Best Work and Play In Incredible Lansing, Michigan

Late sunshine outside Lansing
Late sunshine outside Lansing | Source

Incredible Capital Of Michigan

I visited Lansing, Michigan for the first time in July 2010 and consider it to have been a treat and a rare opportunity to get to know a growing city with friendly people and opportunities expanding from the central city out into the suburbs. I found the city and Ingham County incredible.

Lansing and the East Lansing suburb, where Michigan State University is located, are connected by an effective CATA city bus system in which buses run every 10 minutes most of the day. An additional route is the Entertainment Express form MSU to entertainment venues and a Night Owl route serves late-nite crowds. Rural and door-to-door services are also on the roster.

Kiplinger.com also found it a fine place to work and live, placing Lansing in the Number Six slot on its 2010 yearly Top 10 Best Places for Young Adults in America. After my visit, I must agree to its Top 10 ranking. See a list of Top 10 Best Cities by Kiplinger standards and my reviews (with employment trends) at: Top 10 Best Cities for Young Adults and Jobs 2010 - 2020.

A $182,000,000 power plant under the auspices of the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) is planned to produce natural gas-powered electric and steam power in REO Town neighborhood just south of Downtown Lansing. This is part of job creation and carbon reduction through the year 2020.

For more on REO Town, the former site of auto manufacturers, see REO TOWN GUIDE.

Jobs numbers advertised have nearly quadrupled between 2010 and 2016.

The Red Cedar River

The Red Cedar River flows through Potter Park, where the Potter Park Zoo is expanding to serve more visitors. A biking and hiking trail follow along the river through the zoo and onward through the Michigan State University Campus to the east, although the river flows westward from Cedar lake to the Grand River.

The forested areas along the Red Cedar within a major city are beautiful and provide cooling shade in warmer months around the university campus and the entire zoo. The river in Lansing is deep enough for canoes and kayaks, swimming many months of the year, and some ice skating.

The Potter Park Zoo area around the river and its forests is most peaceful and the MSU parks area along its banks are fantastic for study sessions as well as picnics and relaxation.

Red Cedar River

show route and directions
A markerLansing MI -
Lansing, MI, USA
[get directions]

B markerPotter Park Zoo and Red Cedar River -
Potter Park Zoo, 1301 South Pennsylvania Avenue, Lansing, MI 48912, USA
[get directions]

Red Cedar River Tour

Michigan State University

MSU Spartan Stadium

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Ojibwe chief Nanongabe, 1891.
Ojibwe chief Nanongabe, 1891.
Ojibwe chief Nanongabe, 1891.

Places to See Around Lansing

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A markerEast Lansing Michigan -
East Lansing, MI, USA
[get directions]

B markerMichigan State University -
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48864, USA
[get directions]

C markerState Capitol Lansing MI -
Michigan State Capitol, Lansing, MI 48922, USA
[get directions]

D markerPotter Park Zoo 48912 -
Lansing, MI 48912, USA
[get directions]

E markerMeridian Mall -
Meridian Mall, Okemos, MI 48864, USA
[get directions]

Urban Improvements

MASS TRANSIT IMPROVEMENTS

I am impressed with the mass transit system of Lansing overall, because during my Friday in Lansing and East Lansing, I observed buses operating up and down Grand River and other streets less than once every 10 minutes for most of the day. City and cross-country bus services and raiload services are excellent in Lansing/East Lansing. This is in addition to ongoing road improvements and good highways along I-69 and I-496. Routes 43 and 52 were also easy to travel. Further, the Michigan/Grand River Avenue Corridor will be further improved under federal funding for light rail or rapid buses or a combination.

Amtrak rail, Indian Trails buses, and Greyhound buses connect rail and bus services through the East Lansing Amtrak Depot, just north of MSU. The convenient depot is eligible for enhancement under federal funding. Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) is the effective bus transit the Greater Lansing Area, including regional malls to the east and west of town and in some rural areas. For instance, transferring just once with only a 5-minute wait between buses, a CATA rider can travel from the Lansing Mall just west of town through Downtown Lansing, MSU, and on to the Meridian Mall in Okemos, east of East Lansing in just over an hour; and drive time is much less when traffic is light.

