There are really four distinct areas of Lansing that each accommodate a different type of person. If you're in the wrong region, you might not enjoy your stay as much as you would otherwise.
-North Lansing: The first distinct region is "North Lansing", which is essentially a shopping district. If you are in this area, the majority of things for you to do will be on Saginaw Highway. It's a long road that has numerous stores and restaurants, including the Lansing Mall as well as Meijer, Target, and Best Buy. If there is something you need to buy, chances are there is somewhere to find it on Saginaw. There are a few bars here too, but they are few and far between... this is not really the area to go for nightlife.
This region of town also contains the airport, though that is a little further north of the "shopping district", up on Grand River Avenue. Nearby is a large bowling alley (the Royal Scot), which also has a golf course. Waverly Road connects Grand River to Saginaw, and is in between the airport and the Royal Scot.
-Downtown Lansing: Downtown is where a vast majority of offices are for both government employees and the private sector. But besides the business aspect, it's pretty happening too. Washington Square and Michigan Avenue (which intersect near the capitol building) have a ton of bars and restaurants, making this the main area to go for nightlife in Lansing. However, shopping is a bit lacking here, with no major outlet stores or whatnot. North Lansing isn't far, just head a few blocks north to get on Saginaw heading west and you'll eventually hit the shopping district.
Cooley Law School and Lansing Community College are both located downtown as well as the Lansing Lugnuts' stadium. Sparrow Hospital is also nearby and Potter Park Zoo is only a few blocks away too.
Parking is a pain in downtown Lansing, requiring some type of payment for practically any parking spot (be it meters, parking garages, etc.). Parking is not a hassle in any other part of Lansing besides downtown.
-South Lansing: South Lansing is similar to North Lansing in that it has a lot of places to shop and eat... it also has a Meijer and a Target, but does not have a mall. Like North Lansing, most of its stores are on a single road, this one being Cedar (which runs all the way up to the Lugnut's stadium in downtown). To be honest, South Lansing is kind of the rougher area of Lansing, so if you are looking to shop and aren't already down there, I'd suggest going to North Lansing/Saginaw Highway instead.
However, South Lansing does have Celebration Cinema going for it. This is, by far, the best movie theater in Lansing. North Lansing's movie theater (the "Lansing Mall 6") is a joke compared to Celebration.
-Eastern Lansing: Right before you get to the actual East Lansing city limits, you'll hit the Frandor Shopping center. This area contains a bunch of different stores and a few restaurants. There's not really anything here that you can't find in either North or South Lansing (there's actually a lot less), but it's mostly there for East Lansing residents so they don't have to drive all the way out to either North/South Lansing for their shopping. Not really a place to go unless you are already going that way, heading to East Lansing.
Further east is the actual city of East Lansing, where Michigan State University resides, as well as another big bar scene on Grand River Avenue and Albert Road.
I only had one cold January day to spend in Lansing. However, there are some more things I thought sounded interesting so you may want to check them out:
- All Around the World African Museum and Resource Center
- Kresge Art Museum
- Impression 5 Science Center
- Nokomis Native American Learning Center
Fondest memory: I miss affordable, convienent downtown parking! Usually large cities, especially capital cities have obnoxious parking fees and a few grumpy locals. Neither of which I encountered in Lansing. It appeared to be a large city life with down-home, friendly people.
GO TO MSU CAMPUS, THEY HAVE A GREAT DOWNTOWN AREA THERE. ALSO, CHECK OUT THE MSU GARDENS DURING THE SUMMER, ITS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GARDENS I HAVE EVER SEEN! THERE ARE A FEW GREAT BARS THERE TO PARTY AND DANCE AT, BUT GET THERE BEFORE 10PM OR YOU'LL BE WAITIN IN LINE(WHICH CAN BE FUN SOMETIMES). THERE ARE ALSO BASEBALL GAMES AT THE LUGNUTS STADIUM, WHICH IS GREAT FOR A FAMILY OUTTING. THERE IS A NEW SHOPPING CENTER COMING IN THAT HAS EVERYTHING. LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE LOOKIN FOR SOMETHIGN SPECIFIC.
Fondest memory: I MOVED TO LANSING IN 1990, I AM FROM WISCONSIN ACTUALLY, SO MY MEMORIES DON'T GO BACK THAT FAR. THERE ARE SO MANY OF BEING WITH FRIENDS, BUT NOTHING THAT STICKS OUT IN MY MIND. I DO KNOW THAT WHEN I AM AWAY, I CAN'T WAIT TO GET HOME! ITS COMFORTING AND INVITING TO ME. ITS HOME!
Visit the Chinese Family Buffet on Grand River and Hagadorn...For a look a the different aspects of the people, just go to Starbucks and then take a trip just next door to the Cafe Latte...It's the clash of two worlds...
Fondest memory: Everything is only on one street.
Austin Blair: War Governor 1861-1864.
"He gave the best years of his life to Michigan, and his fame is inseparably linked with the glorious achievements of her citizen soldiers."
Favorite thing: What is it about Michigan and guns? I'll have to ask Michael Moore (i.e. "Bowling for Columbine"). This monument to the First Michigan Sharpshooter regiment is on the grounds of the State Capitol.