Things To Do In East Lansing MI: 20 Amazing Activities And Places To Visit

There is no shortage of things to do in East Lansing MI.

This city in the heart f Michigan is vibrant and dynamic, offering a diverse range of activities for residents and visitors alike. There’s no shortage of things to see and do in this charming town. Whether you’re a student at Michigan State University, a local resident, or just passing through. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best attractions and activities that East Lansing has to offer.

Best Time To Visit East Lansing

The best time to visit East Lasting will depend on what in your trip. Here is a breakdown of what to expect on different times of the year:

Spring (March-May)– Pros: Pleasant weather, blooming flowers, fewer crowds, lower hotel rates, potential for college sporting events.
– Cons: Some attractions may have limited hours, unpredictable weather with occasional rain showers.
Summer (June-August)– Pros: Warmest weather, vibrant atmosphere with festivals and events, longer days for outdoor activities, all attractions open and operating.
– Cons: Peak season crowds, higher hotel rates, potential for hot and humid weather.
Autumn (September-November)– Pros: Beautiful fall foliage, comfortable temperatures, fewer crowds, still plenty of outdoor activities, college football season.
– Cons: Some attractions may have shorter hours, weather can be unpredictable with occasional rain.
Winter (December-February)– Pros: Lowest hotel rates, festive holiday atmosphere, potential for snow and winter sports, cozy atmosphere in bars and restaurants.
– Cons: Coldest weather, some outdoor activities limited, shorter days, potential for flight cancellations due to snow

Now let us now go right in on the things to look out for and add to your list of things to do in East Lansing MI.

1. Tee Off At Timber Ridge Golf Course

timber ridge golf course East Lansing
Credit: GolfTrip

Address: 16339 Park Lake Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday | 7am – 7pm

Timber Ridge Golf Course is a Championship Caliber, 18-hole, par-72 course designed by Jerry Matthews.

The course is known for its strategic layout and stunning scenery; a rollercoaster of rolling hills, tree-lined fairways, and challenging water hazards.

Five sets of tees cater to all skill levels, so whether you’re a seasoned pro or a weekend warrior, you’ll find a challenge that keeps you coming back for more.

You can choose to practice your swing on the expansive driving range, perfect your putting on the rolling green, or unwind after your round with a delicious meal at the on-site restaurant.

Timber Ridge has something even for non-golfers. You can take a relaxing stroll through the nature trails, or simply soak up the sun on the patio with a refreshing drink if you are one.

2. Lace Up and Unwind At Northern Tier Trail

The Northern Tier Trail winds for 5.8 miles through the city’s heart. This paved pathway is a cyclist’s and walker’s haven, offering a tranquil escape from the urban buzz. Visiting here should be in your list of things to do in East Lansing.

The Northern Tier Trail takes you past wetlands, parks, and winding creeks, immersing you in the beauty of nature right in the heart of the city.

The beauty of this trail is not just the path – it also connects several parks and recreation facilities. You can stop off for a picnic at Harrison Meadows Park, let the kids loose at the Northern Tail Dog Park, or grab a latte at a nearby cafe.

The trail’s accessible path and flat terrain make it perfect for a leisurely roll or a brisk walk. And with plenty of rest spots and scenic overlooks, it’s the ideal place to unwind and soak in the fresh air.

Grab your bike, lace up your walking shoes, and hit the Northern Tier Trail for a refreshing escape from the ordinary.

Directions to Northern Tier Trail Parking Lots

Soccer ComplexChandler Road north to Coleman Road. Coleman Road west 1/4 mile to Soccer Complex entry drive on left. Paved parking.
Abbot Road ParkLake Lansing Road to Abbot Road. Abbot Road north 1/4 mile. Abbot Road Park entry drive on left. Gravel parking.
Aquatic CenterLake Lansing Road to Abbot Road. Road north 1/4 mile. Aquatic Center entry drive on right. Paved parking.
East Lansing Fire StationSaginaw Street to Abbot Road. Abbot Road north 3/4 mile to Fire Station. Parking behind Station. Paved parking.
Harrison Meadows ParkHarrison Road north to Gainsborough Drive. East on Gainsborough Drive to Roxburgh Avenue. North on Roxburgh Avenue to Harrison Meadows Park. Paved parking.

