Located in the lower western portion of Michigan, Kalamazoo is halfway between Chicago, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan. The name "Kalamazoo" is derived from a Native American expression meaning "mirage of the reflecting river," a probable reference to nearby Lake Michigan. Once a manufacturing hub for stoves, taxi cabs, Gibson guitars, celery, paper, and other goods, this Great Lakes treasure is rich with historical landmarks. The city consists of 21 neighborhoods, some with tree-lined streets and restored Victorian homes. Architecture enthusiasts come for the eight houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and gardeners come to buy bedding plants (the city is known for them). And, for beer lovers, Kalamazoo is a microbrew mecca.
Most Kalamazoo hotels are clustered downtown and along Michigan Avenue, and a few bed and breakfasts operate in the residential areas. In Bronson Park, you can see a mound relic of the Hopewell Indians. Another point of interest is the Psychiatric Hospital Water Tower. Now unused, the Baroque-style edifice is an ominous reminder of the past. Any gloom is easily offset by the cheer generated by the busy restaurants and bars that serve late into the evening. With three colleges in town, it's easy to find cheap hotels in Kalamazoo and a taxi ride when you need one.
A vacation package to Kalamazoo might include the Valley Museum, the Nature Center, and shopping at the nation's first downtown pedestrian mall. The new Air Zoo collaborates with the Smithsonian to educate on aviation history. Get fresh air by walking or bicycling the paved 17 miles of Valley Trail, and after a day on your feet, see a play at Civic Theater in the evening and enjoy dinner with a glass of local, organic wine.
Hotels in Kalamazoo book up quickly because of the colleges, so make reservations in advance. Book your flights to Kalamazoo with Travelocity, or better yet, bundle you hotel and flight together and save up to $537.