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Published by Contour Mortgage on November 03 2023

The Best Neighborhoods to Live in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Topics: Home Buyers, Tips

Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in April 2022 and has been revised to reflect industry updates.

The diverse, family-friendly, and inviting communities that make up the area around Kalamazoo are having a moment. Both the city of Kalamazoo, which was formerly known as Bronson before it was renamed in 1836, and the county that shares its name have grown into unique and affordable locales, while maintaining rich historical traditions.

Ranked one of the “150 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2020-21” by U.S. News and World Report, local daily online news outlet Mlive.com also designated Kalamazoo the “No. 1 Coolest Place in the U.S.”

The area also gives back to the community through its Kalamazoo Promise program. Created in 2005, these scholarships cover tuition and related fees for eligible high school seniors enrolling at participating Michigan institutions of higher learning. 

Centrally located between Chicago and Detroit via I-94, Kalamazoo offers many conveniences for both residents and visitors. Many also take advantage of Lake Michigan beaches in the summer, and nearby winter ski areas.

Here are the top 10 neighborhoods in and around Kalamazoo based on research by ranking and review site Niche.com’s “2023 Best Places to Live in the Kalamazoo Area.” We’ve also included restaurant tips for a taste of its local flavors. 

Learn more about the top 10 places to live in and around Kalamazoo, along with their respective benefits, features, and more. 

1. Texas Charter Township

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Kalamazoo Public Schools, Matawan Consolidated School District, Schoolcraft Community Schools, Portage Public Schools $323,700 $921 $128,760 Al Sabo Land Preserve, Cody Kresta Vineyard and Winery About 9 miles, or 19 minutes

Originally established as Brady Township, this once rural farming area became a suburban mecca in the late 1950s following the construction of I-94, and a single- and multi-family housing boom.

Situated in the western portion of Kalamazoo County, Texas Charter Township borders the city of Portage. With a diverse mix of more than 17,000 young professionals, families, and retirees, it has affordable choices for suburban living. Catering to residents, businesses, and its ample farming network, it also offers four highly rated school districts. Residents can partake in several local events, such as the Farmers’ Market, seasonal shred days, and family holiday festivals. 

Local Food Tips: Head to Rykse & Co., the neighborhood’s favorite take-out kitchen, bakery, and breakfast/lunch eatery. The grilled cinnamon rolls are worth the trip alone.



2. Portage

School Districts Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Portage Public Schools $187,000 $949 $68,755 Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum, Kalamazoo River Valley Trail About 10 Minutes, or 5 Miles

Situated approximately five miles south of downtown Kalamazoo, Portage is known for its family-friendly atmosphere. With 13 public parks, beaches, and picnic spots, the area is sure to please families seeking recreation and outdoor activities.

The self-proclaimed “natural place to move” Portage, located in Kalamazoo County, comprises affordable homes suited for family living, and no shortage of biking and hiking trails, sporting events, and local shopping.

Whether your tastes range from post-World War II designs, to more contemporary styles, Portage can satisfy all of these needs. Offering mainly three- to four-bedroom single family homes, potential residents can choose among various floor plans for lifestyles and needs. 

Local Food Tip: The Fieldstone Grill offers hearty American fare in a cozy lodge atmosphere with a stunning central stone fireplace. Don’t miss the fire-grilled Beef Flank Steak or rich and savory New Orleans Gumbo. 


3. Westwood

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Kalamazoo Public Schools $149,100 $943 $52,663 Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Final Gravity Brewing Company About 3 miles, or 7 minutes

Incorporating a dense suburban feel with a population of approximately 9,200, Westwood borders downtown Kalamazoo to the south, east, and west. Boasting ample parks and other recreational activities, residents can also participate in leisure activities, such as the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, or enjoy local beers at the Final Gravity Brewing Company. 

Known as a friendly neighborhood locale central to raising a family, the Westwood Neighborhood Association is the go-to for local information and updates.

