23 Best & Fun Things to Do in East Lansing (MI)

In search of the best and most fun things to do in East Lansing? you are in the right place!

East Lansing, Michigan, is a city situated about three miles from Lansing, which is Michigan’s capital. It is found in Ingham County; however, a small part of the city continues north into Clinton County. The city had 48 579 inhabitants as of the 2010 census.

Covering an area of 13.51 square miles, East Lansing is famous for being the residence of Michigan State University (MSU). Although a small city, there are several establishments and events it offers locals and visitors.

East Lansing, Michigan, boasts recreational parks, nature trails, art galleries, gardens, excellent restaurants, a fascinating zoo, etc. The city has a downtown area brimming with different shops offering unique services and products. 

Are you planning an exploration of East Lansing? Here are the top things to do in East Lansing, MI.

Things to Do in East Lansing

1. Fun at Spartan Stadium

Spartan Stadium
Credits: Alex / Flickr
Spartan Stadium

This sports destination which was opened in 1923, is mainly for football games and is the hub of Michigan State University Spartans. Since its inception, this Stadium has contributed immensely to Michigan Sports.

Its seating capacity is currently 74 866 (initially 75,000). Among the four United States collegiate football fields, Spartan Stadium, also called Woodshed, has won the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) Field of the Year award twice.

Michigan State has won nearly 70 percent of the games in this incredible Stadium. This fantastic stadium gradually continues to rise to national football reputation. If you visit when a game is on, you can check it out and enjoy a Spartan game.

Location: 325 W. Shaw Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

2. Visit MSU Museum

MSU Museum
Credits: Paul Cooper / Flickr
MSU Museum

The Michigan State University Museum, founded in 1857, is one of America’s oldest museums and part of the American Alliance of Museums. The Museum was the first Michigan museum to attain Smithsonian affiliate status from the dignified Smithsonian Institution.

MSU Museum is revered for housing almost a million artifacts and documents and being an outstanding hub for research and educational programs. MSU Museum also hosts numerous fun events and educational programs.

Under One Sky and Beyond and the Black Panther are a few of the exhibits in the Museum. In addition, there are natural science collections extending worldwide with biodiversity records from 1840, cultural and historical collections comprising anthropology, folklore, diversity of nature, etc. 

One of the top things to do in East Lansing, MI, is to visit MSU Museum. You can access this museum any time of the year except when the University has special events and during holidays.

Address: 409 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

3. Potter Park Zoo

Potter Park Zoo
Credits: Jane Rix / Shutterstock

In Lansing, Michigan, just 12 minutes away from East Lansing, is Porter Park Zoo. Covering 20 acres, Porter Park Zoo, created in 1920, was accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 1986. The zoo aims to encourage people to protect animals and the natural world, and the zoo contributes through research, education, breeding, and release programs.

Porter Park Zoo has more than 350 animals of about 160 species in their natural habitat, of which threatened and endangered species are inclusive. So there’s something new to see each time you visit.

Some wild animals in the zoo include American pine marten, rhinoceros, Michigan least shrew, peregrine falcon, eastern bongo, massasauga rattlesnakes, snow leopard, Puerto Rican crested toad, and more.

The zoo has an AniMall gift shop offering different souvenirs, and you can even get some snacks and drinks here before you venture to see the animals. There are dining areas in the building, such as Savanna grill and Dippin’ dots. Visitors can also enjoy camel rides, among other exciting features. You can’t afford to miss this attraction.

Address: 1301 S Pennsylvania Ave, Lansing, MI 48912, USA

4. East Lansing Film Festival

East Lansing Film Festival
Credits: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Inaugurated in 1997, East Lansing Film Festival is the largest, second-oldest, and most eclectic film festival in Michigan. The Festival, which the East Lansing Film Society manages, was created to promote filmmaking within the region and to introduce independent films to mid-Michigan.

Commonly held in early November, this non-profit Festival shows more than 100 films in 9 days, encompassing documentaries, independent features, dramas, comedies, foreign features, short, and student films. All the Festival films are award deserving, and prizes are presented to the best feature, documentary, and short film.

The last day of the Festival is reserved for the Lake Michigan Film Festival (formerly known as the Lake Michigan Film competition), which displays films from the four states encircling Lake Michigan: Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. A memorable experience awaits you at this Festival. You can’t afford to miss it.

