The fall season is hands down one of the best times to visit Kalamazoo! This day trip itinerary highlights some of the many unique ways to have fun and explore the changing scenery while also ensuring that you set foot in almost every area of Kalamazoo County.
Take leaf peeping to the next level as you take in morning lake views, followed by the unmatched beauty of the Kalamazoo Nature Center’s hiking trails. Then get ready to sample, sip, taste and relax while you enjoy Michigan apples, cider and beer straight from the source!
Brunch at Cove Lakeside Bistro
Cove Lakeside Bistro is a modern eatery with a lake house feel, located on West Lake in Portage. If you’re looking for a greasy spoon lunch spot, Cove would not be the place for your brunch experience. That being said, their brunch menu is unique, fresh and creative, and you can’t beat the floor to ceiling views of West Lake. Plus, if you’re going to be out all day, you’re going to need top-notch food to fuel your afternoon activities!
Kalamazoo Nature Center for a hike
This must-visit outdoor and indoor experience will connect you to the natural world. The Kalamazoo Nature Center lets you enjoy miles of trails through woods, wetlands, and prairies. While you walk around the trails, listen for owls, songbirds, woodpeckers, and more. Keep your eyes open for wildflowers, deer, turkey, butterflies, insects, turtles and other creatures! There is also a year-long, three-story tropical rainforest inside the Nature Center. This is a great place for a winter excursion to see beautiful greenery! In the spring, enjoy the butterfly and hummingbird garden – which is filled with plantings and flowers that feed and provide shelter for the delicate creatures. Everyone (and every animal) can find something to enjoy and discover at the Kalamazoo Nature Center!
Afternoon at a Gull Meadow Farms
Gull Meadow Farms is a fun destination for for the whole family. They offer UPick apples, pumpkins, a corn Maze, fresh baked goods, barn animals and more! They’re open August – December, and host multiple festivals, arts and craft fairs, vintage markets and various other unique events throughout the season.
This place is extremely kid-friendly, but if you’re planning a visit without kiddos in tow, there are plenty of things to do here that make for a perfect date, afternoon with friends or your in-laws; you will for sure find something worth your while! Our favorite adult-friendly activities are the wagon rides out to the orchard for apple picking or out to the pumpkin patch to find your one-of-a-kind pumpkin for carving that perfect Jack-o-lantern.
And while you might still be full from your brunch at Cove, you can’t leave without grabbing some fresh donuts, cider and kettle corn to-go!
Dinner at Martini’s
Not only do the old tree-lined streets of Kalamazoo’s Historic Vine Neighborhood provide for some great fall views, you can attend one of the many Haunted History of Kalamazoo walking tours that take place just a few blocks away in Bronson Park! If you’re not in to the spooky thing, then we’re confident that you’ll love the warm and cozy vibe at Martini’s.
Martini’s is a family owned and operated Italian restaurant in Kalamazoo. They source fresh ingredients from local purveyors and Michigan farmers, “making a show of soul, transmuting work to love and feeding more than man’s hunger”.
Behind the bar they have a variety of classic and original mixtures to help palliate your spirit. They especially love supporting the local breweries and rotate their beer selection with the changing seasons. On the warmer nights you can dine on their outdoor patio and enjoy live music under twinkly Italian lights!
End the night with drinks and games at One Well
One Well Brewing is “a place for like-minded folks who want to share ideas, art and culture”, and also – delicious beer! Some of their mainstay beers on the menu include popular favorites such as the Xalapa – a blonde ale brewed with no-spice jalapeños, so you get all of the nose and flavor of a jalapeño, but without any of the heat.
If you’re in to more of a darker style beer, you have to try the Sweet Water Street – a coffee donut porter. Yes. Read that again. Coffee. Donut. Beer. This porter combines a labor of love from Sweetwater’s Donut Mill and a special organic coffee from Waster Street Coffee Roaster. It’s the best way to enjoy your breakfast staples all day long!
And because we’re coffee people here in Kalamazoo, we also have to suggest that you try the State of Bean (if they have it on rotation) – a Butter Pecan coffee from Kalamazoo Coffee Company is the main feature in this beer. The aroma is a very pleasant representation of the coffee and is reinforced by the outstanding flavor. Coffee is usually paired with dark roasty malts, not State of Bean. This easy drinking blonde ale gives you a forward flavor of butter pecan and finishes with a full note of coffee!