Ten Things to Do at MSU (Without Having to Go to Class!)

Guest blogger Lori Lanspeary from the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau shares 10 fun things to do at Michigan State University without having to crack a book! 

Photo by Thomas Gennara Photography

Photo by Thomas Gennara Photography

Welcome to Spartan Country! Located in East Lansing, on the banks of the Red Cedar River, visitors can find a wealth of beauty and natural spaces on the sprawling campus of Michigan State University. While most people around the country know MSU by its mascot Sparty and its Big Ten sports teams, did you know that Michigan State University is currently recognized as a world leader in research? The school was founded in 1855 as the pioneer land-grant college in America and dedicated to the study of agriculture which explains the beautiful expansive campus. Today MSU has over 200 academic programs offered by 17 degree granting colleges.

BUT beyond the academics, visitors can find so many things to see and do on campus without having to sign up for a single class! Here’s the list of 10 things to do at MSU.

MSUMuseum-Dinosaur1. MSU Museum: Michigan’s first Smithsonian-affiliate, this museum is filled to the brim with research artifacts and natural wonders from around the world. And both the kids and adults love the dinosaurs!

2. W. J. Beal Botanical Gardens: The oldest continuously-operated garden of its type in the U.S. with over 2,700 species organized in economic, systematic landscape and ecological groupings. And the MSU Horticulture Gardens – A family of three adjoining gardens including research gardens, landscape arboretum and the delightful 4-H Children’s Garden.

3. Abrams Planetarium: Sit back and enjoy the wonders of the universe in the sky theatre.

MSU blog Pure Michigan4. Beaumont Tower: This is the iconic bell tower where carillonneurs play noontime recitals and legends tell of first kisses at midnight and engagements in the shadow of the tower.

5. MSU Farms: Colts racing, beef calves frolicking and mooing dairy cows waiting to be milked are a few of the sights to see when visiting the farms.

6. Wharton Center for Performing Arts: Catch the latest major touring Broadway blockbusters plus a great lineup of performing arts at Wharton.

7. MSU Dairy Store: It’s always hard to choose betwen the 32 flavors of some of the freshest ice cream you’ll ever taste. Or pick up some award-winning cheese varieties. Smiles guaranteed!

SONY DSC8. Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum: This Zaha Hadid-designed art museum presents groundbreaking, international contemporary art across all media and is housed in a pleated stainless steel and glass multi-angled building that in itself is an architectural wonder.

9. Demmer Shooting Sports Education & Training Center: This training site for Michigan State University archery, rifle and pistol club teams is open to the public and promotes the safe use of firearms and archery equipment.

10. Big Ten Sporting Events:  Spartan football, basketball and hockey are among the favorite reasons for a visit to MSU. The resounding chants of Go Green! Go White! echo across campus. Make time for one last stop. Your visit won’t be complete without a photo taken in front of the bronze Spartan Statue near the stadium.

Have you visited East Lansing? What else would you add to the list? 

image001Need help planning your trip? Contact the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau or while visiting Michigan State University, stop by our East Lansing Visitor Center at 549 East Grand River Avenue located directly across from the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum.  Find maps, brochures and Visitor Guides or speak directly to one of our friendly information specialists happy to assist you during your visit.

Lake Advice from Our Fans: What to Do in Mid-Michigan

All summer long, our amazing community of Facebook fans have been giving us advice on their favorite things to do around the different regions of Pure Michigan. Next on our series of Lake Advice is Mid-Michigan, home to such destinations as Mount Pleasant, Midland and Lansing

Still planning your summer vacation in Pure Michigan? Check out our Lake Effect planning page or view photos from around the state at our gallery.

Iargo Springs, Hartwick Pines, hidden dams in the center of Mt. Pleasant, hiking trails with a swinging bridge west of the city. Also the best natural sledding hill hidden in the woods is there. The natural springs swimming beach hidden in the Amish cornfields near Clare. The same Amish have pie stands in the summer. Picking strawberries, blueberries, cherries, apples and peaches on the many farm orchards of mid-west Michigan. – Cathy Kavanaugh

Clare has incredible fruits available during the summertime and fall, perfectly ripe for tasting

Clare has incredible fruits available during the summertime and fall, perfectly ripe for tasting

Crossroads Village & River Place Shops in Frankenmuth– Monica Masters Gomez

Frankenmuth! – Christine Snyder

A paddleboat floats along the river in Frankenmuth

A paddleboat floats along the river in Frankenmuth

In Clare you can still catch a movie without breaking the bank at the cozy Ideal Theatre. Musicians, check out Central Michigan Music for gear or lessons – it’s the only music store around and they’re good people who know their stuff. Go eat at The Whitehouse or Heart of Michigan Cafe which also features local singing talent weekly, or get a donut at Cops and Doughnuts.

