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Introduction

Lansing is the capital of Michigan. Lansing is an aesthetically pleasing city, and as Michigan's state capital, it is home to many government offices. Downtown Lansing has a historic shopping district amidst the campus of Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Its suburb - East Lansing - is the home of Michigan State University, a "Big Ten" school and one of the United States' largest and most distinguished public universities with three medical schools and a law school. General Motors has a major presence in the area. The Lansing metro area has a population of about 464,000 (2010).

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Sights and Activities

  • MSU-Broad Art Museum, 547 E Circle Dr, ☎ +1 517-884-4800. The museum houses a moderately large and constantly changing collection of cutting-edge postmodern art, including Damien Hirst, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, and Nam June Paik. The architecture (by Zaha Hadid) is controversial, but undeniably spectacular.
  • R.E. Olds Transportation Museum, 240 Museum Dr, ☎ +1 517-372-0529. A museum dedicated to the founder of Oldsmobile, which was later bought by GM and was for years a popular US auto brand. Many traces of R.E. Olds remain in Lansing. The tallest building in the city, the Boji Tower (noted for its large red clock), was built as the Olds Tower, after its major financier, R.E. Olds. The area near the location of an old Olds factory is now called REO Town, after R.E. Olds. The Lansing Lugnuts, a minor league baseball team plays in a stadium formerly known as Oldsmobile Park near downtown Lansing.
  • The Michigan Women's Historical Center & Hall of Fame, 1982 W. Grand River Ave., Okemos. The museum details the accomplishments of women in Michigan. It moved from its previous location to a storefront in the Meridian Mall by July 2017. The entire museum can be viewed in 15-20 minutes.
  • Michigan State Capitol, 100 N Capitol Ave, ☎ +1 517-373-2348. The capitol has been beautifully restored and sits in the heart of downtown Lansing surrounded by beautiful mid-rise buildings of Michigan's golden auto years. The building was dedicated in 1873; today it is a National Historic Landmark, and still the working seat of the Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate. Self-guided and guided tours of the capital are available. A visit to the capital is perfect for any season.
  • River Trail. The Lansing River Trail extends over 13 miles (21 km) along the Red Cedar and Grand Rivers. Users of the paved and board walk trail can enjoy the natural beauty of the rivers all the way from the campus of MSU to Dietrich Park near Old Town on the north side of Lansing. The attractions along the way include the Potter Park Zoo, multiple access points for canoes and kayaks, downtown Lansing, the Museum District, Oldsmobile Park, the historic farmers market, and Old Town. The trail is being expanded to provide access to the south side of Lansing. Spring, summer, and fall, this is a great way to see many of the Lansing attractions.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Weather

Lansing has a Midwestern humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb/Dfa) that is influenced by the Great Lakes. Winters are cold with moderate to heavy snowfall, while summers are very warm and humid. The monthly daily average temperature in July is 21.9 °C, while the same figure for January is -4.8 °C; the annual mean is 9.01 °C. On average, temperatures reach or exceed 32.2 °C on 8.8 days of the year and drop to or below -17.8 °C on 10−11 nights. Precipitation is generally greatest during summer but still frequent and significant in winter. Snowfall, which normally occurs from November to April, averages 130 cm per season, significantly less than areas to the west such as Grand Rapids as Lansing is relatively immune to lake-effect snows; seasonal snowfall has historically ranged from 42 cm in 1863−64 to 247 cm in 1880−81. The highest and lowest officially recorded temperatures were 39 °C on July 6, 2012, and -38 °C on February 2, 1868, with the last -29 °C or colder reading occurred on February 27, 1994; the record low maximum is -20 °C on January 22, 1883, while, conversely, the record high minimum is 26 °C on August 1, 2006 and July 18, 1942. Freezing temperatures in June are exceedingly rare and have not occurred in July or August since the 19th century; on average, they arrive on October 4 and depart on May 7, allowing a growing season of 149 days. The average window for measurable snow (>0.25 cm) is November 4 thru April 6.

