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Things to Do at MSU: 22 Unique and Iconic Places at Michigan State University

michigan state university
Beamont Tower on the MSU Campus / Photo from MSU

Michigan State University Campus: 22 Must-See Places

The Michigan State University campus is one of the prettiest college campus’s in the country. Located in East Lansing, near the Michigan capital of Lansing, is an easy drive from most major cities in Michigan’s Lower Pennsula.

The banks of the Red Cedar River is home to Michigan State University, with iconic landmarks, unique attractions and gorgeous greenery that spans its 5,200 acre campus.

As one of the oldest and largest higher-ed institutions in the state, MSU enrolls over 50,000 students each year with nearly 635,000 alumni worldwide. Whether you’re a prospective or current student alumnus or a Spartan in general, its campus is always waiting to welcome visitors.

Keep reading to learn about the 22 best places to visit at MSU.

michigan state university campus
Photo from MSU Athletics

Spartan Statue

At the intersection of Beal Street and Chestnut Road, this iconic monument, which was unveiled in 2005, is a replica of the original statue of Michigan State University’s beloved mascot Sparty.

After the original terra cotta statue endured years of weather damage and vandalism, the university moved it inside the west entrance of Spartan Stadium for protection. Its replacement, which is made of bronze, is on display today in front of Dem Field.

Whether you’re visiting campus for the first time or taking your graduation photos, posing with Sparty is a rite of passage. Stand in front of the statue or hop up on the platform to get the best angles!

Bonus fact: Members of the Spartan Marching Band take part in “Sparty Watch” annually during MSU-Michigan week to keep an eye on the statue and ensure no rival Wolverine fans mess with him!

msu campus statue
Photo from MSU Today

The Rock on the Michigan State University Campus

Located on Farm Lane, The Rock is MSU’s oldest landmark, dating back to 1873. Painting of The Rock started during the 1960s as a way for students are organizations to express messages and causes they were passionate about.

Now, The Rock is repainted nearly every day (often multiple times per day) to inform others of organization, events, holidays, proposals, memorials and more.

There’s even a small hole in the left side of The Rock to show the thousands of layers of paint put on it over the last 60 years!

MSU Union
49 Abbot Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824

From events to dining or studying, the Union has a little something for students, alumni and visitors alike. Dozens of public events are hosted at the Union annually, including the MSU Arts & Crafts show in early December.

Conveniently located in North Campus, it’s a great place to escape the cold and rain while walking through campus. There are plenty of cozy nooks and corners to get some homework done. It’s also the perfect stop for a snack break.

While you visit, be sure to snap a picture with the sitting Sparty statue on the main level.

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Beaumont Tower
375 W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

Another one of Michigan State’s most famous monuments, Beaumont Tower, sits on West Circle Drive in the heart of campus, since it was completed in 1929.

Inside the near 105-foot tower is a carillon which consists of 49 bells. The carillon plays every Wednesday at noon for 30 minutes when school is in session.

Group tours can be arranged ahead of time, during which visitors can climb the 73 steps to the fourth floor. In some cases, groups may be lucky enough to tour the tower during a carillon performance.

Michigan state university campus

Dairy Store
Anthony Hall, 474 S Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.

It’a no secret Michigan State University is known for its agriculture. The first dairy cow was brought to the Michigan State University campus in 1867 and the Dairy Store opened its doors in 1958.

Stop by Anthony Hall to try a variety of rotating flavors with unique names, made from MSU produced ingredients, including Buckeye Blitz and Spartan Swirl. The Dairy Store also offers shakes, block cheese, mac and cheese, soups, merchandise and more.

Check the menu online before you go to see “What’s Scooping Today.”

Michigan State University campus
Spartan Stadium / Photo by MSU Athletics

Spartan Stadium, Breslin Center, Munn Ice Arena, DeMartin Soccer Complex (& more)

In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a game day in East Lansing when you’re a Spartan. Michigan State is home to 21 men’s and women’s varsity sports and is one of 14 schools in the Big Ten Conference.