Stroll out the back doors of any of these and check out the Art Alley. There’s live music every Thursday night in the city park all summer. Ride bikes on the Rail Trail. Lots of parks around for kids to play, or bigger ones for more hiking like Deerfield Park in Mt. Pleasant or Chippewa Nature Center in Midland. Get ice cream at Doozie’s in Mt. Pleasant on a hot night. Also in Midland: catch a Loons baseball game at Dow Diamond (with fireworks, if you’re lucky), explore Whiting Forest and Dow Gardens. – Heidi Schanhals Langley

The bridge at Dow Gardens in Midland makes for a spectacular view

A Bridge in Midland’s Dow Gardens, Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @he_lium

The campground at Paris, MI and Paris Pizza – Gregory Dault

The Dam Site Inn in Pellson on the Maple River! – John Ward

Is anything missing? Let us know below!

Take 5 in Downtown Lansing

What if we told you that you could stroll through a copper mine, lie on a glass floor and look up to the stars, make some slime, find out that REO Speedwagon is not just a band and be encouraged to go nuts all in a single day in Michigan’s capital city? And that you could find all that within an easily walkable five block radius? Look no further than downtown Lansing where exploring these diverse attractions makes for an enjoyable weekend getaway.

Michigan’s State Capitol Building, Photo Courtesy of Lenon James Photography

5 Must-Do’s in Downtown Lansing

1. State Capitol Building
Step back into the Victorian era with a visit to Michigan’s award-winning Capitol Building. Designed by Elijah E. Myers, one of the foremost architects of public buildings during the Gilded Age (1865-1914), construction of the Capitol Building took six years and contains over nine acres of hand-painted surfaces. It was dedicated to the citizens of Michigan in 1879.

2. Impression 5 Science Center
Come play, create and challenge your understanding of science at Impression 5 Science Center–a hands-on experience that encourages visitors and families to be curious and learn together.

3. Michigan Historical Museum
The flagship of the Michigan Historical Museum System, the Michigan Historical Museum offers you Michigan’s rich past, from the time of the state’s earliest peoples to the late 20th century. Don’t miss the Museum Store for great Michigan related gift items!

4. Lansing Lugnuts/Cooley Law School Stadium
Enjoy good times with good friends as Lansing’s minor league baseball team—the Lansing Lugnuts—celebrates its 20th season in Michigan’s capital city. It’s family fun at an affordable price, so don’t miss out on the action and your chance to “GO NUTS.”

5. R.E. Olds Transportation Museum
This fascinating museum features artifacts and documents tracing the history of area transportation from 1883 to the present. Antique vehicles and automotive memorabilia as well as aircraft, bicycles and carriages are displayed.

Michigan Historical Museum

5 Things Good to Know

1. Sundays are free admission at the Michigan Historical Museum.

2. The Capitol is open and free Monday through Saturday, closed on Sundays.

3. REO was a car and truck manufacturer and was the initials of Ransom Eli Olds. He founded Oldsmobile, then went on to start another car company using his initials. And it’s pronounced Reo like Rio. Not like the 80’s band REO Speedwagon whose name they totally stole from the car company.

4. Impression 5 Science Museum has reciprocity with other children’s and science museum. So you may get in free or at 50% off.

5. The Lansing Lugnuts got their name because of Lansing’s big automotive history. Look for the big lugnut atop a smoke stack while enjoying a great casual lunch or dinner at The Nuthouse. See? We told you about going nuts!

5 Reasons to Make the Trip
1. Fun

2. Affordable

3. Easy to Get to

4. Walkable

5. Family friendly. And don’t tell the kids, but they’ll be learning something and you will be too.

What is your favorite thing to do in the Lansing area? Share with us by commenting below!