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Getting There

By Plane

Capitol Region International Airport (LAN IATA) is located in DeWitt Township, 3 miles (5 km) northwest of downtown Lansing on Grand River Avenue (Business Route 96). Capital Region International Airport offers non-stop domestic flights to Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and Orlando. Non-stop international flights are available seasonally to Cancún and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. A concierge travel center in the airport terminal offers the ability to book airline tickets, cruises, tours, car rentals, and hotel rooms. The airport is serviced by Capital Area Transit Authority (CATA) bus line 14, which provides direct service to downtown Lansing.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Flint Bishop International Airport, and Grand Rapids Gerald R. Ford International Airport are other nearby airports which service the region.

By Train

Amtrak provides one daily train service via the Blue Water Service, which connects to Flint and Port Huron to the east and Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and Chicago to the west. There's also Amtrak Thruway Buses to the Wolverine line between Chicago and Detroit as well as the Capitol and Lake Shore Limited services via Toledo.

All trains depart from East Lansing Station (+1 800-872-7245), located on 1240 S Harrison Rd next to the Michigan State University in East Lansing. CATA's route 20 provides service to the station for both departures and arrivals on weekdays, and for arrivals to East Lansing on Saturday. Connections to downtown Lansing are provided by route 1.

By Car

Lansing is easily accessible from Detroit and Chicago. Interstate 96 directly connects Lansing and East Lansing to Detroit and Grand Rapids. US-127 to Interstate 94 connects Lansing and East Lansing to Chicago, Ann Arbor, and Detroit. Interstate 69 connects Lansing and East Lansing to Flint and Fort Wayne.

By Bus

Greyhound Lines service Lansing and East Lansing, with direct connections to Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo (with transfers to Chicago).
Owosso, Michigan-based Indian Trails Bus Lines provides daily service to Chicago.
Michigan Flyer Motorcoach service provides multiple daily connections to Detroit Metropolitan Airport with stops in Jackson and Ann Arbor.

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Getting Around

By Car

Lansing is serviced by a number of highways. Travel by car to any part of the city normally takes very little time. Traffic is generally light in the region. While there is some rush hour traffic, visitors driving in the region should not anticipate heavy congestion. The heaviest traffic is concentrated on the east and west sides of the city.

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

The Lansing-area is serviced by the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) bus system. Visitors should find bus service to downtown Lansing, downtown East Lansing, and Michigan State University a convenient and affordable alternative to driving.

Many companies provide taxi service throughout the area. Taxi service is heavily concentrated in the downtown East Lansing-area, especially during evenings and weekends. There is no need to call ahead for taxis in downtown East Lansing, as an available taxi can always be found on Albert Street behind downtown East Lansing. In downtown Lansing, taxi service is not as frequent. Taxi service usually arrives in under 30 minutes. Visitors should expect longer delays on the weekends and during Michigan State University football games.

By Foot

The City of Lansing provides an extensive river walk trail along the Red Cedar River and Grand River. Visitors will enjoy strolling along the Red Cedar as it meanders through the beautiful Michigan State University campus, through dense forest, past the City of Lansing's Potter Park Zoo, where the Red Cedar joins the Grand River (Michigan's largest river) and continues through downtown Lansing, Cooley Law School Stadium (formerly Oldsmobile Park), home of the Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball team, the downtown Farmer's Market, and to the River Walk terminus near the historic Old Town on Lansing's north side.

By Bike

The area offers many bike lanes, especially in East Lansing near the Michigan State University. Whether on foot or by bike, the area offers plenty of sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails to connect pedestrians to all the local attractions.

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Eat

The Lansing-area lacks the dining options the State's other major college town, Ann Arbor. But there are a number of excellent hidden gems. But no matter the appetite, the Lansing-area offers at least one gem for everyone. Michigan State University has a large number of South Korean students, and also many Korean dining options.

