How to Spend 12 Hours in Battle Creek
As someone who lives in Allegan and works in Kalamazoo, I don't get over to Battle Creek as often as I'd like to. It's usually a specific reason or an event that brings me to the Cereal City and even then I just attend my event and then leave. Not this time!
Over the weekend I made a concerted effort to explore and re-familiarize myself with the Battle Creek area. I had plenty of must see items on my to-do list and I was able to cross off each and every one of them in the nearly 12 hours I spent there. If you're new to the area or you just want to play tourist in your own town, here's how to spend your day in Battle Creek.
Visit the Oak Hill Cemetery
I had no idea just how many "famous" people are buried in this sprawling cemetery. I use "famous" in quotes because most names are relatively unknown and deserve a bit of explanation. Some of the more notable names within the Oak Hill Cemetery include famed abolitionist Sojourner Truth, cereal magnates W.K. Kellogg and C.W. Post, and Seventh-Day Adventists founders Ellen and James White. However, you'll also find Motown legend Junior Walker and the "American Stradivarius" of violin makers and namesake to Fender's Squier guitar, V.C. Squier.
Go Shopping at Horrock's
I had no idea just how much I missed Horrock's until I moved back to Michigan. Since my return I have now visited the flagship store in Lansing, the Grand Rapids location, and finally the Battle Creek store. Though it is the smallest store of the family-owned chain, a small Horrock's is better than no Horrock's! You'll find fresh soups, produce, gifts, spice, specialty cheese, and more all under one roof. If you plan to go to Horrock's-- go hungry! You won't leave empty handed.
Grab a Pint at Handmap Brewing
The only brewery in Battle Creek-proper is located downtown. Handmap was formed by two Battle Creek natives and is proudly brewed and served in Cereal City. Open Wednesday through Sunday, you'll find Handmap located in the basement of the historic Record Box building which previously made cartons and boxes for breakfast foods. You'll find a variety of craft beers and wine on-tap and although there's no food menu, you'll often find food trucks parked outside!
Stop for a Bite at Torti Taco
After knocking back a few brews at Handmap, I was started to get hungry! Thankfully Torti Taco's new location is now open downtown and is only steps away from the brewery. Battle Creek residents have long anticipated the new location which is housed in the former Pastrami Joe's site. Enjoy tacos, guacamole, adult-beverages, and an oyster bar at this new location.
See the Historic Sights
Being the music nerd that I am, I had two historic sites on my list that I wanted to check out. The first was the original Squier building where V.C. Squier first made his world-renowned violin strings. The building at 427 Capital Ave SW is still standing and currently occupied by Wharry Engineering, and you can still see the violin and music shaped masonry on the exterior to this day! The final home of Squier can still be see in Battle Creek at 35 S. Edison St. There is a plaque outside the rundown building that tells the story of V.C. Squier and his place in both Battle Creek and music history. Kalamazoo has Gibson guitars, Battle Creek has Squier/Fender!
Take a Stroll Along the Riverwalk
Enjoy a nice leisurely stroll along the riverwalk at Friendship Park. The Battle Creek river runs throughout downtown and takes you behind various businesses and landmarks such as Clara's on the River and the Underground Railroad Sculpture. There are plenty of bars and shops to pop into along the way.
Visit the Arboretum
Having only recently learned about the Fantasy Forest at the Leila Arboretum I was eager to check it out for myself. This was the last stop on my list as it was located just outside of town along my route home. Plenty of families were out on a beautiful Sunday afternoon enjoying the fantastical creations made out of trees. The arboretum also features a children's garden, butterfly garden, numerous sculptures and pull-off sites, and a disc golf course that looks quite challenging!