Blake Walsh

17 Best Things to Do in Lansing, MI

  • Published 2022/04/06

Lansing, Michigan’s sprawling capital, encapsulates a variety of cultures and exudes a metropolitan ambiance.

It is known for its beautiful countryside and bustling city.

The Grand River flows through the city.

Lansing is a diverse place to explore.

Wanderers flock in hundreds every year to explore this underrated destination filled with treasured gems.

There are surprises at every corner.

There are many things you can do, magnum spots you can visit, and scrumptious food you can try.

Here are the best things to do in Lansing, Michigan:

Say Hi to Wildlife at Potter Park

Red Panda at Potter Park in Lansing

Gordon Satoh /

Potter Park is home to over 500 resident animals.

They come from all over the globe and hence are diverse in their habitat.

An eagle with his wings spread at Potter Park

Gordon Satoh /

It is quite impressive to watch those animals do their thing.

The zoo is spread over a small area, making it look like a small habitat.

There are petting areas for a few animals.

A closeup photo of an albino peacock at Potter Park

John Rockstad /

The zoo authorities aim at conserving wildlife by propagating research and educating the masses.

You have to book your tickets online.

A closeup photo of a goat at Potter Park

John Rockstad /

Open the Doors to a Historical Era at R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

Display at R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

ehrlif /

R.E. Olds Transportation Museum is a haven for all those who love vintage cars and automobiles.

The museum consists of a classic collection of cars that dates back decades.

You can learn Lansing’s authentic transportation history at R.E. Olds.

Exterior and name sign of R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

Susan Montgomery /

You can tour the museum and learn the nitty-gritty of automobiles and their work.

You might take an hour or two to go through it all.

It is an outrageous place for anyone fond of cars and wants to dive into its roaring history.

A vintage vehicle inside the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

ehrlif /

Tour the State Capitol Building

The majestic State Capitol Building in Lansing

Dmitriy Bryndin /

Indulge in Michigan’s ethos and rich culture at the State Capitol Building.

It has been designated as the National Historic Landmark.

As you enter the building, you’ll be metaphorically entering the Victorian era.

Beautiful interior of State Capitol Building

Nagel Photography /

The elegance and grandeur of the building are breathtaking.

The magnificence of the building is enhanced by the well-lit chandeliers that elaborately hang from the ceiling.

The interiors are alluring with faux-painted walls.

The Victorian domes and arched hallways emanate nothing but royalty.

Arched hallway inside the State Capitol Building

Nagel Photography /

Hire a local tour guide who is well informed to learn more about the place.

They will take you to the right chambers and impart valuable lessons and interesting tales.

It is a historical wonder!

Chandeliers and ceiling of State Capitol Building

Nagel Photography /

Admire the Public Art and Murals

Remember that public art speaks volumes about the kind of place a city is.

Wander around the streets of Lansing, and you’ll notice a lot of murals and public art representations on the wall.

They are vibrant and versatile.

Each of them tells a story, a tale about Lansing.

The murals are made by local artists only.

They portray the real facet of Lansing.

Take a while and look around, and you may stumble upon some fascinating art pieces that will leave you amazed.

Go Back in Time at the Michigan History Museum

Exterior of Michigan History Museum

ehrlif /

The Michigan History Museum is the heart of the state.

Michigan has a glorious history etched to it.

The museum displays all of it until the 20th century.

Itwill take you on a trip down memory lane.

You might have learned about it in your history textbooks, but witnessing it yourself is a different experience.

Glass atrium interior in Michigan History Museum

ehrlif /

You are permitted time in abundance to study the historical aspects.

Even if you aren’t from the States, you’re recommended to visit at least once.

Everything is displayed in an interesting manner.

Stories always intrigue us humans, and this is your destination to gather a few tales of the old times.

Exterior of Michigan History Museum

ehrlif /

Gaze at Celestial Elements at Abrams Planetarium

Aerial view of Abrams Planetarium

No machine-readable author provided. Lovelac7~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on the city’s eastern side, Abrams Planetarium is a magical place to be.

It is dedicated to displaying the constellations, stars, and every celestial element.

