How to Spend 12 Hours in Battle Creek, MI

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As someone who lives in Allegan and works in Kalamazoo, I don’t go to Battle Creek as often as I would like. It’s usually a specific reason or event that brings me to Cité des Céréales and even then I just attend my event and then I leave. Not this time!

Over the weekend, I made a concerted effort to explore and reacquaint myself with the Battle Creek area. I had a lot of things to see on my to-do list and was able to cross off every one of them in the nearly 12 hours I was there. If you’re new to the area or just want to play tourist in your own town, here’s how to spend your day in Battle Creek.

Visit Oak Hill Cemetery

I had no idea how many “famous” people were buried in this sprawling cemetery. I use “famous” in quotes because most of the names are relatively unknown and deserve a bit of explanation. Some of the most notable names in Oak Hill Cemetery include famed abolitionist Sojourner Truth, grain magnates WK Kellogg and CW Post, and Seventh-day Adventist founders Ellen and James White. However, you’ll also find Motown legend Junior Walker and the “American Stradivarius” of luthiers and namesake of Fender’s Squier guitar, VC Squier.


Shopping at Horrock

through Google Maps

through Google Maps

I had no idea how much I missed Horrock’s until I moved back to Michigan. Since returning, I have now visited the Lansing flagship store, the Grand Rapids location, and finally the Battle Creek store. Although it is the smallest store in the family chain, a small Horrock’s is better than no Horrock’s! You’ll find fresh soups, fresh produce, gifts, spices, specialty cheeses and more all under one roof. If you’re planning on going to Horrock’s, be hungry! You will not leave empty-handed.


Grab a pint at Handmap Brewing

Battle Creek’s only brewery 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 that previously made cartons and boxes for breakfast foods. You will find a variety of craft beers and wines on tap and although there is no menu you will often find food trucks parked outside!


Stop for a bite to eat at Torti Taco

through Google Maps

through Google Maps

After drinking a few beers at Handmap, I started to get hungry! Luckily, Torti Taco’s new location is now open downtown and just a short walk from the brewery. Residents of Battle Creek have long anticipated the new location which is at the former Pastrami Joe site. Enjoy tacos, guacamole, adult drinks and an oyster bar at this new location.


See historic sites

Being the music nerd that I am, I had two historical sites on my list that I wanted to check out. The first was the original Squier building where VC Squier made their world famous 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! Squier’s last home can still be seen in Battle Creek at 35 S. Edison St. There is a plaque outside the dilapidated building that tells the story of VC Squier and his place in both Battle Creek and the the history of music. Kalamazoo has Gibson guitars, Battle Creek has Squier/Fender!


Stroll along the Riverwalk

through Google Maps

through Google Maps

Enjoy a pleasant walk along the boardwalk at Friendship Park. The Battle Creek River runs through 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 heard about the Fantasy Forest at 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 way back. Many families had gone out on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to enjoy the fantastic creations made of trees. The arboretum also includes a children’s garden, a butterfly garden, numerous sculptures and attraction sites, and a disc golf course which promises to be quite challenging!

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