I first visited Kalamazoo in 1986 and sitting beneath the stars is and always will be magical. The Gilmore Car Museum is another “history comes alive” kind of place. Seeing a ’57 Chevy or a NYC taxi bring back my childhood, and all cars you only see in the movies or in books are right before your eyes.

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Janis Clark loves to head to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Art & All That Jazz.

Favorite thing to do in each season?
- In the summer, I want to be at the big lake (Lake Michigan) any and every chance I get. I hate to make plans with anyone, unless it involves the beach! On weekends, if it is sunny, I will go to South Haven, Saugatuck or St. Joe’s with a book and many beverages from sun up to sun down. I love how many of my friends also live on the many lakes that we have in greater Kalamazoo and being invited to tool around on party boats is a personal fave.
- In the spring I like going to the Binder Park Zoo and feeding the giraffes in Wild Africa or visiting the new black bear cubs.
- In the fall I like driving around and seeing the cacophony of color as the leaves change and stopping for cider (and a donut) at some farm.
- In winter, I like having my fireplace going and friends coming over and seeing the winter wonderland view of Woods Lake from my window. Besides counting down the days until summer, I like going to the venues like the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts for Art and All that Jazz or Miller Auditorium for the Broadway series and spotlight performers and Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra for classical concerts and the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre and Farmer’s Alley for quality theatre. All of the above capture my imagination and take me away from the wintertime blues.

Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo is a top 100 national university!

Coolest Kalamazoo-history fact?
In 1903, the state awarded Kalamazoo the right to build the Normal School, and a group of businessmen worked together to raise the $75,000 to build East Hall. That group of businessmen became the Chamber of Commerce, the Normal School became Western Michigan University and East Hall is becoming the Western Michigan University Alumni Center. The Alumni Center will be a venue open to the public and will feature a ballroom overlooking downtown Kalamazoo for your events and meetings. This is exceptionally cool for me because it embraces all my worlds — working at WMU and volunteering for the Chamber and Discover Kalamazoo as a Kalamazoo Certified Tourism Ambassador.

Favorite place to grab a drink?
The Beacon Club has the BEST drink in town. Reza has been there for more than 30 years and truly nobody does it better. I love my Cosmos and the remainder is in the shaker, so there is always room for more! :) [Editor's note: The Beacon Club is a private-dining club.]

Perfect day trip?
In the summer it is always the beach (see above), but during those non-summer months, I love going to Grand Rapids several times while Art Prize is here and to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and downtown museums. It’s only 45 minutes away and is a real sister city to Kalamazoo. Another nice day trip is to Chelsea, Michigan. Chelsea has a fabulous old theatre, great shops and dining at the Common Grill is worth the trip alone. Also, if you have never been to Greenfield Village, it is an amazing place. You can actually step back in time to castles or Edison’s workshop or the Wright Brother’s bicycle shoppe and see working tradesmen make candles and pottery, blow glass and spin silk.

kalamazoo growlers

At center, Janis Clark, enjoys a Kalamazoo Growlers baseball game with fellow Kalamazoo Certified Tourism Ambassadors (CTAs) in the Bell’s Bear Cave section.

Fun place(s) for kids/families?
Take me out to the ballgame! The Growler’s brought minor league baseball back to Kalamazoo and is a perfect outing for the whole family; a place to root, root, root for the home team with the home crowd. The Binder Park Zoo, I already mentioned, is perfect for children of all ages, as is the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. The Air Zoo not only has rides and attractions but is a living history staffed with volunteers who give you personal insight to the changing and permanent exhibits.

Best pizza?
Martini’s margharita or spinach and artichoke pizza with a side chopped salad gets my vote, but I also like Oakwood Bistro’s mushroom pizza and for a to-go option, I like Papa Murphy’s vegetarian gourmet.

Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo

Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo features a full bar with 32 draft taps, wine, mixed drinks, coffee, tea, soda, shakes and more. It’s extensive food menu is made from local ingredients.

Favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon?
Saturday is domestic goddess day of cleaning, laundry and bills then go to Family Fitness for body pump, the tanner (as my reward) and errands like the cleaners and library, then shopping for necessities and perhaps something nice for me at Steinmart or TJ Maxx and of course, DSW.  I loves the movies and going to the show at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema or Celebration Cinema or the Kalamazoo 10 is my reward for jobs well done.

• Hidden gem in greater Kalamazoo?
The hidden gem in Kalamazoo is Discover Kalamazoo’s CTA program itself! It has opened the door to me on so many previously hidden gems. On field trips, I explored the Kellogg Manor House when it was festooned with Christmas decorations, been to historic Vicksburg’s Historical Village, the Gilmore Car Museum, the Kalamazoo Nature Center, a Pink Floyd laser light show at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, a Wellspring/Cory Terry & Dancers performance and inside the control tower at the airport, just to name a few fun things we have done!

Click for the largest database of Kalamazoo events!

Exploring Kalamazoo Island Festival

Kalamazoo Island Festival

Kalamazoo

Candace Faistenhammer is an intern at Discover Kalamazoo who loves being a student at WMU, spending her free time fishing with her family and all things Detroit Lions! She is excited to explore all of the breweries and restaurants in Kalamazoo! :)

Kalamazoo, Mich. — The air is muggy, and the sky is over cast as Lori and I walk up to Arcadia Creek Festival Place.

As we cross the bridge to enter the festival, we see bright-colored garments and booths filled with Caribbean artifacts, jewelry and wooden drums available for purchase. The feeling in the air is care-free and relaxed as people saunter around from booth to booth.

It’s the 2014 Kalamazoo Island Festival in downtown Kalamazoo, and Lori Gottschling and I (both interns at Discover Kalamazoo) are here to check out the scene and get some photos.

The sound of Caribbean music fills the grounds as the early-afternoon DJ keeps the island-feel alive. It’ll really pick up tonight when the live performers take stage for the evening and nighttime festivities.

Kalamazoo Island Festival

There are more than 20 food vendors at Island Festival ready to satisfy the hunger of any and all festivalgoers.

The smell of the festival grounds is overwhelming with sweet, savory deliciousness. So, clearly, we had to head to the food tent. We walk into the huge tent to see people exploring the Caribbean, African and Jamaican tastes.

“It’s a great atmosphere; there are really good vibes here,” said Cassie Markwardt, co-owner of Camzie’s Pizza, a food truck that serves made-to-order pizzas. “The people are awesome.”

Lori and I definitely agree that the people are amazing — especially when Cassie offers us personal pizzas topped with Jamaican jerk chicken, green bell peppers, Ramona and mozzarella cheese and Camzie’s specialty topping, blueberries. (And yes, this pizza was to die for!)

Kalamazoo Island Festival

This is the Camzie’s pizzas that Candace Faistenhammer ate at Kalamazoo Island Festival. The Festival brings Caribbean, African and Jamaican tastes!

After enjoying our food, Lori and I stop to talk to some of the festival-goers about their experience at Island Fest. We learned that people come from far and wide to enjoy this event, and during their visits, many find much to appreciate about Kalamazoo’s festival scene.

We met Anna Pagan, who came to Kalamazoo from Chicago “specifically for Island Fest.

“This space is awesome in the fact that it’s dedicated to festivals,” Pagan said. “We don’t have anywhere like this in Chicago with the stage and space specifically for this type of event.”

Between bites of his Etal Vegetable Stew from Jessie’s Jamaican, Cosmos Boekey, said, “We came down from Chicago for Island Fest, but I hear you have festivals here almost every weekend in the summer!? That’s awesome.”

Kalamazoo Island Festival

At left, Anna Pagan of Chicago, came to Kalamazoo specifically for Island Fest.

Between the setting, music and cuisine, Island Fest definitely takes you away from Michigan and places you somewhere in the Caribbean lying on a beach, listening to reggae tunes in the sunshine.

I look forward to heading back to Kalamazoo Island Festival in the coming years to experience more of the cuisine and to see the live music and listen to the bands that perform at night!

…Until next year, Kalamazoo Island Fest!

Click for more Kalamazoo events!

See more PHOTOS of Kalamazoo Island Fest by visiting Discover Kalamazoo on Facebook!

