Whether you’re ready for time off with friends or planning the perfect getaway with your better half, Lansing serves up countless options for casual, formal, or in-between occasions. Ready to discover all the capital city has to offer? Make time for these suggestions and enjoy a memorable experience with your favorite travel companions!
Go Shopping In Old Town
Plan a girls’ night or treat your sweetheart to a day of perusing a variety of local shops–all within walking distance! Over the past 30 years, Old Town has undergone a revitalization to drastically reduce building vacancies and greatly increase its selection of boutiques, galleries, and specialty stores. A couple of my favorites include Lamb’s Gate Antiques (a gorgeous selection of unique vintage clothing, books, and miscellaneous knick-knacks) and the Old Town General Store (a present-day take on the multi-purpose food, gift, and housewares shops you’d find in mid-20th century small towns).
Keep Things Fresh At The Lansing City Market
Located on the Grand River, the Lansing City Market offers local produce, meat, cheese, natural health care products, organic and gluten-free items, hot prepared food, and more. Drop in Tuesday through Saturday to browse products from local vendors and stay for live music and other special events on select dates (see the full event calendar here).
Catch A Ball Game On Michigan Avenue
I mentioned this one in my previous article, but going to a Lansing Lugnuts game is an awesome way for friends or couples to socialize in a casual, yet dynamic setting. Swap out fancy attire for a t-shirt and ball cap, grab an inexpensive snack (there are promotional nights throughout the season), or go all out and rent a private party suite!. Whether you’re hanging out with one friend or twenty, this venue offers the perfect setting to unwind and have fun after a long week. When the game’s over, head across the street to one of Michigan Avenue’s late-night hot spots to analyze the game and rehash the day’s events.
Cheer On Your Favorite MSU Team
Can’t get enough live competition? Get your fill of college sports at MSU! Football, basketball, hockey, and more fill the event calendar throughout the year, so there’s always something to see. Find the schedule for your favorite sport here.
Think Outside The Box At The Eli And Edythe Broad Art Museum
The Broad Art Museum at MSU isn’t your typical art museum. For one, the building itself boasts an intense glass and stainless steel design—one that looks like a hungry shark when viewed at just the right angle! The museum’s exhibits also strike an uber-modern chord, and are regularly rotated out so visitors can enjoy a fresh experience no matter how frequently they stop by. Bring a pal (or two, or five) who appreciates abstract thinking, grab a latte at the Starbucks downstairs, and chit-chat in one of the museum’s many sitting areas, strategically placed to encourage a unique social experience. For a full tour schedule and event calendar, click here.
Plan A Brunch Date at the Soup Spoon Cafe
The Soup Spoon Cafe‘s website boasts a humorous tagline: “Friends don’t let friends eat at chain restaurants!” This sentiment is echoed through the restaurant’s seasonal menu, which serves up delicious dishes made from local ingredients whenever possible. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, The Soup Spoon Cafe is of course known for its delectable soups; before noon, however, a host of benedict dishes steal the main stage. If you’re vegetarian (or just love avocado), try the San Diego Benny with ancho pepper hollandaise and cafe potatoes. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, go for fish favorites like the Smoked Salmon Benny or Yooper Benny with fresh walleye (see the full menu here).
Unleash Your Inner Carnivore at Meat BBQ
I first visited Meat BBQ a few years ago when the dining room was fairly small and one waitress was able to cover table service on quiet evenings. So, imagine my surprise when I walked into the restaurant a few years later to find the place completely unrecognizable! Following its successful expansion (the dining room is now located in a larger space next door while the kitchen remains in the original unit), Meat regularly brings in crowds of hungry carnivores looking to satisfy their tastes for Southern-style barbecue. This bustling restaurant is set up for gatherings of all sizes, so you can comfortably seat your whole gang as you tear into favorites like beef brisket and made-to-order mac-n-cheese.
Try Something New At Red Haven
Looking for a truly unforgettable dining experience? Red Haven in nearby Okemos offers incredibly unique, farm-to-table cuisine in a shareable, small plates format. The secret to enjoying this restaurant to the fullest? Come prepared with an open mind and a willingness to try something new. You’ll be given a menu with simple dish names like “BAKE,” “TEXTURES,” or “CRUST.” Each name is accompanied by a list of ingredients, but no further explanation is given as to what the dish will look like or what form it will take. This slightly-cryptic method is designed to heighten curiosity and build a sense of trust between the diner and chef. It must work, too—because I fearlessly tried some mysterious bubbles and a rabbit dish (both delicious) during my visit. Because the smaller portions allow you to sample a variety of different creations, Red Haven also facilitates great date night interaction and group conversation for larger get-togethers.
Explore The Michigan State University Campus
Whether you’re a Spartan, Wolverine, or neither, there’s no denying that MSU’s campus is a beautiful place to wander. Roam beautifully-maintained, tree-lined pathways to view historical buildings, play a round of frisbee, or catch a few rays on the lawn. The campus is especially quiet during the summer, making it ideal for a peaceful walk with your special someone.
Kick Back On A Pontoon
If you’ve read my last article, you know that River Town Adventures offers kayak and paddle board rentals on the Grand River–but did you know you can also enjoy Lansing from aboard a pontoon boat? Gather your buddies for a fun afternoon on the water or book a quiet ride with someone close to you for an extra-special occasion. You’ll hear tidbits from your tour guide about Lansing’s long-standing structures, parks, and more! Click here to RSVP.
Stay Up To Date On Special Events
With regular festivals that revolve around everything from music to maple syrup, Lansing is always hopping with special events! No matter what your interests are or what season you decide to visit, you’ll find plenty of reasons to return to the capital city time and time again (see the special events calendar here).
What are your favorite hangouts or date night locations in the Lansing area? Comment below and click here to read my top picks for family-friendly fun in Lansing!