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Behind The Scenes Tours

Get a behind the scenes look at some uniquely West Michigan places. From seeing the brewing process of your favorite craft beers, walking through the vineyards and sampling favorite wines, to taking a look at the history of the region, there are plenty of special tours to help you get more acquainted with the area. 

Beer & Distillery Tours

To experience the very best of Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks with an unforgettable distillery tour. Knowledgeable guides whisk guests behind the scenes for an immersive adventure spanning culture, politics, and science. At tour’s end, adults of legal age are invited to taste a wide variety of Journeyman spirits—and learn more about the craft of distilling.

Here’s your backstage pass to one of the fastest growing and inventive industries in West Michigan. Kalamazoo is part of an area that features some of the best breweries in the world and West Michigan Beer Tours takes beer lovers on a one-of-a-kind journey that shows the process, the people, and the pride behind Michigan beer. It provides unique experiences, such as brewer meet-and-greets, exclusive tastings, and perhaps even lending a hand in brewing or packaging.

Bell’s Brewery offers free tours at both their Kalamazoo and Comstock locations. Their original, Kalamazoo brewery is where beers like Amber and Oberon were first brewed. Their Comstock Brewery is home to their 50-barrel and 200-barrel brewhouse, located on 30 acres, and only a short 7-mile drive from Kalamazoo. This facility is designed to allow guests a first-hand look at their brewing process, fermentation, and packaging, and also includes two complimentary samples.

More Brewery & Distillery Tours to Try: 

Saugatuck Brewing, Saugatuck

Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids

New Holland Brewery, Holland  

Coppercraft Distillery, Holland

Long Road Distillers, Grand Rapids

Grand Traverse Distillery, Traverse City

Mammoth Distilling, Central Lake

Winery Tours

The wine-maker at Crane’s has recently started hosting tours of their Fennville location. For $10 per person in groups of 8 or more, come see the process they go through to get the delicious hard cider and wine you drink today. You’ll receive tastings, a commemorative glass, and the tour from the wine-maker. It is recommended to schedule your tour in advance.

Visit Traverse City and take a complimentary tour of the Chateau Grand Traverse’s grounds and winemaking facility, taking you through the winemaking process from harvest to bottling. All tours begin on their vineyard overlook deck, where your tour guide will highlight winery history and outline their growing practices. The tour will proceed into the winemaking facilities, where you will see first-hand how their wine is made.

Join Dablon Winery in Baroda on a winemaker-led walking tour through their world-class vineyard, winery, and underground barrel cellar. You will experience the many components involved in creating first-class wines. Their winemaker will explain how their grapes are planted and cared for, as well as the barrel aging process.

Take a tour to learn about making proper cider at Virtue Cider in Fennville. From pressing apples into juice, to the ins and outs of barrel-aging, you’ll get to know Virtue and the traditional methods they use for their ciders. Virtue Cider offers three different experiences: the Cidermaker Tour, Production Tour, and Family Farm Tour. The Cidermaker Tour focuses on how Virtue Cider crafts the perfect cider, while the Production Tour takes you through the basics of their process. The Family Farm Tour is a tailored experience for families, letting the young ones meet some of the farm animals and taste non-alcoholic cider. Tours can be booked on the Virtue Cider website.

More Winery & Cider House Tours to Try:

Fenn Valley Vineyards, Fennville 

St Julian Winery, Paw Paw

12 Corners, Benton Harbor

Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City

Black Star Farms, Suttons Bay

Maple Moon Sugarbush & Winery, Petoskey

History Tours

Schedule your group for a tour at Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater, or individuals can take a self-guided tour of their museum-quality historical exhibit, “A Treasure Reborn: The History of Tibbits Opera House”. Learn about the changes and functions of the building throughout the years, the management during different periods of the theatre, and see a variety of photos in this beautiful display. The exhibit is free and can be seen by appointment or before and during all events at the theatre.

Schedule a group visit to Henderson Castle in Kalamazoo. Henderson Castle is the ideal place for groups of all types to gather and tour. Choose one of their tour packages or customize your experience to create exactly what you’re looking for. Tours can be scheduled to be self-guided or guided through the three-story historic castle and the surrounding property.

Michigan history begins in downtown Lansing. Visit the State Capitol Building for free tours six days a week and then walk a few blocks to the Michigan Historical Center which houses the Library of Michigan, the State Archives and the Michigan History Museum. The History Museum is three floors of Michigan history from prehistoric times through the 1960s and Motown. Then motor on over to the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. At one time, Lansing was the car capital with two major auto assembly plants.

Muskegon invites you to a special Hackley Public Library After-Hours Guided Tour – November 21st at 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm. Dive into history and learn details about Hackley Public Library during a free ‘After-Hours’ guided tour!

Step back in time and explore the historic sites of the Mackinac State Historic Parks and how early settlers, millers, fur traders, and soldiers lived and worked in Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island. 

More Historic Tours to Try: 

Lakeshore Museum Center, Muskegon

USS Silversides Submarine Museum, Muskegon

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland

Mackinac Island Carriage Tours, Mackinac Island

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

Other Unique West Michigan Tours

A tour of the Kilwins Chocolate Kitchen in Petoskey is a must-see on your next visit to northern Michigan. Tours run Monday through Friday and include a comprehensive review of how Kilwins makes truffles, chocolates, caramel, brittles, and other confections. Of course, there are free samples at the end of each tour!

Head to Chocolates by Grimaldi in Grand Haven for a fun factory tour, and learn about the creation of chocolate, from pod and bean to delicious delicacies! Taste fresh samples right off the line and visit their production area to see where the magic is done. They use a 1950s enrober just like on I Love Lucy! Tours will not be available from November 12th to December 31st due to the holiday season.

Whatever your vacation plans in the Upper Peninsula may be, be sure they include a stop by the Adventure Mining Company in Greenland to boldly go where no underground mine tour has gone before! Tour of one of the best preserved copper mines in Michigan with a walk through the tunnels on the first level, or try your hand at rappelling with a rope and harness to the second level of the mine.

The W.K. Kellogg Conference Center and Manor House is located on beautiful Gull Lake in Southwest Michigan nestled between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek in the town of Hickory Corners. The estate offers 32 acres of gorgeous grounds including champion trees, lush gardens, and lakefront access. During your visit you will feel like you have stepped back in time when life was more simple and the air more pure. Once the summer cottage of W.K. Kellogg, the Manor House and grounds offer self-guided tours where a story is told about a generous local philanthropist whose gifts continue to offer guests relaxation in a natural setting.