Address: 210 Abbot Rd #48, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

5. East Lansing Art Festival

East Lansing Art Festival
Credits: David Shane / Flickr
East Lansing Art Festival

This Festival, born in 1964, is an outdoor celebration of arts and culture in East Lansing. This two-days Festival is a mid-Michigan premier summer art show. Art Festival Board of Directors is the creator of the non-profit East Lansing Art Festival. One of the best things to do in East Lansing, MI, is to attend this Art Festival.

More than 70,000 art buyers from different parts of the region attend the Festival. The Festival features over 180 artists from North America, an up-and-coming artists program, diverse live music throughout the weekend, poetry reading, art demonstration, free art activities for children, and a foreign-styled food court serving assorted meals.

Some artworks you can find here are drawing, digital art, glassware, sculpture, woodwork, jewelry, and photographs. Attending East Lansing Art Festival is one of the best fun things to do in East Lansing, MI, as it will help enhance your art appreciation, and you will indeed have a wonderful time.

Address: 410 Abbot Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

6. W.J. Beal Botanical Garden

W.J. Beal Botanical Garden
Credits: Infrogmation of New Orleans [CC BY-SA 2.0], Wikimedia Commons
W.J. Beal Botanical Garden
If you have a strong affinity for plants, visiting this attraction is one of the best things to do in East Lansing, MI. W.J. Beal Botanical Garden, established in 1872 by Prof. William James Beal, is a plant species-rich location in MSU, mainly for research and appreciation.

The Garden has over 2,000 varying plant species arranged systematically in collections. The collections include Plant Families, Forest communities, Landscape Plants, Wetlands, and Endangered and Threatened Species.

A tour around the collection is offered to guests, where they can learn about different plants, even those new to them. Notwithstanding the garden is located within the university, the garden is also open for outdoor weddings. You will surely love the scenic destination.

Address: W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

7. East Lansing Soccer Complex

East Lansing Soccer Complex
Credits: topseller / Shutterstock

This location is the home of soccer in East Lansing, Michigan. If you love soccer, visiting this complex should be on your checklist. This Soccer Complex is the home field of Lansing United and the East Lansing High School soccer program.

East Lansing Soccer Complex features two stadium fields, six recreational fields, bleacher seating for 250 spectators, lighted walkways, windscreens, concessions pavilion, an audio system and scoreboards, soccer tables, ticket booth, a 350-car parking lot, and restrooms.

The complex also has fenced, covered players’ benches and the southeast field is lighted. Another great feature of this location is that it’s handicapped-accessible. From this fantastic complex, you can get to Northern Tier Trail. This Complex is one of the locals’ favorite tournament and special events locations.

Address: 3700 Coleman Road, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

8. Patriarche Park

Patriarche Park
Credits: Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock

This Park is an excellent location for family fun and bonding while keeping you fit. Isn’t that great?! In 2014, Patriarche Park was created with the help of numerous community volunteers. The Park was named after a past East Lansing manager.

Patriarche Park encompassing 1.2 acres, has a contemporary eco-friendly design with many recreational features. The Park’s playground contains a rain garden, walkways, a poured-in-place playground surface, a brick entry plaza, colorful play equipment, and restrooms.

If you’re up for a sporty feel, the park has a tennis court, softball diamond, basketball court, baseball diamond, volleyball court, and pickleball court. For a calm and relaxing experience, the Park features picnic areas, grills, a covered pavilion, benches, and a footpath. All family members will surely find something to do in this wonderful East Lansing Park.

Address: 960 Alton Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

Are you planning an exploration of Michigan, do not miss our list of places to visit in Charlevoixplaces to visit in Manistee and places to visit in Port Huron.

9. Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University
Credits: Todd Van Hoosear / Flickr
Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University

Also known as MSU Broad, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is a modern museum that is involved in exploring and exhibiting notable artworks from across the world. This Art Museum is undoubtedly one of the museums in Michigan you can’t afford to miss, especially for art buffs, because of its vast, unique collection.

The Museum was named after Eli and Edythe Broad, the University’s veteran art advocates. Encompassing 46,000-square-foot, this museum features a stunning screen of glass and seamed stainless steel. The Museum is the hub for more than 10,000 masterpieces from the Greek, Roman, and Renaissance eras.

The artworks in Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum include paintings, sculptures, drawings, etc. Admission to the Museum is free except during special events. One of the top things to do in East Lansing, MI, is to explore this Outstanding Museum.

Address: 547 E Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

10. Timber Ridge Golf Course

Timber Ridge Golf Course
Credits: Bohbeh / Shutterstock

For an upscale golf experience, Timber Ridge Golf Course is the right place to be in East Lansing, Michigan. Timber Ridge Golf Course was created in the 1940s from a mature tree nursery and designed by skilled architect Jerry Matthews, who employed his years of experience and expertise. Timber Ridge has a scenic practice range and a rolling practice putting green.

This 18-hole championship Golf Course has a public range open from sunrise to sunset, depending on the weather. After a round of golf, you can sit on the veranda facing the practice green and one tee and enjoy the picturesque view. If you want to have a meal at the Golf Course, head to the grill, which serves fresh dishes made to order.

You can enjoy a drink from the extensive beverages available at any time. A big-screen TV lies inside the facility with comfortable chairs. You can also purchase golf apparel of top brands at Timber Ridge Golf Course. Especially for adults, visiting the Timber Ridge Golf Course is one of the fun things to do in East Lansing, MI.

Address: 16339 Park Lake Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823-9322, USA

11. Northern Tier Trail

Northern Tier Trail
Credits: David Shane / Flickr
Northern Tier Trail

If you are a nature enthusiast, the Northern Tier Trail should be among the top places you should visit while in East Lansing, Michigan. The Northern Tier Trail major part was finished off in 1999, having extensions and more trial branches were added as years went by.

The three inches asphalt paved Trail measures 10 feet in width; this implies there’s lots of room for many people. The Northern Tier Trail separates and protects the Remy Chandler and Sanderson drains, which are valued natural features in the region.

This fascinating Trail adjoins eight community parks and recreational attractions, hence a platform to view flora and fauna. Visitors can also enjoy running, bird watching, hiking, biking, etc. The Northern Tier Trail is open throughout the year for a fun and fitness experience. Don’t hesitate to check it out!

Address: Northern Tier Trail, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

12. East Lansing Family Aquatic Center

East Lansing Family Aquatic Center
Credits: Billion Photos / Shutterstock

One of the fun attractions in East Lansing, Michigan, is East Lansing Family Aquatic Center. This family fun center has numerous water features that can be enjoyed by the entire family, especially if you don’t have a phobia of water.

East Lansing Family Aquatic Center features a 140-foot body water slide, 190-foot tube water slide, a diving board, drop slide, a splash park, zero-depth pool entry, a large sunbathing deck, concession area, youth frog slide, and several water-play structures.

If you want to have a bonding moment with friends and family, you can head to the picnic areas situated in the Aquatic Center. A visit to this interactive outdoor watered facility is one of the fun things to do in East Lansing, MI.

Address: 6400 Abbot Road, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

13. Ellison Brewery and Spirits

Ellison Brewery and Spirits
Credits: WNstock / Shutterstock

There are myriad ways to loosen up in East Lansing, and enjoying a drink of a fine brew in a relaxed brewery might be perfect for you. Ellison Brewery‘s handcrafted beer, spirits, and wine are produced from high-quality grains.

Established in 2015, Ellison Brewery is one of Michigan’s limited breweries whose grain silos carry more than 50 000 lbs. of fresh grains. The Brewery continuously strives to improve the quality of its brews by conducting experiments and trying out new formulas. As a result of their excellence, about 700 locations in Michigan patronize them.

The Brewery has a brewpub called Clubhouse, where patrons are invited to see the production process. The clubhouse is more like a cabin with stained wood and local artworks on its walls. Patron’s favorites include Amber Ale, Tiramisu Ale, Crescent Fresh Indian Palle Ale, American Lager, and Dawn Street Pale Ale.

Address: 4903 Dawn Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

14. The East Lansing Farmer’s Market

East Lansing Farmer's Market
Credits: dotshock / Shutterstock

The East Lansing Farmer’s Market is an excellent site for purchasing diverse fresh farm produce. Located in a quiet, outdoor park, slightly close to downtown East Lansing and the Michigan State University campus, the East Lansing Farmer’s Market is specifically for Michigan’s farmers and their farm-grown produce and products.

The East Lansing Farmer’s Market was introduced in 2009 and successfully supplied to the communities in the area. Since its inception, about 1,000 visitors have come to the Market, indicating its growth. The fresh, farm-grown produce includes fruits, vegetables, eggs, coffee, grass-fed beef, honey, artisan bread, flowers, maple syrup, all-natural chicken, etc.

