Located in the heart of Michigan in East Lansing, Michigan State University is not only one of the top research universities in the world, but its campus is both scenic and filled with fun things to do and must see attractions for visitors. In addition, MSU and the surrounding area has a great selection of restaurants and bars making it easy to find something suitable for every one’s taste.
Catch a Football Game at Spartan Stadium
Spartan football, basketball and hockey are among the top popular reasons to visit Michigan State University. The roaring echo of the chants “Go Green! Go White!” can be heard all throughout campus on game days. Popular locations for tailgating include the tennis courts, “the rock” and the surrounding South and North neighborhoods.
There are also many traditions that make going to a Spartan football game an unforgettable experience:
- “It’s a beautiful day for football!” is something that the PA announcer declares with the help of the fans after giving the weather forecast, even when the weather conditions might be a bit chilly.
- “Zeke the Wonder Dog” is an entertaining frisbee-catching dog and makes an appearance each game and wows the spectators during halftime.
- Another popular tradition is “The Spartan Walk” … on the morning of each game, the team completes a 10-minute walk from their hotel at the Kellogg Center, crossing the Red Cedar River, Passing the Spartan Statue and finally into the stadium. The fans line up along the sidewalks clapping and cheering “Go Green, Go White.”
Sparty: Make sure to see the Bronze Spartan Statue
Your visit definitely would not be complete without getting a picture with the iconic Bronze Spartan Statue, also known as “Sparty”. In 2005, the sculpture was relocated to the North end of Demonstration Hall field to protect it from being vandalized. Some of the material from the old Spartan Statue was used in the creation of the new bronze statue. Sparty, is the second most photographed object on campus.
MSU Museum: The earliest established museum in the Nation
Where science meets culture, the MSU Museum is the State of Michigan’s first Smithsonian-affiliate. The museum is loaded with research artifacts and natural wonders from around the world. And although the museum holds an emphasis on the Great Lakes Region, its ongoing and rotating exhibits are allocated to world cultures, evolution, animal diversity and heritage. It is no surprise that the dinosaur exhibits capture the eye of both adults and kids, making it a great family experience.
W.J. Beal Botanical Gardens: The oldest garden of its type in the United States
A breath-taking view and a definite must see when visiting East Lansing are the W.J. Beal Botanical Gardens. The gardens were founded in 1873 and includes over 5,000 species.
The sloping hills have floral communities planted from different regions of Michigan, along with ecosystems from North America, Asia, and Europe that are found at the same latitude as the state.
Beaumont Tower Carillion
If the sound of bells is something that you enjoy, the Beaumont Tower is the place to visit. The tower is located on campus, just one block south of Grand River Avenue and one block north of the Red Cedar.
Beaumont Tower is the number one photographed object on campus. The tower stands at 104-ft where carillonneurs play during noontime recitals and legends tell of first kisses at midnight and engagements in the shadow of the tower. Legend says that a Spartan is destined to marry their sweetheart if they kiss under Beaumont Tower.
International Contemporary Art - Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum opened in 2012 and is a dynamic contemporary art museum that is utilized both as a teaching institution and a cultural hub for East Lansing and the region.
MSU Broad offers a free family day that takes place on the first Saturday of every month from 11am-3pm. Family day encourages visitors of all ages to come explore, and there is a different theme every month that serves as inspiration to create art as well as engage in fun conversation.
Dairy Complex, Food Processing Plant, and Dairy Store
Go and cool off with a scoop of a Big Ten-Themed ice cream made right on campus at the Dairy Plant. The only difficult decision you will have to make is which of the ice cream flavors you will want to get because there are 32 different flavors. If the ice cream doesn’t do the trick you could also purchase some award-winning cheese varieties.
When in Michigan ... Can't go wrong with the Steak
Hungry for steak? The State Room Restaurant is an upscale eatery in the Greater Lansing area that specializes in American cuisine, and has an in-depth wine list, and craft beers. A very popular and recognized aspect from the State Room is their award-winning Sunday Brunch Buffet. The restaurant opened in 1985 and is located inside Michigan State University’s Kellogg Center Hotel & Conference Center.
Looking for a fun night on the town?
Sidebar was established in 2017 by local residents Jim Balasis and Jim Fata. It is a unique restaurant with a modern, rustic feel. It is truly a local favorite and provides an environment for friends and neighbors to get together for a few drinks and great food. The bar features eight local beers on tap, of which five are rotating craft beer selections. There is also a martini menu, a wine list that focuses on mid-tier selections, and a huge selection of top-shelf whiskeys and bourbons.
By Diana Ramirez
Diana is a 2020 graduate of Michigan State University.