Introduction to Lansing, Michigan
The city of Lansing, situated on the banks of Michigan's Grand River, is the capital city of the state. Located about 90 miles west of Detroit, Lansing is often referred to as the Car Capital of North America and is the birthplace of Oldsmobile, which was founded in 1897. Most of Lansing is located in Ingham County, although Lansing is the only U.S. state capital located in a county for which it is not also a county seat (the county seat of Ingham County is the city of Mason). The main thoroughfares servicing the Lansing area include Interstates I-69, I-96, and I-496; U.S. Route 127; and Michigan State Highways 43 and 99. The neighboring city of East Lansing, only four miles away, is well known for being the home of Michigan State University (MSU).
Although relatively undeveloped at the time, Lansing was chosen as a more favorable alternative to Detroit to become Michigan’s capital in 1847. The city's central location and Detroit's close proximity to British-controlled Canada were prime factors in this decision. By 1859, the small community had grown to a few thousand and became incorporated as a city. Lansing grew steadily through the next few decades with significant milestones including the completion of railroads through the city and the dedication of the state capitol building in 1879. The city later became an industrial powerhouse starting with the founding of the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in 1897. The ensuing decades saw the city transform itself into a major American industrial center for the manufacturing of automobiles and automobile parts as well as several other industries. Lansing today boasts an economy diversified among several industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, government service, and education.
Things to See and Do in Lansing
Lansing boasts several attractions and both cultural and recreational sites. The Potter Park Zoo, located along the city's Red Cedar River, houses hundreds of animals and offers several programs and events for children and families. Museums in town include the Michigan Historical Museum and the Telephone Pioneer Museum. Downtown theaters include the Riverwalk Theatre and the BoarsHead Theater, and entertainment is provided by the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Lansing Ballet Company. Two of the state's larger music festivals, the Lansing JazzFest and the Old Town BluesFest, are held each year in Lansing. The eight mile long Lansing River Trail runs along the Grand and Red Cedar rivers, and passes Potter Park Zoo and several other places of interest. Nearby East Landing boasts several attractions of its own, including the Kresge Art Museum and the Michigan State University Museum, and hosts numerous annual events, including the East Lansing Film Festival and the Great Lakes Folk Festival.
Lansing boasts a thriving minor league baseball team. The Lansing Lugnuts are members of the Midwest League and serve as the Class Low-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays. The Lugnuts play their home games at Lansing's Oldsmobile Park. Another pro team in town is basketball's Lansing Capitals, who play in the International Basketball League (IBL). Neighboring East Lansing is home to Michigan State University, whose Spartans participate in the Big Ten Conference. Michigan State is well-known as a Big Ten staple and has captured many national titles in both football and basketball.