Battle Creek, known as the “Cereal City,” since the headquarters for the Kellogg Company, Post Cereals and Ralston Foods cereal factory are located there, is a small city in south central Michigan, halfway between Chicago and Detroit.
Located just 25 miles east of the city of Kalamazoo, the home of Western Michigan University and The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, Battle Creek draws on it’s larger neighbor for more urban resources. Outdoor sports and activities including hunting, fishing, hiking and snowmobiling, making the Battle Creek area a major destination for recreational enthusiasts.
Battle Creek celebrates its rich heritage with the Victorian Kimball House Museum, stately mansions and the Underground Railroad Monument.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Michigan is known for craft beers, including the premier Arcadia Brewing Company. Established in 1996 and using only the finest barley imported from England and the freshest hops grown in the Pacific Northwest, this microbrewery celebrates 250 years of brewing tradition by specializing in handcrafted British-style ales. Their restaurant, located in a large downtown space with its brick pizza oven, uses only the freshest, locally produced ingredients-some from their own garden and others from providers like the Sprout Urban Farm in Battle Creek and MacKenzie's Bakery in Kalamazoo, for their menu items. Try the pork belly with sweet Thai chili sauce, lamb roll or garden and goat quesadilla appetizers, then order a Cuban pizza or barbecue platter for an entree; followed by an Anglers Ale, Sky High Rye or the Loch Down Scotch Ale.
"Taste, Savor, Enjoy" say the proprietors of the Malia Mediterranean Bistro. A small, Italian restaurant with an open kitchen and trendy atmosphere, Malia's uses only farm fresh ingredients. Check out their specials including salmon or steak with pasta, Ahi Tuna or pan seared duck breast with dried berries and nut couscous and shaved radicchio with honey orange glaze. Menu items include Spaghetti Malia and Linguine Genoa with fresh basil pesto, diced Roma tomatoes, pine nuts and grated granna padana. Malia food products, including Malia Seasoning Herbs, Blue Cheese Vinaigrette Dressing and Classic Red Sauce, are available for sale.
The Addington Hills Cafe, with it's artsy decor and painted concrete floor, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sample the Addington's Famous Quiche or breakfast croissant or build, using a variety of breads, your own sandwich. Dinner appetizers include stuffed mushrooms Florentine or lobster bisque followed by entrees like Salmon fillet with risotto and spinach in creamy wine sauce, almond crusted walleye with three citrus and fresh chive beuree blanc sauce or beef short rib Osso Bucco with balsamic braised onions and sun dried tomato sauce.
Due to the rural nature of Calhoun County and the smallness of the city, nightlife is limited to a few bars such as the Third Base Lounge and the Brickyard Pub.
History & Culture
Named for a skirmish between government land surveyors and two Native Americans in the winter of 1823, Battle Creek, Michigan has a rich and varied history, known over the years as the Queen City, Health City, the International City and, today, the Cereal City. What began as a market and mill center for prairie farmers, the city became a major industrial center supplying farm machinery, steam pumps, newspaper presses and even violin strings throughout the world. It is mostly known as the birthplace of the cereal industry, an invention of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the director of the Battle Creek Sanatorium famous for its water and fresh air treatments, exercise regimens and diet therapy.
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church choose Battle Creek as the location of its first hospital and college. During the Civil War, it was a major stop on the Underground Railroad and home of Sojourner Truth.
Public transportation is provided by the Battle Creek Transit system providing bus service to the city and nearby area residents.
Amtrak’s The Pere Marquette connects Chicago and Grand Rapids, The Blue Water runs from Chicago to Lake Huron and the Wolverine, from Chicago to Detroit, and all stop at the Battle Creek station. Additionally, Greyhound and Indian Trails bus lines share the facilities.
The nearest airport is Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport, a hub for American Eagle connecting to Chicago and Delta Connection with flights to Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul. It is located on the southeast corner of downtown Kalamazoo. The next major airport is the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids.
Interstate 94 is just to the south with Bus I-94 running through downtown Battle Creek.
Taxi service is available but needs to be called for pick up, as is Uber, which is usually dispatched from nearby Kalamazoo.