Top 10 Kalamazoo Instagram Photos in June

Here are Discover Kalamazoo’s top 10 photos from June on Instagram!

We posted, and you loved – thanks for sharing with us! :)

1.

Kalamazoo Farmer's Market

Come on down to the #Kalamazoo #farmersmarket! Open till 2pm today! #foodie #puremichigan #love credit: Discover Kalamazoo

2.

Bell's Beer Garden

A great picture of #Bell’s Outdoor Beer Garden! #kalamazoo #beergarden #summerdrinkin credit @bmosbeats

3.

Kalhaven trail

#Latergram from #Running a few nights ago! #Sun #Sunrays #Scenery #Nature #Kalhaven #KalHavenTrail #Kalamazoo #Kzoo #PureMichigan credit: @louiisemarie

4.

Downtown Kalamazoo SkyDeck

Downtown Kalamazoo from Skydeck #kzoo #summer credit: @cinematicheart

5.

Westnedgehill Kalamazoo Sunset

Looking for a place to watch the sunset? @papizuto found one! #sunsetride #sunset #pedal #kalamazoo #westnedgehill #skyonfire #whyweride ridetolivelivetoride thanks for the picture :)

6.

Lake Michigan Kalamazoo

I love Lake Michigan. #sunset #nofilter #northpoint #nature #michigan #swmichigan #kalamazoo #landscape #lakeshore #latergram #summer #summertime #ilovemichigan #iphoneonly credit: @emmavcurry

7.

Turtle in Kalamazoo

How cute! This little guy crossed our path. #turtle #alsabo #kalamazoo #michigan #hiking #vscocam #vsco credit: @caronjess

8.

Sky Kalamazoo

Awesome shot @chelseasayswhat! That #kalamazoo sky sure is gorgeous! #kzoo #puremichigan

9.

Bell's Beer Garden Opening

Bell’s Brewery garden opening with Greensky Bluegrass #kalamazoo #kzoo #michigan #puremichigan #mi #oberon credit: @byrnesho

10.

WMU Miller Fountain

“Stroll thru #WMU last nite! Fountains putting on such a show! Richmond Center behind it @wmunews #GoBroncos #GoWest” pic.twitter.com/xMUkTLALBo credit: @LanglGabe

 

Want to see more photos of the greater-Kalamazoo area? Follow Discover Kalamazoo on Instagram at @discoverkzoo!

Click here to find more cool things to do in Kalamazoo!

Local Spotlight: Maria Suszynski favorite things to do in Kalamazoo

crows nest

Crow’s Nest was named the No. 2 best breakfast by MLive.com in 2013. This fabulous restaurant is located in the ecclectic Vine neighborhood near downtown Kalamazoo and is open 24 hours on the weekends! Photo credit: Crow’s Nest

things to do kalamazoo

Maria Suszynski is the Director of Advancement and Executive Director of  Legacy Foundation at the Air Zoo. She loves to volunteer and has most enjoyed serving as a coach for Girls on the Run and Kalamazoo Soccer Club Board Member.
Maria is the proud mother of a Kalamazoo Promise scholar and student and spends many weekends cheering for her daughter Kaila, who plays soccer, fiddles and dances.

• Best Breakfast?
I love breakfast. Any time of the day. Anywhere. Have I told you I love breakfast? If I have to choose a favorite breakfast location, I choose Crow’s Nest. I very much enjoy the excellent service, wide variety of choices, high-quality ingredients, and the delicious flavors. It’s just good food.

• Favorite Restaurant?
I absolutely love Saffron Indian Cuisine. When I am craving Indian food, my taste buds are very specifically requesting Saffron’s amazing lunch buffet and “sensational salad.” Though, no meal is complete without a cup of Saffron’s rice pudding.

• Hidden gem in greater Kalamazoo?
If I tell you where they are, they won’t be hidden. I recommend the Ghosts of Kalamazoo Historic Tours or the Hidden Kalamazoo Tours. They are a lot of fun and always well done.

• Top hangout?
On a warm sunny day or a clear starry night, Bell’s Eccentric Cafe‘s Beer Garden is a great place to hang out with your peeps. Live music, movies, dancing, Bell’s beer… what’s not to love?!

