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Discover Michigan: Lansing

By: Jennifer Sigouin | Online Only | Published June 7, 2016

Summer in Michigan is the perfect time for traveling, and whether you want to relax in a quaint resort town, walk along a sandy beach, explore a bustling city or escape from one, countless options abound right here in the mitten. Each week, our new Discover Michigan web series will explore a road trip-worthy Michigan destination and offer some tips on what to see and do while you’re there. 

For our first installment, we’ve chosen Lansing. In addition to its significance as Michigan’s state capital, the Lansing area offers a number of kid-friendly educational and outdoor activities, as well as sporting events, festivals and more that adults will enjoy too. And no matter where you’re driving from, you can’t beat the convenient location. 

“Greater Lansing, Michigan, is only 90 minutes from 90 percent of the state's population, making it the perfect weekend getaway,” said Tracy Padot, vice president of marketing communications for the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau.

If you plan on visiting the Lansing area, here’s what you need to know:

Approximately 90 miles — a 1 1/2-hour drive.

Tour the state Capitol — Guided tours are available every half hour 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. The tours feature public areas of the Capitol, including the Rotunda and the Gallery of the Governors. The Capitol is closed on Sundays and holidays.

Catch a Lansing Lugnuts game — Lansing’s minor league baseball team, the Lansing Lugnuts, play throughout the summer at Cooley Law School Stadium. Visit for a complete schedule and ticket information.

Visit Michigan State University — Head to East Lansing and walk along the banks of the Red Cedar like a true Spartan. While you’re on campus, visit the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden or Broad Art Museum, catch an evening show at the Abrams Planetarium (weekends only), or depending on the season, play a round of golf at the Forest Akers Golf Courses or cheer on a Spartan sports team.

Rent a canoe or kayakRiver Town Adventures offers canoeing and kayaking excursions along the Grand River in Lansing and the Red Cedar River in East Lansing, offering visitors a chance to explore the area’s nature and wildlife from a different perspective.

Impression 5 Science Center — Impression 5 in Lansing is a unique space designed to help kids learn science concepts through hands-on, experiential exhibits. One of the center’s newest exhibits, Throwing Things, explores kinetic and potential energy by allowing kids to practice their pitching form and blast targets with an air cannon.

Potter Park Zoo — Lansing's 20-acre Potter Park Zoo features more than 500 individual animals, with exhibits such as Wolf Woods, Wings From Down Under and Barnyard EdVentures.

•  4-H Children’s Garden — Located on the campus of Michigan State University, the 4-H Children’s Garden features more than 56 themed areas with interactive activities designed to teach kids about horticulture.

The Lansing area is home to many craft breweries, wineries and distilleries, and you can hit them all by following the Makers and Shakers Trail. Thirsty travelers can pick up a Makers and Shakers pamphlet — which includes a map and information on safe transportation — at any of the 14 participating locations, including Burgdorf's Winery in Haslett, BAD Brewing Co. in Mason, and Red Cedar Spirits in East Lansing. The pamphlet comes with a card that can be stamped at each location. Once you’ve visited 10 spots, you can send your completed card to the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau for a free commemorative gift.

The Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau refers to the Lansing area as Michigan’s festival capital, and for good reason. In any given month, visitors can expect to find a celebration happening somewhere in the region. June alone boasts 13 festivals, including the Grand American Fish Rodeo Festival in Lansing, the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival in East Lansing, the Red Cedar Jubilee in Williamston, and believe it or not, Gizzard Fest — complete with a gizzard-eating contest — in Potterville.

For a complete list, visit

“I have two small children, so cost and making a day trip worthwhile is always important. Last year we visited Lansing for the Potter Park Zoo in the morning and a Lugnuts baseball game in the afternoon. Kids enjoyed both, so us parents were also happy." — Jason Clancy, page designer

“I might be biased because I’m a Spartan, but the MSU Dairy Store in East Lansing is a must-visit for some of the best locally made ice cream and cheeses in Michigan.” — Jen Sigouin, staff writer/social media coordinator

Where’s your favorite place to travel in Michigan? Leave us a comment or email We may use your suggestion in an upcoming edition of Discover Michigan.