Introduction to East Lansing, Michigan

The Michigan city of East Lansing, best known as the home of Michigan State University (MSU), lies in northwest Ingham County and is the largest suburban community of the state capital of Lansing. Other large cities nearby include Jackson (40 miles to the south), Flint (45 miles to the northeast), Grand Rapids (65 miles to the west), and Detroit (85 miles to the east). Principal highways serving the area include Interstates I-69, I-96, and I-496; U.S. Route 127; and Michigan State Highway 43.

Incorporated as a city in 1907, East Lansing's actual origins trace back more than fifty years prior, when the State Board of Agriculture established a college for the teaching of scientific agriculture in a barely-developed wilderness a few miles east of the newly-constructed wood-framed State Capitol building. In those early days the surrounding village, officially registered as "Collegeville," owed its existence to the presence of teachers and students. Michigan Agricultural College was eventually renamed Michigan State College in 1925 and later Michigan State University in 1955. During this time the city and its university have grown in tandem, and today East Lansing is a thriving college town and Michigan State University has become the largest educational institution in the state.

Points of Interest in East Lansing

East Lansing is the cultural, artistic, and recreational center of central Michigan. Numerous large scale street festivals, outdoor concerts and special events exist year-round to entertain residents and visitors. The East Lansing Film Festival, largest of its kind in Michigan, screens a large variety of genres every spring including features, documentaries, shorts and student films from around the world. The East Lansing Art Festival is another springtime event, held on the weekend before Memorial Day. The Great Lakes Folk Festival, which takes place in August, combines the elements of an arts fair, music festival, county fair, and multi-ethnic cultural celebration into one large event. Other annual celebrations include the Annual Summer Solstice Jazz Festival (June) and the Fountain Square Concert Series (July/August). Cultural sites in town include the Kresge Art Museum, repository since 1959 of Michigan State University's collection of over 7,000 works of art; and the Michigan State University Museum, one of the oldest museums in the Midwest and the first in the state to receive affiliate status from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Other points of interest in and around East Lansing include the following:

  • W. J. Beal Botanical Garden: Oldest of its kind in the United States
  • Michigan State University Horticulture Gardens
  • Beaumont Tower
  • Red Cedar River
  • Michigan Women's Historical Center & Hall of Fame
  • Breslin Center
  • Hannah Community Center
  • East Lansing Family Aquatic Center
  • 4-H Children's Garden
  • Lake Lansing
  • East Lansing Family Aquatic Center
  • Fenner Nature Center
  • Woldumar Nature Center
  • Impression 5 Science Center
  • Potter Park Zoo
  • FunTyme Adventure Park
  • R.E.Olds Transportation Museum
  • Timber Ridge Golf Course
  • Forest Akers Golf Course

For sports fans, Michigan State's outstanding NCAA Division I-A athletic program offers 14 varsity sports for men and 15 for women. The MSU Spartans participate in the Big Ten Conference in all varsity sports except ice hockey (Central Collegiate Hockey Association). Renowned nation-wide for its success in collegiate athletics, Michigan State has captured multiple national titles in football and is the only NCAA Division One Athletic program to have won multiple national championships in both football and basketball.

Neighboring Lansing is home to a professional sports team, Minor League Baseball's Lansing Lugnuts. The Lugnuts compete in the Midwest League as a Class Low-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Less than two hours to the east is the metropolitan Detroit area, home to several major-league caliber pro teams. Among them are the NFL's Detroit Lions (football), Major League Baseball's Detroit Tigers, the NHL's Detroit Red Wings (hockey), and the National Basketball Association's Detroit Pistons. Also in the city is the Detroit Shock of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).


Total Population 48,669
Male Share of the Population 50.3%
Female Share of the Population 49.7%
Senior Citizens 7%
Employed Population 16+ 20,602
Age of the Population 21


% of people married 16.8%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 70.1%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $88,566
% Above Poverty Level 56.4%
% Below Poverty Level 43.6%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 16 minutes
% Working from Home 5.7%
% Walking and Biking to Work 28.2%
% Using Public Transportation 6.5%


People Living Alone 37.5%
Median Gross Rent $863
Median House Value $171,800


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 25%
US/American 0.3%
English 9.3%
Irish 13.1%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

East Lansing Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 3 miles E of Lansing, Michigan (center to center)
Nearest Large City 78 miles W of Detroit, Michigan
County Ingham
Metro Area Lansing - East Lansing
Standard Zip Codes 48823, 48824, 48825
P.O. Box Zip Codes 48826
Phone Area Codes 517
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 42.736
Longitude -84.483

East Lansing Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 4.9 miles
Jan Temp 13 to 29 F
Apr Temp 35 to 56 F
Jul Temp 59 to 82 F
Oct Temp 38 to 60 F
Annual Precip 30.9 inches
Station ST JOHNS
Distance 19.6 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 29 F
Apr Temp 35 to 56 F
Jul Temp 60 to 83 F
Oct Temp 40 to 60 F
Annual Precip 32.9 inches
Distance 22 miles
Jan Temp 15 to 29 F
Apr Temp 36 to 56 F
Jul Temp 60 to 81 F
Oct Temp 40 to 59 F
Annual Precip 33.8 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Dimondale 1,162 $88,333
Laingsburg 1,296 $55,227
Lansing 114,485 $42,150
Mason 8,317 $57,688
Perry 1,994 $51,250

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

East Lansing Public Libraries

East Lansing Public Library
East Lansing, Michigan
(517) 351-2420
Library Web Site

library logo

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East Lansing High Schools

Serves 1,158 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.6

Additional Details
East Lansing Colleges
East Lansing colleges and trade schools.
East Lansing Graduate Schools
East Lansing Graduate and Business Schools
Study Online in East Lansing
Historic East Lansing


Library (museum, Michigan Agricultural College i.e. Michigan State University) between 1905 and 1920

Select a photo to view (Source):

Library (museum, Michigan Agricultural College i.e. Michigan State University) between 1905 and 1920

Norman's bldg. (Mich. Agricultural College i.e. Michigan State University) between 1900 and 1910

Williams Hall (Mich. Agricultural College i.e. Michigan State University) between 1900 and 1910

Additional Resources
Info for East Lansing Government Officials

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