Bell's Beer Garden

Bell’s Eccentric Cafe’s Beer Garden is the place to be in the summertime. Come on down for a show or to simply enjoy the ambiance. Photo credit: @byrnesho

• Favorite attraction?
The Air Zoo is Kalamazoo’s crown jewel. There isn’t a cooler place to learn the history of aviation and space flight while engaging in the science behind it. Whether you are practicing your skills in a flight simulator, taking a flight in a WWII Stearman bi-plane, or creating/launching your own rocket, the Air Zoo is fun for everyone. (Disclaimer: I recently became an employee of the Air Zoo. No one will or has paid me to say this. Pinky swear.)

Air Zoo

The Air Zoo is home to more than 50 rare and historic aircraft. A first-of-its kind museum, it features theme-park-style rides, a flight-motion simulator, 4-D movie theatre, space section and more!

• Favorite Kalamazoo festival/event?
New Year’s Fest has got to be my most favorite festival of the year. Don’t get me wrong – I hate Michigan winters as much as the next Michganian. There’s just something special about one night that can bring you puppets, horse-drawn hay wagon rides, yo-yo masters, jazz performances, improv comedy, tubas, Elvis and fireworks. NYF is the most wonderful event to be in the middle of. And it is STILL only $5 to attend. (Don’t forget the One One Run with Gazelle Sports the next morning! Also a whole lot of fun and a great way to kick-start that New Year’s resolution.)

Kalamazoo New Year's Fest

Kalamazoo New Year’s Fest happens every Dec. 31 in downtown Kalamazoo!

• Best late-night spot?
It’s not often that I find myself out late, but when I’m breaking curfew, I’m at the Union Cabaret & Grille for music and martinis. It’s the best after-dinner meet-up spot. Good food; good friends; good time. And if you’re the type that’s not done hanging out when everything else has shut down, Sweetwater’s Donut Mill is the place to be. Mmmmmm… donuts.

Sweetwater's Kalamazoo

Sweetwater’s Donut Mill is a must-stop in Kalamazoo. What’s better than a donut shop on Sprinkle Road? Candy-bar inspired donuts, traditional & beyond! Named “Top 10″ Donuts in U.S. on MSN City Guide & Top dozen “Best Donuts Ever” in U.S. by AOL! Plus, it’s open 24/7.

• Favorite thing about Kalamazoo?
My favorite thing about this city is Kalamazoo’s people and leaders. We make up this uniquely amazing community with a collective spirit that cannot be matched ANYWHERE. Not anywhere. Try to prove me wrong.

wmu football

Heading to Western Michigan University football games is one of Maria Suszynski’s favorite fall activities in Kalamazoo.

 

• Favorite thing to do in each season?
- Fall: Cooler weather means WMU football games & the Holly Jolly Trolley(!!).
- Winter: I stay warm during the cold months with Erin Fouch’s Zumba! classes at Wayside West. Wellspring/Cori Terry & DancersMidwest RAD Fest wraps up the chilly season with the hottest dance festival around.
- Spring: When things warm up, I lace up my sneaks and hit the pavement. The Borgess Run for the Health of It & the Girls on the Run 5K are my favorite spring activities. Oh… and “Oberon Day” – also a spring favorite (runners need to hydrate).
- Summer: Forget April in Paris. Bronson Park in June (and July and August) is where it’s at! Events like the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Art Fair, Sunday Concerts in the Park, Third Thursday Jazz, and Lunchtime Live are worth waiting 9 months for. (Sydney’s Summer Sidewalk Sale…worth waiting ALL YEAR for.)

• Coolest Kalamazoo-history fact?
Kalamazoo is home to the very first U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship (1963). I do love hot air balloons. And fireworks. I digress.

• Favorite place to grab a drink?
This is a tough question to answer these days. There are so many choices in the runner up for BeerCity USA! Tibb’s Brewing Company has become one of my favorite places to meet-up with friends on Art Hop Fridays. This cozy corner of Kalamazoo is a great gathering place for celebrating the end of your work week or simply celebrating. Tibbs’ Belgian Golden Strong is truly exceptional. So exceptional, that it has inspired an equally delicious dessert at the Cupcake Zoo just around the corner.

