things to do in michigan

Top Things to Experience in Lansing, MI and East Lansing, MI

If you’re seeking exciting activities in Lansing, MI, you’re in luck! There is an abundance of captivating things to explore and do in Lansing, Michigan, as well as in East Lansing.

As the capital of Michigan and a historical hub, Lansing offers a blend of government, academia, and natural beauty. In neighboring East Lansing, the presence of Michigan State University and its vibrant Spartan community adds a lively atmosphere to the state’s capital, making it a delightful destination for families, couples, and young individuals alike.

Continue reading to discover more vacation ideas and attractions in Lansing and its vicinity that are a must-see during your visit. You can also find an interactive map at the bottom highlighting our top 27 recommended things to do in Lansing, MI!

best things to do in michigan

Top Activities to Enjoy in Lansing, MI near the Capitol

Explore the Michigan State Capitol

100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933

The Michigan State Capitol, a National Historic Landmark, is a must-visit for anyone in downtown Lansing. With its Victorian domes, arched hallways, and elegant chandeliers, the Capitol Building showcases captivating architecture. It is not just a beautiful historical site or a tourist attraction; it is a significant and functional part of Michigan’s government. Join a local tour guide to learn about its history and visit the important chambers and rooms.

Immerse Yourself in the Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center

Hall of Justice, 925 West Ottawa Street, Lansing, MI 48915

Another fascinating government site to explore is the Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center. Here, you can gain insights into Michigan’s justice system and even participate in a model courtroom where you get to decide a case through interactive “A Day in Court” games. Don’t forget to take a photo with Lady Justice and enjoy the best view of the State Capitol Building before you leave.

Discover the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame

105 W Allegan St, Lansing, MI 48933

Known as “HERstory,” the Michigan Women’s Historical Center is an inspiring stop. Learn about the stories of nearly 300 Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame inductees, explore changing history exhibits, and stroll through the Women’s Walk brick patio. You’ll also find a fair trade gift shop with unique gifts to commemorate your visit.

things to do in lansing

Must-See Museums in Lansing, MI and East Lansing, MI

Journey into the Past at the Michigan History Center

702 W Kalamazoo St, Lansing, MI 48915

Discover Michigan’s rich history, culture, and industry at the Michigan History Center. From early human settlements in Michigan to the Motown era in Detroit and everything in between, witness the unfolding of Michigan’s history right before your eyes. The museum displays tools used by prehistoric Native Americans, automobiles from the 1950s, and more. Dive into Michigan’s industrial legacy with exhibits featuring a replica of an Upper Peninsula copper mine and other displays showcasing Michigan’s role in the manufacturing boom.

Experience Time Travel at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

240 Museum Dr, Lansing, MI 48933

The transportation and automobile industry has played a significant role in Michigan’s history, particularly in Detroit and Lansing. Explore this captivating history at the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum, home to a vast collection of antique and historical vehicles. The museum showcases numerous Oldsmobiles, including replicas like the original Oldsmobile steam carriage. You’ll also find other vehicles such as the REO Speedwagon, a line of REO lawnmowers, 2004 and 2005 Aleros, and even some aircraft.

Explore Abrams Planetarium and Gaze at the Stars

755 Science Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824

For those with a curious mind and a fascination for space, a visit to Abrams Planetarium on Lansing’s east side is an absolute must. This captivating venue offers an opportunity to observe stars, constellations, and various celestial wonders, including the mesmerizing Northern Lights.

The planetarium’s dome overhead projects captivating images, revealing a breathtaking display of planets, galaxies, and more. Each week, a new show is presented, educating visitors of all ages about the marvels of space and extraterrestrial phenomena. It’s the perfect destination for an enriching and entertaining experience, especially on a rainy day.

Immerse Yourself in Contemporary Art at The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

547 E Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

Designed by the renowned architect Zaha Hadid, recipient of the prestigious Pritzker Prize, The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is a must-visit attraction for art enthusiasts. Situated on the campus, this public art museum pays tribute to Eli and Edythe Broad, longtime supporters of Michigan State University.

The museum houses a remarkable collection of works by local, national, and international artists, complemented by a permanent collection of over 10,000 art pieces. Prepare to be captivated by the beauty and creativity showcased within the walls of this splendid museum.

michigan capitol building lansing mi

Engage in Family-Friendly Activities in Lansing and East Lansing

Discover the Wonders of Science at Impression 5 Science Center

200 Museum Dr, Lansing, MI 48933

Impression 5 Science Center offers an immersive and interactive experience that challenges your understanding of science. Geared toward children and young individuals, this center features hands-on exhibits that cater to all ages, from infants and toddlers to adults.

The center’s engaging demonstrations provide accessible explanations of complex scientific subjects such as physics, electromagnetism, and nanoscale science. Whether you’re a curious child or a lifelong learner, Impression 5 Science Center guarantees a fun and educational adventure.