3. Make a Splash at the East Lansing Family Aquatic Center

East Lansing Family Aquatic Center
Credit: Fox47news

Address: 6400 Abbot Rd #1422, East Lansing, MI 48823

Opening Hours: Seasonal

The East Lansing Family Aquatic Center is a sprawling outdoor water park that promises thrills and spills.

The 140-foot body slide or the 190-foot tube slide promises to be next-level fun. But the fun doesn’t stop at the slides.

Dive into the zero-depth entry pool, practice your cannonballs off the diving board, or simply relax and soak up the sun on the spacious sunbathing deck. 

Feeling hungry? You can grab a burger or cool treat at the concession stand.

The East Lansing Family Aquatic Center promises a guaranteed recipe for laughter and good times, whether it’s splashing with friends, building sandcastles with the kids, or cheering on your partner as they tackle the slides.

Facilities

1. 140-foot body water slide6. Frog Slide
2. 190-foot tube water slide7. Large Sunbathing Deck
3. Concession Area8. Picnic Areas
4. Diving Board9. Splash Park
5. Drop Slide10. Zero-depth Pool Entry

4. Craft Brews and Spirited Fun at Ellison Brewery & Spirits

Ellison Brewery & Spirits East Lansing
Google | Ellison Brewery & Spirits

Address: 4903 Dawn Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823

Opening Hours:

Tuesday – Friday4–10 pm
Saturday12–10 pm
Sunday12–8 pm
MondayClosed

Ellison Brewery & Spirits is a haven for handcrafted libations and delectable eats that promises a taste bud-tingling experience.

Ellison isn’t just a bar; it’s a brewery and distillery, crafting their own ales, lagers, spirits, and even non-alcoholic brews right on-site.

In their Clubhouse you can witness the magic of brewing firsthand through their expansive glass windows, then settle in for a tasting adventure that celebrates both tradition and innovation.

The Ellison’s menu boasts mouthwatering fare designed to complement their drinks. The indoor-outdoor heated patio provides the perfect setting for enjoying your meal and soaking up the East Lansing vibe.

You can also catch live music nights, join trivia nights, or bring your furry friend for their pet-friendly atmosphere.

Ellison also holds regular events like mug club gatherings and special beer releases, offering opportunities to connect with fellow beer enthusiasts and discover new favorites.

5. Immerse Yourself in the East Lansing Farmers Market

East Lansing Farmers Market
Google | Pradip Shrestha

Address: 280 Valley Ct, East Lansing, MI 48823

Forget supermarket aisles – let the vibrant colors and earthy scents of the East Lansing Farmers Market awaken your senses.

This market, open Sundays from June to October, is a celebration of Michigan’s bounty, bringing farm-fresh produce and artisanal treasures directly from growers to your table.

This weekly gathering is a community hub. Live music fills the air while families picnic on the green, children frolic on the playground, and friendly conversations weave their way through the aisles.

It’s a place to reconnect with the land, meet your neighbors, and experience the vibrant pulse of East Lansing.

Fill your basket with the freshest flavors, support local farmers and artisans, and savor the warm atmosphere of this community celebration. From sun-ripened peaches to handcrafted soaps, discover the treasures that thrive just beyond the city limits.

6. The Summer Solstice Jazz Festival

summer solstice jazz festival
Credit: Eljazzfest

Address: 410 Abbot Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823

The festival takes place outdoors in the heart of downtown East Lansing, usually around June 21st and 22nd. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the longest day of the year with some soulful sounds.

The festival boasts a diverse lineup of local, regional, and even national jazz artists. Whether you’re a seasoned jazz enthusiast or simply curious to explore different styles, there’s something for everyone.

From smooth vocals to electrifying horns and funky bass lines, prepare to be transported to the world of improvisation and musical magic.

