Decks and Patios to Explore this Summer (Kalamazoo)

Bates Alley


Bates Alley in downtown Kalamazoo was given new life in the fall of 2018, making it the ultimate go-to spot to “deck hop” in the city! The following bars and restaurants occupy deck space in Bates Alley:


Olde Peninsula


Fuze Kitchen & Bar


Grand Traverse Distilling Tasting Room

Keep an eye out for their legendary Boozy Sunday Brunch! Enjoy a mixed drink from their Boozy Brunch Cocktail menu and mini Bloody Mary flights.


-Tempo Vino Winery

Tempo Vino Winery is a unique experience for all wine lovers, from the curious novice to the seasoned connoisseur. Not only can you stop in and sample our wines at the tasting bar, you can even make your own private label wine. Don’t miss their Summer Rosé and Rosé cider – the perfect thing to sip during patio season! 



The Spirit of Kalamazoo


Bell’s Beer Garden


With 20+ draught options, a full-service restaurant, a luscious Beer Garden, comfortable patio and a state-of-the-art music venue, Bell’s Eccentric Café is the premiere craft beer destination in Michigan.

Some of Bell’s beer is exclusive to the Eccentric Cafe, like a fresh pint of Pineapple Jalapeno Oberon!







Green Door Distilling Co. 


Kalamazoo Beer Exchange


At The Beer Exchange, you set the beer prices based on the principles of supply and demand, creating an ever-evolving happy hour.  It’s interactive.  You can try to game beer prices like the stock market, for fun and entertainment.  Random “market crashes” add to the excitement, plunging beer prices to their all-time low. They also serve lunch and dinner. Enjoy a few drinks or a meal out on their deck that overlooks Arcadia Creek Festival Place.

Old Dog Tavern 


Saugatuck Brewing Company – Kalamazoo

Once home to Gonzo’s Bigg Dogg Brewing, the space at 140 S Westnedge Avenue is now the new home of Saugatuck Brewing Company – Kalamazoo! Several of Gonzo’s popular specialty beers, including the Vanilla Porter, are still on the menu in addition to Saugatuck-specific brews.

If you’re visiting the brewery during patio season, make sure to quench your thirst with something refreshing such as their Blueberry Lemonade Shandy!

Virtual Museums and Exhibits in Kalamazoo

Are you looking for creative ways to get of our your house and into a new environment without ever leaving your house? Kalamazoo is home to many museums and attractions that you can view from the comfort of your own home. If this sounds perfect for you, try out this list of virtual experiences that our museums and attractions are offering




Reading With Raptors


Mindfulness Walk


Bird Watching 

Go bird watching with John and Liam with this KNC video!

Bird Watching with John and Liam from Jim Triezenberg on Vimeo.


Livestream Digital Creature Features






Ken’s Korner 


Beaches Around Kalamazoo


  1. Markin Glen Park

At Markin Glen Park, you’ll find a pictorial sandy beach that’s perfect for kids with plenty of shallow areas. There are also great bike and walking trails with great views overlooking Kalamazoo. And it’s located just 5 minutes north of downtown Kalamazoo!

2. Woods Lake Park

The recent $363,000 renovation to Woods Lake Park has paid off – its sandy beach, changing area, picnic pavilion (with six picnic tables), restrooms, a playground, and fishing pier are all fresh and modern. Bordered by woods on all sides, it’s truly a serene oasis in middle of bustling city and its warm water is both easy to swim and great for stand-up paddle boarding.

3. Ramona Park

Just 20 minutes away from Kzoo, Ramona Park is a local favorite for families. The sandy  shoreline at Long Lake is ideal for swimming, sunbathing and fishing. It features lifeguards, a concession stand, and a fun playground as well as picnic tables, BBQ grills, and a pavilion available for rent. You can also rent a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard or engage in one of the parks many other activities!

4. Robert Morris Park

A hidden gem near Kalamazoo, Robert Morris, is just 7 miles from downtown. Its beach of pleasant water on small lake perfect makes it ideal for family fun and picnics. Head to the park for a day of swimming, fishing, enjoying the playground, playing a round of disc golf course and more!

5. Prairie View County Park

A 210-acre lakeside park, Prairie View Country is perfect for quiet swimming on Hogsett Lake. The facility includes a swimming beach at the bottom of a hill with nearby shade, a beach house, a dog park, and a covered picnic area as well as athletic fields.

6. Cold Brook County Park

Cold Brook County Park is a popular campground and beach that includes a championship 24-hole disc golf course. The park has plenty more to offer, such as its boat ramp, fishing spots, hiking trails, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and volleyball & softball areas.

Leaving Home for College

I got accepted to Grand Valley State University in the middle of my senior year of high school. It was the only university that I had applied to because it was the only one that I really wanted to attend. My older sister was a junior at GVSU when I was a senior in high school and I fell in love with the university through visiting her. My mom didn’t want me to go away to school, partly because she didn’t think I was ready and partly because she said she would miss me too much.

I wasn’t home when my acceptance letter had arrived at my house; I was at the local Biggby where my boyfriend was working at the time. He worked at Biggby while he attended school at a community college and was planning on transferring to GVSU after two years. He may be partly to blame for me choosing to leave home. I was sitting at the coffee shop when my mom texted me that I received a large envelope from GVSU. We had talked a few weeks earlier that I most likely would receive a letter if I had been declined, so I knew I had to have been accepted.

Up until I had gotten my acceptance letter from GVSU I was planing on going to a community college back home. My parents thought it would be smarter considering the money I would save. I didn’t know what to think when I had finally gotten the acceptance letter. I didn’t know if I should have been happy that I was accepted, or worried that no one would want me to go. My grades in high school weren’t of top quality, so many of my family members  didn’t think I would get accepted right away. My sister was “wait-listed” when she first applied.

A lot happened my last year of high school that had to do with me choosing to go to a university 2 hours away from home.  My parents decided to get a divorce the first couple months of school and that process went on throughout the year. My family was kind of a mess during that time, so part of me wanted to stay and fix it, but I knew I had to leave and fix myself first. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy leaving all of that behind, especially my younger sister who had to be left home alone. It was hard, really hard.

My family is all on the east side of the state, so communicating with them through my years at college haven’t always been the easiest. Sometimes I barely hear from them and other times I hear from them on the daily. I love to hear about their lives and what they’re doing without me there because it makes me feel sort of like I am there. It’s even better when I’m able to go home for a few days, or they are able to come visit me. Through all of our troubles in the past we are lucky to be closer than ever.

Being away from home has taught me a lot, especially how to be more independent. I’ve always been an independent person, but only to some extent. I would like to say I’ve grown up as a person throughout my college career. Though I don’t remember too well what my mindset was like my freshmen year, I would like to think that I’ve become a much more positive person with a brighter outlook on life. 

I’ve learned to appreciate the little things, especially the leftovers from a meal that you had when your family came to visit. I’ve become more grateful for what I have and  the opportunities that I’ve been blessed with. I’m a senior at a university that I’ve attended for 4 years and am graduating in the spring with a bachelor’s degree that I hope to use for some good toward the community; what could be better than that?

Choosing to leave home was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I wouldn’t change a thing about the experiences and lessons I’ve learned while I was away.