best tourist attractions in greater lansing, mi

Whoever said Lansing was a “sad little town” never realized that our capital city has LOADS of totally unique tourist destinations. Attractions, restaurants, parks, and shops that can’t be found ANYWHERE else in the state, let alone the country. 

We saw this little trend pop up recently, the ABCs of tourism, finding places around the state that people should visit, kinda like a bucket list but based on the alphabet. So we figured, why not make a list just for Lansing? Places you can visit year-round, any time. Have you visited the ABCs of Lansing yet? We might know what H is… considering well, we wrote it. 

What’s your favorite place listed below? What have you NOT heard of yet? Where are you going to go next? Did we miss some place ICONIC? (Sorry Horrocks, would have loved to mention ya, but we share the first letter of H, but you make a HELL of an honorable mention.)


Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2024, Abrams Planetarium is an astronomy and space science education center located on MSU Campus. They support astronomy teaching on campus and offer a variety of planetarium shows to the public, and for people of all ages, from preschool to senior citizens. If you haven’t viewed one of their iconic shows in their HUGE theater/auditorium, are you even a true space case?

B - Beaumont Bell Tower

A double whammy with the two B’s! Located on the MSU campus Beaumont Tower was designed to be a monument to teaching. It is also the first building in AMERICA devoted entirely to the teaching of scientific agriculture. Considering half the country was or still is farm, this is honestly kinda surprising! It went up in 1928! Nearly 100 years ago.

The tower has a carillon, a musical instrument consisting of at least two octaves of bells arranged in a chromatic series and played from a keyboard that permits control of expression through variation of touch. The MSU carillon has 49 bells and is capable of playing the full range of literature composed for the instrument.

C - Constellation Cat Cafe

Sure there are coffee shops and there are animal shelters, but how many cities have a CAT CAFE where you can get served delicious beverages, buy some cute gifts, AND play or adopt adorable cats and kittens? Constellation Cat Cafe has lattes, tea, milkshakes, yummy treats, and 6-20 adoptable rescue kitties (in a separate room from the coffee shop). You can spend time in the cat room or attend one of their many events like trivia, craft sessions, and more.

D- Deadtime Stories

Lansing is actually like hella haunted, and one super fan of the supernatural went all out and opened an incredibly unique book/gift shop down in REO Town, if you have yet to step foot inside of Deadtime Stories, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice! Author, Podcaster,  and Owner, Jenn Carpenter, is a HUGE part of the spooky scene, and this particular horror guru writing this article adores both her and her shop. They do ALL sorts of cool little events too. They celebrated Edgar Alan Poe’s Deathday earlier this year and trust us, that party was BOPPING. 

Truly one of a kind, Deadtime Stories: True Crime and Other Books is a book and gift shop dedicated to true crime, dark history, and other spooky stuff.”

E - Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Another double for the win! Lifelong philanthropists, Eli & Edythe are founders of The Broad Foundations, and you can see so much fruit of their labors at the MSU Broad Art Museum located at the front of the MSU Campus. It’s that really cool building that looks wildly out of place, and like you may not know where the entrance is. The museum has rotating art collections, so be sure to check out what they have to offer online before your next visit!

F - Fenner Nature Center

Over 130 acres accessible to the public to EXPLORE AND DO REALLY COOL OUTDOORS THINGS AT? This is a nature enthusiast’s dream come true! The Fenner Nature Center has more than 4 miles of trails, rolling glacial eskers (what are those!?), towering maple groves, you’ll have so much to do and see. Be sure to check out the visitor center, where you can find live native reptiles and amphibians, a viewing area to watch songbirds, deer, and wild turkeys; and hands-on exhibits. They host lots of free events and summer camps too! Check them out soon.

G - Groovy Donuts & Coffee

Got a sweet tooth? We know just where to go. Groovy Donuts & Coffee is much more than a coffee shop that just happens to offer donuts. Donuts are their STAPLE. They make unique donuts for special occasions and holidays all the time, and you can always guarantee that they are made FRESH and in-house. They tout themselves as an “Old school, throwback, retro donut coffee shop,” and man are they creative with their flavors, showmanship, and selection! Now with two locations, you can visit them in East Lansing or Williamston, and also pre-order your donuts online!

