The Getaway
Things to Do in Lansing and East Lansing

Discover the vibrant essence of Lansing and East Lansing in Michigan's heart. Lansing, the state capital, offers a unique blend of cultural and recreational spaces. Explore the fascinating museums, rush past exhilarating stadiums, or ride alongside gorgeous bike paths. Lansing is a city rich in discovery, and it is the origin of the internationally recognized rock group REO Speedwagon.

East Lansing has its own gems, such as Wharton Center for Performing Arts and the serene John M. Patriarche Park. Whether you are in town for educational purposes or leisure, these cities are full of lifetime experiences, as listed below.


01 Visit Michigan State Capitol

Lansing, Michigan, USA at the Michigan State Capitol during the evening. (Austin Blair Statue erected 1895)

The artistic magnificence of Michigan's State Capitol in Lansing downtown shouldn't be left almost undiscovered. The majestic Myer's gem, as it is commonly called, took Elijah E. Myers, who is now a famous historical figure, six years to complete the visible sweat and bloodwork in 1879.

While on a tour of the Capitol, you will be encircled by more than nine acres of magnificent hand-painted designs from the Victorian Age. Do not miss the opportunity to take a guided tour—each room tells a unique story that highlights the devotion of the citizens of Michigan to this historic landmark.


02 Trek the Lansing River Trail

Lansing, MI / USA - July, 28, 2020: Lansing downtown, view across the Grand River towards Rotary Park, the city market and colorful houses nearby. Summer day, blue sky with some clouds. T-I/Shutterstock

The Lansing River Trail is a 16-mile-long enchanting pathway that goes from Michigan State University through the Old Town of Lansing to the Potter Park Zoo. Whether you enjoy biking, walking, or jogging, this trail has a very distinct scenery of the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers. Plunge into the multifarious sceneries of urban settings, prairies, wetlands, and industrial areas. It is ideal for a relaxing day out or an active venture in the heart of Lansing and East Lansing.


03 Explore the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

Experience Lansing's rich car history by going to the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum! In this experience, you will start from the era where the first Oldsmobiles rolled out in 1883 and end up in 2005, when the last Oldsmobiles were produced. Admire an amazing collection of antique cars, which, among other things, include replicas of the first steam carriage and early electric automobile models.

Look out for the REO Speedwagon, the last 2004 and 2005 Alerus along with a well-curated collection of automobile accessories. The exhibit has also sampled aircraft and REO lawnmowers, which cover Ransom E. Olds' contribution to the transportation area fully.


04 Tour the Potter Park Zoo

Red Panda at Potter Park Zoo, Lansing, Michigan, United States of America. Springtime.

Spot Potter Park Zoo in Lansing is one of the oldest zoos in Michigan and has existed since 1920. Situated alongside a sprawling forest spanning 80 acres within a compact 20-acre space, the zoo provides a sanctuary for over 500 animals representing a diverse range of 180 species. Experience the captivating wildlife of North American river otters, Magellanic Penguins, critically endangered Black Rhinos, a giant anteater, and the awe-inspiring big cats such as African Lions and Siberian Tigers.

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Potter Park Zoo not only provides a casual 90-minute walkthrough, but it is also a conservation educational advocate. Take part in their programs and events that aim at involving the young and old alike in the effort to preserve our environment.


05 Visit the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Discover the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on the Michigan State University Campus, where art and architecture come together as new frontiers of cultural awareness. Through its role as an active public institution, the museum presents engaging exhibitions involving both international and local artists, providing a current look at cultural debates going on today.

The MSU Broad is where people connect to see the world through an artistic prism and to understand contemporary thoughts and global behaviors. By means of teaching and innovating, it acts as an imaginative laboratory uniting historical understandings with modern research.

Explore the wide-ranging collections of antiquities, from ancient times to modern artists, where like-minded individuals gather to share their love and appreciation for art.


06 Participate in practical training at Impression 5 Science Center

Meet the fascinating world of science at the Impression 5 Science Center! This science museum provides a face-to-face experience as you conduct hands-on experiments that will make your learning fun. The Scientist Scanner Suite begins with an introductory area for the littlest scientists called the First Impression Room and then leads to displays on the physics of motion, electromagnetism, and nanotechnology, where everyone will find something to ignite their curiosity.

Observe and have fun—draw, play, and investigate what science really is! No matter what age you are, be it a toddler or an adult, you're going to find something that appeals to you.


07 Explore the Michigan State University Campus

East Lansing MI - October 18, 2022: Michigan State University entrance sign Focused Adventures/Shutterstock

As you explore Michigan State University, you realize that the learning process is not just in the lecture hall but is everywhere you go. The University of first class isn't just the place where you just read books. It is the place of the latest breakthrough discoveries that will change life forever.