  • Pablo's Panaderia: Great Mexican food at reasonable prices. It is in the historic Old Town off Grand River on the north side of Lansing. The homemade chips and salsa are complimentary. Check out the three varieties of tortas. The restaurant is popular with locals who know where to find a good meal. This is a hidden gem in one of the trendiest area of the city.
  • The Knight Cap: Located at 320 East Michigan Avenue, near the capital, is upscale for Lansing. The food is expensive. It is noted for its steaks and service. Reservations are suggested, as it is relatively small.
  • Troppo: Located in downtown Lansing, Troppo offers upscale alfresco dining looking down the street to the State Capitol building. The restaurant caters mainly to government-related employees in the downtown Lansing-area.
  • DeLuca's Restaurant, 2006 W Willow St, ☎ +1 517-487-6087. A classic establishment, with locals argue it's one of the best pizzerias in Michigan. The House Special is the most popular.
  • Altu's Ethiopian Cuisine: Located at 1312 East Michigan Ave, it offers great food in a traditional atmosphere. The restaurant is vegetarian and vegan friendly.
  • Jerusalem Bakery, 1456 E Michigan Ave, ☎ +1 517-485-9975. Offers traditional Mediterranean food, and is home to one of the best Falafel sandwiches you'll find in the greater Lansing area.
  • Emil's Restaurant: Lansing's oldest family-owned restaurant. It located in the "East Side Neighborhood" off Michigan Avenue between East Lansing and downtown Lansing. The restaurant offers decent red-sauce Italian food at great prices.
  • Kelly's Downtown Pub: Located in the heart of downtown Lansing on Washington, this Irish pub offers decent food and a lively atmosphere. A Lansing downtown fixture since 1985, with a fish and mac special on Friday and Saturday.
  • Mitchell's Fish Market: Located at 2975 Preyde Blvd. in Eastwood Towne Centre on the north end of town, Mitchell's is the best fish restaurant in town. The Sharkfin Pie dessert is huge and feeds several people. In the summer, enjoy alfresco and oysters on the half shell with your drink.
  • Bravo: An Italian restaurant in Eastwood Towne Center across from Mitchell's Fish Market. It is an upscale chain, like Mitchell's Fish Market.
  • Claddagh Irish Pub. An upscale chain located at 2900 Town Centre near Bravo and Mitchell's Fish Market. With creaky floors and a dark wood interior, it is themed as a traditional Irish pub. It is known for its huge portions of fish and chips, but serves American food as well as Irish meals. Also, it has an entire menu of whiskeys.
  • Champps: Located at 2800 Preyde Blvd, it is an upscale sports bar. There is not a seat in the place where you cannot see one of the many large televisions. The food is better than most bars. It is often packed for Michigan State University basketball games.
  • Fleetwood Diner: The diner is on the corner of Riley street and Cedar Street in Lansing. It looks like a train car. It has a great breakfast menu and is open 24 hours. The restaurant sports a large vegetarian menu.
  • Waterfront Bar & Grill, 325 City Market Drive, ☎ +1 517 267-3800. 10AM to 11PM. Get a craft brew from you favorite brewery, and enjoy the view from the patio with live music.

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Drink

Lansing is full of working class bars. But there are also bars catering to Cooley Law students and young professionals downtown and in Old Town.

  • Michigan Brewing Company. Located downtown on Washington Ave. Great local Michigan brews in a comfortable atmosphere. Best place to get a quality beer in Lansing. edit
  • Kelly's: Located in downtown Lansing on Washington, the bar is small and popular among Cooley Law students.
  • The Firm: A cross between a night club and a bar, it is in downtown Lansing on Washington.
  • Brannigan: A fun bar with darts and plenty of graduate students, and young people, it is the only place in downtown Lansing on Washington that is consistently busy.
  • The Green Door: A local favorite located outside downtown Lansing, in the Eastside neighborhood on East Michigan Ave at the intersection with Clemens Avenue (more or less directly across from Emil's). With live music most nights, it is popular with a wide age group from mid twenties and up.
  • Moriarty's Pub: Located on Michigan Ave. outside downtown. A local pub.
  • The Rendezvous on the Grand: An Old Town bar on the north side of Lansing, which features local acts and open mic sessions.
  • South Town: It is located just south of downtown on Washington Ave. It is geared towards the young hip-hop/urban genre. Don't go.
  • Dagwood's Tavern & Grill: Located at 2803 East Kalamazoo in Lansing. It is an institution in its own right. A cozy neighborhood sports bar with great burgers and lively open-mic sessions every Tuesday.

