During my last trip to Kalamazoo, I was fortunate enough to see one of my favorite authors, David Sedaris, at the State Theatre. The interior of the theatre is so beautiful, with great sculptures and the feeling that you are beneath a starry sky.
Several types of shows come through here, ranging from speakers and plays to rock bands and reunions.
State Street is the heart of downtown Kalamazoo. On a beautiful day, it's great to take a walk and enjoy all the people out and about. You can pack a lunch and have a picnic in a bearby park, or at once of the tables set out alongside the rows of shops, restaurants, and public buildings. This area is becoming more popular everyday. There are new modern downtown lofts being converted from old business buildings, plus several new buildings in the process of construction. My favorite thing is to get a cup of tea from one of the local shops and window shopping. On State Street are several great restaurants, including Epic Bistro (please see my tip), and beautiful shops, including Acorn, one of my mother's favorite stores (and we're from LA, a shopping mecca). The goods you will find in the stores are unique and high-quality. It's a great place to find arts and crafts.
An "Enduro" race, in case you're wondering, is a long distance race on a short track, in cheap cars, and (Usualy) crazy drivers. It works like this. You get 50 to 100 non-professional drivers in beat up late model cars. (stock only) Then you put them all on the same racetrack at the same time. The object of the game is to be the first one to go around the track 400 (sometimes 500) times. The catch is this. If you stall out or wreck your car, it stays on the track. They sometimes will stop the race long enough to remove drivers who are deemed to be in jepordy, but the cars stay on the track and become obsticles for the other drivers. This leads very quickly to a crazy "MAD MAX" style free for all that I have to admit I just can't resist.
If you're the type of race fan who enjoys the highlight reel more than sitting through a whole Nascar race, you'll like it too. There is usually a wreck about every two to five minuits, and a race lasts about 4 hours. Since the speeds are realitivly slow there are seldom any injuries, so you can watch these lunitics smash it up with a clear concience.
There are two tracks in the Kalamazoo area that have Enduro Racing, each about once a month during the season (April to November), price is usually about 15.00 per adult, less for kids and there are almost always other activities during the evening as well. (Fireworks, monster trucks, ect.)
Galesburg Michigan Speedway
This is a classic place to spend an afternoon or evening in West Michigan. They have Tobogan Runs, Tubing, and Ice Skating. It's a family oriented place so it will be fun for the kids, but also a great place to take a date if you're looking for something more imaginative than a bar or movie.
This is one of those huge hometown events that seem to be completly ignored by the locals. I'm going this year, no really I mean it. They get the very best keyboard players from all over the world right here in Kalamazoo. I can't beleive I've never gone to it. It starts this year on Nov.11. Details can be found on " thegilmore.com " . See you there.
The Airzoo, near the Kalamazoo airport, is a unique experience. A 4D theater, 20+ planes under one roof, and flight simulators that ROCK. The planes for the most part are either replicas or restored aircraft (there are a few scaled models) that are displayed in a most interesting venue. The Airzoo works in association with The Smithsonian Institution. They have the only dual cockpit SR-71B, an F-14 Tomcat (of Top Gun fame), an F-18 Hornet (once flown by the Blue Angels), one of only four functioning Ford Tri-motors and a restored S8D Dauntless
Springtime again. Every year about this time I start planing my Trip down West Michigan's Kal-Haven Trail. It's a walking/biking trail that runs from Kalamazoo west to South Haven on the Lake Michigan shore. It runs along an old railroad right of way through some really beautiful country, for about 60 miles. No motorized vehicles allowed, but you will see an ocaisonal horse, and probably a couple of deer along the way. I live near the middle of the trail and have spent a few summer days on diferent streches of the trail, but I've never "gone the distance." This year I might just make the full length.
Portage Bikeway, just south of Kalamazoo city limits is a nicely done paved trail for cycling, skating, running or just walking. There are currently about 5 miles of trails, blacktop paved and about 3 meters wide. Nearly all is in a natural area away from streets and buildings. The Millenium Trail, which goes west for a short distance, is in a swamp, and not much used, but beautiful. There is also canoe rentals on Portage Creek within the park. For those with more energy, there is nearby the Kal-Haven Trail, which goes from Kalamazoo's western side to South Haven on Lake Michigan, about 35 miles.
Kalamazoo's traditional downtown centerpiece is Bronson Park, named for the community's founder, Titus Bronson. From its creation, Bronson Park has been the site of celebrations and public meetings. In 1856, Abraham Lincoln, then an attorney, spoke at a political rally in the park. In later years, Stephen A. Douglas, William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, and both John and Robert Kennedy spoke to assembled crowds, as the Potawatomi Indians had, from the mound near the southwest corner of the park.
The park's notable features include an Indian mound on its south side, a fountain designed by Alfonse Ianelli depicting the brutality of white settlers toward Native Americans, and a sculpture "The Children May Safely Play" by Kirk Newman, in the west reflecting pool. The park lost many tall, old trees when it was ravaged by a 1980 killer tornado that swept through downtown Kalamazoo.
Every June downtown Kalamazoo hosts the Do_dah parade. This event is just silly, which makes it most fun. If you’ve always wanted to be in a parade, now is your chance. This parade is meant to be silly, fun, unusual and entertaining for the whole family. No charge to enter. Parade begins in downtown Kalamazoo, near Bronson Hospital. 11 a.m. Where does it go? The parade begins at the Portage and Lovell Streets intersection, down Lovell then North on Park Street, East on Michigan Avenue, South on Portage Road and returns to Lovell Street.
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is a nonprofit art museum and school. Since 1924, the institute has offered art classes and free-admission programming, including exhibitions, lectures, events, activities and a permanent collections. The KIA's mission is to cultivate the creation and appreciation of the visual arts for the communities of West Michigan.
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is open Tuesday - Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday: noon - 5 p.m. We are closed on Mondays and holidays.
My family and I went to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. This small museum is a hidden gem of the city, and the admission was free. Our entire family had fun, from my eleven year old sister to my 60 year old grandparents. The planetarium is one of the best around, and we only had to pay 3 bucks per person. Definitely worth the parking and the tickets.