Written by Lisa Assenmacher, Communication & Training Specialist
Whether a frequent or first-time visitor, there are a lot of things to do during a trip to Lansing. With the upcoming Building Michigan Communities Conference in mind, CEDAM staff put together this list of six things to do in Lansing.
1. Take a Walk on Washington Ave
With its old cobblestone road, shops, restaurants and historic architecture, Washington Avenue is Lansing’s downtown district and right outside the conference doors. Iconic buildings include the Knapp Building and the Boji Tower and feature Art Deco-inspired architecture. Busy with walkers and nearby employees taking lunch breaks, it’s an area full of daytime energy.
Colorful, charming and accessible, Washington Avenue is a great place to take a quick walk, get some fresh air and grab some local snacks when you have some free time.
2. Visit the Capitol Building
Speaking of the Capitol building, no trip to Lansing would be complete without a visit to the Michigan State Capitol Building. Approximately one block from the conference center, you can’t miss at least seeing iconic building.
Completed in 1879, construction took six years and it contains more than nine acres of hand-painted surfaces. Designed by Elijah E. Myers, the Victorian-inspired building is award-winning and a local favorite. While a novelty to take in views from the outside, is also breathtaking on the inside with the exquisite rotunda and beautiful decor.
Open from 9am-4pm daily, you can take a guided tour or freely roam around.
3. Walk Along the Lansing River Trail
If you walk outside the Lansing Center, you can immediately step onto the Lansing River Trail. Following the river, you can travel all the way to MSU or up through Old Town, taking in pretty views of natural landscape and neighborhoods.
It’s provides a readily available opportunity to get a breath of fresh air with any available free time, even if just a few minutes.
4. Visit Old Town
Complete with unique and locally owned shops, galleries, restaurants and beautiful historic buildings, Old Town is about a half a mile away from the Lansing Center right off of the River Trail. The Old Town experience is unmatched in Lansing with a general energy in the community, and is a fun way to spend some free time.
The Old Town Commercial Association (OTCA) is a Great American Main Street and a CEDAM member. In addition to the general support provided to the business district, the OTCA hosts a variety of events and placemaking activities throughout the year, including music festivals, networking breakfasts, gallery walks, fun runs, theater and more. Stop in their offices on Turner Street and say hello if you are in the neighborhood.
5. Visit Allen Street Market
The Allen Neighborhood Center (ANC), also a CEDAM member, is located in the Eastside Neighborhood in Lansing along Kalamazoo Avenue. Among all of the great programs the ANC has to support its neighborhood, the Allen Market Place is an innovative food hub that is worth checking out. The Market Place hosts the Exchange, their online wholesale market for local foods, a licensed incubator kitchen, rental space for events or meetings and a year round farmers market. The farmers market brings a variety of local farmers, artisans, restaurants and vendors to provide delicious and quality goods for sale, and is open on Wednesdays from 3-6:30pm. Learn more here.
6. Take in Local Craft Beverages
Like many places in Michigan, Lansing is embracing the local distillery and beer movement with many nearby local venues in the Stadium District. The Lansing Brewing Company is down the street from the Lugnuts Stadium on the corner of Cedar and Shiawassee Streets. This brewery was the first in Lansing, opening in 1897. Prohibition led to its closing in 1914, but its 2015 revival has been widely popular and is a local favorite. A full food menu is available along with a variety of craft beer styles.
If spirits are more your preference, check out the American Fifths Distillery on Larch Street. Serving locally produced gin, whiskey and vodka, an extensive menu of craft cocktails are available. Their light menu consists of light snacks and finger foods.
If you are stopping by the Allen Market Place (see number 5), stop inside Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale. Part of the Allen Market Place, they serve locally brewed artisan beer in their tap room on Wednesdays from 4-7pm and Fridays from 5-7pm.
Enjoy your trip to Lansing, whether for BMCC or for other reasons. Let us know how you spend your time and what you think of our list of places to visit. Also, stop by the CEDAM office anytime. We’d love to show you around.