Visit Potter Park Zoo and Get Close to Wildlife

1301 S Pennsylvania Ave, Lansing, MI 48912

Potter Park Zoo is home to over 500 diverse animal residents from around the world, making it a captivating destination for nature enthusiasts in Lansing. This charming zoo offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a variety of local and exotic animals, and even provides areas for petting animals, which is particularly enjoyable for children.

Like many zoos, Potter Park aims to conserve wildlife through research and education initiatives. It offers a blend of entertainment and educational experiences for visitors, ensuring a memorable and enriching outing.

Cheer for the Lansing Lugnuts

505 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48912

Jackson Field at Cooley Law School Stadium is where you can support Lansing’s minor league baseball team, the Lansing Lugnuts. This stadium boasts 20 luxury suites, six full-service concession stands, management offices, and the team’s merchandise store, “Nuts and Bolts.”

The stadium takes pride in its commitment to accessibility, ensuring a welcoming experience for individuals with disabilities. Whether you’re a baseball enthusiast or simply seeking a fun-filled day with family and friends, cheering for the Lansing Lugnuts promises an exciting and inclusive experience.

Experience Outdoor Bliss at Hawk Island Park

1601 E Cavanaugh Rd, Lansing, MI 48910

Hawk Island Park, one of the Lansing area’s remarkable county parks, covers 100 acres and offers a wide range of activities for every season. With its picturesque beach, swimming area, splash pad, and community-built playground, the park caters to all ages and interests. It’s a breathtaking natural oasis that deserves a visit.

Visit Soldan Dog Park with Your Canine Companion

E Cavanaugh Rd, Lansing, MI 48910

Treat your beloved pup to a delightful off-leash experience at Soldan Dog Park. Sprawling across 15 acres, this dog park boasts a serene atmosphere with a picturesque lake, sandy beach, and adjacent boreal forest near Hawk Island. Your furry friend will surely have a tail-wagging time here.

kayak in lansing

Outdoor Pursuits in Lansing MI and East Lansing MI

Embark on an Adventure along the Lansing River Trail

The Lansing River Trail is a beloved destination among locals seeking leisurely walks or bike rides. This scenic trail spans 16 miles alongside the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers, passing by popular landmarks such as Michigan State University, Potter Park Zoo, and Old Town. With its tranquil natural surroundings and minimal human intervention, it comes as no surprise that nature enthusiasts flock to this trail for a rejuvenating escape.

Discover the Tranquil Beauty of Fenner Nature Center

2020 E Mt Hope Ave, Lansing, MI 48910

For outdoor enthusiasts visiting Lansing, exploring the Fenner Nature Center is a must. Operated by a nonprofit organization, this nature center places a strong emphasis on preserving the green environment in the heart of Lansing. Lose yourself in the lush foliage as you stroll through dense forests, leafy shrubs, and vibrant flowers, all without leaving the city.

Kayak along the Red Cedar River

River Town Adventures: 530 River St, Lansing, MI 48933

When it comes to outdoor activities in Michigan, kayaking holds a special place. Lansing, known for its appreciation of the outdoors, offers an exciting opportunity to connect with nature through kayaking. The Red Cedar River serves as an ideal destination for beginners, thanks to its calm and gentle waters. If you lack confidence, worry not, as volunteer guides are available to ensure a smooth and enjoyable kayaking experience. It’s also a fantastic idea for an outdoor date in Lansing.

Woldumar Nature Center: A Haven of Natural Splendor

 5739 Old Lansing Rd, Lansing, MI 48917

Nestled near the Grand River, Woldumar Nature Center invites visitors to explore its five miles of natural trails winding through forests and prairies. This scenic haven offers a serene environment where you can immerse yourself in nature’s embrace. Make sure to visit the WolduMarket Gift Shop, featuring an array of nature-related items and captivating displays, including live animals and geological wonders.

W.J. Beal Botanical Garden: A Captivating Oasis

W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

Immerse yourself in five acres of natural beauty at the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden, situated on the MSU campus. Established in 1873, it holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously operated garden of its kind in the United States. The garden showcases over 5,000 species meticulously organized into economic, systematic, landscape, and ecological groupings. Delight in the tranquil and enchanting ambiance of this botanical gem, which stands as one of the highlights of the MSU campus.

Cruise along the Grand Princess

Grand River Park, Lansing, MI 48917

The Michigan Princess Company operates three classic steamboats, including one in Lansing. These steamboats offer a range of opportunities, from private events like parties and meetings to public events like concerts and luncheons, which can be attended for a nominal fee. Indulge in a memorable cruise experience aboard the Grand Princess as it gracefully sails down the Grand River, departing from the dock at Grand River Park. This riverboat can accommodate up to 450 guests, making it an excellent choice for public and private voyages, including romantic getaways.

turner dodge house

More Attractions in East Lansing MI

Listen to the Melodies of Beaumont Tower Bells

375 W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

With nearly a century of history, the iconic Beaumont Tower is home to 49 bells that resonate with beautiful melodies across East Lansing. Allow yourself to be captivated by the enchanting sounds emanating from this carillon tower, which can play a wide variety of music.