The festival isn’t just about the big names. There are smaller stages showcasing up-and-coming talent, educational workshops for all ages, and even a dedicated kids’ area with activities and music designed for little ears.

It’s a chance to discover new favorites, learn about jazz history, and introduce the younger generation to this timeless musical genre.

This festival offers a chance to connect with fellow music lovers, make new friends, and create lasting memories.

7. Experience The State Room Restaurant

The State Room Restaurant East Lansing
Credit | Choose Lansing

Address: 219 S Harrison Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824

Opening Hours:

Monday11 am–2 pm
Tuesday – Friday11 am–2 pm | 4–10 pm
Saturday4–10 pm
SundayClosed

A Culinary Journey Awaits at The State Room Restaurant: East Lansing’s Fine Dining Gem

Tucked away inside the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing lies a haven for sophisticated palates and refined dining experiences: The State Room Restaurant.

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply seeking a memorable night out, The State Room promises an exquisite ambience and cuisine.

The State Room embraces the bounty of Michigan by crafting its menu around locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. So expect to find dishes that showcase the freshest flavors at their peak.

From melt-in-your-mouth lamb chops with roasted root vegetables to pan-seared scallops paired with creamy polenta, each course is a mixture of textures and tastes, a testament to the chef’s artistry and dedication to quality.

The dining experience at The State Room isn’t just about the food. Impeccable service ensures every need is met with a smile and a professional touch. The award-winning wine list, boasting over 750 options, offers the perfect pairing for your chosen culinary journey.

8. Jack Breslin Student Events Center

Jack Breslin Student Events Center
Joe Joslin

Address: 534 Birch Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824

This multipurpose arena pulsates with the energy of East Lansing. Opened in 1989, the event center is named after Jack Breslin, an MSU alumnus, former athlete and administrator who was one of those that first pushed that the arena be created.

Here you can catch world-renowned artists performing on the arena’s expansive stage, witness the drama of commencement ceremonies, or get swept away by the magic of traveling circuses and monster truck rallies.

Breslin doesn’t just house events, it innovates them. With state-of-the-art facilities like its 16,280-seat main arena and a virtual tour accessible from anywhere in the world, Breslin offers unmatched experiences.

It’s a testament to the forward-thinking spirit of Michigan State University, constantly evolving to serve the needs of the community.

9. Witness Art Come Alive At The Saper Galleries and Custom Framing

Saper Galleries and Custom Framing
Google | Saper Galleries and Custom Framing

Address: 433 Albert St, East Lansing, MI 48823

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday | 10am – 6pm

In the heart of East Lansing, Michigan, lies Saper Galleries, a beacon of artistic expression and a treasure trove for art lovers of all stripes.

Whether you’re a seasoned collector, a budding connoisseur, or simply someone seeking a touch of beauty in your life, Saper Galleries has something to offer.

Step into the warm, inviting space of Saper Galleries and prepare to be transported. Browse galleries brimming with over 1,500 original paintings, sculptures, prints, and mixed-media creations, created by over 150 artists from across 15 different countries.

Saper Galleries isn’t just a showcase for established artists; it’s a platform for emerging talent. Their commitment to discovery means you’ll encounter fresh perspectives and innovative techniques alongside the works of renowned masters.

This curated mix fuels curiosity and keeps the gallery humming with the energy of artistic exploration.

Attend artist talks and workshops, participate in special events, or simply strike up a conversation with the knowledgeable staff. Their passion for art is infectious, and they’re always eager to share their insights and ignite your own artistic spark.

Established in 1978, Saper Galleries has been a cornerstone of the East Lansing art scene for decades. Visitin Saper Galleries should be in your list of things to do in East Lansing.

10. Prepare for Liftoff At The Abrams Planetarium

Google | Scott Stoecker

Address: 755 Science Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824.

Opening Hours:

Monday – Thursday9 am–12 pm, 1–4:30 pm
Friday9 am–12 pm, 1–4:30 pm, 7:30–9 pm
Saturday7:30–9 pm
Sunday2–5 pm

For a cosmic adventure right here on Earth, look no further than the Abrams Planetarium in East Lansing, Michigan.

