12 Attractions in Lansing, Michigan

Lansing, the capital city of Michigan, is an exciting destination with a vibrant downtown, rich history, and diverse attractions for all interests.

1Michigan State CapitolA historic building offering tours to explore its beautiful architecture and legislative history.
2Impression 5 Science CenterInteractive science museum designed for children, offering hands-on exhibits to explore science concepts.
3R.E. Olds Transportation MuseumMuseum dedicated to the automotive industry, featuring vintage vehicles and the history of transportation.
4Potter Park ZooA 100-acre zoo with a wide range of animals, conservation programs, and educational opportunities.
5Michigan History CenterMuseum and archives that showcase Michigan’s past, from early history to the present day.
6The Broad Art MuseumContemporary art museum with unique architecture, offering a collection of modern and contemporary art.
7Lansing River TrailOver 20 miles of paved trail winding through Lansing, ideal for walking, biking, and enjoying nature.
8Fenner Nature CenterNature preserve offering trails, environmental education, and opportunities to interact with local wildlife.
9Lansing Brewing CompanyA local brewery offering craft beers, tours, and a cozy spot to relax with friends and family.
10Old Town LansingHistoric district known for its vibrant arts scene, unique shops, and eclectic dining options.
11Turner-Dodge House & Heritage CenterHistoric mansion offering insights into Lansing’s cultural and architectural history.
12Cooley GardensA hidden gem with beautiful gardens, offering a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city.

From exploring hands-on museums to admiring beautiful architecture, and enjoying performing arts to strolling riverside trails, Lansing offers visitors plenty to see and do. This article details the top 12 attractions that you must visit when in Lansing, Michigan.

1.The Michigan State Capitol

Name and Location: The Michigan State Capitol is located at 100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933.

History and Significance: The Michigan State Capitol opened in 1879 and houses the state legislature. Its beautiful dome and architecture make it a recognizable Lansing landmark.

What to Expect: Visitors can tour the Capitol building, view historical paintings and architecture, visit observation decks on the dome, and watch legislative sessions.

Visitor Information: Open daily for self-guided tours. Guided tours offered weekdays. Free admission.

The Michigan State Capitol, located in downtown Lansing, is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The building took 6 years to complete between 1872 and 1878 and boasts a magnificent dome that rises 267 feet above the ground.

Guided tours of the Capitol run daily, allowing you to view the beautiful architecture and learn about the building’s history first-hand. Don’t miss the intricately painted corridors or the stunning glass floor that peers down into the rotunda. Outside, stroll through Capitol Park to see several monuments, including the Michigan Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument and the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

2.Impression 5 Science Center

Name and Location: Impression 5 Science Center is located at 200 Museum Dr, Lansing, MI 48933.

History and Significance: Founded in 1995, Impression 5 provides innovative, inspiring science learning experiences with hands-on exhibits and programs.

What to Expect: Visitors of all ages explore interactive science exhibits and participate in science demonstrations, activities and live shows daily.

Visitor Information: Open daily. Admission fee charged. Science center memberships available.

At the Impression 5 Science Center downtown, kids and adults alike will have a blast exploring hands-on science exhibits on topics like physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science. Travel through the Human Body Gallery to learn about health or create your own experiments like erupting volcanoes.

The center also houses a planetarium with regular astronomy shows perfect for budding young astronomers. Outside, let the kids run wild in the outdoor science park complete with larger-than-life experiments like the giant lever and ball wall.

3.R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

Name and Location: R.E. Olds Transportation Museum is located at 240 Museum Dr, Lansing, MI 48933.

History and Significance: Opened in 1981, the museum celebrates Lansing’s role in transportation history and the legacy of auto pioneer Ransom E. Olds.

What to Expect: The museum displays over 170 different modes of transportation from carriages to concept cars. Interactive exhibits let visitors view engines and ride in simulators.

Visitor Information: Open year-round, Tuesday-Saturday. Admission fee charged.

Vehicle enthusiasts of all ages will adore the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum which documents the vibrant transportation history of Lansing. Peruse the sprawling collection of antique autos from the pioneering Oldsmobile brand along with engines, logos, artwork, and historical artifacts that bring the exhibits to life.

Don’t miss the iconic Curved Dash Olds from 1901 – the oldest surviving Oldsmobile. Children will love the hands-on learning stations where they can pretend to work on a pit crew and design model cars.

4.Potter Park Zoo

Name and Location: Potter Park Zoo is located at 1301 S Pennsylvania Ave, Lansing, MI 48912.

History and Significance: Potter Park Zoo opened in 1920 and provides close-up animal encounters connecting visitors to wildlife conservation. Home to over 180 animal species.

What to Expect: Visitors meet creatures like Amur tigers, otters, red pandas, kangaroos, and chimpanzees. Interactive feeding stations. Special events year-round.

Visitor Information: Open daily. Admission fee charged. Check website for hours.