Local Food Tip: Dubbed a Kalamazoo favorite by local daily news outlet MLive.com, Kazoopy’s Pizza and Grinders offers these namesake items using local tomatoes, cured meats, and freshly baked bread. 


4. Oshtemo Charter Township

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Ostego Public School District, Kalamazoo Public Schools, Mattawan Consolidated School District $233,700 $887 56,436 Milham Park, Drake Farmstead About 6 miles, or 14 minutes

Located halfway between Chicago and Detroit, Oshtemo Charter Township was originally established as an agricultural community. Now a residential area with strong industrial and commercial ties, its low taxes and affordable cost of living round out this closely-knit neighborhood. 

Built on both rural and urban living, charter township residents enjoy close proximity to major highways and bustling places of employment. Residents of all income levels can choose from various housing options, such as single- and multi-family homes, senior developments, and even manufactured homes.

Depending on location, community members have the option of three public school districts. The area is also home to several institutions of higher learning, such as Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College. 

Local Food Tip: For a gastro-pubby concept known for fresh local ingredients and one of the best wine lists around, you can't do better than the Oakwood Bistro.


5. Prairie Ronde Township

School Districts Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Schoolcraft Community Schools, Mattawan Consolidated School District, Lawton Community School District $285,900 $629 $117,212 Leo J. BurchPark, Kalamazoo Valley Museum About 20 miles, or 30 minutes

Named for its vast prairies with seed corn crops peppered throughout, Prairie Ronde is sparsely populated by farms raising buffalo, pigs, and sheep. The largest of the area’s eight prairies, the township was granted its name in 1680 by French Explorer Robert Sieur de la Salle. When translated, it means “round meadow.” 

Prairie Ronde is also known for its artist residency in nearby Vicksburg, Michigan. Housed in the former Lee Paper Company, the program helps budding artists with a space to hone their craft, while also connecting and contributing toward the community. 

Boasting mainly two- to three-bedroom single family homes, Prairie Ronde is suitable for easy family living with a bit of art, culture, and history.

Local Food Tip: There’s always something egg-cellent cooking at the Crow’s Nest. The signature breakfast menu includes crowd pleasers such as Chilaquiles, fried corn tortilla chips, over easy eggs, beans, and queso fresco; Shakshouka, basted easy eggs, feta, cucumber, tzatziki, and cilantro: and the Nest scramble, eggs, spinach, and tomato.


6. Marshall

School Districts Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Marshall Public Schools $143,800 $819 $63,438 Marshall Riverwalk, Historic District About 35 miles, or 41 minutes

Located just east of the Kalamazoo area, and officially part of the Battle Creek Metropolitan Statistical Area, Marshall features unique architecture and abundant museums. Designated by the National Park Service as “the best virtual textbook of 19th Century American architecture in the country,” Marshall’s historic district boasts 19th and 20th century homes including Federal, Greek and Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, and others. 

Once a mecca of political, commercial, and social activities within south-central Michigan, Marshall and its residents are proud of their heritage; its historical society is lauded for hosting the longest-running home tour in the midwest. Several museums and other cultural events, such as the Blues Fest and Annual Christmas Parade are just two of many happenings hosted each year.

Getting around Marshall is convenient via weekly bus service, and its Amtrak station offers trips to Chicago and Detroit via nearby Battle Creek, and Albion, Michigan.

Marshall’s sparsely located properties with substantial yards and economical cost of living are undoubtedly why it appeals to young couples looking to start a family.

Local Food Tip: Rated on review platform Trip Advisor as the #1 restaurant in Marshall, the Dark Horse Brewing Co. houses an outdoor beer garden (weather permitting) to sample house-made IPAs. For decadent desserts, head over to Louie’s Bakery for homemade doughnuts, nut rolls, and other sweet treats at this family-owned establishment. 

