What To Do In Kalamazoo (Before the New Year)

Gabi Ford, J1 Staff Writer

In a world run by social media, it is easy to feel “stuck” in this city of Portage. Compared to the posts we see everyday of people travelling the world, or even just living in big cities like New York or Los Angeles, Portage seems like the most boring place ever. 

With cold air and winter weather this time of year, bike rides at Al Sabo, and trips to South Haven are no longer in the picture. Sky Zone and Airway Lanes, although a blast in middle school, is not our ideal friday night plan or idea of a perfect date. It is common knowledge that the only activity for teenagers in Michigan to do is drive around and listen to music, but is this really the case? What can Kalamazoo provide for us bored and broke teenagers?  

This issue seems to be widely seen here at Portage Northern. Senior Haley Jackson loves to spend time with her friends and enjoy their free time together, but it is often hard to come up with things to do. Jackson often goes to yoga classes at Intentional Yoga, or works out at West Hills. Jackson and her friends “often hit up Five Guys,” but are always looking for something a little more entertaining to do. With Downtown Kalamazoo right next door, it is easy to overlook its wonders. “I think a lot of people take it for granted,” Jackson states. 

For all the coffee lovers, Downtown Kalamazoo is the perfect place for you. Small, artsy coffee joints are located all over the city, and one even includes cats. Kzoocatcafe.com states that, “A Cat Cafe is a place where humans can interact with adoptable shelter cats in a fun, stress-free, environment, while enjoying drinks and snacks.” In other words, a cat and coffee lover’s dream come true. Downtown Kalamazoo is also filled with holiday spirit and decorations this time of year. With Bronson Park lit up with Christmas lights, it is the perfect place for a nice walk. Not only the park is lit up, but the Kalamazoo Mall is right down the street and it is just as beautiful. Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from Water Street Coffee, a cozy cafe in the middle of downtown Kalamazoo. 

Good coffee and Christmas lights isn’t the only thing this city has to offer. Weather it is breakfast at Food Dance or sushi at Maru, you are guaranteed a good meal. There is a great deal of locally owned shops all around the area as well. According to Discoverkalamazoo.com, Earthly Delights is a boutique that constantly looks for eco friendly looks from all around the country including not only clothes, but handcrafted jewelry and garden art. Coffee, christmas lights, local businesses, and sushi may sound like the perfect day. And if not, there are plenty more options from rock climbing at Climb Kalamazoo, to open mic nights at Old Dog Tavern. 

For those who love the outdoors despite the cold, there are plenty of options. Ice skating at Millenium Park is a basic fun winter activity that we all know of, yet rarely consider. An option that is not as well known is tubing at Echo Valley. Echo Valley is a family friendly environment where there is no weight or age limit to have a good time. It costs $20 for children and adults for a pass to tube all day. The third idea of what to do outdoors is skiing. With Timber Ridge, Bittersweet Ski Resort, and Swiss Valley not too far from Portage, there are so many options. When it seems as if there is nothing to do, consider these outdoor wonders and you may end up having a blast. 

Next time you scroll through instagram and see an influencer posing in an art museum or at an artsy cafe, don’t let it get you down. Weather it is in Kalamazoo or LA, art is art, coffee is coffee, and Kalamazoo has both. Discoverkalamazoo.com offers endless options of what to do in the 269 area. Between local shops, streets and parks filled with holiday spirit, delicious food, ski resorts, and many more, you may never have a boring day again.