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Published by Contour Mortgage on April 14 2022

The Best Neighborhoods to Live in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Topics: Home Buyers, Tips

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 “2022 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. Portage

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Portage Public Schools $164,300 $839 $62,941 Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum, Kalamazoo River Valley Trail About 16 Minutes, or 7.5 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 Tips: Try COVE Lakeside Bistro for lobster rolls, crab cakes, signature salads and soups, and burgers in a waterfront setting. For classic breakfast and lunch comfort food, the highly-rated Antique Kitchen won’t disappoint. 

 

2. Texas Charter Township

School Districts 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 $293,100 $933 $114,056 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 aforementioned 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. 

The area also boasts a thriving downtown community known as the Corners Business District with several restaurants, retailers, and entertainment options.

Local Food Tip: Open exclusively for dinner, Holy Taco offers an authentic street taco experience and extensive tequila selection.

 

3. Westwood

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Kalamazoo Public Schools $129,100 $903 $56,500 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. Comstock Charter Township

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Comstock Public School District $150,700 $788 $60,978 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 Tip: 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.

 

5. Oshtemo Charter Township

School Districts Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Otsego Public School District, Kalamazoo Public Schools, Matawan Consolidated School District $212,100 $804 $49,591 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 homemade comfort foods served at a lakeside setting, try Martell’s for an eclectic blend of American and Italian culinary fare.

 

6. Cooper Charter Township

School Districts Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Gull Lake Community Schools, Otsego Public Schools, Parchment Schools, Plainwell School $154,600 $890 $66,512 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: Serving breakfast, brunch and lunch items, Nena’s Cooper Cafe is known for its home cooking and live Bluegrass music.


7. Kalamazoo

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Kalamazoo Public Schools $106,600 $795 $41,774 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 Tips: Located in the Kalamazoo outdoor mall, Rustica offers its take on local, sustainable food and drinks based on French, Italian, and Spanish influences. With several locations throughout Michigan—including Kalamazoo—Maru Sushi + Grill offers traditional cooked and raw Japanese specialties in a contemporary setting.

 

8. 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 $228,300 $629 $92,458  Leo J. Burch Park, 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: Take a trip to Yogi’s Diner for generously portioned country-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials.

 

9. Schoolcraft

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
 Schoolcraft Community Schools $125,200 $708 $59,737 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 Tip: Venture out to Mar Jo’s West for burgers, sandwiches, and house specials such as fish and chips, and biscuits and gravy.

 

10. Marshall

School District Median Home Value Median Rent Median Household Income Nearby Parks & Features Proximity to Downtown
Marshall Public Schools  $124,900 $732 $50,969 Marshall Riverwalk, Historic District 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 Tips: 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. 

 

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 Portage, Michigan office are well-versed on these requirements to provide expert guidance on the best financing for your dream home.



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

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