H - High Caliber Karting & Entertainment

Owned and operated by Lansing locals, High Caliber is the #1 indoor fun destination for adults and youths in East Lansing. There is no other place like it in the country and we’re super honored to be mentioned on this list (lol). We offer high-adrenaline fun, from super fast go-karts and gamified axe throwing, to weekly karaoke and trivia. High Caliber is always offering fun and innovative activities and events for Lansing residents. Be sure to check out our own Calendar of Events, because we offer different events (usually free) all the time!

I - Impression 5

Do you have some kiddos that need to go exploring but also be educated at the same time? Those brains are so small and impressionable in those early days! Impression 5 is a science center with dynamic, interactive exhibits for families to play, create, and challenge their understanding of science. They have loads of hands-on experience programming and a really cool gift shop too that not only has adorable stuffies, but games and puzzles to help the growing mind expand and learn! Be sure to see what “new” exhibit they have in town because they are always changing things up! 

J - Jackson Field

AKA where the Lugnuts play (but hey, there are not that many J things in Lansing, what do you have for a J huh? Plus we can do the Largest Lugnut in the WORLD for L, get off our backs).  But uh… YES! We have our own Minor League Baseball team here in Lansing! Visit Jackson Field in the heart of downtown Lansing and experience a fun baseball game or one of the many other events they host there throughout the year! It’s not all just Baseball!

K - Kewpee Sandwich Shop

Are you even a real Michgander living in Lansing if you haven’t had a famous Olive Burger from Kewpee Sandwich Shop in Washington Square? Based on the good old American dream, Kewpee is a throwback restaurant with old-school values and delicious meals. This restaurant is named after what they consider is an iconic Kewpee doll (personally, I find them kinda a frightening, but the food makes up for the fear of dead doll eyes). They have limited hours, so be sure to check out when they are open online, they are mostly around for lunch hours these days.

L - Largest Lugnut (in the World!)

On the corner of South Cedar and Michigan Ave, right near the Nut House and across the street from Jackson Field (see J), you’ll get to gaze upon the World’s Largest Lugnut (never tell Detroit Rock City that we have more automotive stuff than them, those are fighting words). This lugnut is carefully placed on top of a brick smokestack and symbolizes our local minor league baseball team! Seldomly noticed, but always there. Snap a photo of him the next time you’re downtown, he deserves some selfies!

M - MSU Dairy Store

It’s kinda of weird, but the people of Lansing are OBSESSED with a Dairy Story, but considering the first cow was brought to campus way back in 1867 and that we are located in the Midwest, it’s only fitting that the MSU Dairy Store gained a cult following over the decades. Just check out their Facebook and Instagram, Lansing is loco for dairy! The MSU Dairy Store helps meet the teaching, research and outreach needs of the University community and dairy food industry. Featuring the best ice cream and cheese on campus! With completely unique flavors of ice cream, cheese, and shakes, this locale may not be fit for the lactose intolerant, but maybe take a gas pill beforehand? Check out their rotating flavors on their website!

N - Nokomis Cultural Heritage Center

Okay, here us out. Nokomis Cultural Heritage Center offers LOADS of cool events and classes for you to take part in and become more educated in the preservation of history, arts, culture, and language of the Anishinaabe people, of the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi nations. Consider taking a Copper Bowl Making, Ribbon Skirt/Shirt Marking, Drum Making, or Medicine Planting class! They also offer language classes too, so no matter your hobby interests, there is bound to be an event that will tickle your fancy! 

O - Old Nation Brewing Co

Making you guys work a little for O, as this is technically in Williamston, but they have some of the best darn beer brewed locally here in Michigan. Have you tried their Whiled, a tart golden ale, or the iconic Shandy? They are founded on a simple set of values that turn into delicious beverages: hard work, integrity, and consistency. With that mindset, they have won multiple awards for their brews! Their menu has savory treats perfect for any palette too. What are you waiting for, check The Brewpub at Old Nation Brewing off of your list of “places to visit!”

P - Potter Park Zoo

Here we are, another lucky two-fer for a letter! Of course, Potter Park Zoo would be our P! They have been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums since 1986, and offer a wide variety of animals, reptiles, and more! They are a 20-acre zoo within an 80-acre park with over 350 animals to appreciate. From guided tours and loads of different events for different ages, Potter Park Zoo is the perfect destination for some outdoor exploration. A local favorite is Twilight Adventures, where you follow clues on a self-guided tour in the summer months.