Catch a football game at Spartan Stadium, a basketball or volleyball game at the Breslin Center, a hockey game at Munn Ice Arena or a soccer game at DeMartin Soccer Complex.

For students: make sure you sit in all the student sections at least once during your MSU career. They are listed as follows: The Deep End (football), Izzone (basketball), Munnsters (hockey) and Red Cedar Rowdies (soccer).

Don’t forget to learn the fight song before you go!

Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens & MSU Horticulture Gardens
1066 Bogue St, East Lansing, MI 48824

If you’re in the East Lansing area for the summer and needing the perfect outdoor activity, look no further than the Children’s Gardens and Horticulture Gardens. Both are located next door to each other near the east side of campus.

Start in the children’s gardens to experience the colorful scenery including a play area for kids, koi ponds, hedge maze and foot bridges. Then wander over to the Horticulture Gardens to view 14 acres of diverse flowers and plants. Also, in the garden is a commemorative brick path. Each brick celebrates a life event or honors a loved one, occasion or memory.

An added bonus is both gardens make a beautiful backdrop for photos.

Michigan state university campus

W.J. Beal Botanical Gardens
W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

This five acre botanical gardens, named after former botany professor William James Beal, featuring thousands of plants. Located outside MSU’s Main Library, its a great place to relax and take in the picturesque scenery. Celebrating its 150th year in 2023, it’s the oldest continuous botanical garden in the country.

Visitors can check out the summer “Music and the Garden Series” to hear music live from the gardens.

michigan state university campus

Red Cedar River

Perhaps MSU’s most recognizable landmark, the Red Cedar River, covers about two miles of campus. During the summer months, the river is a popular spot for canoeing and kayaking. Visitors can catch a glimpse of a variety of wildlife who call the Red Cedar home, including Mallard ducks and 33 species of fish.

My favorite spot along the river is across from the Adminstration Building in between the two bridges. There’s a handful of stairs that lead down to a platform perfect for sitting and watching the fish or feeding the ducks.

Remember to always take precaution when visiting the river.

STEM Teaching and Learning Facility
642 Red Cedar Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824

One of the most recent additions to campus is also one of my favorites. Opened in 2021, the STEM building is the perfect mix of old and new. It was constructed with a new mass timber product and steel to give it a modern industrial feel.

The building’s four stories houses classrooms and endless study lounges. If you can find an open spot, I recommend snagging a window seat on the third floor to study with a perfect view of Spartan Stadium.

library on michigan state university campus

Main Library & Library Pedestrian Bridge
366 W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

This list would be incomplete without mentioning MSU’s main library. Located on West Circle Drive, the library has been around since 1955, with the east wing of the building added over ten years later. The library’s materials include 7,805,066 print and electronic titles and the world’s largest comic book collection.

Another one of my favorite spots on campus is the bridge connecting the library and Spartan Stadium. I love strolling across the bridge and seeing the Spartan head logo on the stadium peak through the trees. It also makes a great backdrop for senior photos.

Benefactors Plaza

Tucked behind Broad Art Museum, the Benefactors Plaza is a tribute to those who have donated significant financial gifts that have made an impact on the university. Each pillar features the name of the donor and their contribution. Also on the plaza is a fountain and seating options for visitors to take in the sights and sounds.

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum
547 E Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

Hours: Wednesday, Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Opened in 2012, this contemporary museum is named after philanthropists and art collectors, Eli and Edythe Broad. Broad Art Museum is free to the public with permanent and rotating exhibits. Just reserve your tickets before visiting!

Bonus fact: the museum was featured in the 2016 film “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”

The Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion – Eli Broad College of Business
103, Eppley Center, East Lansing, MI 48824

The Edward J. Minskoff Pavilion, part of the Eli Broad College of Business, is one of MSU’s most state-of-the-art facilities. Construction of the building was made possible by alumnus Edward J. Minskoff.