For a wild day out, head to the Potter Park Zoo located just south of downtown Lansing. This midsize zoo houses over 500 individual animals across 160 species from anteaters to zebras. Kids go crazy in the dinosaur forest with its life-size, animatronic dinos.

Other highlights include the red panda exhibit, the African lion pride, Gibbon Island with its family of apes, and the hands-on petting farm. Enjoy special events like boo-at-the-zoo on Halloween or glimpse the magic of wild animals during a sleepover adventure.

5.Michigan History Center

Name and Location: The Michigan History Center is located at 702 W Kalamazoo St, Lansing, MI 48915.

History and Significance: Operated by the Historical Society of Michigan, the Center includes a museum, archives and library preserving Michigan history from early indigenous peoples to today.

What to Expect: Museum exhibits cover key events and innovations using interactive displays. The archives and library allow for extensive historical research.

Visitor Information: Free general admission to museum galleries. Archives and library open to researchers by appointment.

The expansive Michigan History Center complex operated by the Historical Society of Michigan tells the diverse stories of Michigan’s past. Inside the Michigan Historical Museum, interactive exhibits using historic artifacts, first-person accounts, recreated settings, and multimedia displays make the state’s history come alive.

Follow Michigan’s journey from prehistoric times through the French and British colonial eras, past Industrialization and into the modern age. The museum also houses renowned indigenous artwork by the Anishinaabe. Next, head upstairs to the stirring “With Liberty and Justice For All” exhibit spotlighting Michiganders’ fights for equality and freedom.

6.The Broad Art Museum

Name and Location: The Broad Art Museum is located on the campus of Michigan State University at 547 E Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824.

History and Significance: The Broad Museum opened in 2012 and houses international contemporary art collections featuring prominent and emerging artists in a striking building designed by Zaha Hadid.

What to Expect: Visitors view a wide range of thought-provoking modern artworks across multiple mediums that are rotated through exhibits 2-3 times per year.

Visitor Information: Free general admission. Open Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Mondays and major holidays.

Part of Michigan State University’s campus, The Broad Art Museum is Lansing’s contemporary art mecca renowned for its striking architectural facade of pleats and angles designed by acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid.

Inside, view cutting-edge artwork across divergent mediums from painting and photography to printmaking, sculpture, and video. Standout pieces include Nick Cave’s vibrant Soundsuits and Anselm Kiefer’s epic, large-scale canvases exploring myth and memory.

Art lovers could spend hours admiring the creativity on display from both international sensations and emerging Michigan artists. Enjoy free admission and extend your visit with handcrafted beverages and seasonal bites at the on-site cafe.

7.Lansing River Trail

Name and Location: The Lansing River Trail runs along the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers in Lansing.

History and Significance: The River Trail allows people to enjoy Lansing’s riverfront parks while highlighting the rivers’ key role in the city’s history. Portions built starting in the 1990s.

What to Expect: Users walk, run, bike or skate along the paved trail which connects museums, city market, ballpark and other destinations through scenic areas.

Visitor Information: Access from multiple public trailheads. Open year-round dawn to dusk. Free admission.

For fresh air and feel-good endorphins, head out on the scenic Lansing River Trail network winding 20+ miles along the Grand River and Red Cedar River. The paved, multi-use trails cater to walkers, runners, cyclists and skaters passing verdant riverbanks, wetlands, and woodlands.

Highlights along the way include scenic overlooks of the winding rivers, dams, and water rapids as well as connected loops through city parks. The downtown Lansing trail segment rewards with capitol views while following the river north and south leads to parks, nature areas and MSU’s campus. Stop at trailside plaques recounting Lansing’s heritage as you go.

8.Michigan Princess Riverboat

Name and Location: The Michigan Princess Riverboat offers cruises along the Grand River in downtown Lansing departing from Brenke Ledge Park at 909 E Shiawassee St.

History and Significance: The Michigan Princess began operating in 1992, recreating the era of 19th century riverboat travel with sightseeing tours showcasing Lansing along the historic Grand River waterway.

What to Expect: Passengers take in city skyline views on one or two hour narrated cruises, along with lunch/dinner options, drinks and occasional live music. Special holiday and themed tours too.

Visitor Information: Public cruises offered April-October. Ticket required, purchase online or on-site. Private charters available year-round.

For sightseeing from the water, embark on a relaxing cruise down the Grand River aboard the Michigan Princess Riverboat. This old-fashioned sternwheeler paddle boat departs from downtown Lansing for regular public and special event cruises from spring through fall.

Take in pretty riverfront views and city vistas on multi-level decks as you listen to narration recounting Lansing’s history interspersed with interesting trivia. Enjoy an afternoon tea cruise or specialty cruise highlighting murder mysteries, jazz, blues, or Motown music. Romantic sunset dinner cruises also available complete with cooking demonstrations from the boat’s onboard chef.

