The state capital of Michigan is Lansing, which lies in the southeastern part of the state. Lansing is the state capital and the fifth-largest city in Michigan; it is also connected to the metropolitan region that includes East Lansing, where Michigan State University is located. Many visitors come to Lansing because of the city’s many green spaces. Riverfront Park, which boasts breathtaking vistas of the Grand River, and Potter Park Zoo are just two of the city’s many expansive parks.
Moreover, Lansing has a flourishing cultural community. In addition to the Michigan History Center and the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, the city is also home to numerous more museums, theaters, and galleries. Many annual festivals, such as the Lansing JazzFest and the Common Ground Music Festival, also attract people from all over the Midwest. The Michigan State Capitol and the Michigan Supreme Court Building are only two of many historic structures in the city. These structures are open to the public, and guided tours can enlighten curious sightseers about the region’s past and present architecture.
15. Lansing River Trail
(image via Facebook)
The Lansing River Trail is a scenic walking trail that runs along the Grand River in Lansing, Michigan. The trail is approximately 8 miles long and runs through downtown Lansing, Old Town, and the Michigan State University campus. Along the way, you can enjoy views of the river, wildlife, and the city skyline.
The trail is also a great place to take a leisurely stroll, jog, or bike ride. There are several access points along the trail, making it easy to explore different sections. The trail is also connected to other trails in the area, allowing for longer hikes and bike rides!
14. Capital City Film Festival
The Capital City Film Festival (CCFF) is an annual film festival held in Lansing, Michigan. It was founded in 2011 and is held every April. The festival showcases independent films from around the world, including feature films, documentaries, shorts, and student films. The festival also includes panel discussions, workshops, and other special events.
The festival is dedicated to promoting independent film and providing a platform for filmmakers to showcase their work. The festival also strives to create a vibrant film culture in Lansing and the surrounding area.
13. Old Town
Old Town is a historic neighborhood located in the heart of Lansing, Michigan. This charming area is home to a unique blend of locally-owned shops, galleries, and restaurants, all set amidst beautifully restored historic buildings. Visitors can stroll along the brick-lined streets and take in the sights and sounds of this vibrant community.
Some of the must-see attractions in Old Town include the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art, the Old Town Marquee Theater, and the Old Town General Store. With a lively arts scene, regular festivals and events, and a welcoming community, Old Town is truly one of the hidden gems of Lansing.
“Park anywhere in the area, get out and just walk. Take time to visit the art and the small shops. Grab a drink or dinner/lunch and just relax for a few hours. There’s a little something for everyone in the Old Town area.” – Holli, A resident
12. Shaw Nature Reserve
The Shaw Nature Reserve is a 2,400-acre nature reserve located in Lansing, Michigan. It is owned and operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and is open to the public for recreational activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and bird watching.
The reserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, coyotes, and a variety of birds. The reserve also features a variety of habitats, including wetlands, meadows, and forests. The reserve is also home to a variety of educational programs, such as guided hikes, nature walks, and educational programs for children.
11. Common Ground Music Festival
The Common Ground Music Festival is an annual music festival held in Lansing, Michigan. It is one of the largest music festivals in the Midwest and has been held since 1999.
The festival features a variety of musical acts from all genres, including rock, pop, hip-hop, country, and more. It also features a variety of food vendors, art installations, and other activities. The festival is held in Adado Riverfront Park and is typically held in July!
10. Carl G. Fenner Nature Center
The Carl G. Fenner Nature Center is a beautiful nature preserve located in Lansing, Michigan. With over 130 acres of forests, wetlands, and prairies, this natural oasis is home to a diverse array of wildlife and plant species. The nature center offers a variety of educational programs and interactive exhibits that are perfect for visitors of all ages.
Guests can enjoy hiking trails and birdwatching, and even catch a glimpse of the resident live animals, including owls, turtles, and snakes. With its serene and tranquil setting, the Carl G. Fenner Nature Center is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and a must-visit destination for nature lovers in the Lansing area.
9. RE Olds Transportation Museum
The RE Olds Transportation Museum is a museum located in Lansing, Michigan. It is dedicated to the history of transportation in Michigan, with a focus on the history of the Oldsmobile brand.