• Perfect day trip?
One of my favorite family day trips takes me to Fennville, MI for apple picking and corn mazes at Crane Orchards and dining at Su Casa. Every fall, I look forward to those warm October afternoons filled with Honeycrips and enchiladas. It’s pure Michigan.

bowling alley kalamazoo

Airway Lanes in Kalamazoo is great fun for kids and adults alike! It has bowling, laser tag, an arcade and more!

• Fun place(s) for kids/families?
There is lots of fun to be had by families in Kalamazoo. Some of my top recommendations include: Kalamazoo Valley Museum; Kalamazoo Nature Center; Echo Valley Winter Sports Park; and Airway Lanes. Indoors or outdoors, there is plenty to do in the ‘Zoo.

• Fun date?
Date night is always fun at the Alamo Drafthouse. I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun. You have to experience it yourself, and it IS an experience. Grab your lover, your bestie or your peeps… bottomless bowls of popcorn and sing-a-long movies guarantee a very good time.

Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo

Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo features a full bar with 32 draft taps, wine, mixed drinks, coffee, tea, soda, shakes and more. Get there 30 minutes before your movie to browse the menu and enjoy the custom pre-show! The theatre validates parking in the adjacent garages — just bring in your parking ticket to the front counter after the movie.

• Best pizza?
Honestly, I don’t have a favorite. The best pizza is the one you can share. Or the one with mushrooms.

• Favorite way to spend a Saturday afternoon?
Saturdays are for spending outdoors: farmers markets; U-pick farms; festivals; beaches; running; reading; performances; soccer games… If the weather is agreeable, I’m outside enjoying it.

Click for the largest database of Kalamazoo events!

Celebrating Kalamazoo Pride: Drag performers, dancing, smiles

Lori Gottschling is an intern at Discover Kalamazoo who enjoys all things related to coffee and photography. Keep an eye out for Lori at upcoming events in Kalamazoo! :)

Lori Gottschling is an intern at Discover Kalamazoo who enjoys all things related to coffee and photography. Keep an eye out for Lori at upcoming events in Kalamazoo! :)

Kalamazoo, Mich. — The second I step into line (which, by the way, stretches all the way out of the park!), I am immediately overcome with a sense of welcoming by the people around me.

There is chatting, laughter and genuine happiness filling the air! I can literally hear the buzz of excitement as strangers introduce themselves to one another and make new friends — all before they even step foot onto the festival grounds. This is going to be a good day. :)

I’m in line to attend Kalamazoo Pride (held June 13-14, 2014) in downtown Kalamazoo at Arcadia Creek Festival Place to get photos for my internship at Discover Kalamazoo.

Haven’t heard of Kalamazoo Pride? This annual festival started in 2007 to celebrate the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity, and it’s hosted by the Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center. Read on to get a taste of what Kalamazoo Pride has to offer!

Kalamazoo pride festival

The bridge leading into Kalamazoo Pride 2014 was lined with lots of people Friday evening before the festival gates opened!

kalamazoo pride festival

The bridge was also lined with beautiful rainbow fabric! :)

kalamazoo pride fest

Before the local drag competition started, dancers wowed the crowd with their moves!

Once I make it through the line, the real fun begins!

The night starts with a dance competition that brings the crowd to its feet! It’s so amazing to see Kalamazoo locals have no fear about jumping up on stage and showing off their funky dance moves! (I’m not sure I could do that!)

After the dance competition, it’s time for the event I’ve been excited about for weeks: the local drag competition. I’ve never been to a drag show before, but I’ve always wanted to go. So, here’s my chance!

The competition kicks off with an impeccable lip-sync performance by last year’s Ms. Kalamazoo Pride, the fabulous and beautiful, Una Legend!

kalamazoo pride fest

Ms. Kalamazoo Pride 2013 Una Legend gives the crowd a wave during the farewell performance at the 2014 Kalamazoo Pride drag competition.

After Legend’s farewell performance, the contestants give their all by showing their best lip-syncing skills and dance moves — all in hopes of becoming Miss or Mister Kalamazoo Pride 2014!