Battle Creek is bike-friendly with several miles of paved trails and bike lanes throughout the city and easy access to various parks and area attractions.The 20 miles that the Battle Creek Linear Park Trail offers is a series of paved bike paths in and around the city. These begin where the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek rivers meet then run along a former railroad line.
The cost of living in Battle Creek is 8.6 percent less than the Michigan average and 17.9 percent less than the national average. Rentals average $523. The median rental rates in Battle Creek are 10.9 percent less than the Michigan average and 24.3 percent less than the National average. The median home value in Battle Creek is 31.2percent less than the Michigan average and 51.2 percent less than the National average. The price of gasoline is 3.5 percent lower than the national average, while coffee costs 19.9 percent less than the national average. A bottle of beer is $4.25 with a craft beer setting you back $5 to $6. Fares for Battle Creek Transit for adults and children is $1.25 if they are taller than fare box, free for children shorter than the fare box and $0.60 for senior citizens.
There are both general outlets and specialty stores available for shopping in Battle Creek.
The Lakeview Square Mall, the main area shopping mall, features major anchor stores such as Macy’s, Sears and J.C. Penney's, but also include Barnes and Noble, a Dunham's Sporting Goods, Claire’s and Kay Jewelers. Additional stores include a nail salon, the Carmike movie theater with ten screens and an indoor gaming area for children. The food court has been replaced with Applebees, Buffalo Wild Wings and a small Chinese restaurant.
The Battle Creek region is a major outdoor destination for various sporting activities. Smitty’s Sport Shop carries a complete inventory of hunting and fishing equipment, including guns and ammunition, rods and reels, live bait, fishing tackle, lures, clothing and accessories. They host fly fishing and flying tying classes and rod building.
Walden Arms is a full service gunsmith featuring customization, restoration and repair of all firearms. They are a dealer for various gun manufacturers and accessories.
Established in 1936, the Hemmingsen Drug Store, located in a vintage store front, is an old school pharmacy providing state of the art pharmaceutical services including on-line refills through their own Smartphone app. They are a family owned business who believe it is their responsibility to serve the community. The owners, Ron and Donna, have worked for Hemmingsen a combined total of 70 years before buying it in 2003.
The major grocery stores are Kroger, Save-A-Lot, Aldi and Meijer. Horrocks Farm Market, with their floral department, gardening center and wide selection of Michigan beers and wines, has been family owned and operated for 50 years, providing local produce and vegetables and a walk-in refrigerated section with everything from cured meats to local yogurt drinks.
With nine parks and 26 miles of paved trails, there is much to do outdoors in and around Battle Creek, including the Binder Park Golf Course, Binder Park Zoo and the Full Blast Recreation Center.
The 145-acres Woodland Park and Nature Preserve, located in the city limits, features old-growth timber, seasonal wetlands providing a home for ducks and geese and open grassy areas with bountiful wildflowers. Available all rear around, there are five miles of trails for hiking and jogging.
The 72-acre Leila Arboretum and Garden boasts a collection of 25,000 plants, including trees, shrubs, perennial and annual plantings, in a European-style garden. It features a lilac garden, a perennial walkway, native plant garden and a labyrinth.Founded in 1922, it was a gift to the city from Leila Post Montgomery, widow of breakfast cereal magnate C. W. Post.
As one of the largest zoos in Michigan, The Binder Park Zoo, with its 433 acres, features a large collection of animals and plants, including the Wild Africa Exhibit, a train, tram, carousel and the Wildlife Discovery Theatre. The interactive, award winning Miller Children’s Zoo, with goats, llamas, sheep and other small domestic animals, is located on the grounds. The Children’s Zoo also has a small dinosaur area with a dinosaur sculpture and play areas. Admission and parking are free.
The unfenced Rest Stop Dog Park is the only one in Battle Creek although nearby Kalamazoo has the 210-acre Prairie View County with a dog park and the Bark Park Dog Park and Dog Day Camp, a cage-free environment for safe and supervised dog play. Rates for the park are $5 per day and the camp costs $22 a day for the organized activity.
The Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival, held annually in July, includes hot air balloons, amusement rides and carnival games, monster truck rides, live entertainment and an air show featuring both private and military aircraft.