In just two days, with this itinerary you'll dive in to Kalamazoo's deep-rooted history through the storied streets of the West Main Hill and River's Edge neighborhoods, come face-to-face with pieces of automotive, aviation and musical history, dine at long-time local favorites and more!
Tour Heritage Guitars
In the late 1800s, Orville Gibson arrived in Kalamazoo and began designing his own range of mandolins. Some of the world's finest guitars were built at 225 Parsons Street from 1917 to 1984, when Gibson left Kalamazoo for Nashville, Tennessee. Some of the former senior employees wanted to continue the tradition of handcrafting beautiful, high quality electric guitars in Kalamazoo, thus Heritage Guitars was born. In the spring of 1985, they bought space at the iconic factory, much of the original guitar-making equipment, and the rest is history.
Lunch at Louie’s Trophy House Bar & Grill
Today, Louie’s is the oldest bar in Kalamazoo. The bar acts as an escape from the the busy city. When patrons walk in, the first thing they notice is the taxidermy lined walls. It features a cabin on the lake feel. Louie’s has drink specials every night of the week, a free comedy show every Tuesday, open mic night every Wednesday, and live entertainment in the Back Room every Friday and Saturday. Louie’s is a a home away from home for the regulars, and for every new customer that walks in, they walk out feeling like they just spent an evening with old friends.
Spend the afternoon at the Air Zoo
Over its 40-year history, the Air Zoo grew from a nine-plane hangar display to a stunning, world-class aerospace and science education center with over 100 rare aircraft and spacecraft, interactive exhibits, and cutting-edge educational programs for people of all ages.
Dinner at the Henderson Castle
There is an exquisite piece of history located on the steep of West Main Hill overlooking downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan. This historic work of architecture is none other than The Henderson Castle, established in 1895. The castle has been recently renovated and is under new ownership since 2011 and is open to the public. The restaurant is open daily for Breakfast, High Tea Service and Tours. Dinner Service is available Wednesday – Sunday. The Castle is the prime location for vintage atmosphere, superb cuisine, and lovely staff for couples on their wedding day. They host many events allowing the community to enjoy this historic beauty that has been part of Kalamazoo for over a century. The Henderson Castle experience is one you will never forget.
Breakfast at Theo & Stacys
Theo and Stacy, having come from a small town in the south of Greece, the Peloponnese, established their first restaurant in Flushing, New York in 1969. Having chosen Kalamazoo as their home since 1973, they wish to pass on their rich Greek heritage of fine foods and hospitality to their guests.
Head to the Gilmore Car Museum for the day
Today, the Gilmore Car Museum is North America’s largest auto museum with over 400 vehicles on display and over 190,000 square feet of exhibit space. The Museum’s 90-acre Historic Campus features numerous vintage structures including a restored and fully-functioning 1941 Silk City Diner, a recreated 1930s Shell Station, six onsite Partner Museums, and so much more.
Lunch at George & Sally’s Blue Moon Diner at the Gilmore Car Museum
George & Sally’s Blue Moon Diner, an authentic 1941 diner, opened for business on site in 2005. In 2004, this gem was restored and moved over 800 miles from Meriden, Connecticut to the Gilmore Car Museum. The menu includes the best of your typical diner fare including soups and sandwiches, blue plate specials, and Chicago and Coney-style hot dogs. The decadent homemade pie and rich, creamy old-fashioned custard attract diners from near and far. Stop in for a bite before you continue your walk through automotive history!
End the weekend with a beverage at Bell's Eccentric Cafe
You can't come to Kalamazoo without experiencing some of the local craft! While all of Kalamazoo's breweries have a unique story, Bell's Brewery is the oldest brewery east of Boulder, Colorado, and the first Michigan brewery to open an on-site pub, the Eccentric Cafe, in 1993.