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Sleep

  • The Wild Goose Inn, 512 Albert Avenue, East Lansing, ☎ +1 517 333-3334. Located in the heart of downtown East Lansing, just 1 block from the beautiful campus of Michigan State University. Each room has a private bath, gas fireplace, cable TV with DVD/CD player, clock radio with iPod dock, and Internet access. All rooms, but one, also have Jacuzzis and sumptuous shower facilities.
  • Econo Lodge Lansing Hotel, 1100 Ramada Drive, ☎ +1 517 394-7200, fax: +1 517 394-0826.
  • Burkewood Inn, 3216 W. Main Street, ☎ +1 517 487-9119.
  • Comfort Inn Lansing, 2187 University Park Drive, Okemos.
  • Lexington Lansing Hotel, 925 South Creyts Rd. Offers budget-friendly packages for family or romantic stays. Indoor basketball court, swimming, nightly cookie & milk delivery, on-site restaurant, meeting spaces and an elegant ballroom.
  • Quality Inn University Lansing Hotel, 3121 E. Grand River Ave, ☎ +1 517 351-1440, fax: +1 517 351-6220. Just one mile from Michigan State University, East Lansing area, and three miles from downtown and urrounded by 15 restaurants and 70 stores which are within walking distance. Each stay includes two drinks at their poolside bar and complimentary full hot breakfast every morning. Check out their webpage at www.UniversityQualityInn.com!
  • Quality Suites Lansing Hotel, 901 Delta Commerce Dr, ☎ +1 517 886-0600, fax: +1 517 886-0103. A 117-Room all suites hotel offering in-room coffee maker, refrigerator, microwave, wet bar, iron ironing board and hairdryer. Secure Online Reservations.
  • Red Roof Inn Lansing East University, 3615 Dunckel Rd, toll-free: +1-800-733-7663.
  • Red Roof Inn Lansing West, 7412 W Saginaw Hwy.
  • Best Western Midway, 7711 W Saginaw Hwy.
  • Crowne Plaza Lansing West, 925 South Creyts Rd, ☎ +1 517-323-7100. Provides free wireless internet, LCD flat screen TV's, indoor basketball court, swimming, on site restaurant and a free airport shuttle.
  • Candlewood East Lansing, 3545 Forest Rd, ☎ +1 517-351-8181. On MSU Campus, attached to James B. Henry Center for Executive Development and the University Club.
  • Courtyard Lansing, 2710 Lake Lansing Rd, ☎ +1 517-482-0500.
  • East Lansing Marriott at University Place, 300 M. A. C. Ave, East Lansing, ☎ +1 517-337-4440. Across from MSU Campus.
  • The Kellogg Center at Michigan State University. Large hotel and conference center with views of the campus.
  • Radisson Hotel Lansing at the Capitol, 111 N. Grand Ave, ☎ +1 517-482-0188. A luxurious downtown hotel accommodating large conferences which adjoins the convention center.

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Learn

  • Michigan State University: Michigan State University (MSU) is a member of the Big Ten athletic conference, and is among the largest universities in the United States, with over 45,000 students. MSU is known for its academics and athletics. US News & World Report ranks MSU as a Tier 1 university. MSU is home to 3 medical schools, 1 law school, and the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL). The NSCL is the largest nuclear science facility on a university campus, and the nuclear physics graduate program is ranked 2nd to MIT. The campus park, the largest single university campus in the United States, is noted for its collegiate Gothic architecture and campus gardens. MSU is located in East Lansing.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 8. Last edited at 10:12 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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