Address: 280 Valley Ct, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

15. Summer Solstice Jazz Festival

Summer Solstice Jazz Festival
Credits: 13_Phunkod / Shutterstock

The Summer Solstice Jazz Festival is an annual festival celebrating the summer season alongside the best in local, regional, and national jazz. This Festival, which started in 1996, is usually held in the center of downtown East Lansing, Michigan.

This vibrant event celebrates jazz as an original American art form presenting multiple-stage, live outdoor music for the residents and tourists of East Lansing. Admission to the Festival is free. The Festival takes place in two stages: The Al and Beth Cafagna Founder’s Stage ( named after the originators) and MSU Outreach & Engagement Education Stage.

The Founder’s Stage stars different local and Grammy-nominated artists, while the other stage gives room for local high school and young aspiring jazz musicians to perform. Ensure to visit East Lansing during this Festival to enjoy their up-close jazz performances, as it’s one of the fun things to do in East Lansing, MI.

Address: 410 Abbot Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

Planning a road trip in Michigan? explore this list of things to do in Saugatuckthings to do in New Buffalo and things to do in Ludington for a memorable Michigan road trip.

16. The State Room Restaurant

State Room Restaurant
Credits: State Room Restaurant / Facebook
State Room Restaurant

The State Room Restaurant in the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Michigan State University is a premier classy restaurant and lounge. The Restaurant is recognized as a fine dining area in the whole region.

The restaurant’s lounge has a comprehensive wine list which has won Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” award for many years. Using the best quality ingredients, The State Room Restaurant prepares delicious meals with a menu modified with the season and a kid’s menu.

The restaurant serves main dishes, salads, and soups, including Open-Face Arepa, Chef’s Cheese and Meats Plate, Bistro Salad, Char-Grilled Salmon, and signature chocolate cake. Reservations are highly recommended, especially for a table. Occasionally, the restaurant offers special events.

Address: 219 South Harrison Road, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

17. Jack Breslin Student Events Center

Jack Breslin Student Events Center
Credits: Ken Lund / Flickr
Jack Breslin Student Events Center

You can’t visit East Lansing without discovering its bubbling activities and events. Jack Breslin Student Events Center is a good destination for most student events. The multipurpose arena was opened in 1989 and named after an MSU alumnus, former administrator, and athlete, Jack Bresin, who was among those that first pushed for the creation of the arena.

The Center, which has a capacity of 16,280, hosts over 250 events yearly and is the home of Michigan State men’s and women’s basketball teams. Some of the events held here include trade shows, concerts, basketball games, conventions, banquets, pep rallies, etc. You can join some of the events held in the Center if you visit when it’s on or explore the East Lansing Events Center.

Address: 534 Birch Road, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

18. Saper Galleries and Custom Framing

Saper Galleries and Custom Framing
Credits: Iryna Inshyna / Shutterstock

One of the fascinating attractions in East Lansing, Michigan, is the Saper Galleries and Custom Framing. If you’re an art lover, you’ll surely love this destination. This award-winning Gallery continually provides outstanding and professional service to numerous art collectors from across the world.

Saper Galleries has 1500 original artworks created by 150 artists who hail from 15 different countries. You can purchase or view the art pieces from the Gallery. Since the Gallery’s inception, it has successfully created more than 30 major exhibitions. For art to be on display at this Gallery, it has to be outstanding.

You can find virtually every media type in the Gallery’s inventory, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, raku, limited edition prints, hand-blown glass, wooden boxes, polages, etc. View unique artworks in this excellent East Lansing Gallery. Visiting the Gallery is one of the best things to do in East Lansing, MI.

Address: 433 Albert St, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

19. Abrams Planetarium

Abrams Planetarium
Credits: Todd Van Hoosear / Flickr
Abrams Planetarium

Established in 1964, the planetarium, fully known as Talbert and Leota Abrams Planetarium, lies on the Michigan State University campus. The attraction was named after Talbert Ted Abrams and his spouse Leota who made significant contributions to the creation of this center of space science education.

The building features a Sky Theatre with 140 seating and a digital star projector, an Exhibit Hall, and a Blacklight Gallery. Managed by the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, the planetarium educates the public about the stars, constellations, planets, and other celestial bodies.

