city of Kalamazoo

"Home of the Kalamazoo Promise"








Mystery site announced – Dynamic Mr. President at 308 North Burdick

A few volunteer slots are still available!

icon Parking and Tour Site Map Available

Last summer our first ever Hidden Kalamazoo tour led tourists into the upper stories downtown, where the wallpaper is loose, the stairs perhaps a little narrow and the ghosts of the past are still visible. With downtown Kalamazoo redeveloping rapidly, these spaces will soon be new apartments and offices. Come and tour them before it is too late - the 15th floor of the bank, back stage at the State Theater, the amazing transformation of the Food Dance Building, the ballroom transformed into apartments and much more! The Hidden Kalamazoo Tour will open up spaces only seen by staff, owners, realtors, inspectors and other insiders.


Over 1000 people toured our hidden downtown spaces last year. We were overwhelmed by the curiosity of the tourists and happily surprised! We received some great constructive comments and planned accordingly for this year’s tour.

  • Ticket sales will be limited to 800 sold to the general public.
  • ADVANCE TICKET SALES ONLY. No tickets will be for sale during the tour
  • We need volunteers and will have more per building (contact us at if you would like to volunteer as a tour guide – you get a free ticket and a T-shirt for working a 3 hour shift.)
  • We need site managers willing to work a full day (or two) at their chosen site.

Join us in exploring the hidden spaces in Downtown Kalamazoo on Saturday June 14th and Sunday June 15th from 10am -5pm. Tickets are $15 each and go on sale May 1 at these locations:

  • Douglas & Son Paint 231 W. Cedar
  • Spirit of Kalamazoo 128 Portage
  • D&W 2103 Parkview at Oakland
  • D&W 525 Romence in Portage

This year we are also partnering with lots of downtown restaurants – look for the HIDDEN KALAMAZOO sign in the window for special deals and discounts on food and drink if you show your ticket – make it a whole day downtown and stay for dinner!!

The tour sites are:

1) The State Theater (414 South Burdick) - touring the auditorium, 1st and second floor lobbies, stage & dressing rooms. You can walk across the same stage that hosted Ethel Barrymore, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and the Three Stooges! Peek into the dressing rooms and admire all the details of the Spanish courtyard auditorium with the house lights up.

2) The Van Kersen Block (401 East Michigan – aka Food Dance & Maestro) Thoroughly rehabilitated and award winning, this building represents the merging of the 19th century with the 21st century. This is a building that is completely, and handsomely finished. (This is the building that houses Food Dance restaurant. Please do NOT park in the Food Dance lot. See below for parking sites)

3) The Stevens Building – aka Schiavone Studio – 312 West Michigan- above Studio Grill on West Michigan – In the mid-1960s, Joe Schiavone transformed what had been a single apartment into his portrait studio. The layout, darkroom and workroom of the studio remain along with many of the decorative details of 1878, when the building was completed.

4) American National Bank building (136 East Michigan) - aka 5/3 Bank – This year we will be highlighting a part of the building no one saw in 2013 as well as the 15th floor with a spectacular view of the city, the glorious lobby and the vault in the basement.

5) Arlington Hotel Building (338 East Michigan) - upper floors above Bimbos Pizza. The upper floors of this building are being transformed from a 1930s ballroom for the adjacent Columbia Hotel into townhouse style apartments. An excellent example of unused spaced transformed for downtown living. Two apartments will be completed for this unique “work in progress” tour.

6) Dynamic Mr. Presidents – 308 North Burdick – Originally built in the 19th century, the two story building was renovated for a restaurant and lounge in the early 1970s and quickly became very popular. Closed for over a decade, this is a great chance to get “behind the scenes” before it reopens later this year.  We will tour the 1st floor restaurant, bars and dance floor/bandstand as well as the 2nd floor under renovation.



•      Look for yellow balloons at each site!
•      You will need to be able to climbs stairs at ALL the sites to enjoy the full tour
•      Start and finish at any stop
•      "Tourists" will go from one site to the next at their own discretion.
•      Tickets are good for both days – when you visit a site, it will be marked off on your ticket.
•      Like a historic house tour, each site will have a manager and a crew of tour guides.
•      All the "tourists" will be guided by a docent through the building. “Tourists” must stay with their guide and follow the restrictions at each site


PARKING – there are public parking lots all over the downtown and street/metered parking is free on Saturdays. There is a charge for most ramp parking. Please do NOT park in the Food Dance parking lot. We will have a parking map available after June 1 – it will be posted on this webpage and on the Hidden Kalamazoo Facebook page. You can also get a copy by emailing .

Tickets are $15 each


D&W – 2103 Parkview at Oakland – 6am to Midnight

D&W – 525 Romence – Portage – 6am to Midnight

Douglas and Son Paint – 231 West Cedar – 7-5:30, M-F, 8-1 Sat

Spirit of Kalamazoo, 128 Portage Tues & Wed 10-7, Thu 10-7, Fri & Sat 10-9, closed Sun & Mon

Check out our Facebook Page at:!/pages/Hidden-Kalamazoo/420345264726609?fref=ts

(Interested in volunteering to help in exchange for a free ticket and a T-shirt? Email with your name and email and phone)

KHPClogoThe Hidden Kalamazoo tour is a fundraiser for the KALAMAZOO HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION. The commission is a self-funded city advisory board and our previous project was the book KALAMAZOO: LOST AND FOUND. More info about the tour, email Sharon Ferraro at or call 269-337-8804 



Thank you to our signature sponsor, 5/3 Bank!


And all the sponsors: Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo Sportswear, Adventure Travel, Kingscott, Eckert Wordell, Nelson Nave - Kalamazoo Antiques Market