The stage is filled with loads of energy, charisma, creativity and some of the most spectacular costumes I have ever seen — not to mention, some pretty awesome lip-synced performances, too. ;)

kalamazoo pride fest kalamazoo pride fest kalamazoo pride fest kalamazoo pride fest kalamazoo pride fest kalamazoo pride festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the local drag competition — which will not be my last — the Chicago cover band Deja Vu rocks out on stage while I join the crowd to dance at the band’s feet!

kalamazoo pride festivalkalamazoo pride fest

Later, I wander around looking for people to chat about what pride means to them. Here’s what they had to say:

kalamazoo pride festival

“Pride is everybody being allowed to be as happy as they want to be in the open. It’s so important for everyone to feel safe expressing themselves. Everyone deserves a safe place,” said Chelsea Errante and August Smith.

kalamazoo pride

“Pride means being myself no matter the cost,” said Sabrina Alexinia Berk.

 

 

 

 

kalamazoo pride

“Love is love. It has nothing to do with gender,” said Sara Murphy and Mindi Snyder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, my experience at Kalamazoo Pride 2014 was something that I will always cherish. My biggest takeaways are we should always be proud of who we are and continue to love the people we are becoming!

kalamazoo prideSee more Kalamazoo Pride photos by visiting Discover Kalamazoo‘s Facebook or Flickr albums!

Click here to find more cool things to do in Kalamazoo!

A walk in Bronson Park

Lori Gottschling is an intern at Discover Kalamazoo who enjoys all things related to coffee and photography. Keep an eye out for Lori at upcoming events in Kalamazoo! :)

Lori Gottschling is an intern at Discover Kalamazoo who enjoys all things related to coffee and photography. Keep an eye out for Lori at upcoming events in Kalamazoo! :)

Kalamazoo, Mich. — Love animals and nature?

Then stop over to Bronson Park to check out some amazing animal topiaries!

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to venture over to Bronson Park and see some of the animal sculptures for myself. There are a number of diverse animal topiaries that were all planted by Kalamazoo in Bloom located throughout the park! Take a look at some of the fun animals I ran into on my walk through Bronson park! :)

The first animal I encountered on my adventure is the biggest sculpture in the park. Standing more than 6 feet tall, this peacock is something that you must see to believe!

Exploring Bronson Park Topiaries - Kalamazoo, Michigan

The animal topiaries were planted in Bronson Park by Kalamazoo in Bloom! Here is a topiary peacock stretching its neck in the sun!

The next animal I ran into on my walk through the park was a little monkey, swinging through the branches on a tree.

Exploring Bronson Park Topiaries - Kalamazoo, Michigan

There are also a number of animals hidden in the trees throughout the park!

In addition to a wide range of different animals, the park is filled with some gorgeous flowers. Take a look at some of my favorite buds! :)

Exploring Bronson Park Topiaries - Kalamazoo, MichiganExploring Bronson Park Topiaries - Kalamazoo, MichiganExploring Bronson Park Topiaries - Kalamazoo, Michigan

 

 

 

I also ran into a couple of topiaries “horsing” around during my walk. ;)

Exploring Bronson Park Topiaries - Kalamazoo, MichiganThere is also an array of smaller critters featured in Bronson park! You have to look closely to spot some of these tiny furry friends!

Exploring Bronson Park Topiaries - Kalamazoo, MichiganAfter finding some of the smaller topiaries, I ran into this crane who was hiding in the grass.

Exploring Bronson Park Topiaries - Kalamazoo, MichiganThe final animal I saw on my walk through Bronson park was this large moose. I don’t like to play favorites, but if I had to choose I think I would go with the moose!

Exploring Bronson Park Topiaries - Kalamazoo, Michigan

Did you know that the moose is the largest member of the deer family and a native species to Michigan?

That wraps up my walk through Bronson park! Hopefully you too can make a trip out and enjoy the animal topiaries while furthering your discovery of Kalamazoo! :)

See more photos of the topiary animals by visiting our Discover Kalamazoo Facebook or Flickr!

Click for more cool things to do in Kalamazoo!