This celestial hub offers glimpses of the stars and ignites a passion for astronomy in visitors of all ages.

The Planetarium’s Digistar 7 projector paints the domed ceiling with breathtakingly accurate star fields, whisking you away to distant galaxies and nebulae. Witness the dazzling auroras dance across the Arctic sky, soar past majestic planets, and marvel at the birth of a new star.

There are interactive exhibits that let you touch craters on the moon, explore the rings of Saturn, and even try your hand at piloting a spacecraft.

Public talks and workshops delve deeper into specific astronomical phenomena, offering insights from passionate experts. And if you’re curious about what’s happening in the night sky right now, check out the live sky talk that follows every public show.

Family-friendly shows like “Dinosaur: Secrets of the Lost Kingdom” and “In My Backyard” spark children’s imaginations and foster a lifelong love of science. Special events like laser light shows and astronomy nights provide memorable experiences for the whole family.

So, whether you’re a seasoned skywatcher or simply curious about the cosmos, the Abrams Planetarium promises an unforgettable journey.

11. Experience Gaming At Pinball Pete’s

Pinball Pete’s East Lansing
Google | John Lucia

Address: 1214 S University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Opening Hours

Sunday – Thursday12 pm–12 am
Friday & Saturday12 pm–2 am

The Pinball Pete’s in East Lansing promises a retro arcade playground that’s sure to get your adrenaline pumping and your competitive juices flowing.

Pinball Pete’s keeps it old-school cool with rows upon rows of classic pinball machines, each with iconic themes, like Star Wars, The Addams Family, Jurassic Park, The Simpsons, and more.

You can also enjoy challenging arcade games like Pac-Man, Galaga, and Donkey Kong, Dance Dance Revolution air hockey, and shooting games. There’s something for everyone, guaranteeing hours of retro-fueled fun.

If the games get a bit too intense, take a break and refuel at the on-site concession stand. Plus, with plenty of seating and a spacious environment, Pinball Pete’s provides a comfortable haven for spectators and weary warriors alike.

12. Join The Cheer At Spartan Stadium

Spartan Stadium East Lansing
Google | Drone Hero Inbox

Address: 325 W Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824

This iconic venue, originally known as College Field, was opened in 1923, has witnessed over a century of legendary moments, from thrilling victories to epic rivalries.

The stadium has a current capacity of over 75,000. Beyond its size, the stadium’s distinctive horseshoe-shaped bowl amplifies the electrifying energy of game day.

Nicknamed “The Woodshed” by legendary coach Duffy Daugherty, the stadium embodies an atmosphere of intimidation for opponents and unparalleled enthusiasm for Michigan State fans.

Beyond the roar of the crowd, Spartan Stadium holds a treasure trove of history. 

The iconic Spartan statue at the stadium’s north end has welcomed fans since 1945, while the Spartan Tunnel pulsates with anticipation as players charge onto the field.

Additionally, each brick holds a whisper of past victories, from Don McCaffrey’s Hail Mary pass in 1964 to Kirk Cousins’ comeback against Michigan in 2010.

Whether you’re a die-hard Spartan fan or simply appreciate athletic history, Spartan Stadium is a must-visit and should be in your list of things to do in East Lansing.

Capacity75,005
Opened6 October 1923
Construction cost$160,001; ($2.75 million in 2022 dollars)
SurfaceGrass (1923–1968, 2002–present); Astroturf (1978–2001); TartanTurf (1969–1977)
Former namesCollege Field; (1923–1935); Macklin Field; (1935–1948); Macklin Stadium; (1948–1957)

13. Curiosity Awaits At MSU Museum

Google | Charu Suryavanshi

Address: 409 W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48823

Opening Hours: Tuesday = Saturday | 10am – 5pm

MSU Museum is a vibrant tapestry of science, culture, and wonder. From prehistoric giants to intricate quilts, this haven for curious minds promises a journey through time and across continents.