The museum features a variety of exhibits, including a collection of vintage Oldsmobile vehicles, a timeline of the brand’s history, and a variety of interactive displays. The museum also offers educational programs and events, such as lectures, workshops, and tours. The museum is open to the public and admission is free.
“Don’t miss the lawn mower” – Marty, a local
8. Take a scenic drive along the Grand River
The Grand River in Lansing, Michigan is a beautiful scenic drive. The river winds through the city, offering stunning views of the city skyline and the surrounding countryside. Along the way, you can take in the sights of the historic downtown area, the Michigan State Capitol, and the Michigan State University campus.
You can also stop at the many parks and trails that line the river, offering a great opportunity to get out and explore the natural beauty of the area. The Grand River is a great way to experience the beauty of Lansing and the surrounding area.
7. Michigan State University Museum
Michigan State University Museum is a museum located on the campus of Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan. It is the largest university museum in the state and one of the largest university museums in the country.
The museum houses a wide variety of collections, including natural history, anthropology, and art. It also features a variety of educational programs, special exhibitions, and public events. The museum is open to the public and admission is free.
6. Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame
The Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame is a museum and educational center dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history of Michigan women. It was founded in 1981 and is located in Lansing, Michigan.
The museum features exhibits on the history of Michigan women, including their contributions to the state’s economy, politics, and culture. It also houses a research library and archives and offers educational programs and events. The Hall of Fame honors Michigan women who have made significant contributions to the state.
5. Wharton Center for Performing Arts
The Wharton Center for Performing Arts is a performing arts center located in Lansing, Michigan. It is the home of the Michigan State University College of Music and the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival.
The center hosts a variety of performances, including Broadway shows, concerts, dance performances, and more. It also offers educational programs for students and community members. The Wharton Center is a great place to experience the performing arts in Lansing.
4. Impression 5 Science Center
The Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing, Michigan is a hands-on science museum that offers interactive exhibits and activities for all ages. The museum features a variety of exhibits and activities that explore the world of science, technology, engineering, and math. Visitors can explore the museum’s interactive exhibits, which include a giant bubble maker, a 3D printing lab, and a robotics lab.
The museum also offers a variety of educational programs and workshops, as well as special events and activities. The Impression 5 Science Center is a great place to explore and learn about science in a fun and engaging way.
“It has a lot to do. We spent around 4 hours. The first floor has water play which is fun. The second floor has a lot to do. My kids spent most of their time on the 2nd floor. The facility was clean and pretty maintained. Parking is free.” – Umm Musa visiting from Canada
3. Potter Park Zoo
Potter Park Zoo is a zoological park located in Lansing, Michigan. It is the oldest public zoo in Michigan, having been established in 1913. The zoo is home to over 500 animals, representing over 160 species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
The zoo also features a variety of educational programs, special events, and exhibits. Potter Park Zoo is a popular destination for families, school groups, and visitors of all ages!
2. Michigan Historical Museum
(image via Wikimedia)
The Michigan Historical Museum is located in Lansing, Michigan, and is part of the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office. The museum is dedicated to preserving and interpreting Michigan’s rich history and culture. It features permanent and changing exhibits, educational programs, and special events.
The museum’s permanent exhibits include Michigan in the Civil War, Michigan’s Industrial Heritage, and Michigan in the Great War. The museum also houses a research library and archives, which are open to the public. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and admission is free.
1. Michigan State Capitol Building
The Michigan State Capitol Building is the state capitol building of Michigan, located in Lansing, Michigan. It is the home of the Michigan Legislature, the legislative branch of the state government.
The building was designed by Elijah E. Myers and constructed between 1872 and 1878. It is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is made of sandstone and is in the form of a Greek cross. It features a central rotunda with a dome, four wings, and a portico. The building is decorated with sculptures, murals, and stained glass windows. The building is open to the public for tours and other events.
As you can see, Lansing has a lot to offer everyone. If you are looking to do more in the surrounding area, check out other weekend trips from nearby Lansing, Michigan.
These areas are perfect for a quick day trip or a long weekend getaway. Explore our favorite things to do or peruse some pre-built itineraries.