20+ Affordable & Free Fall Things to Do in Kalamazoo

Kids in leaves

Fall into Fun, Family Activities in Kalamazoo

As each day passes in late August, the little hints of fall start to appear. Evenings now include a brisk breeze. Lake swimming is now too cold for comfort. And the last of summer’s perennials have bloomed, signaling the leaves changing is just around the corner.

While fall and the start of school are unlike any other in 2020 thanks to COVID-19, autumn in Kalamazoo is still very special. Whether your children are learning at home or in a classroom, the leaves will still transform into amazing auburn, yellow and orange tones. The local orchards will still have Honeycrisp apples ready to pick and fresh donuts ready to devour.

Fall isn’t canceled, and neither is fall fun. We’ve found some free and affordable activities in Kalamazoo for families to enjoy this season both indoors and outside.


Portage Pediatric Dentistry

We have a new associate that has joined Portage Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Jackie Hwang! At PPD we like to incorporate fun and kindness every day. We aim to make all of our patients feel comfortable and have fun at their dental appointments. We have created an environment where all are welcome and work hard to meet every patient’s needs!

PPD Logo

3020 Old Centre Rd
Portage, Michigan
(269) 323-8016


Important Message: Area businesses are working to implement procedures based on the new safety guidelines. For each of the attractions and events we mention, we include a link to the business website. Please use this link to confirm the details, hours of operation and any requirements guests must follow before visiting. Thank You!


Whether you want to hike among the falling leaves, try a new spot for food or visit a museum, we have you covered with free and affordable activities for families in Kalamazoo this fall:

Outdoor Activities

The varied shades of autumn’s leaves and smells of roasted marshmallows over open fire merit some quality time with Mother Nature.

Pack a lunch and have a picnic at your favorite local park.

Embark on a fall color tour to enjoy the many hues of Michigan’s changing leaves. Whether it’s a drive, hike or bike ride, Kalamazoo offers many locations to bask in their autumn beauty.

Feed the geese, ducks and swans at the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary (corn is available from the visitor’s center). If looking for other furry or feathered friends, try our list of zoos.

Go apple picking at Gull Meadow Farms or another favorite orchard.

Watch the water squirt up through the planks on your hike at West Lake Nature Preserve in Portage.

Portage Hiking Trail

Take a bike ride on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail.

Kayak in the Kalamazoo River or Rupert Lake in Plainwell.

Feed the fish at Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery. Admission is free; bring quarters for the fish food dispenser. Wolf Lake is also a fantastic spot for hiking and bird watching.

Fish Hatchery


Facing a rainy day? Museums have started to reopen with social distancing rules enforced. Some require timed ticket entry; verify admissions policies before you head out.

Please note that some areas/exhibits may remain temporarily closed, including hands-on displays.

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts offers free admission for kids 12 and under. Be sure to reserve your tickets online.

Visit some famous friends at the Air Zoo, as some droids have now taken up permanent residence on their exhibit floor in Alien Worlds and Androids. Free admission for kids 4 and under.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum has extended its Bodies Revealed exhibit through September 27. Order tickets online. Free admission for kids 2 and under.

Try a museum you’ve never visited before. We’ve rounded up our favorites in Michigan that are kid-friendly.


Go nuts for donuts. Fall invites families to expand their donut horizons as many local farms and orchards make their own donuts seasonally.

Farmers’ markets are still going strong into the fall season. As we transition from berries to apples and begonias to mums, stop by one of these spots to grab locally-sourced food, plants and crafts.

Put your firepit to work with some s’mores kits from Cherri’s Chocol’art.

Try some new restaurants: ZooCity Beastro (near the airport on Portage Road), Lafayette Creamery in Paw Paw (old Sugar Bear location, now serving meals), and Load a Spud (on WMU’s campus) have all opened their doors in the last few months.

While summer may be the obvious season for ice cream, we are fans all year long. Looking for something new? Rollup Ice Cream and Tea has added a second location in Portage and now serves waffle cones.

Ice Cream places for families near Kalamazoo


*The status of these events may change at any time due to COVID-19. Confirm your destination’s status before heading out.

Exercise while social distancing at Bronson Park. Every Wednesday evening, head downtown from 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM for a free workout session outside.

Local crafters can visit the Kalamazoo County Expo Center for multiple craft fairs scheduled from September through December this year.

Foodies rejoice: Food truck rallies are still on for the fall in Kalamazoo. Head to Wayside West parking lot on Stadium Drive on September 4 and October 2 and grab some grub.

Listen to some Beats on Bates Alley every Wednesday evening in September. This live music event is free; grab some food or beverages from downtown while taking in some tunes from 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM.

Downtown Kalamazoo Events Summer

Head west to St Joe for a craft fair. The Lake Bluff Artisan Faire is free, and takes place rain or shine on Saturday, September 5 from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.