Okay, truthfully, we thought we would really struggle to find an attraction that was open year-round to fill out our Q, but then luckily this little blog writer walked past this incredibly cute gift shop in downtown East Lansing across from MSU. It is the PERFECT place to buy a gift for the history or science lover in your life. Instead of buying something online from Amazon, visit this little hole-in-the-wall gift shop that will astound the receiver of said gift. Not only will you be shopping locally, but you might get a little tour of all the amazing things they have there to offer. From scientific jewelry to dinosaur coffee mugs, and historic discoveries, QUARK! literally has the perfect gift for the history buff or science nerd in your life.

R - RE Olds Transportation Museum

Yes, here we are honking our automotive horn again! Honk honk! Discover Lansing’s rich transportation history at the RE Olds Transportation Museum, which features LOADS of history, a cute little gift shop, and occasional public events! Be sure to see the Curved Dash Oldsmobile, iconic 1953 NASCAR Racecar, and turn-of-the-century 1906 Mama & Baby REO (what a weird name for a car).

S - Spartan Statue

This is an easy, free one to visit! The iconic Spartan Statue, beside the Beaumont Tower (see B), is an iconic statue in the heart of MSU Campus. Dedicated in 1945, Sparty stands at 9 feet and seven inches tall and weighs an incredible 6,600 pounds! 

If you want to support another Lansing favorite with actual money instead of a free attraction, check out Saddleback BBQ! It’s become an institution in Lansing and one of the best places to get that backyard BBQ flavor. Try their Deviled Eggs! They are hellishly good.

T - Turner Dodge House

More history! Hell yeah, take a guided tour of the Turner Dodge Mansion, it is a beautiful example of Classical Revival architecture built in 1858 by James & Mario Turner. The same couple whole helped establish Lansing as the Capital City. It was restored recently by the City of Lansing Parks & Rec and is considered a National Historic Registered Place.  It can also be rented out for a wedding, reception, birthday, or anniversary! Located right off the bank of Grand River and Turner Dodge Park, make a day out of visiting this landmark and surrounding areas!

U - Uncle John’s Cider Mill

We’re headed up north to Saint John’s for the U, and man did we get lucky! One of the best known cider mills in all of Michigan, Uncle John’s has a little something for everyone! Enjoy a glass of cider (hard or regular!), a fresh donut, enjoy the gift shop or one of their seasonal experiences like apple picking!

V - Valhalla Park

Delhi township’s largest and most highly developed park, Valhalla features wooded area, open fields, a pond, and a lake, all of which are used to provide diverse year-round recreation. Enjoy the beach during the summer months, or take on some cross-country ski trails in the winter! By far one of the best parks in mid-Michigan, Valhalla is truly the best place for Norse gods to rest after their watch has ended.

W - Wharton Center

Did you guys know that when referencing this iconic performing arts center, you don’t actually need to say “the” before Wharton Center? Wild but it’s true! It is a prominent arts center known for hosting many Broadway shows, the Lansing Symphony, and other theater offerings. With FOUR stages (we personally have only seen the big one) and a dedicated gift shop, Wharton Center delivers the culture to Lansing. Check out their Broadway series and see a show or take a trip with the Symphony.

X - X-Golf Lansing

Bet ya thought we wouldn’t be able to find an X, did ya? We’ll just take a little look at our neighbors across from the Meridian Mall, and say hello to the fine people at X-Golf. Where you can golf year-round, no weather permitting. From bay play to leagues and lessons, X golf can be a fun day swinging away with its state-of-the-art golf stimulators.

Y - Yum Yum Bento

Located on East Grand River Avenue, take a walk on the yummy side, and try out this adorable family-owned Asian restaurant. They serve popular Japanese, Korean, and Thai cuisines in a bento-style box. They also serve other delicacies like Bubble Tea! Take a step out of your “burger” comfort zone and try  Yum Yum Bento out! 

Z - Zoobies Old Town Tavern

As they state on their website, They’re a GREAT PLACE FOR A DRINK! They offer the best selection of craft beer, boutique wine, and classic cocktails. With a beautiful patio and located on North Larch Street, Zoobies is the best bar around for that “hometown” feel. It’ll feel like you’re walking right into CHEERS! They’ve been voted at the best pub/tavern multiple times too! So you could say they are award-winning.

Visit The ABCs of Lansing

We thought you might also want a little downloadable image for you to check off all the coolest places to visit in Lansing, Mi. 

So we made an image you can download (or open on another webpage) to print out for your own convenience! So what are you waiting for, download our fun little ABCs of Lansing Attraction checklist here, and get visiting this summer! 

Tell us some of your favorites, and be sure to share all your amazing memories on social media with these amazing locations!