Step into Habitat Hall, where towering dinosaur skeletons, like the Allosaurus and Stegosaurus, whisper tales of an ancient earth. Witness the majestic elephant skeletons, each tusk a silent testament to nature’s artistry.

But the museum’s magic extends beyond bones and fossils.

The Science on a Sphere Gallery brings our planet to life with its dazzling projections.

MSU Museum
The Science on a Sphere Gallery

Here you can watch continents drift, oceans swirl, and weather patterns dance across a massive, animated globe. Immerse yourself in the cosmos with interactive exhibits exploring the mysteries of space and the origins of our universe.

Wander through the Great Lakes Quilt Center, where vibrant fabrics tell stories of family, tradition, and artistic expression.

Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Michigan through displays showcasing Native American artifacts and agricultural history.

The MSU Museum isn’t just a dusty archive; it’s a playground for the imagination. Whether you’re a science enthusiast, a history buff, or simply curious about the world around you, this museum has something to spark your wonder.

14. Experience The Wild At The Potter Park Zoo

Google | Syed Ali

Address: 1301 S Pennsylvania Ave, Lansing, MI 48912

Monday – Sunday | 10am = 4pm

This is a sprawling 20-acre zoo where exotic creatures and curious minds collide. 

Founded in 1920, it’s the oldest public zoo in Michigan, boasting over 350 animal residents representing over 160 species. Amazing!

Start with the African Lion exhibit, where majestic king and queens preside over their territory. Witness playful snow leopards stalk through rocky crags, while graceful red kangaroos bounce across their sun-drenched outback.

In the Wings from Down Under aviary, vibrant birdlife takes flight, from chattering kookaburras to the iridescent splendor of rainbow lorikeets.

The zoo is also interactive, as you can feed the goats at the farmyard, or come face-to-face with a gentle giant at the giraffe observation deck. Kids can unleash their inner explorer at the Exploration and Discovery Center, where hands-on exhibits bring the animal world to life.

There are keeper talks and educational programs, which offer deeper insights into the animals’ lives and the delicate ecosystems they call home.

15. Immerse Yourself in Cinematic Worlds At The East Lansing Film Festival

Credit: GoWhereWhen

The East Lansing Film Festival (ELFF) is an annual event that celebrates the magic of cinema.

For over 40 years, ELFF has been showcasing independent films from around the world, offering audiences a glimpse into diverse perspectives, captivating stories, and innovative filmmaking techniques.

Whether you’re a die-hard documentarian, a thrill-seeking horror buff, or an ardent supporter of international cinema, ELFF has something for everyone.

The festival program boasts a rich tapestry of features, documentaries, shorts, and student films, covering a wide range of genres and themes. 

The festival features engaging Q&A sessions with filmmakers, insightful panel discussions, and workshops that delve deeper into the world of filmmaking. These interactive experiences offer invaluable opportunities for learning, networking, and fostering a deeper appreciation for the craft.

So, if you’re looking for a unique and enriching cinematic experience, mark your calendars and add the next East Lansing Film Festival to your list of things to do in East Lansing MI.

16. Immerse Yourself in Artistic Alchemy at the East Lansing Art Festival

Credit: Lansing State Journal

For over 58 years, the East Lansing Art Festival has transformed streets into an open-air gallery, welcoming art lovers and curious minds to experience the magic of artistic expression.

Over 200 talented artists from across the nation showcase their masterpieces in the festival, encompassing a mesmerizing array of mediums and styles.

This celebration of art transcends mere paintings and sculptures. Lose yourself in live music that dances on the breeze, witness the hypnotic artistry of live demonstrations, and let your inner child revel in interactive installations. 

Not only can you admire breathtaking creations during the festival, but you can also find that perfect piece to adorn your home. Handcrafted jewelry, a whimsical ceramic mug, or a vibrant painting, the festival’s diverse offerings promise something for every taste and budget.

17. Discover The W.J. Beal Botanical Garden

The W.J. Beal Botanical Garden
Google | Patrick Goergen

Address: W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

Opening Hours: 24 Hours

Within the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing lies a haven of tranquility and botanical wonder: the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden.

