The city of Lansing, situated on the banks of Michigan's Grand River, is the capital city of the state. Lansing is often referred to as the Car Capital of North America and is the birthplace of Oldsmobile, which was founded in 1897. Most of Lansing is located in Ingham County, although Lansing is the only U.S. state capital located in a county for which it is not also a county seat The main thoroughfares servicing the Lansing area include Interstates I-69, I-96, and I-496; U.S. Route 127; and Michigan State Highways 43 and 99. The neighboring city of East Lansing, only four miles away, is well known for being the home of Michigan State University (MSU). Although relatively undeveloped at the time, Lansing was chosen as a more favorable alternative to Detroit to become Michigan’s capital in 1847.
The city's central location and Detroit's close proximity to British-controlled Canada were prime factors in this decision. By 1859, the small community had grown to a few thousand and became incorporated as a city. Lansing grew steadily through the next few decades with significant milestones including the completion of railroads through the city and the dedication of the state capitol building in 1879. The city later became an industrial powerhouse starting with the founding of the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in 1897. The ensuing decades saw the city transform itself into a major American industrial center for the manufacturing of automobiles and automobile parts as well as several other industries. Lansing today boasts an economy diversified among several industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, government service, and education.
Lansing boasts several attractions and both cultural and recreational sites. The Potter Park Zoo, located along the city's Red Cedar River, houses hundreds of animals and offers several programs and events for children and families. Museums in town include the Michigan Historical Museum and the Telephone Pioneer Museum. Downtown theaters include the Riverwalk Theatre and the BoarsHead Theater, and entertainment is provided by the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Lansing Ballet Company. Two of the state's larger music festivals, the Lansing JazzFest and the Old Town BluesFest, are held each year in Lansing. The eight mile long Lansing River Trail runs along the Grand and Red Cedar rivers, and passes Potter Park Zoo and several other places of interest.
Nearby East Lansing boasts several attractions of its own, including the Kresge Art Museum and the Michigan State University Museum, and hosts numerous annual events, including the East Lansing Film Festival and the Great Lakes Folk Festival. Lansing boasts a thriving minor league baseball team, the Lansing Lugnuts are members of the Midwest League and serve as the Class Low-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays. The Lugnuts play their home games at Lansing's Oldsmobile Park. Another pro team in town is basketball's Lansing Capitals, who play in the International Basketball League (IBL). Neighboring East Lansing is home to Michigan State Spartans who participates in the Big Ten Conference. Michigan State is well-known as a Big Ten staple and has captured many national titles in both football and basketball.
East Lansing Art Festival Established in 1964, the East Lansing Art Festival is held every spring during the weekend prior to the Memorial Holiday weekend. Known for featuring the highest caliber fine art and fine craft, this highly anticipated Festival attracts 70,000-80,000 attendees from across the region. East Lansing Art Festival is held the weekend proceeding Memorial Day weekend. The festival operates 10am-6pm on Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday.
Common Ground Festival Lansing Entertainment & Public Facilities Authority is a primary sponsor of the Common Ground Music Festival. The festival began in the summer of 2000 and was co-created by Center Park Productions and Meridian Entertainment Group. Common Ground has grown to seven days, attracting approximately 90,000 attendees throughout the week. It is mid-Michigan’s largest music festival and has featured national recording artists: ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Beach Boys, Gavin DeGraw, Third Eye Blind, Gladys Knight, Charlie Daniels, Martina McBride, Smokey Robinson and many more! Always a lot of fun, rain or shine, the Common Ground Festival is a must see when in mid-Michigan in July!
JazzFest The Lansing JazzFest is a two-day FREE music festival that brings national, regional, and local acts to an audience of roughly 15,000 people from across Michigan and nearby states. JazzFest's music truly is living music, history in the making. Each artist at the festival is asked to play an original composition, something that hasn't been played at any other festival.
