Apartments in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo, MI Local Guide

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A Local Perspective

Kalamazoo MI
Kalamazoo is a medium sized city in Western Michigan. Home to over 74,000 people, Kalamazoo is known for having an economy very strongly rooted in health sciences and pharmaceuticals. Popular with the young adults in town, Kalamazoo has also been a pioneer in the surging craft beer scene in America. The Kalamazoo River runs through town, although most of the town sits on the southwest side of the river, with a handful of scenic creeks winding through the rest of the city.

With four separate campuses spread throughout the city, Western Michigan University is an important part of Kalamazoo. The University is recognized for diverse areas of excellence, including aviation and Medieval Studies. WMU is also home to the Division I NCAA Broncos.

Finding a Kalamazoo Apartment

When to search

Kalamazoo has been home to a slightly shrinking population and a high apartment vacancy rate. This makes finding a new home easier than it is in more crowded locales. If you start looking for your new home in May or June, you should find that you have plenty of time to secure a living arrangement.

Staying in the know

Just because Kalamazoo doesn't sound competitive doesn't mean that you shouldn't consider all the angles when putting together your application. If you're funded by a big scholarship or have someone who will co-sign your lease, mention it at the outset. It can stop a landlord from rejecting your application before you get a chance to make your case.


Life in Kalamazoo

Transportation

Kalamazoo Metro Transit provides bus service within the city itself. This is fairly comprehensive, but Michigan was built on the car and most people within the city still drive. Kalamazoo is connected to the rest of Michigan by a number of local highways and Interstates, and travelling anywhere else in the state by car is a breeze.

Where to play

Kalamazoo is a beer lover's paradise, as it is a hotbed of microbrewing activity. With more than 10 local breweries, it's hard to ever get through the vast selection of readily available local beer. Try out Bell's to sample the local beer that started it all. For more entertainment, head to the entertainment district downtown where most of the city's nightlife is concentrated.

Attractions

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is one of the town’s leading attractions. This museum has exhibits that are suitable for children, and many which are fascinating to adults. It is also home to a planetarium, and the Stryker Theatre. Western Michigan University is another major attraction in the city. Touring any of the local breweries or wineries is a popular tourist activity. The Lawton Ridge Winery has a tour option that is quite popular and well received by tourists, as just one example. Just northeast of the city you can find the Gilmore Car Museum, one of the best exhibits celebrating classic cars in the country.

Dining

Rustica makes fresh food from as many local products as possible, and has a rustic European style. The casual restaurant is a favourite among local foodies. One of the most consistently well reviewed in the city is Saffron, which makes northern Indian food. In addition to the great flavour and atmosphere, the restaurant is popular for offering a wide selection of dishes for vegans and vegetarians. Excellent Mediterranean food is found at Zooroona, The name means, “come visit us” in Arabic, and the restaurant has grown into one of the best in town. If you're looking for a great breakfast, you can't miss Crow’s Nest.

Bars

Craft brewing is huge in Kalamazoo. The Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant has great food to go along with their carefully constructed beers. Gonzo’s is a newer bar in town that was opened by someone who once worked at the Olde Peninsula, and took his experience to open up another great beer bar in town. O’duffy’s Pub is a traditional Irish pub that can always pour a Guinness correctly. The Old Dog Tavern is an excellent place to go if you want to see some up and coming local bands while you eat and grab a drink. If you're looking for the real college bar in town, you need to go to Waldo’s.

Culture

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is the most well known museum in the city. Many of the modern American masters are well represented here. If you tour the downtown area you will find many smaller galleries, some owned and operated by the artists themselves. The Alamo Drafthouse cinema is the best place in town to see a wide variety of movies, including the most recent Hollywood blockbusters. A very unique thing to Kalamazoo is the West Michigan Glass Art Center. The creation of glass works has been very important throughout the history of the city, and the Glass Art Center celebrates this by displaying work by local artists in their gallery, while also working to tirelessly promote the art form through education and artist support.

Events

To celebrate the large Russian population in the city, Kalamazoo has been hosting a Russian Festival for nearly 20 years. It offers the best in food, music and culture from the local Russian community. Not to be outdone, there is also a Greek Festival. Kalamazoo Greek Fest takes place in June each year, this time with Greek food, music and culture on display. As with everywhere in Michigan, car culture is at the forefront in Kalamazoo. One of the biggest annual events has become the Street Rod Nationals North Plus. More than 25,000 people attend the event, and more than 2,600 fantastic cars typically participate.

Shopping

The undisputed best mall in Kalamazoo is the Crossroads Mall. This is a destination as much as it is a place to get the shopping done, and people are as likely to travel there to enjoy the entertainment options or grab a meal as they are to browse the stores. The downtown area of Kalamazoo is so much fun just to wander through, thanks to the Art Deco architecture on display throughout. However, it is also a great place to shop, with loads of independent retailers occupying the storefronts throughout the district. There are several other pockets of great shopping throughout town, including South Westnedge Avenue and Portage Road, among many others.

Sports

Western Michigan University is typically ranked among the top 100 universities in the country. There are a number of different reasons that it is a well regarded school, but it's athletics program is certainly among them. The quality of the teams fielded by the Broncos across a multitude of sports is one reason the games are so popular with the locals. The football games played at Waldo Stadium, and the men’s and women’s basketball games at University Arena are all very well attended. The most popular game of the year is when Western Michigan plays the Central Michigan University Chippewas for the WMU-CMU Trophy.

Outdoors

Although there are lots of things to do outdoors right in Kalamazoo, the presence of Lake Michigan just 45 minutes away can't be understated. Those who love being out on the water often head over to the big lake on weekends. There are a multitude of great bike paths in the area, but the newest and one of the largest is the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, and plans exist to expand the trail even further in the future. The Kalamazoo River itself is an excellent spot for fishing. Various spots along the river are considered to offer some of the best steelhead trout fishing that you can find anywhere.

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