9.Common Ground Music Festival

Name and Location: Common Ground Music Festival takes place each summer in downtown Lansing along the Grand River.

History and Significance: Launched in 1993, Common Ground is a long-running outdoor music festival that brings both big names and emerging artists across genres to perform for thousands of fans.

What to Expect: Multiple stages host national, regional and local musicians over 3 days featuring rock, hip hop, blues and more. Food trucks on site. Craft beer tent. Family friendly.

Visitor Information: Held at Adado Riverfront Park annually in July. Ticket purchase required for admission.

Music lovers visiting Lansing in the summer should pencil in the annual Common Ground Music Festival – a must-do event that rocks downtown’s Adado Riverfront Park with big-name artists across genres like rock, pop, blues, funk, soul, and bluegrass.

Past festival lineups have featured major stars such as The Flaming Lips, Willie Nelson, Brandi Carlile, Violent Femmes, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Beyond the concerts, enjoy local craft beer and tasty eats from area restaurants and food trucks while getting your shop on at vendor markets for locally-made art, clothing, and jewelry.

10.Michigan State University

Name and Location: Michigan State University’s campus spans over 5,000 acres in East Lansing and Lansing, with the main portion located between Grand River Ave, Harrison Rd, Michigan Ave and Farm Lane.

History and Significance: Founded in 1855, MSU pioneered studies in agriculture, engineering and veterinary medicine. Today it is one of the largest universities in the U.S. with over 50,000 students.

What to Expect: Visitors explore historic buildings, museums, gardens and performing arts venues across campus. Sporting events, cultural activities year-round.

Visitor Information: Campus open daily. Free walking tours available. Visitor Center at 451 S Harrison Road provides maps.

As Michigan’s pioneering land-grant university, Michigan State University and its sprawling, park-like campus should be on any Lansing visitor’s list. Join a free, student-led walking tour to admire iconic campus architecture like Beaumont Tower and learn factoids about MSU history and student life.

Cheer Spartan sports teams on to victory at venues like the football stadium The Big House or hockey arena Munn Ice Arena. Tour on-campus cultural attractions like the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum showcasing avant-garde contemporary art and the beloved Abrams Planetarium launching visitors to the outer reaches of the galaxy during its immersive astronomy shows.

11.Lansing Lugnuts Baseball

Name and Location: Lansing Lugnuts Baseball plays at Jackson® Field located at 505 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, MI 48912.

History and Significance: The Lugnuts are a Class A Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the Oakland Athletics. The team has played annually at Jackson® Field since 1996, winning multiple championships there over the years.

What to Expect: Visitors watch professional baseball and enjoy ballpark food and promotions during the regular season from April-September, including camps, fireworks nights and more.

Visitor Information: Single game, mini plan and group tickets available. Ballpark and team store open game days.

Cheer for the hometown team and enjoy an evening of all-American fun with the Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball club. This Class A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics plays at downtown’s Jackson® Field downtown from April through September.

Catch rising baseball stars of the future as you nosh classic ballpark fare like hot dogs and popcorn. Arrive early to play lawn games, take selfies with mascot Big Lug, and watch the kids run the bases on Sundays following home games. Themed nights like Star Wars Night and introduction to players make minor league games particularly family-friendly.

12.Turner-Dodge House

Name and Location: The Turner-Dodge House Museum is located at 100 E North St, Lansing, MI 48906.

History and Significance: This 1857 Italianate mansion was the home of Lansing pioneer and mayor John A. Turner. Restored and opened to the public in 1986, it offers a glimpse into 19th century life.

What to Expect: Guided tours detail ornate architecture and design elements while conveying stories of the families who lived here into the mid-1900s. Civil War era furnishings on display.

Visitor Information: Open for guided tours March-December on Tuesday-Saturday afternoons. Group tours by reservation. Admission fee.

History buffs will love touring the Turner-Dodge House, an imposing Italian Renaissance Revival-style mansion that is one of Michigan’s finest preserved historic homes. Lansing pioneer James Turner constructed the imposing red brick house between 1858-1860. Later owners included Dodge family members of the automotive empire until donation of the home for use as a museum.

Tour the 30 restored rooms adorned with original furnishings recalling Victorian-era splendor. Don’t miss the grand reception hall, ornate plaster ceilings, dazzling crystal chandeliers, detailed woodwork, and magnificent grand staircase. The permanent collection includes over 3000 period objects.


From world-class museums and captivating culture to outdoor recreation and collegiate sports, Lansing rewards visitors with an array of can’t-miss attractions.

Learn about the city and state’s dynamic history, immerse in art and science, cruise the rivers, cheers sports teams, catch big-name concerts, and sample local flavors as you take in Michigan’s vibrant capital city.

With this guide detailing Lansing’s top 12 attractions, you can easily fill your itinerary to experience the best this Midwestern destination offers.

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