This historic gem was founded in 1873 and holds the prestigious title of the oldest continuously operated university botanical garden in the United States. But beyond its age, the Beal Garden offers a lot: diverse plant collections, serene atmosphere, and rich history.

The 5-acre Beal Garden has over 5,000 plant species, both native and exotic, flourishing within its expanse.

Each section of the garden unfolds a unique story. Explore Sleepy Hollow, the garden’s original core, where towering trees whisper tales of its 150-year history. 

Immerse yourself in the systematic gardens, meticulously organized to showcase plant families and ecological relationships. Marvel at the economic garden, highlighting plants with practical uses like fruits, vegetables, and spices.

Educational displays and interactive exhibits in the garden offer insights into plant science, ecology, and conservation.

A guided tour will help you delve deeper into the garden’s history and plant collections. You can also participate in workshops and family-friendly programs that ignite curiosity and nurture a love for nature.

18. The East Lansing Soccer Complex

Credit: City of East Lensing

Address: 3700 Coleman Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823

Opening Hour: Monday – Sunday | 7am – 6pm

The East Lansing Soccer Complex is an absolute haven for all soccer enthusiasts, athletes, and fun-seekers in this Michigan city. 

The complex boasts of two championship fields, surrounding by six additional recreation fields, perfect for casual games, practice sessions, or impromptu matches 

There is also a concession pavilion where players and spectators can cool down, catch their breath, or grab a refreshing drink or a tasty snack.

The East Lansing Soccer Complex is a versatile venue that can accommodate more than just soccer matches. It’s a popular spot for hosting tournaments, special events, and even corporate outings.

So, whether you’re planning a friendly competition, a family gathering, or a team-building exercise, this complex has the space and facilities to make your event a success.

This vibrant, welcoming space promises an unforgettable experience for anyone who loves the beautiful game. Visiting here should be in your list of things to do in East Lansing MI.

19. The Patriarche Park

The Patriarche Park is a recreational facility bursting with possibilities for all ages and interests. Whether you crave athletic competition, family fun, or a quiet picnic under the sun, Patriarche Park has something to offer.

The park boasts an impressive array of sports facilities. Softball diamonds, tennis courts, basketball courts, and volleyball courts beckon athletes of all levels to put their skills to the test.

Baseball enthusiasts can swing for the fences on the dedicated baseball field, while soccer players can enjoy a friendly match on the spacious soccer field.

The park’s jewel is the newly-designed, fully accessible playground. From colorful climbing structures to a poured-in-place play surface, the playground offers hours of safe and imaginative fun for children of all abilities.

There are picnic tables with covered pavilion that provide the perfect spots for family gatherings and impromptu barbecues.

You can take a leisurely stroll along the winding paths, find a cozy nook under a shady tree and lose yourself in a good book, or spread out a blanket on the grassy expanses and soak up the sunshine while enjoying a peaceful picnic.

Patriarche Park’s diverse offerings, vibrant atmosphere, and commitment to community make it a must-visit destination for anyone in East Lansing.

20. Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid, and is a striking work of art. It boasts of a futuristic facade of pleated stainless steel and glass that stands in stark contrast to the traditional brick architecture of the surrounding campus.

But the Broad Art Museum’s allure extends far beyond its captivating exterior. 

Inside, its expansive galleries showcase a wide range of contemporary art, from groundbreaking international works to thematically curated exhibitions that explore pressing social and cultural issues.

You can immerse yourself in interactive installations, engage in stimulating talks and workshops, or participate in family-friendly programs designed to ignite creativity and spark a love for art in all ages.

The Broad Art Museum promises a stimulating and thought-provoking experience, be you a seasoned art enthusiast or simply curious to discover the latest trends in the contemporary art world

Admission to the galleries and all public programs in the museum is free. This ensures that everyone has the opportunity to experience the transformative power of art. Whether you’re a local resident, a visiting student, or simply passing through, the Broad Art Museum welcomes you with open arms.

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