Downtown Kalamazoo, which is known as “Central City,” offer six distinct shopping districts: Kalamazoo Mall, East End, South Town, Haymarket, Arcadia, and Bronson Park. The streets around the Kalamazoo State Theatre constitute Kalamazoo Mall (www.central-city.net), home to coffeehouses, galleries, restaurants, bakeries, and a diverse selection of resale and vintage clothing shops.
Stretching from Lovell to Eleanor Streets, it was the first open-air downtown pedestrian mall created by blocking a city street to car traffic. Like many downtown shopping districts, it’s suffered from the encroachment of suburban malls, but still offers popular cafés, funky stores that cater to the college crowd, and a gourmet market, among other delights.
If you haven’t tired of shopping for antiques in Michigan, head for the Kalamazoo Antiques Market (130 N. Edwards St., 269/226-9788), which represents more than 30 quality dealers selling vintage clothing, unique jewelry, vinyl records, pottery, and lots of household stuff. You might also consider the Emporium (313 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 269/381-0998, 7–9 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 2–6 p.m. Sat.–Sun.), worth seeking out for its vintage furniture, despite its unusual hours.
To explore a vintage newsstand, visit the Michigan News Agency (308 W. Michigan Ave., 269/343-5958, www.michigannews.biz, 6 a.m.–8 p.m. daily), which dates to the 1940s. Inside, you’ll find everything from the everyday to the truly eclectic: the usual maps, tobaccos, comics, and newspapers, as well as more than 6,000 magazine titles and 15,000 paperbacks. The friendly and knowledgeable owners don’t seem to mind if you spend the better half of the day perusing their publications. There’s also a small selection of books by local writers.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel