Lansing, Michigan’s capital city, is located in the heart of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It’s a terrific area to visit, especially with its neighbor East Lansing, which is home to Michigan State University. There’s great food, shopping, museums, galleries, and historical sites to see. But, when visiting the “heart of Michigan,” what are the finest things to do?
Reason #1: Michigan City Built by Cars
Lansing is well-known for its automotive heritage. In 1905, the REO Motor Car Firm became Michigan’s first running automobile company, and in Lansing, the Oldsmobile brand was established. Today, L-Town continues Michigan’s auto manufacturing history. Several General Motors plants are located there, and GM has brought around 1,200 employees to the Lansing area. If you’re a vehicle fan, the Car Capital Auto Show in Lansing is a great place to go to see the latest cars, motorcycles, trucks, and bikes. Visit RE Olds Transportation Museum, which houses an impressive collection of over 65 Lansing-built automobiles dating back to 1886.
Reason #2: Lansing River Trail
The Lansing River Trail, which runs for more than 20 miles along the Grand River and Red Cedar River from north of Lansing to East Lansing, provides access to a variety of attractions as well as scenic way between them. The Brenke Fish Ladder, Adado Riverfront Park, and Potter Park Zoo are also popular destinations along the walk.
Reason #3: MSU Broad
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, or the MSU Broad, is a must-see modern art museum and cultural center in Greater Lansing. The Zaha Hadid-designed skyscraper, which opened in 2012, is a work of art in and of itself, with an angular façade made of pleated stainless steel and glass. Greek and Roman antiquities, Old Master paintings, and major works by contemporary artists are among the items in the museum’s collection. The event is free to attend.
Reason #4: Michigan State Capitol
The Michigan State Capitol was one of the first state capitols to have a cast-iron dome roof, having been built in 1879. The Rotunda and the Gallery of the Governors, as well as the House and Senate Galleries, the Governor’s Office, and the Supreme Court Chamber, are all accessible via free guided and self-guided tours. In 1992, it was listed as a National Historic Landmark.
Reason #5: Michigan Winter
The weather in Michigan is generally pleasant throughout the year, but if you’re coming from a warmer region, you’ll need to plan for the winter. Lansing receives 46 inches of snow on average each year, with an average low temperature of 16 degrees in January. Even though Michigan winters can be long and cold, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy throughout the year! Burchfield Park offers sledding and cross-country skiing, Hawk Island Park offers snow tubing and ice fishing, and the gorgeous Mt. Brighton ski resort is only 45 minutes away.
Reason #6: Affordable Place to Live & Work
L-Town might be the place for you if you’re seeking a low-cost area to reside in Michigan. With a median home price of $100,115 and a median rent of $850, Lansing’s cost of living is 17 percent cheaper than the national average, and its cost of housing is a startling 47 percent lower! With notable companies including General Motors, Sparrow Health System, Two Men, and a Truck, and Michigan State University, the state capital boasts a 2.9 percent unemployment rate and plenty of work prospects.
Reason #7: Public Transportation
Traveling about Lansing is simple because of the city’s numerous public transit options. To beat commuting traffic and take advantage of handy bus routes around the Greater Lansing area, hop aboard the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA). Use the Grab & Go Express to get around Downtown Lansing’s entertainment sector. Alternatively, commute to East Lansing or Detroit on the Michigan Flyer-AirRide. If you want to go further, leave your car at home and ride the Michigan Amtrak train to destinations like Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids—and even Chicago.
Reason #8: Old Town Lansing
Public art, unique local stores, delicious restaurants, and engaging community activities can all be found in Lansing’s famed Old Town district. Lansing’s historic Old Town, which originally served as the city’s downtown, is now the city’s most important cultural and creative quarter, including art galleries, boutiques, and marketplaces, as well as a variety of restaurants and bars. Pablo’s Old Town Mexican Restaurant and Meat BBQ, which were both featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in 2017, are two favorites.
Reason #9: Incredible Food
Whether you’re looking for sushi restaurants or Italian restaurants in Lansing, you’re sure to discover something delicious! Olive burgers in West Michigan, pasties in the Upper Peninsula, and coney dogs in Detroit are some of Lansing’s hallmark cuisine. The majority of those meals are well-known in Lansing, and a wonderful coney dog or olive burger can be found here.
Reason #10: Local Arts and Culture Scene
Lansing is home to numerous museums, art galleries, and public art murals that you should visit! Stroll through the MSU Museum, which houses fantastic archives and historical collections focusing on Michigan and its connections to the Great Lakes, the world, and beyond. View works of art by local and regional Michigan artists at the Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center. At the Michigan Institute for Modern Art, you may see everything from visual art shows involving poets and musicians to sculpting work by contemporary artists. At the charity REACH Studio Art Center, you can enroll your children in art education classes or join a clay molding lesson. Spend a day exploring Downtown Lansing, Old Town, and REO Town for interesting public murals.
Fantastic entertainment, reasonable housing, and excellent outdoor activities can all be found in Michigan’s capital city. Are you looking for a simple springtime road trip? If that’s the case, now is the ideal opportunity to shake off the winter blues and try something new. Come see what else Lansing has to offer.