Turner Dodge House: Stepping into Lansing’s Past

100 E North St, Lansing, MI 48906

Step back in time at the Turner Dodge House, also known as the Dodge Mansion. Constructed in 1855, this historic house has been transformed into a museum dedicated to Lansing’s early pioneers. Recognized as a significant heritage site, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. A visit to this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Lansing’s rich history and the lives of its early inhabitants.

Embark on a Sculpture Walk

419 N. Washington Sq., Lansing, MI 48933

The Downtown Sculpture Walks organized by Lansing Community College offer an entertaining way to explore the vibrant art scene in Lansing. Spanning across the 48-acre downtown Lansing campus area, you’ll encounter over 600 captivating pieces of public art. Take your time to appreciate these artistic creations as you stroll through the open-air gallery.

Enjoy Fun-filled Activities at Spare Time Entertainment Center

3101 E Grand River Ave, Lansing, MI 48912

Spare Time Entertainment Center is a popular attraction offering a wide range of activities for both children and adults. Unleash your competitive spirit with bowling, axe throwing, arcade games, escape rooms, and laser tag. This multifaceted entertainment center ensures hours of excitement for visitors of all ages.

Experience Live Performances at the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts

750 E Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824

The Wharton Center for the Performing Arts is a cultural hub boasting four stages that attract top-notch entertainment acts from across the country. Whether you’re into Broadway shows, performing arts, theater, or live events, this venue promises an unforgettable experience.

coffee shops michigan

Indulge in Culinary Delights in Lansing MI and East Lansing MI

Savor Exceptional Coffee at Strange Matter Coffee

2010 E Michigan Ave #103, Lansing, MI 48912

Begin your day in Lansing on a high note with a visit to Strange Matter Coffee. This unique coffee shop takes a scientific approach to crafting their beverages and baked goods, ensuring a delightful and scientifically proven delicious experience. Fuel up with their high-quality coffee and tantalizing treats before embarking on your adventures.

places to live in michigan

Delight in Irresistible BBQ at Meat BBQ

1224 Turner Rd, Lansing, MI 48906

When hunger strikes, choosing a restaurant in Lansing can be overwhelming due to the vast array of options. However, Meat BBQ stands out as a top recommendation for carnivorous cuisine. Indulge in mouthwatering Southern BBQ staples, including ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and more. As soon as you take your first bite, you’ll understand why this establishment gained recognition on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

Raise a Glass at Lansing Brewing Company

518 E Shiawassee St, Lansing, MI 48912

Situated in the vibrant Stadium District, Lansing Brewing Company holds a special place among Lansing’s breweries. With a rich history dating back over a century, this establishment supplied beer to builders in the area. After a period of closure during prohibition, it regained popularity upon reopening and now celebrates the craft beer movement. Explore their diverse selection of brews, from flagship Amber Cream Ale to IPAs, pilsners, sours, and porters.

East Lansing Farmers Markets

280 Valley Ct, East Lansing, MI 48823

The East Lansing Farmers Market is a must-visit destination for enthusiasts of fresh, locally grown produce and artisanal products. Located in a welcoming open-air park setting near the MSU campus and downtown East Lansing, this growers-only market offers a wide range of Michigan-grown vegetables, fruits, artisan bread, cheese, meat, coffee, maple syrup, honey, flowers, and more.

Top-Rated Hotels in Lansing MI

Crowne Plaza Lansing West

925 South Creyts Road, Lansing, MI 48917

The Crowne Plaza Lansing West is a personal favorite when it comes to accommodations in Lansing. Impeccably clean and comfortable, each room is equipped with modern amenities such as a microwave, fridge, and tea/coffee-maker. The hotel’s attractive design, complete with a delightful indoor pool, makes for a pleasant stay. Conveniently located off the expressway, it offers easy access to various attractions in the area.

Marriott East Lansing at University Place

300 M.A.C. Avenue, Lansing, MI 48823

If your adventures mainly revolve around East Lansing, the Marriott East Lansing at University Place is an ideal choice. Less than a mile from the MSU campus, this full-service hotel provides a lovely environment with a spacious indoor pool, on-site restaurant and bar, and a well-equipped fitness center. The stylishly decorated rooms offer comfort and relaxation for guests.

Radisson Hotel Lansing at the Capitol

111 North Grand Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933

Combining affordability with a touch of luxury, the Radisson Hotel Lansing at the Capitol is a gem worth considering. Its convenient location, just steps away from the Capitol building, makes it an excellent choice for those planning to explore the area. The hotel boasts spacious and comfortable rooms, complete with scenic views of the Grand River. Guests can enjoy the expansive pool and revel in the overall elegance of this accommodation.

Explore Lansing MI: A Guide to the Finest Attractions and Activities

map to lansing mi

Common Queries Regarding Lansing MI

What makes Lansing MI renowned?

Lansing boasts two prominent distinctions: it is hailed as the birthplace of the Oldsmobile and serves as the capital city of Michigan.