Loving Lansing, Michigan Through the Seasons

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LOVING LANSING, MICHIGAN THROUGH THE SEASONS
By Amy Piper, travel writer and author of “100 Things to Do in Lansing Before You Die”

 

BIG BLEND RADIO: Travel writer and author Amy Piper talks about what there is to experience year-round in Lansing, Michigan. Watch here in the YouTube player or download/listen to the podcast on PodBean or SoundCloud.

Situated in the southcentral region of the mitten, Lansing, Michigan, has four distinct seasons. In January, snow, and sub-zero temperatures, make you appreciate that warm cup of hot cocoa after an afternoon on the sledding hill. Spring brings frequent rain showers and flowers to the public gardens. While summer weather is a great time to be outdoors and enjoy numerous concerts in the park, it can also bring 90-degree temperatures, where you may want to gain some respite in some air-conditioned museums. Finally, in autumn, the trees light up with brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows for a spectacular leaf-peeping color tour. No matter your interests, or the season, the Greater Lansing area has something unique to keep you busy.

Winter Wonderland
Snow frequently blankets the landscape, and temperatures dip below zero. So getting outside for some winter sports is easy at Hawk Island County Park, where they feature a magic carpet conveyor that transports tubing enthusiasts to the top of the hill. They groom the 500-foot course featuring a 50-foot drop, with 16-feet-wide sculpted snow lanes, for tubing—a thrill ride, to be sure.


Get into the Christmas spirit at Silver Bells in the City, Lansing’s long-held tradition for kicking off the holiday season. With Lansing’s official Christmas tree lit, a light parade ensues, and the season begins. Then, sometime in December, you’ll want to take the kiddos to ride the Polar Express at the Steam Railroading Institute. Chris Van Allsburg based his award-winning children’s book the Polar Express on this steam engine, where children can still ride the train during the holiday season.

When looking for a unique holiday gift, visit Fireworks Glass Studios, where you can approach gift-giving in one of two ways. Choose one of their hand-blown glass pieces or buy a gift certificate for a class so that the recipient can participate in a class and have the experience of making their own piece.

Finally, Soup Spoon Café is the perfect place to warm up with a bowl of housemade soup. If you can’t decide, try a soup flight, and you won’t need to choose only one.

Spring Romance
During spring, love is in the air. That makes for a romantic evening at the English Inn Restaurant, where the menu features French favorites, like escargot, baked brie, and chicken cordon bleu in a fine-dining atmosphere. You can extend your date night by making it an overnight getaway in one of their 1927 Tudor-revival-style rooms or one of their guest cottages.

Take the kiddos on a safari to Potter Park Zoo, where they can see the baby animals that often appear in spring. Then, if they need more opportunities to blow off some steam, the Michigan State University 4-H Children’s Garden is a terrific place to explore nature. They’ll also learn where our food comes from in one of the themed gardens. For example, the pizza garden shows that their pizza doesn’t originate in the local pizza parlor. Instead, they’ll see the garden grows basil and oregano, tomatoes for the sauce, and various veggie toppings.

Finally, visit Fenner Nature Center for the Maple Syrup Festival, where the kids can have fun learning where their pancake syrup originates.

Summer Fun in the Sun
My favorite time of year in Lansing is summer. You can explore the great outdoors and enjoy the many events that involve live music. During summer, you can attend a concert almost every day of the week at one of the Lansing area’s parks. If you haven’t had enough live music, visit the beer garden at EagleMonk Pub and Brewery, where they feature live music weekly.

No visit to Lansing would be complete without a visit to the state capitol, and this is the perfect venue for a rainy day or when you want to get out of the heat. Michigan’s Victorian-era capitol could be mistaken for an art museum with nine acres of hand-painted ceilings, columns, walls, and woodwork. Artistic talents are definitely on display. Visiting the capitol building is an economical outing as the tours are free. A fun fact is that Lansing is the only capital city in the United States that isn’t the county seat. Mason is Ingham County’s county seat.

Fall Colors
Fall days in Michigan bring cooler weather and crisp fresh air. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the fall colors and celebrate the harvest. The Lansing River Trail offers brilliant autumn hues on the 17 miles of trails. You have options to explore via hiking, biking, or canoeing the trail or kayaking out on the river. The trail runs through marshlands and fields, where you’re likely to see some wildlife like deer and turkey.

The local apple orchards offer a variety of fun and feature fall foliage. You can pick apples at the Country Mill and sip some cider or a glass of wine at Uncle John’s Cider Mill and Fruit House Winery.

To discover more things to do throughout the seasons in Lansing, Michigan, check out Amy’s book 100 Things to Do in Lansing Before You Die, and for travels around town and around the world, take a look at Amy’s blog, Follow the Piper. Amy Piper is a Lansing, Michigan-based freelance travel writer, blogger, and photographer.

 

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About the Author:

Amy Piper is a Lansing, Michigan-based freelance travel writer, blogger, and photographer.

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