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College Perspective: Favorite things to do in Kalamazoo

Posted on May 20th, 2014
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 University. She enjoys summer, exploring different attractions and finding out about all the exciting events going on in Kalamazoo.

• Favorite restaurant?

I would say Mangia Mangia, because every entrée I’ve tried is delicious! Get the calamari as an appetizer, and I highly recommend the lobster mac and cheese. I’m also a big fan of Mangia Mangia’s bread with their dipping oil. I love the cozy Italian feel when you step inside and the location of the restaurant on the downtown Kalamazoo Mall.

I also have to add in Erbelli’s for pizza. Growing up in Chicago, I have pretty high standards for my pizza…and this restaurant exceeds my standards!

• Favorite attraction?

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. I had never before been to a movie theatre that serves you while you sit and enjoy a movie! What I like about this attraction is that it is fun for all ages. You can see a movie with your family, friends, children, etc. and order a snack, entrée or drink — without having to leave the movie. The theatre validates your parking, so it’s free, and Alamo often offers special events, such as sing-alongs, quote-alongs and dance parties!

Alamodraft house cinema Kalamazoo

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is new to downtown Kalamazoo. It is the first dine-in movie theatre in the city and opened up in Fall of 2013.

• Favorite thing about Kalamazoo?

Hands down, the people. Everyone I have met here is extremely welcoming and friendly — and you don’t find that everywhere. I was drawn to how much this town has to offer and how diverse the community is.

• Favorite Kalamazoo festival/event?

I took part in Kalamazoo Beer Week in January, and it was a blast! It was neat to see college students and adults all enjoying the wonderful breweries in Kalamazoo. I’m also excited to attend all the summer festivals in downtown Kalamazoo, including Taste of Kalamazoo and Ribfest!

entertainment district concert and drinks

There are many different events that take place downtown Kalamazoo throughout the year. The Entertainment District has great bars, drinks, music and concerts; this photo is of District Square in The Entertainment District.

• Favorite place to grab a drink?

Anywhere in the Entertainment District. Each bar has a unique feel and fun environment.

• Best late-night spot for college students?

Grotto at Capone’s. You can enjoy daily specials and Trivia on Wednesday’s. Every Sunday, all food and drinks are half off.

• Top hangout?

Pinz bowling alley. They have open bowl and weekly specials. Tuesday is the place to be for college night.

• Fun Fact about Kalamazoo:

Western Michigan University used to be farmland, then turned into a golf course and now a top 100 national university!

WMU Western Michigan Univeristy

This photo shows Western Michigan University’s beautiful campus.

• Best breakfast?

Nina’s café on W. Main Street. It is a small restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch and is always packed with people. I would recommend trying the stuffed waffle with sweetened cream cheese, pecans, strawberries and whipped cream!

• Great brunch place?

Crow’s Nest is this small, hip restaurant that offers excellent breakfast and a variety of options for lunch.

airway lanes fun center

Spend a day at Airway Lanes and enjoy bowling, mini golf, go karting, laser tag, an arcade and more.

• Fun places for kids/families?

Airway Lanes and Fun Center. I took my little cousins and the kids I used to nanny there, and they had an absolute blast. Attractions include: bowling, mini golf, bumper cars, laser tag, lasermaze, an arcade and more.

• Favorite place to get a smoothie?

Smoothie King. Monday-Friday, enjoy the best prices with happy hour from 2-4!


• Best summer treat?

Frozen yogurt at Let’s Swirl!

• Fun date?

The Beer Exchange. If you enjoy craft beer, delicious food and music this is the place to go.

kalamazoo beer exchange

The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange is a two-story multi-tap bar and grill with many different kinds of draught beer. Occasionally the market will “crash” and certain beer prices will drop to their all-time low.

Click here if you’re looking for more cool things to do in Kalamazoo!

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