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27 BEST Things to Do in Lansing, MI

things to do in michigan

Best Things to do in Lansing, MI and East Lansing, MI

If you are looking for things to do in Lansing, MI, you’re in luck.There are an endless amount of things to discover and do in Lansing, Michigan, and East Lansing, too!

As the capital of Michigan and also its historical center, you’ll find a mix of all things governmental, scholarly, and natural, too. In nearby East Lansing, Michigan State University and the Spartans who attend bring a certain liveliness to Michigan’s capital city that makes it full of fun.

Because of this diverse environment, Lansing is a fantastic getaway in Michigan for families, couples, and young people, too.

Read on to find more vacation ideas and attractions in Lansing and near Lansing that you must see when you visit. You can also scroll to the bottom for an interactive map of our 27 favorite things to do when visiting Lansing, MI!

lansing capitol building - things to do in michigan
Dome at the Michigan Capitol Building

Best Things to Do in Lansing MI near the Capitol

Tour the Michigan State Capitol
100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933

This National Historic Landmark is a must-see for anyone in downtown Lansing. The Victorian domes and arched hallways shape the Michigan State Capitol Building and elegant chandeliers light it up well.

However, this building is more than just one of many beautiful historical sites or tourist attractions, it’s an important and functional part of Michigan’s government. A local tour guide can teach you all about it while showing off the most important chambers and roms.

Get Judicial at Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center
Hall of Justice, 925 West Ottawa Street, Lansing, MI 48915

Another important part of Michigan’s government available to visit is the Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center. Here you can learn all about Michigan’s justice system and participate in a model courtroom where you decide a case with “A Day in Court” games.

Don’t forget to pose for a photo with Lady Justice while you’re there and before you leave, see the State Capitol Building from the best view in Lansing.

Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame
105 W Allegan St, Lansing, MI 48933

Commonly referred to as “HERstory,” this is a great stop for some quick inspiration. Learn the stories of nearly 300 Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame inductees, see changing history exhibits, and explore the Women’s Walk brick patio. You’ll also find a fair trade gift shop with unique gifts.

museum in lansing - best things to do in michigan

Must-See Museums in Lansing MI and East Lansing MI

Dive into the Past at the Michigan History Center
702 W Kalamazoo St, Lansing, MI 48915

Michigan has a rich history full of culture and industry and you can explore it at the Michigan History Center. From the earliest human settlements in Michigan, to Motown-era Detroit and everything in between, see Michigan’s history unfold before your eyes.

See tools used by prehistoric Native Americans, automobiles from the 1950’s, and more. Learn about Michigan industry with a replica upper peninsula copper mine and other exhibits that show Michigan’s role during the manufacturing boom. All that and more waits for you behind the doors of this Michigan history museum.

Time Travel at R.E. Olds Transportation Museum
240 Museum Dr, Lansing, MI 48933

The transportation and automobile industry are a massive part of Michigan’s history, playing roles in both Detroit and Lansing. Explore this history at R.E. Olds Transportation Museum, which houses a large collection of antique and historical vehicles, featuring plenty of Oldsmobiles, including replicas like the original Oldsmobile steam carriage.

Other vehicles in the museum include the REO Speedwagon, a line of REO lawnmowers, 2004 and 2005 Aleros, and even some aircraft.

Stargaze at Abrams Planetarium
755 Science Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824

The Abrams Planetarium on Lansing’s east side is a must-stop for anyone with a curious mind and an interest in space. Here you can see stars, constellations, and just about every celestial element on display, including the Northern Lights.

Images are projected onto the dome overhead, allowing you to see what you otherwise couldn’t, including vivid images of planets, galaxies and more. Additionally, each week brings a new show that teaches patrons about the wonders of space and extraterrestrial elements, which makes it the perfect edutainment opportunity on a rainy day.

See Contemporary Art at The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum
547 E Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid and named in honor of Eli and Edythe Broad, longtime supporters of MSU, this public art museum located on the campus, is a must-visit for art-lovers.

You’ll find a collection of works by local, national, and international artists, as well as a permanent collection of over 10,000 works at this beautiful MSU museum.

michigan capitol building - best things to do in lansing mi
Michigan Capitol Building

Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Lansing and East Lansing

Experiment at Impression 5 Science Center
200 Museum Dr, Lansing, MI 48933

The Impression 5 Science Center will challenge your understanding of the sciences through hands-on kids activities. Exhibits here are geared towards children and younger people, even as young as infants and toddlers with the First Impression Room, however, even adults love this museum.

The demonstrations offered here explain complex subjects like physics, electromagnetism, and even nanoscale science in a way that makes it accessible for all ages.