Every week, they also have a show that talks about space and extraterrestrial elements.

It is a fascinating spot when the stars hover over your head.

The presentations are exciting and enjoyable.

The dome above showcases vivid images of the planets, universe, and galaxies.

Learn About the Replenishing Process at Fenner Nature Center

Snow-covered driveway of Fenner Nature Center

Susan G Land /

Fenner Nature Center is an environment-devoted center.

It is divided into acres covering only the green spaces.

It is run by a nonprofit organization.

You can walk in the vicinity for hours and reconnect with nature.

Walking beneath the elaborate canopy and in between dense trees is surely refreshing.

You would also see a lot of blooming colorful flowers on the way.

The air is fresh and pure.

Take some time away from the bustling city and lose yourself in the wilderness of the woods.

Right amid the city, you can experience a tranquil atmosphere and serenity.

Catch a Glimpse of the Beaumont Tower

Lansing Beaumont Tower standing tall amids the huge trees and plants

potomacpix /

Known as the most iconic tower in Lansing, the Beaumont Tower stands as an amazing edifice.

The tower strikes the bell at specific hours.

It is one of those towers you might have read about or seen in the movies.

Front exterior of the Beaumont Tower

T-I /

It has a carillon that plays music and wakes up the whole city.

The tower is well built; its architecture is Victorian with detailing at the top.

You should catch a glimpse of the structure while you’re in Lansing.

Experiment at the Impression 5 Science Center

Attractive blue building of Impression 5

Susan Montgomery /

Impression 5 is a dynamic science center that provides visitors with various activities and science experiments.

The experiments impart some important scientific knowledge and challenge your cognitive abilities.

They also have educational programming for kids and a dedicated play area.

Kids especially love playing around here.

A fun interactive session may turn out fruitful for your little ones.

The best thing to do here is enjoy water activities.

Go for a Bike Ride Along the Lansing River Trail

Bike parked on the edge of a wooden bridge in Lansing River Trail

T-I /

The Lansing River Trail is covers a long stretch.

The river is a tributary that goes through East Lansing and empties into the Grand River.

The trail covers numerous parks and natural habitats.

The atmosphere here is utterly peaceful.

A road lined with trees at Lansing River Trail

T-I /

You should take this route in the evening.

The trail itself is naturally beautiful with minimal human interference.

The landscape is stunning and worth the walk.

The trail is covered with woods, canopies, dense forests, and wetlands.

A bike parked along the wooden pathway of Lansing River Trail

T-I /

It is the offbeat side of Lansing.

If you don’t prefer walking, you can also ride a bicycle.

If you feel like experiencing serenity amid the city, walk this trail.

It will surely turn into a rejuvenating time for you.

End of a bridge overlooking a power plant at Lansing River Trail

T-I /

Have Coffee at Reo Town

Streets of the Reo Town in Lansing

Dj1997, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Reo Town is the place where Lansing is in its most lively state.

This is more of a hippie place.

The place emanates an artistic vibe that allures visitors to visit it at least once.

Caffeine addicts have to try the coffee here.

They serve the best coffee in town and have various flavors to try out.

The architecture is distinct and modernized compared to the rest of the town.

It is a lively town with lively residents.

Sneak a Peek into Old Town

Buildings in Old Town Lansing

T-I /

Old Town is exactly how you visualize it to be—full of quaint cafes, cute restaurants, and local shopping stores.

One interesting fact: the Lasing River Trail ends here.

If you want to try out some local food items, this must be your stop.

The restaurants serve lip-smacking food at affordable rates.

The food is authentic and boasts local flavors in it, making it even more delicious.

Buildings at Old Town Lansing

T-I /

Apart from this, there is an art gallery that displays pieces curated by the locals.

At night, the town is well lit and looks surreal.

It is a nostalgic place that would take you back to old times.

You can also meander through some shops and take home souvenirs.

It has something for everyone according to their choices and taste.

View of a river from Old Town Lansing

T-I /

Kayak Through the Red Cedar River

Kayaking in Lansing

T-I /

Kayaking is quite popular around Lansing.

Kayaks are readily available for rent from any of the agencies, and River Town Adventure is a favorite among tourists.