At MSU, you would not only find yourself in the cutting-edge art installations or walking through the botanical garden overflowing with lush horticultural gardens, but also enjoy a location that enriches both the intellect and spirit. Immerse yourself in the colorful university atmosphere and join the Spartans to see how little by little life changes and becomes a better planet.


08 Tour the Wharton Center for Performing Arts

Look forward to a superb vintage evening. Head out to the Wharton Center for Performing Arts in East Lansing. This flagship locale is the pulse of the state's cultural life, bringing the finest of Broadway musicals and other high-quality concerts and dance shows. Whatever your preference, from die-hard dramas to peppy musicals, the Wharton Center has something for everyone, ranging from national to international acts, to guarantee a thrilling experience. Therefore, get your tickets ready, sit back, enjoy some wonderful performances, and let the magic of the stage touch you.


09 Explore the MSU Athletics

Feel the beats of college sports with the spirit of Michigan State University! Go into different athletic activities that let people come together as one community. On campus, you can find four indoor facilities with a range of amenities, from basketball and volleyball courts to indoor pools and cycling studios.

Venture outdoors for a sail on Lake Lansing at the MSU Sailing Center, stroll by the two 18-hole golf courses or join in the fun of soccer or flag football on the fields. Engage in volleyball in the sand, play tennis, and use a pool that is friendly to swimmers, as well.


10 Explore the East Lansing Film Festival

Discover the vibrant cultural events of the Eastern Lansing Film Festival (ELFF) in Michigan. The festival brought together a variety of independent and foreign films. The eagerly anticipated yearly film festival is not just about watching motion pictures; it is about getting acquainted with multiculturalism, viewpoints, and stories from across the world. With movies that offer entertainment, education, and enlightenment, you will also be celebrating the creativity of movie directors from the neighborhood of Lake Michigan.

If you are a movie buff, then you surely don't want to miss the opportunity to watch unique films and take part in contests such as the 48/5 Film Contest that highlight the excellence of the local filmmaking talent.


11 Tour the Downtown East Lansing

Lansing is the capital of the U.S. state of Michigan DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

While downtown East Lansing is crowded with the youthful vitality of MSU, people watch and enjoy the moment. While strolling around the commercial performance, you will discover a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants and entertainment centers to visit. If you are scanning for unusual presents or avid for diverse tastes, you won't be disappointed. There is something here for everyone, really. This youthful enclave reveals the combination of creative energy and community engagement that makes it the place to be.


12 Tour the Hawk Island Park

Hawk Island Park in Lansing, Michigan

Hawk Island Park, a 100-acre park in the southern part of Lansing, is an all-season destination for outdoor activities. In hotter seasons, you can rent paddle boats, sunbathe on the swimming beach, or chill at the Splash Pad. The park even provides facilities like a beach house and a concession stand. Have a picnic, let the kid run on the playground, or challenge your friends to a game of sand volleyball or horseshoes. This is the ultimate spot for the perfect laid-back day with family and friends.


13 Explore the Historic Old Town Lansing

Lansing, MI / USA - September, 29, 2019: Old Town Lansing, Cesar Chavez Ave near the fish ladder. Two-storied buildings of different colors. Shop windows. No people.

Dwell in the beauty of historic Old Town Lansing, a vivid neighborhood buzzing with activities. Explore the unique shops, galleries, and inviting restaurants housed inside carefully refurbished buildings. This neighborhood is the epicenter of creativity and community, where lively festivals and events convene the locals and tourists to be one mass. Whether you are looking for unique gifts, a delightful brunch, or simply want to immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere, Old Town Lansing has got you covered. Remember to include this piece of the city among your beloved places; it is ideal for creating unforgettable memories.


14 Visit the Turner-Dodge House

Visit the Turner-Dodge House in Lansing, where you will find a beautiful 19th-century mansion full of history and tradition. This building, which was constructed in 1855, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To date, it is a focal point of cultural life for the citizens of Lansing, keeping alive the flame of the pioneer spirit. Engage in the past through exciting tours or be a part of the lively neighborhood activities. If you are in Lansing, don't miss the heritage museum at your location.


15 Explore the Fenner Nature Center

Discover the lively Fenner Nature Center, now under the care of the Fenner Conservancy, where 134 acres of charming wilderness invite your exploration. Traverse four miles of trails that crisscross through the gorgeous glacial eskers and inspiring maple forests. In the Visitor Center, you'll meet the native reptiles and amphibians up close, and you could get in front of the songbirds, deer, and wild turkeys. Do not miss the remodeled interactive exhibits, carefully planned to grab your attention and motivate you.


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