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Lansing, Michigan Parks, Trails, Historic Locations & More

The Lansing area offers plenty to see and do. Places to visit in downtown include the Capitol Building, Library of Michigan, Michigan Historical Museum, and the Vietnam Memorial. Lansing also has plenty of choices when it comes to outdoor recreation.

Lansing Area Trails

Michigan's Capital Region has a few scenic recreational trails for walking, jogging, and bicycling.

The Lansing River Trail is the longest trail, stretching from the Old Town area to Michigan State University in East Lansing. Near Potter Park, a fork of the River Trail angles south and continues to Jolly Road. The wide paved trail along the Grand River and Red Cedar River is popular with joggers, walkers and cyclists. The trail is used throughout the year. You'll see flowering trees and various flowers along the trail in the Spring, and vibrant, colorful leaves on trees during the fall. See the maps page for the route.

The Northern Tier Trail in East Lansing connects Abbott Road Park, White Memorial Park, and Harrison Meadows Park. The trail is popular with joggers and walkers.

Hawk Island County Park has a nice paved trail system that winds around the park and its swimming lake. The park has a splash park, picnic facilities, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and a large playground.

Fenner Nature Center's hiking trails meander around shimmering ponds and past a variety of plants and trees. The grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk. You may see deer, ducks, and other wildlife during your hike. Nature Center's web site for details on educational programs. See the maps page for a map of the trail.

Lansing Parks

The Capital City area has an abundance of public parks, and most offer recreational facilities, such as a playground or basketball court, and feature picnic areas. Several parks, including Potter Park and Riverfront Park, are located along the Lansing River Trail, which starts at Dietrich Park on the west side of Lansing and winds its way to the campus of Michigan State University.

Potter Park

Potter Park Zoo attracts thousands of visitors each year and features many different kinds of wildlife. You'll find animals on the grounds of Potter Park also, which is popular with squirrels, ducks, and geese. The park has picnic facilities, playgrounds, and access to the Lansing River Trail. The park's location next to the Red Cedar River provides easy access for canoes and kayaks.

Riverfront Park

Located on the banks of the Grand River in downtown Lansing, Riverfront Park has open grassy areas and paved paths that connect to the Lansing River Trail. You'll find historical markers at the park, including one for former mayor Joseph Warner, who toured the world with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. There are a couple of decks next to the river that can be used for fishing. Adjacent to the deck on the east side of the river, there is a dock for kayaks and canoes. The Grand River provides ample room to paddle and is a popular spot for kayaking.

Ralph Crego Park

Only a short walk from Potter Park on the River Trail, Crego Park has a picnic area, fishing pier, and a canoe/kayak boarding area. The park is easily accessible from bike lanes and paved paths on Aurelius Road.

Hawk Island County Park

See the pages dedicated to Hawk Island County Park for details.

Fenner Nature Center

South of Crego Park on Mt. Hope Road, Fenner Nature Center features miles of hiking trails around shimmering ponds and past a variety of plants and trees. The grounds are open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk. Keep your eyes open for wildlife, such as deer, ducks, and more when hiking around the park. The nature center hosts educational programs and children's birthday parties. See the Nature Center's web site for details on educational programs.

Soldan Dog Park

A park that gets a paws up from furry friends, Soldan Dog Park, is adjacent to Hawk Island County Park. To access the dog park, drive to the farthest parking lot at Hawk Island County Park, park the car, and walk your dog along the service drive to a path that leads to the gated entrance for the park. The dog park has a walking trail that goes past a pond, which is a nice setting for dog walks. Note: the park doesn't have areas dedicated to any specific size or breed, so if you have a small dog, your dog may meet or see larger dogs. You will need to pick up after your pooch if he/she leaves a deposit in the park.

Other Parks

Here's a listing of other noteworthy parks. See the maps page for the locations of park facilities.
  • Clifford Park - Has tennis courts, a playground, and a community garden.

  • Durant Park - On Madison Street, this park has a picnic area and a playground.

  • Ferris Park - The park has two basketball courts, picnic areas, and a playground.

  • Hunter Park - A cool place on a hot day. Hunter Park on Kalamazoo Street has an outdoor pool, as well as tennis courts, a basketball court, and playground.

  • Marshall Park - The park on Saginaw Street has a baseball diamond, basketball court, and playground.

  • Scott Woods Park - Small park that connects to the Lansing River Trail and features a playground and picnic area.

  • Sycamore Park - Includes a baseball diamond, playground, and restrooms.

  • Washington Park - The park on Washington Avenue has a indoor skating rink, baseball diamond, picnic shelter, and playground.


The Red Cedar River flows through Lansing and East Lansing, and the scenic river is popular with area paddlers. You can find kayak launch areas at several Lansing parks, including Ralph Crego Park, Riverfront Park and Dietrich Park.


The Red Cedar River is home to bass, sunfish, carp, suckers, and other varieties of fish. Several Lansing parks located along the river provide fishermen with good spots to cast their lines. Dietrich Park, Ralph Crego Park, and Riverfront Park offer good spots for fishing.

A valid fishing license is required to fish on Michigan waterways, and you can get a Michigan fishing license online at the Michigan DNR E-License web site and at bait shops and sporting goods stores.

More About Lansing

Lansing's downtown area has many spots to visit. The Capitol Building is a sight worth seeing, and group tours are provided by appointment. The Library of Michigan and Michigan Historical Museum is a great place to learn about Michigan and its past. Oldsmobile Park is home to the Lansing Lugnuts, and the Lansing Center hosts many events throughout the year. Lansing City Market offers fresh produce and locally produced items. The Michigan Women's Historical Center & Hall of Fame features exhibits that recognize the contributions of women.

Lansing was once home to the REO Motor Car Company, a truck producer founded by Ransom Eli Olds. The company is remembered with an historic marker on Washington Avenue at the site of a former factory that had been built in 1904. The area that once surrounded the REO Motor Car Company is now known as REO Town, a district with restaurants, businesses and loft apartments.

Another historic district in Lansing, appropriately called Old Town, is located near the northern-most part of the Lansing River Trail. Old Town has unique restaurants, bars, galleries, and specialty shops. Old Town has entertainment and events throughout the year, including the Lansing JazzFest. During the first weekend of December, Old Town brings Dickens Village to life with characters from A Chistmas Carol, music, carriage rides, art shows, and more.

Nearby East Lansing is home to Michigan State University (MSU), a leading research and teaching university. MSU is also known for its athletic teams, and from August to June, you can catch one of the Spartans' 20 sports programs in action. You can visit the Sparty Statue on Red Cedar Road, just north of Spartan Stadium.

When the weekend approaches, you can catch live music in East Lansing at several bars near the MSU campus, including Rick's American Cafe and the Landshark. Famous acts, like The Verve Pipe and Hootie and the Blowfish (to name a couple), have played these spots before moving on to bigger venues.

In August, the Michigan State University Museum presents the the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing.

If you want to go shopping, West Saginaw Highway is a street with lots of choices. Lansing Mall is located a few miles east of I-96 on West Saginaw Highway. You'll find lots of chain restaurants in the vicinity of I-96 and the mall.

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