DOWNTOWN EAST LANSING

Besides Lansing mass transit expansion, East Lansing is providing about 1.5 miles of bicycle and pedestrian lanes along Saginaw Street/ I-69 (which I saw near the end of construction). Various improvement projects were also under way at MSU. What is now Downtown East Lansing was built at the crossing of two major Native American trails - the Okemah Road, and the Park Lake Trail, after Lansing became State Capital in 1847. Today, East Lansing is a busy city with Lansing CATA buses, an Entertainment Bus line, a Shopping Bus line, and MSU special routes from autumn through spring.

MSU was establish 10 years hence in 1857 as a largely residential college, and the University hosts several residential colleges today. MSU supports three residential colleges in the 2010s, all begun in 1967: Residential College in Arts & Humanities; James Madison College in political science; and Lyman Briggs College of math and science taught in a framework of social, historical and philosophical perspectives. See Living-Learning Communities - Residential Colleges

REO TOWN

Downtown Lansing is bordered by a revitalized REO Town just south of highway I-496 (see links above). Reconstruction in this former truck and auto plant sector has included façade improvement, new neighborhood events, new architectural design, historic preservation, and a cohesive REO Town Commercial Association.

Friendly restaurants, taverns, and pizza shops populate REP Town and the residential population is increasing. Two city parks are a couple of blocks away: Elm Park and Riverpoint Park, with close access to the Lansing Riverwalk, and scenic Lansing River Trail for biking and hiking. Many of the old factories and plants have been converted to loft apartments and other sytles of living.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
''Ojibwe Wigwam at Grand Portage (MN)'' painted by Eastman Johnson, 1857. Examples of this home can be seen in Mid-Michigan as well.This is a public domain shot of the old REO Motor Car Company plant. It was a National Historic Landmark, registed  until 1985 when such status was withdrawn after demolition in 1980. The land it occupied on was no longer recognized as well. REO Town
''Ojibwe Wigwam at Grand Portage (MN)'' painted by Eastman Johnson, 1857. Examples of this home can be seen in Mid-Michigan as well.
''Ojibwe Wigwam at Grand Portage (MN)'' painted by Eastman Johnson, 1857. Examples of this home can be seen in Mid-Michigan as well.
This is a public domain shot of the old REO Motor Car Company plant. It was a National Historic Landmark, registed  until 1985 when such status was withdrawn after demolition in 1980. The land it occupied on was no longer recognized as well. REO Town
This is a public domain shot of the old REO Motor Car Company plant. It was a National Historic Landmark, registed until 1985 when such status was withdrawn after demolition in 1980. The land it occupied on was no longer recognized as well. REO Town

High Demand Jobs

Best High Demand Jobs Increase Significantly

  • 4,000 job openings were available during Summer 2010
  • 6,400+ jobs were open by the end of December 2012
  • 12,000 job openings were listed in October 2013
  • 13,900+ job vacancies found in August 2016

The highest-demand job titles appear in this lineup:

  1. Truckers - Owner Operators and Salaried
  2. Upper Level IT Managers and Analysts
  3. Engineers - various fields
  4. Insurance Agents
  5. Registered Nurses - RNs
  6. Physical and Occupational Therapists
  7. Software Application Developers - Java and others
  8. Salespeople
  9. Retail Managers and Assistant Managers
  10. Faculty and Researchers at MSU

Top Job Listers

  1. Sparrow Health System - Also offers Ronald McDonald® House
  2. IBM
  3. Michigan State University (MSU)
  4. Dart Container
  5. Applebee's Restaurants
  6. Emergent BioSolutions
  7. Jackson National Life Insurance Company
  8. Amedisys
  9. PNC Bank
  10. HCR ManorCare
  11. Macy's - Lancing (west) and Meridian (east) Malls
  12. Kelly Services

Higher Education


© 2010 Patty Inglish

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Comments and News 5 comments

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Thank you for this informative Hub. Another unique place to visit...


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I learn so much about America through your hubs. Thank you.


Kim 6 years ago

this is my first visit, going to save as a favorite. BTW, I am from Michigan.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

Hi Kim - I love Michigan!


Dr Rockpile profile image

Dr Rockpile 5 years ago from USA

Nice overview of Lansing. Never would have guessed it's one of the top 10 places for young adults in the US.

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