With tall ceilings, huge windows providing unlimited natural light, the pavilion is another ideal study spot. Behind the building is outdoor seating for woking during warmer months. Also inside is the campus’ only Panera Bread.

MSU Museum
409 W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48823

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Before Broad, there was only the MSU Museum. The museum, nestled between the Main Library and Beaumont Tower was named a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate in 2001, and works to share arts, sciences, cultures and technologies with the MSU and local communities.

Admission is free, just register before visiting.

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International Center & Spartan Bookstore
427 N Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824

When you visit campus for orientation, the International Center is often a recommended stop. For starters, you’ll need to pick up your student ID from the MSU ID Office on the building’s first floor.

Also located inside, is the Office for International Students and Scholars with information for international students and anyone studying abroad.

Visit the Crossroads Food Court for a bite to eat, featuring FujiSan sushi, Subway, Panda Express and Woody’s Oasis Mediterranean Deli, before heading to the basement to pick up some green and white Spartan merch at the university bookstore.

Michigan state university campus- wharton center
Photo from Wharton Center for the Performing Arts

Wharton Center for Performing Arts
750 E Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824

The Wharton Center has provided the MSU and East Lansing area communities with performing arts since 1982. Each season brings new Broadway shows and musical performances to Cobb Great Hall, Fairchild Theatre and Pasant Theatre.

Wharton Center tickets can be purchased online per show, with discounts offered on group and student tickets.

MSU Auditorium
542 Auditorium Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824

The Fairchild Theatre, inside the MSU Auditorium, offers student vocal musical performances, including operas throughout the academic year.

Abrams Planetarium
755 Science Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824

Abrams Planetarium has offered shows on astronomy and space science since 1964. Inside is guests can walk through the Exhibit Hall and the Blacklight Gallery before entering the Sky Theater.

Check the planetarium website for a list of themed shows with exact dates and times open to the public.

MSU Observatory
4299 Pavilion Dr, Lansing, MI 48910

Since 1969, the MSU obsrvatory has allowed students to study the night sky with a 24-inch reflecting telescope. Free public observing nights are scheduled throughout the year and are open to visitors of all ages.

Observation times usually run from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., with summer observing hours starting at 9:30 p.m.

Michigan state university campus

Brody Square Dining Hall
241 Brody W, East Lansing, MI 48825

Price: Breakfast: $7.75 plus tax, Lunch/dinner: $12 plus tax, Children, ages 2 to 9: $5.75 plus tax, Children under 2: Free

If you’re looking for a meal while on campus, consider visiting MSU’s biggest dining hall, Brody Square, for all you can eat options. From breakfast to burgers, chicken, pizza, fries, veggies, stir-fry, pasta, tacos, soups, salads, desserts and more, there’s something for everyone.

Brody also offers vegetarian and vegan options as well. Hours of operations vary based on time of year.

MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center
468 Green Way, East Lansing, MI 48824

Those living on campus or in the East Lansing area in need of recycling should look no further than the Recycling Center located off of Farm Lane. Hours are Monday-Friday from 12 to 7 a.m., 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and 24 hours Saturday and Sunday. Just organize your recycle into categories: cardboard, boxboard, mixed paper, newspaper, metal, plastic and glass.

Next door to the Recycling Center is the MSU Surplus Store, a second-hand shop full of all the goods you can imagine, including furniture, antiques, athletic apparel, computes, book and much more.

Visit the Michigan State University Campus Soon

So whether you’re an alumnus returning to your old stomping grounds, a future Spartan on your first visit college visit or a local lover of MSU, Michigan State’s campus is full of unique and iconic places that hold memories waiting to be made.

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About the Author-

Madeline Warren is a content writing intern for After growing up in the Lansing area, she now attends Michigan State University where she majors in Journalism with a minor in Public Relations. In additon to My Michigan Beach, she has bylines in The State News at MSU and The Lookout at Lansing Community College. In her free time, Madeline loves spending time with her family, friends and dog, attending concerts and sporting events and of course, finding new places to travel.