The attraction aims to foster the night sky’s appreciation and awareness and aid scientific literacy for the public. Occasionally, astronomical programs and events take place in the building. Exploring Abrams Planetarium is one of the best things to do in East Lansing, MI.

Address: 755 Science Road, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

20. Pinball Pete’s

Pinball Pete’s
Credits: iChzigo / Shutterstock

The importance of having fun during vacations cannot be overemphasized. There are few arcade locations in the area, and Pinball Pete’s, more than 35 years old, is one of them. Visiting Pinball Pinball Pete’s is amongst the fun things to do in East Lansing, MI.

The facility covering 10,000-square-foot presents to the public a wide selection of pinball machines, arcade games, pool tables, redemption games, and air hockey. There are numerous machines to be enjoyed, including The Wizard of Oz, Game of Thrones, Dance Dance Revolution, Star Trek, Metallica, etc.

Supplementary arcade games include the Simpsons, Dance Dance Revolution, Alley Roller, Tetris, Ice Ball, driving, and shooting games. The facility is also available for rent for private events. Teens and adults will have a fabulous time in this game center.

Address: 220 Albert Ave., East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

21. 4-H Children’s Garden

4-H Children's Garden
Credits: Volodymyr Tokaryk / Shutterstock

This destination situated at Michigan State University is an enchanting, scenic outdoor garden for children and, as such, an excellent place for kids to acquire knowledge about botany. Established in 1993, 4-H Children’s Garden was the first garden created to enlighten kids on a university campus in America.

More than 100,000 people visit this national treasure annually. The Garden is a phenomenal collection of more than 50 themed mini-gardens, which will surely grab the attention of children. The Garden aims to foster plants’ awareness and their roles in our lives, facilitate a child’s imagination and curiosity, and provide a joyful and enriching place for kids of all ages.

Some of the themed gardens include Pizza garden, Butterfly garden, Perfume garden, Alice in Wonderland maze, Peter Rabbit garden, and the Monet bridge. The 4-H Children’s Garden is a beautiful spot for a picnic. There are also benches at the attraction. You can access this Garden for free, but donations are appreciated. Exploring this breathtaking Garden is one of the fun things to do in East Lansing, MI.

Address: 1066 Bogue St, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

22. Challenges East Lansing Adventure and Escape Rooms

Challenges East Lansing Adventure and Escape Rooms
Credits: Fer Gregory / Shutterstock

If you’re up for an adventurous and intense experience, you can’t afford to miss Challenges East Lansing Adventure and Escape Rooms. This facility which was founded in 2016 by Quentin Leverich, involves the locking of two or more persons in a room for 60minutes to accomplish tasks, solve puzzles, and find clues to escape the room.

This live adventure room offers captivating escape rooms with a vast selection of themes. Each room utilizes special effects to amplify the adventure. These features aid the players in being immersed in the experience.

The themes include Pharaoh’s Revenge, Tin Star Saloon, Special Agent: Cold War, and The Naughty List. Challenges East Lansing is an excellent location for birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, team building

Address: 3044 E Lake Lansing Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

23. Crunchy’s

Credits: Dan Gaken / Flickr

The best place to have a delicious burger in East Lansing, Michigan, is the Crunchy’s. This restaurant was born in late 1982 after the owner Paul Grattarola bought an existing restaurant and changed its name from Gino’s Restaurant to Crunchy’s.

This East Lansing restaurant serves pizza and calzones, the best burgers, sandwiches, tacos, desserts, beverages, cocktails, liquors, and 27 handles of top craft beer. Some of its newest beers on tap include Passion Seeker, Jai Alai IPA, Anniversary Ale, and Lavenberry.

Patrons can also enjoy other features in this unique restaurant, such as karaoke nights on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, which was introduced in early 1995. Occasionally, on Wednesdays, visitors can enjoy Donn Dowland’s ‘politically incorrect music and humor.’ Visitors could also watch football in Crunchy’s.

This Restaurant is a rare kind which is a favorite among locals. The Restaurant is renowned not just for its delicious burgers but for also having the best beers on tap in the city. 

Address: 254 W Grand River Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA

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Plan a Trip to East Lansing

East Lansing is a beautiful city bustling with different activities. It possesses several recreational attractions so tourists can’t regret visiting the city.

The attractions range from art displays to educational features and from Game Centers to excellent restaurants.

This list details the places you shouldn’t miss in East Lansing, Michigan. Add it to your itinerary, as it’s the perfect getaway for friends and family.