Kalamazoo is midway between Chicago and Detroit on I-94 and offers commercial transportation by train, bus and major airline at the Kalamazoo Battle Creek International Airport.With a population of more than 325,000, Kalamazoo is the sixth largest metropolitan area in Michigan and among the 150 largest in the country. It's large enough to support all the amenities and entertainment found in larger cities; and yet, you can be in the heart of farm country in 20 minutes, and Kalamazoo supports a thriving Farmers Market downtown May through November. Day or weekend trips by train to Chicago, the nation's third largest city, are popular and even more convenient with the continuing development of high-speed rail connecting the two cities.
Kalamazoo is one of the 25 best cities in the country for young college graduates, according to a 2011 national study that looked at relative affordability, housing and employment opportunities, and size of the age 22-24 population. It's the home of the Kalamazoo Promise that guarantees college tuition to graduates of the Kalamazoo Public Schools—the largest program of its kind anywhere.
Kalamazoo is famous for a lot of things. It's a major international pharmaceutical and life sciences center; it's the original home of the Upjohn Co., Stryker Corp, Gibson Guitars, Checker Motors and Bell's Brewery, among many others; the Kalamazoo Gazette is the second oldest newspaper in Michigan; and a century ago, Kalamazoo was so famous for one crop, it was known throughout the country as the Celery City. Abraham Lincoln spoke in the village of Kalamazoo in 1856, four years before he was elected president, his only public address in Michigan.
Kalamazoo is a center of higher education. In addition to WMU, it is home to Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. The three institutions collaborate on a variety of fronts and add significantly to the cultural and educational opportunities and economic development of the region.
Kalamazoo is a 40-minute drive from Lake Michigan beaches at South Haven and slightly farther from beaches at St. Joseph and Saugatuck.
Michigan’s ski country, considered the best skiing in the Midwest is three to four hours north, and excellent local skiing is only 30 minutes away.
Originally a railroad line connecting Kalamazoo and South Haven, the 33-mile Kal-Haven Trail is popular for bicycle riding, hiking and cross country skiing. In 2008, the eastern end of the trail was extended into Kalamazoo as part of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail. When completed, the two trails will create a 70-mile bike path from South Haven to Battle Creek.