7. Schoolcraft

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Schoolcraft Community Schools $142,100 $796 $73,125 Prairie View County Park, Michigan's Adventure About 15 miles, or 21 minutes

Named for geologist Henry Schoolcraft, this historical area is also known for its multitude of antique shops and dining spots. Dubbed a “community full of small town character and charm,” it combines old and new traditions through the historic Underground Railroad House and Museum tours, shops, and the much-anticipated Fourth of July Celebration and Christmas Walk. 

Local Food Tips: Head to Stubbys Smokehouse to make the most of your next cookout. For the highest quality fresh meat, smoked products, and even hot food to go, this butcher shop and smokehouse is the one to beat. 


8. Cooper Charter Township

School Districts Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Gull Lake Community Schools, Ostego Public Schools, Parchment Schools, Plainwell  School $173,700 $974 $80,506  Markin Glen County Park, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts About 5 miles, or 10 minutes

Named for Sarah Sabina Cooper—the wife of Horace H. Comstock, and namesake of nearby Comstock County Township—residents can choose from moderately priced single-family homes, or purchase land for new construction properties. The area is also home to several parks and recreational areas, such as the 600-acre Kalamazoo Nature Center, and Markin Glen Park with its many hiking and biking trails.

Local Food Tip: For a top-notch tamale fix, try the Tamale Kitchen一known for its premium, authentic recipes, fresh ingredients, and fajitas and carnitas tacos, too!


9. Kalamazoo

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
 Kalamazoo Public Schools $125,900 $869 $44,296 Park Trades Center, Gilmore Car Museum N/A

Built on a history of traditions carried through its many legacies, this designated County Seat was ranked #1 by online women’s lifestyle hub Pure Wow as one of “The 10 Coolest Cities with the Lowest Cost of Living in the U.S.,” per the Council for Community and Economic Research's Cost of Living Index.

According to Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson, as noted on local news site Fox 17 West Michigan, the city is known for urban conveniences while still maintaining a close-knit community environment.

Boasting approximately 83 lakes and 75 miles of biking trails, shops, theaters, and a bevy of cuisine and culture, downtown Kalamazoo has something for everyone. Because of its designation as a college town with six area institutions of higher learning, the average age of residents are in their mid-20s.

Home to the first-ever U.S.-based outdoor shopping mall, Kalamazoo’s central location, diversity, and numerous festivals, make it a cultural mecca where residents can maintain a modest cost of living.  

Local Food Tip: For something special, you can’t beat Rustica in downtown Kalamazoo. With a focus on locally sourced, sustainable ingredients, the concept offers a fusion of Mediterranean influences with regional Michigan fare. You can even watch the chefs prepare your meal in the open show kitchen.


10. Comstock Charter Township

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Comstock Public School District  $163,900 $915 $65,671 Fort Custer Recreation Area, Kalamazoo Nature Center About 7 miles or 13 minutes

Named for Horace Hawkins Comstock, an American businessman, lawyer, and politician, this charter township was established through a Territorial Legislature in 1834. Originally comprising Comstock, Charleston, and Climax, it broke off in 1838 before reaching township charter status in 1964.

Known as a “Community With Opportunity,” Comstock features several parks, such as the Fort Custer Recreation Area. Situated alongside the Kalamazoo River, this more than 3,000-acre park boasts a trio of lakes, campgrounds, beach, and hiking trails. 

Designated the “Bedding Plant Capital of the World.” Comstock boasts a community garden whereby residents can purchase raised plots.

Local Food Tips: With locations in Comstock and Battle Creek, check out McGongle’s Irish Pub for traditional and authentic fare, such as fish and chips, and the house-made Shamrock Reuben sandwich. 


The Takeaway

If you’re considering a move to the Kalamazoo area, choosing the best neighborhood is dependent on several factors for long-term living. Loan officers at our Kalamazoo, Michigan office are well-versed on these requirements to provide expert guidance on the best financing for your dream home.

Contour Mortgage in Kalamazoo, Michigan to learn how we can help with financing requirements, qualifications, and questions.

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