Whether you have lived in Kalamazoo for most of your life or just moved here, it’s always fun to find somewhere new to explore. Our list of hidden gems includes places a family generally may not find in a quick online search or a local guidebook. Rather these local favorites are discovered once a friend or neighbor suggests them or perhaps you’ve stumbled upon the spot by lucky accident.
Kalamazoo’s 9 Top Hidden Spots
We want to spread the word on some of our favorite “hidden” stores, restaurants and parks in the Kalamazoo area. Read on to learn about these spots that are all well worth unearthing.
Bookbug | 3019 Oakland Dr., Kalamazoo | 269-385-2847
This independently owned bookstore is for kids only. It features story times on Thursdays at 10:00 AM, a massive selection of books for all ages (through teens), and fun toys/educational games. On the lookout for adult books? This is a Bookstore is located in the same shopping plaza.
Little Chick Shoe Shop | 449 W Kilgore Rd., Portage| 269-342-2024
Open since 1938, this gem sells kids shoes with a fit guarantee. If your child outgrows their shoes within a specified time frame, the replacement is prorated. You’ll get a handwritten receipts and purchases are kept on “file” (meaning an actual index card that is filed away). The staff is known for being extremely attentive and handing out balloons when you leave.
D’Nicio’s Parlour | 6880 West Main, Kalamazoo| 269-353-8600
D’Nicio’s Parlour will take you back in time to the 1950s. Known for koney dogs, gyros, and enormous portions of ice cream, this restaurant is a family favorite.
Parks & Outdoor Fun
DeLano Farms | 555 W E Ave., Kalamazoo | 269-381-1574
Located in the western portion of the Kalamazoo Nature Center’s 1100 acres, DeLano Farms is home to a working education farm with gardens. From June through August, visit the farmyard animals from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Monday – Saturday and on Sunday from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM. Farm visits are included with a KNC admission.
Kellogg Bird Sanctuary | 12685 E C Ave., Augusta | 269-671-2510
The sanctuary features walking paths, waterfowl to feed (geese, ducks and swans) as well as rescued birds of prey such as eagles, hawks and owls. Paths are stroller-friendly. Stop in the visitor’s center to grab a map and a bucket of corn for $1.
River Oaks County Park | 9202 East Michigan Ave. (M-96), Galesburg | 269-383-8778
On a warm summer day, head to the county park in Galesburg to play in the splash pad. Pack a picnic lunch, spend an afternoon at the park (splash pad geared for children ages 2-12). See other Water Fun in Southwest Michigan.
Texas Corners Farmers Market Playground | 7110 W Q Ave., Kalamazoo
This fenced playground features a shaded canopy over the playset, wood chips (no mud!) in the playground area and a small play structure, ideal for younger kids. You are also a short walking distance from the Texas Corners Farmers Market and local restaurants (Zebs, Lafayette Creamery, Texas Corners Brewing Company).
West Lake Nature Preserve Park | 420 South Shore Drive, Portage
West Lake Nature Preserve Park includes a playground, picnic tables, over 100 acres of wetland and walking trails. Your visit will likely include butterflies, birds, deer and beautiful wetland vegetation.
Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery | 34270 County Road 652, Mattawan| 269-668-2876
Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery has it all when it comes to nature and of course fish. With FREE admission you’ll have nature trails, bird watching, and fish feeding. Keep a lookout for fun events such as fishing lessons, family scavenger hunts, and hatchery tours.
Stay tuned for more Hidden Gems around Kalamazoo! Have a spot you think worthy of making it the #10 mention? Drop us a line.