Get Wild at Potter Park Zoo
1301 S Pennsylvania Ave, Lansing, MI 48912

In Lansing, over 500 diverse animal residents from around the world call Potter Park Zoo their home. This quaint zoo feels like its own immersive little habitat, filled with plenty of local and exotic animals to view and even some areas for petting animals, which kids in Lansing love.

Zoos are always popular on lists of trip ideas and itineraries, and Potter Park is no different. Like many zoos, Potter Park aims to conserve wildlife by conducting conservation research and providing fun and engaging education to zoo visitors.

Cheer on the Lansing Lugnuts
505 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48912

Jackson Field at Cooley Law School Stadium is home to Lansing’s minor league baseball team, the Lansing Lugnuts.

With 20 luxury suites, six full-service concession stands, management offices, and the “Nuts and Bolts” retailer for the team, it’s no surprise that baseball fans love spending a day at the stadium to support the Lugnuts. Cooley Law School Stadium also prides itself on being one of the most accessible stadiums in the nation for those with disabilities, making a day at the stadium available to everyone.

The Lansing Lugnuts are just one of many amazing minor league baseball teams in Michigan, jam-packed with hand-on fun for all ages!

Have Fun at Hawk Island Park
1601 E Cavanaugh Rd, Lansing, MI 48910

One of the Lansing area’s amazing county parks, you’ll find a 100-acre, all-seasons park with tons of things to do all year long. There’s a nice beach and swimming area, a splash padfor the kids and a community built playground, too. Hawk Island County Park is a stunning natural area in mid-Michigan and definitely worth a visit.

Hike along the 1.5 mile paved pathway,or visit the beach house/snack bar. You’ll also find fishing, boat rental, picnic shelters, spray park, boardwalks, sand volleyball courts and horseshoe pits. In the winter Hawk Island offers a snow tubing hill, a warming building and snack bar. Also, although it’s not a dog park, leashed dogs are allowed at this cool island park.

Take your Pup to Soldan Dog Park
E Cavanaugh Rd, Lansing, MI 48910

You pup will love this off-leash 15-acre dog park with a lake, sandy beach and boreal forest adjacent to Hawk Island.

kayaking in lansing - best things to do in lansing

Outdoor Activities in Lansing MI and East Lansing MI

Travel Along the Lansing River Trail

The Lansing River Trail is a favorite spot for locals to take a walk or ride a bike. This trail runs for 16 miles along the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers, passing by popular destinations like Michigan State University, Potter Park Zoo, Old Town, and more.

With serene natural surroundings with little human interference, it’s no surprise why this trail is so loved by those looking to escape into nature for a while.

Explore the Fenner Nature Center
2020 E Mt Hope Ave, Lansing, MI 48910

Exploring the Fenner Nature Center should be on the list for any Lansing visitor with a penchant for outdoors activities. Fenner Nature Center is operated by a nonprofit organization which places a strong emphasis on sustaining a green environment in the heart of Lansing.

Here you could walk for hours beneath densely packed trees, leafy shrubs, and colorful flowers to reconnect with nature without ever having to leave the city.

michigan state university campus

Kayak the Red Cedar River
River Town Adventures, 530 River St, Lansing, MI 48933

Michigan travel often includes searching for the perfect kayaking spot. Throughout the state, kayaking is a popular way to spend time outside and Lansing is no exception. The Lansing community values the outdoors, and a fun way to get in touch with nature is through a kayak trip.

The Red Cedar River is a great place for beginner kayakers as well given the smooth, steady, and calm nature of the water, but if you’re still not confident, a volunteer guide will help make sure the trip runs smoothly. It’s also one of many great date ideas for outdoorsy couples in Lansing.

Woldumar Nature Center
5739 Old Lansing Rd, Lansing, MI 48917

Nestled along the Grand River near Lansing MI, Woldumar Nature Center offers visitors five miles of natural trails running through forest and prairies. We love the WolduMarket Gift Shop, which is loaded with nature-related items and interpretive displays including live animals and geology.

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

Discover five acres of natural beauty at the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden on the MSU campus. Founded in 1873, is the oldest continuously operated garden of this type in the United States with over 5,000 species organized in economic, systematic, landscape and ecological groupings.

This beautiful garden is quiet and serene, and it’s one of my favorite spots on the MSU campus.

Cruise on The Grand Princess
Grand River Park, Lansing, MI 48917

The Michigan Princess Company operates three classic steamboats, and one of them is in Lansing. These steamboats offer opportunities for private events, like parties or meetings, as well as public events like concerts or luncheons that can be attended for a small fee.

In Lansing, you can cruise on the Grand Princess as part of either a public or private voyage or even romantic getaways. The riverboat can host up to 450 guests as it cruises down the Grand River after its departure from the dock at Grand River Park.

