Kalamazoo : Michigan


What It Is Like to Retire in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo is small city of about 77,000 on the Kalamazoo River. It  is home to Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College, a liberal arts school whose campus abuts WMU's. Kalamazoo is a dynamic place with a very interesting industrial past. The Checkers Motor Company, makers of the fabled Checker cabs, was headquartered here. Now there is an interesting mix of cultural venues and festivals, in addition to frequent festivals.  Photo of Looking southwest from N. Edwards Street in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan, courtesy of Wikipedia and Mxobe (public domain); photo of Western University East Hall courtesy of Wikipedia and Fbthpg (public domain).

Where to Retire in Kalamazoo and Home Prices

Kalamazoo has 22 different neighborhoods.  The median home value in early 2020 was about $122,418, according to Zillow, which called it a "Very Hot" market at this time.


What Is Special about Kalamazoo

First home of Gibson guitars. Lots of entertainment, including 3 great breweries. West Michigan University is in town. Upjohn Company has a big presence. Lots of Kalamazoo sits on the southwest bank of a major bend in the Kalamazoo River. Several small tributaries of the river, including Arcadia Creek and Portage Creek, wind through the city. The northeastern portion of the city sits in the broad, flat Kalamazoo Valley, while the western portions climb into low hills to the west and south. Several small lakes are found throughout the area.


What Is Not Special about Kalamazoo

Cold winters and the generally dismal; health of the Michigan economy.


Who Will Like Retirement in Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo is a college town with Kalamazoo College and Western University having four campuses throughout the city; Kiplingers Personal Finance ranked Kalamazoo in the  top ten cities for cheapskates, so cost of living is low.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Manufacturing of medical equipment, and outdoor kitchen equipment; Phizer has offices downtown along with manufacturing facilities and research labs; Kalamazoo has several breweries; two flavoring companies are located there, the A. M. Todd Company is a lead producer of peppermint oil, and the Kalsec company also produces flavorings.


Climate and Physical Environment

Kalamazoo has a mid-latitude climate. Summers can be very hot and relatively long, yet the average July temp is in the 70's.

In winter, temperatures occasionally plummet below 0°F (-18°). Kalamazoo has been known for brutal snow storms, although there have been winters with light snow accumulation. Average January temperature is in the 20's.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The city boasts an important  art museum, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Its collection has a focus on 20th-century American artImore with more than 3,600 works. There are several performing arts and theatre groups including the Kalamazoo Civic Players. The 2 colleges also have a variety of cultural programs. Festivals include the Eccentric Festival,the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, a Bach Festival, and the Kalamazoo International Animation Festival. Kalamazoo established the first U.S. outdoor pedestrian shopping mall. Today it anchors the downtown shopping and dining scene.


Kalamazoo has a high crime rate.


Medical Facilities

Kalamazoo has two hospitals: Bronson Methodist Hospital, and Borgess Medical Center.

Michigan State University has a branch of its medical school and several post-doctoral residency training programs in Kalamazoo.


Kalamazoo is serviced by Interstate 94, Amtrak, Greyhound and Indian Trail bus lines, There is also the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport.  Kalamazoo is average in walkability when compared to other towns.


Valuable Links

Kalamazoo Convention and Visitors Bureau


What people are saying about Kalamazoo

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