They offer the best services at reasonable rates.

All the trips start from Lansing Market.

Calm waters of Red Cedar River surrounded with trees

T-I /

There are various paths offered, and you can choose any according to your requirements.

You can witness a lot of aquatic life in the course.

Paddling in the Red Cedar River is quite smooth and steady.

The volunteers guide you well and make the journey easier.

Dine at Pablo’s Old Town

Pablo’s Old Town is a popular restaurant in the town.

It serves the best Mexican food.

It is not an ordinary American restaurant.

It is loaded with various delicacies and typical Mexican food.

Opt for dinner here as you can sit in the outer part and enjoy your food in the moonlight.

Check Out Abstract 3D Art at Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Exterior and name sign of Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum


When you visit the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, you’ll feel like you’re at a major city’s gallery displaying cutting-edge exhibits.

Affectionately known as the MSU Broad, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is a contemporary art museum that opened in 2012 in East Lansing located on the campus of Michigan State University.

Designed by Zaha Hadid, this museum building is influenced by the movement trails interlaced all around the foundation.

A piece of art in front of Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

EQRoy /

Here, you’ll find a variety of interesting intersections that relate to unionization, gender, race, urbanity, family, and the auto industry.

You aren’t only limited to seeing the artwork within the premises, though.

There is a fantastic coffee shop inside for whenever your art appreciation inspires hunger or thirst.

If that isn’t enough, there’s even a gift shop here.

Interior of Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

EQRoy /

Enjoy the Tranquility of the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden

Lush landscape of W.J. Beal Botanical Garden

EQRoy /

The W.J. Beal Botanical Garden has a stunning landscape and spectacular floral displays with its stunning tranquil lawns, carefully arranged borders, and winding pathways that lead visitors through the extensive collections of plants.

As the nation’s oldest continually operating university botanical garden of its kind, this garden is the brainchild of Professor William James Beal,, who established it in 1873.

Name sign and map of W.J. Beal Botanical Garden

EQRoy /

If you are into nature, you may find yourself in heaven once you set foot on this beautiful site.

There are more than 2,000 separated plants and trees to admire in this botanical paradise, but people are usually seen here smelling the roses, both metaphorically and literally.

A duck on a pond at W.J. Beal Botanical Garden

EQRoy /

If you’re in the mood for a relaxing stroll or an educational learning walk, this garden is the perfect place.

You’ll also see new ways to incorporate some botanicals into your own home or garden space, taking your design skills up a notch.

Clean cut grass of W.J. Beal Botanical Garden

EQRoy /

Watch a Phenomenal Show at Wharton Center for Performing Arts

Exterior view of Wharton Center for Performing Arts

The original uploader was Jeffness at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Wharton Center for Performing Arts has been a venue for amazing shows drawing in standing-room-only crowds and countless events that merge the arts and academics.

This theater in East Lansing, Michigan even serves as a space for community outreach initiatives that take it beyond its walls.

Night view of Wharton Center for Performing Arts

Wharton Center, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Performances at Wharton Center go above and beyond to enrich lives by augmenting social well-being and bolstering the very value of art in everyday life.

Before the Chicago Symphony’s 1982 season opened at The Cobb Great Hall, the theater already had a successful track record.

Wharton Center for Performing Arts is a fantastic venue for viewing orchestras and concerts.

Theatre at Wharton Center for Performing Arts

Wharton Center, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You need to check out this place if you’re looking for some incredible theatrical performances like their Frozen Musical that comes with fantastic lighting and sound design.

Performances here deserve accolades for the caliber of creativity that fills up the place, especially those performed by the Lansing Symphony Orchestra.

Final Thoughts

The great state of Michigan is famous for its charm, hospitality, and natural delights, but there’s a reason why Lansing might be considered one of the most successful Midwestern cities.

Lansing is a delightful place that combines the rustic attitudes of Middle America with the cultured atmosphere of the artsy state capital.

It has its own unique way of charming residents and visitors alike.

Enjoy some local flare with this list of must-see venues serving up the very best in Michigan culture and cuisine with your choice of atmosphere!

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