Turner Dodge House in Lansing Mi

More to Do in East Lansing MI

Hear the Bells at Beaumont Tower
375 W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

Almost 100 years old, this iconic carillon tower has 49 bells and can play a wide variety of music.

Turner Dodge House
100 E North St, Lansing, MI 48906

Also known as the Dodge Mansion, the Turner-Dodge House was built in 1855 and is now a historic house that is now a museum dedicated to Lansing’s early pioneers. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 as Dodge Mansion. It’s worth a visit.

Take a Sculpture Walk
419 N. Washington Sq., Lansing, MI 48933

Lansing Community Colleges Downtown Sculpture Walks are a truly entertaining way to spend some time exploring the Lansing area. You’ll find more than 600 pieces of public art in the 48-acre downtown Lansing campus area.

Play at Spare Time Entertainment Center
3101 E Grand River Ave, Lansing, MI 48912

You’ll find bowling, axe throwing, an arcade, escape rooms, laser tag and food at this popular attraction. It’s one of those special spots that can entertain both kids and adults for hours!

Hear a Concert at the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts
750 E Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824

You’ll find four stages that attract some of the top entertainment acts in the country, including Broadway shows, permforming arts, theater and live events.

Michigan's best coffee shops

Great Spots to Eat and Drink in Lansing MI and East Lansing MI

Caffeinate Yourself at Strange Matter Coffee
2010 E Michigan Ave #103, Lansing, MI 48912

If you’re going to be out and about in Lansing all day, you’re going to need to start strong in the morning with some high quality coffee.

Make a stop at Strange Matter Coffee to kickstart your day. Here, they take a scientific approach to their coffee and their baked goods, so you can be sure the products you get are nothing less than scientifically proven to be delicious.

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Chow Down at Meat BBQ
1224 Turner Rd, Lansing, MI 48906

When you inevitably get hungry, it can be hard to pick where to eat from the seemingly endless restaurants in Lansing, so here’s one solid recommendation. Meat BBQ is the best carnivore cuisine you’re gonna find.

Here you can enjoy high quality southern BBQ staples like ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and more. After you have your first bite, you’ll understand why this place was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

Grab a Pint at Lansing Brewing Company
518 E Shiawassee St, Lansing, MI 48912

In the heart of the Stadium District, Lansing Brewing Company is one of the first breweries to have been established in the capital city, supplying beer to builders over a century ago.

After closure during prohibition, its reopening skyrocketed its popularity and now they celebrate the craft beer movement and make it accessible and fun for everyone. Try their flagship Amber Cream Ale or explore their IPAs, pilsners, sours, and porters.

East Lansing Farmers Markets
280 Valley Ct, East Lansing, MI 48823

The East Lansing Farmers Market is one of the best Michigan farmers markets. This growers-only market is located in an inviting, open-air park atmosphere, just steps away from the MSU campus and downtown East Lansing.

Customers can fill their shopping bags with a diverse selection of fresh, farm-grown Michigan produce and products, including vegetables, fruit, artisan bread, cheese, meat, coffee, maple syrup, honey, flowers and more.

Best Hotels in Lansing MI

Crowne Plaza Lansing West
925 South Creyts Road, Lansing, MI 48917

The Crowne Plaza Lansing West is one of my favorite spots to stay in Lansing. It’s very clean and comfortable, and each room has a microwave and fridge, along with a tea and coffee-maker. It’s a pretty hotel, with a nice indoor pool, and it’s located right off of the expressway, so it’s convenient, too.

Marriott East Lansing at University Place
300 M.A.C. Avenue , Lansing, MI 48823

If you’re going to be spending most of your time in East Lansing, this Marriott is where you’ll want to stay. Less than mile from the MSU campus, you’ll find a lovely full-service hotel with a large indoor pool, on-site restaurant and bar, and a great fitness center. It’s a very comfy spot, with stylishly decorated rooms, too.

Radisson Hotel Lansing at the Capitol
111 North Grand Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933

I like this spot because it feels luxurious while still being affordable. The Radisson is just a few steps away from the Capitol building, too, so it’s a convenient spot if you plan to tour the area. It’s clean and comfortable and the rooms are spacious. There’s a giant pool, and it’s a really pretty setting with views of the Grand River.

Map of the Best Things to Do and See in Lansing MI

Map of things to do in lansing mi

Frequently Asked Questions About Lansing MI

What is Lansing MI famous for?

Lansing is famous for being the birthplace of the Oldsmobile as well as being the capital of Michigan.

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About The Author –

Bella DiMascio is a Content Editor with She grew up in the Detroit suburb of Westland and later attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in English: Writing. Creative writing has been a hobby and interest of Bella’s since she was in elementary school and she is thrilled to be using her talents to highlight the Great Lakes State. Outside of writing, Bella enjoys getting outside with her two Australian Shepherds, playing video games, and binging shows on Netflix.