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Reply #37: Welcome to Kalamazoo! [View All]

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Home » Discuss » Places » Michigan Donate to DU
Obamarama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 08:05 PM
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37. Welcome to Kalamazoo!
Edited on Tue Sep-19-06 08:06 PM by KzooDem
Welcome to our fair city, GOPBasher.

As others have mentioned, Kalamazoo is a pretty decent place to live if you have to live in a medium-sized, Midwestern college town. I wouldn't say Kalamazoo is very liberal as was mentioned above. That being said, I don't think it's very conservative, either. There are sizable camps of both conservative and liberal mindsets, which keeps things fairly balanced. Were it not for the local colleges (Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College, plus Kalamazoo Community College) it might be a lot more conservative. There is a very strong streak of conservative, Christian politics in the area, but like I said, they are kept in check by the liberal camp.

I would say more than anything else, Kalamazoo has a thriving arts community. We have a pretty decent symphony, an art museum, a very VERY strongly supported civic theatre program, a few independent theatre troupes (Whole Art Theatre, Actors & Playwrights Initiative, and The New Vic).
One Friday a month there is an Art Hop where artists display their works in local venues and businesses in the downtown area.

I think the biggest plus Kalamazoo has going for it, however, is its downtown area. In an era where the downtown area of cities of similar size are dying, Kalamazoo's downtown has experienced a real renaissance in the the past 5 - 8 years. There have been several high-end loft condos built in older buildings downtown, the Radisson Hotel just underwent a major renovation, and they just built a brand-new 14 screen multiplex smack dab in the middle of downtown. That's virtually unheard of in medium sized cities.

There are lots of great places to eat and drink in Kalamazoo, too. Who needs the national chains? There are lots of independent spots to enjoy. Among my favorites:

The Corner Bar (corner of Vine & Mills) - An old bowling alley from the 1920s turned into a bar/restaurant. Decorated in vintage beer marketing memorabilia, it's somewhat of a dive with a pretty good beer selection and really, really good bar food. Their ribs are as good as any I have had in Kansas City.

Food Dance Cafe (Michigan Avenue & Portage, downtown)- Primarily a breakfast place, but also serving lunch & dinner. Ecclectic, sophisticated place that serves locally grown and produced food. Quality is what this place is known for. A little on the pricey side but very worth it.

Martini's (Westnedge Avenue at Village St.) Independent Italian place - everything is homemade. EVERYTHING. The best pizzas, calzones and antipasti salads this side of Rome. Their sandwiches are superb as well, especially their Cuban pork sandwich.

MacKenzies Bakery (Harrison Street at Ransom St.) and Sarkozy's Bakery (N. Burdick Street at Kalamazoo Ave.) - Who needs Panera with these places in town?? Sarkozy's has been around for eons and their breads are great. MacKenzies has been around for eons as a traditional bakery, but in the last 5 to 8 years has come into its own with its expertise now solidly entrenched in artisinal breads. Both places are superb and my partner and I frequent them both on a weekly basis.

Water Street Coffee Joint - Kalamazoo Avenue at Water Street - Move over Starbuck's. This independent coffee house puts Starbucks to shame with it's ecclectic coolness. Excellent coffees to choose from, not to mention out-of-this-world baked goods.

These are just a few of my favorite things about Kalamazoo. Feel free to PM me if you want any additional information. I can point you in the direction of reputable lawyers, realtors, mechanics, etc...

Once again, WELCOME!
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