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Western Michigan University is located in the wonderfully named Kalamazoo, a city packed with attractions near Grand Rapids. The sheer number of museums here will keep visitors of all ages entertained for days. Air Zoo tracks the history of flight, while the Kalamazoo Nature Center is dedicated to the natural history of Michigan. Budding scientists will enjoy the interactive exhibits at the Valley Museum, while motoring enthusiasts should head to the local car museum. With so much to see, you’ll want to rent a car to pack it all in, before heading out to the cities in the wider region. Orbitz can help you find the perfect car for your adventures.

Kalamazoo and beyond: Metropolises of the Midwest

Once you’ve spent some time exploring the sights of Kalamazoo, drive in any direction to find some of the Midwest’s most famous and exciting cities. We’ve picked three of the biggest nearby destinations.

Grand Rapids

Energetic Grand Rapids is the kind of cool, emerging city that has a craft beer scene, trendy restaurants serving fresh local food, and enough art museums and installations to satisfy even the keenest enthusiast. Then there’s the rapids themselves, coursing through the atmospheric center of the Downtown district. Wander along the riverfront, stopping to browse the stalls at the nearby market.

Journey time: Around 45 minutes

Distance: Approximately 85 miles


Detroit is a city that has recovered from its turbulent past to become a cool, exhilarating destination with a young, artistic population looking to reinvent the city. Learn about its history in motoring and Motown museums, before seeking out restaurants in restored factories and old industrial buildings. Don’t miss the incredible collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Journey time: Around 2 hours 15 minutes

Distance: Approximately 140 miles


The Windy City is a major destination, rivaling New York and LA as the most exciting metropolis in the country. To get a sense of the city, take a boat ride along the river, marveling at the towering skyscrapers as you go. Unmissable attractions include Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the fun-filled Navy Pier on the banks of Lake Michigan.

Journey time: Around 2 hours 30 minutes

Distance: Approximately 150 miles