Michigan is famous for its hospitality and encompasses everything from bustling cities to beautiful countryside.
The state’s capital city of Lansing boasts the best of both worlds: the down-to-earth spirit of the Midwestern USA with the cultured amenities of a state capital. Here’s your guide to exploring its lively downtown, artsy neighborhoods and diverse attractions.
Within a five-block radius in the city center are five must-see attractions: the neoclassical State Capitol Building, a National Historic Landmark; Impression 5 Science Center, a hands-on family museum; Cooley Law School Stadium, home of the minor league Lansing Lugnuts baseball team; the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum, dedicated to America’s iconic Oldsmobile cars; and educational exhibits at the Michigan History Museum.
Touring the Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing
Food, Spirits and Culture
Sample drinks from Michigan’s favorite breweries, wineries and distilleries on the Makers & Shakers Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail. Pick up a free pamphlet and collect 12 stamps from featured bars to earn a souvenir. Lansing is also considered the festival capital of Michigan, and you can plan your trip to experience one of 60 annual events throughout the year. Find arts and crafts shows in the spring, beer and food festivals in the summer, and dozens of heritage- and holiday-themed celebrations in fall and winter.
Taking a turn on the dance floor at the Michigan BluesFest
Four Artsy Neighborhoods
Lansing has four distinct arts districts to explore. Look for colorful street art and funky eateries in REO Town, the original site of the REO Motor Car Company. Old Town has long been Lansing’s cultural district, where historic buildings now hold galleries, trendy boutiques, bars and restaurants. In East Lansing, check out museums, galleries and the Michigan State University campus. Downtown is a true city center with cultural venues, shopping and dining. Take the Lansing Community College Sculpture Walk to find dozens of eclectic public art installations.
Visiting Old Town, a cultural and creative district in Lansing
The Lansing River Trail
Even in this bustling city, you can enjoy the great outdoors on more than 30 kilometers of trails along the Grand and Red Cedar rivers. Bike, run or walk, pausing at local landmarks along the Lansing River Trail, including Old Town’s historic stops, the Lansing City Market, downtown’s shopping district, the Potter Park Zoo and Michigan State University. Go canoeing or kayaking in the Grand River for photo-worthy views from the water.
Kayaking and walking along the 20-kilometer Lansing River Trail
College Town Fun
Michigan State University isn’t just for students. Take a tranquil stroll through the Beal Botanical Garden or 4-H Children’s Garden and explore arts and sciences at the MSU Museum, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and the Abrams Planetarium. The Wharton Center for Performing Arts is the largest in the state and hosts more than 100 events each season, from Broadway musicals to dances, plays and family programming.
Contemporary architecture and art at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum
There are two nearby airport options for visiting Lansing: Capital Region International (LAN), about a 15-minute drive to downtown, and Detroit Metropolitan (DTW), about a 1.5-hour drive. Rental cars are readily available.