Great Lakes Folk Festival The Great Lakes Folk Festival showcases the traditional cultural treasures of the nation's Upper Midwest and a sampling of the best of traditional artists from around the country and the world. The festival encourages cross-cultural understanding of our diverse society through the presentation of musicians, dancers, cooks, storytellers and craftspeople whose traditions are rooted in their communities. The festival includes nearly 100 musicians or dancers in groups, who perform at least twice and sometimes as many as four times over the weekend. Also featured are traditional and other food vendors, craft vendors and many other individual artists/demonstrators. There are five performance stages (including one with a 2,400 sq. ft. dance floor), a children's hands-on activity area, crafts demonstrations, and crafts marketplace. In addition there are special programs every year, which feature some aspect of traditional culture.
The Old Town BluesFest is a two-day FREE music festival that brings local, regional, and national acts to an audience of roughly 15,000 people from across Michigan and nearby states. BluesFest's music truly is living music, history in the making. Each artist at the festival is asked to play an original composition, something that hasn't been played at any other festival.
Charlotte Frontier Days Pioneer-spirited guests will enjoy this annual event featuring one of mid-Michigan's largest parades, a championship rodeo, flea market, more than 250 arts and crafts exhibits, an old-fashioned saloon and more!
Potterville GIZZARD FEST, with a name like that you can count on it definitely being FUN! There is a classic car show, 3-on-3 basketball, arts and crafts, flea market, carnival, softball tournament, 5K run/walk, antique tractor show, parade, fireworks, Texas hold‘em tournament, beer tent, music and lots more.
Michigan Pride Festival and Parade at the State Capitol, Lansing, Michigan. More than just a Pride event, it’s a celebration of the basic principles this country is founded on – freedom for each person to be true to their own Self, and acceptance of ALL people.
Great Lakes Folk Festival Downtown East Lansing - across MSU campus Come experience three days of the richness of music, dance, arts and culture from across America and around the world. This is an award-winning festival, also features Taste of Traditions food court, Folk Arts marketplace, Michigan Heritage Awards, children's games, and more.
Victorian Day Event, Downtown Grand Ledge Featured this year: a non-motorized parade that begins at noon, a visit from Queen Victoria, a High Tea with costume showing, a Victorian Funeral Symposium, Civil War encampments and demonstrations; a Vintage Base Ball game; and an Edison Film festival, a pie judging contest, a moustache contest, a Teddy Bear Tea and Maypole Dance especially for the youngsters; kite flying, artisans and craftspeople.
Be a Tourist in Your Own Town This one-day event treats residents and tourists alike to all the best of Greater Lansing for just $1. Come check out museums, attractions and one-day-only tours of some of the area’s coolest places. Watch as Greater Lansing opens its doors for you to explore!
Festival of the Moon / Festival of the Sun Old Town Make one of the shortest nights of the year count a Festival of the Moon. Cool off on a warm summer night with a cold glass of craft-brewed beer while listening to rockin' local and regional bands. Patrons receive a souvenir pint glass to remember the event. Celebrate the summer solstice with the Festival of the Sun, Mid-Michigan's premier beer, wine and gourmet food tasting festival. Enjoy fine wine, craft-brewed beer and the Lansing area's best cuisine and entertainment on two stages. Patrons receive a souvenir wine glass to remember the event.
Oktoberfest Old Town Oktoberfest, Lansing's only German-style festival, features all things German, including live polka, German fare and, of course, wonderful German Beers in a souvenir mug to remember the event.
East Lansing Winter Bowl, Downtown East Lansing Downtown East Lansing - across MSU campus A serving of hot chili, a seat on Santa's lap and a warm and fuzzy encounter with furry reindeer friends are just a few of the many things in store for visitors to the East Lansing Winter Bowl.
Model Train Show and Sale All aboard one of Michigan's largest model train shows with over 400 tables of new models, toy trains, artwork, collectibles, DVDs, books, railroad artifacts, and much more. See big and small trains running over 10 different model railroad layouts! Learn from the experts on how to build a model railroad empire of your dreams. It's a train load of fun for everyone!