Kalamazoo is a city in the southwest region of Michigan. It is the county seat of Kalamazoo County. At the 2010 census, Kalamazoo had a population of 74,262 and is the major city of the Kalamazoo-Portage Metropolitan Statistical Area. Kalamazoo is midway between Chicago and Detroit on I-94 and offers commercial transportation by train, bus and major airline at the Kalamazoo Battle Creek International Airport.
With a population of more than 325,000, Kalamazoo is the sixth largest metropolitan area in Michigan and among the 150 largest in the country. It's large enough to support all the amenities and entertainment found in larger cities; and yet, you can be in the heart of farm country in 20 minutes, and Kalamazoo supports a thriving Farmers Market downtown May through November. Downtown Kalamazoo is a vibrant, exciting place to be.
One of Kalamazoo's most notable features is the Kalamazoo Mall, an outdoor pedestrian shopping mall. The city created the mall in 1959 by closing part of Burdick Street to auto traffic, although two of the mall's four blocks have been reopened to auto traffic since 1999. Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University, a large public university, Kalamazoo College, a private liberal arts college, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, a two-year community college.
Western is one of the eight research universities in the State of Michigan and is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity". The university has seven degree-granting colleges, offering 147 undergraduate degree programs, 73 master's degree programs, 30 doctoral programs, and one specialist degree program. The university's athletic teams compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and are known as the Western Michigan Broncos. They compete in the Mid-American Conference for most sports.
The city was recently named one of the 150 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2020-21 by U.S. News and World Report and ranked the No. 1 Coolest Place in the U.S. with the lowest cost of living. In 2017, the American Institute for Economic Research ranked Kalamazoo among the best small metropolitan areas on its listing of top college towns.
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