Things To Do In Lansing, MI – Local And State History

Lansing is the state capital of the US state of Michigan. As you may expect from Lansing’s role as Michigan’s capital, it is home to the beautiful Michigan State Capitol. So, if you have never visited Lansing, you may want to consider a visit to the state capitol first. The capital city is also know for attractions that concern state and local history. So, if you are a history buff looking for some things to do in Lansing, MI, here they are.

Michigan History Museum

(Photo courtesy of Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau via Flickr)

For learning about the history of Michigan, the best place in Lansing to go for that is the Michigan History Museum. It is located on West Kalamazoo Street in downtown Lansing. The museum contain five floors worth of exhibits for you to check out. The exhibits on the top four floors are permanent ones while these on the ground floor are there on a temporary basis and change from time to time.

The museum is home to some epic environments designed to immerse you into Michigan’s history. These include a three-story relief map of Michigan, walk-through Upper Peninsula copper mine, one-room schoolhouse, 1920’s street scene, 1957 Detroit Auto Show, and a lakes and lands diorama containing a rustic cabin and lighthouse.

You also won’t want to miss out on the big beautiful pine tree that is planted in the middle of the museum building. That will give you a scenic spot to be while you are checking out the museum. You can access the pine tree via the museum’s second floor. The museum’s admission prices are $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $2 for children aged from 6 to 17.

I would like to note that the museum offers free admission on Sundays. So, you may want to consider planning a visit on that particular day. Regardless of which day you plan to visit, the admission to the museum is free to those under the age of 6. Also, if you are in search of souvenirs, the museum houses an onsite gift shop.

Michigan Walk of Fame

The Michigan Walk of Fame is located on South Washington Square in Lansing’s downtown. It is modeled after the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. The walk of fame is made up of 18″ x 30″ bronze plaques placed on the sidewalk. Each one of them honors individuals who made significant contributions to Michigan as well as the country and world at large.

Along with their names on the bronze plaques, you can learn interesting information about their lives and contributions. All of the walk of fame’s inductees are residents of Michigan. This is the first walk of fame in the country to honor the contributions of its residents on a statewide basis. This is also downtown Lansing’s newest attraction.

Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame

The Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame is located directly southeast of the Michigan State Capitol. This attraction tells the story of the women of Michigan who have made significant achievements in their lives. There are nearly three hundred inductees in the hall of fame. One notable inductee is Betty Ford. She was the first lady of the United States from August of 1974 to January of 1977.

She was the wife of former US president Gerald Ford. The stories of Michigan women is branded as HERstory. There is also a changing set of exhibits available at the attraction. Some examples include A Century of Women, Diversity: Women of Color in the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, Faster, Higher, Stronger: Michigan Women in Olympic History, and Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the US Lighthouse Service.

You will also want to check out the Women’s Walk brick patio. The admission into the attraction is free to everyone. There is also a gift shop available onsite.

R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

(Photo courtesy of Michael Barera via Wikimedia)

While Detroit may garner the most recognization for being the birthplace of the automobile, Lansing also played a major role in the automobile’s birth. The best place to see Lansing’s automotive legacy is the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. It is located on Museum Drive in downtown Lansing on the right side of the Grand River.

The museum is named for Ransom E. Olds who invented the Oldsmobile brand of cars. Lansing was the place where the Oldsmobile cars were first manufactured in 1897. This brand of cars had been in production until 2004 when it ceased to exist. The Oldsmobile was the oldest brand of cars to be in existence when it shut down in 2004.

During the car brand’s 107 years of existence, it was notable for its impressively long streak of firsts. The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum is among the top rated automotive museums in the country. The museum is home to a diverse collection of Oldsmobile cars from across its history. In addition to these cars, the museum is home to nearly a century worth of automobilia.

These include a collection of Michigan license plates, early traffic signs, and a working 1950’s traffic signal. You also may want to check out a collection of bicycles, tractors, and other forms of transportation that are found within the museum. A collection of items from the R.E. Olds household is also housed at the museum.

The admission prices for the museum are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors, students, veterans, and military members. If you are a family of two parents with up to three children under the age of 18, you can collectively visit the museum for $15.

These are the things to do in Lansing, MI for history buffs wanting to explore the history of the city and state. Also, if you are hungry for more history, you may want to consider taking a road trip east to the impressive museum complex known as The Henry Ford which is located in Dearborn – a suburb of Detroit. You can read about it here.

The Hotel

If you are in need of a hotel to stay overnight at in Lansing, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Comfort Inn

This hotel is located at the interchange of M-43 and Interstate 69 around 6.6 miles west of downtown Lansing. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Ukai Hibachi Grill and Sushi, Cracker Barrel, and Finley’s Grill & Smokehouse. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel.

Those of you looking for a place to exercise can visit the hotel’s fitness center. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $86 to $125. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced the history of Michigan and Lansing yet? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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