Welcome to Summer

How to spend summer in Greater Lansing


2021 is shaping up to be a special kind of summer. We’re all rubbing our tired eyes as we adjust to spending some quality time outdoors for the first time in what feels like absolutely forever. 

Even though we all went through a pandemic together, we all still have different personalities and interests. Luckily, Lansing seems to have a little bit of something for everybody. This year, City Pulse’s summer guide has been broken down by categories of interest. Hopefully, no matter your quirks, you can find something that fits your vibe. 

Want to enjoy the great outdoors?

What’s summer without spending an entire day soaking up the sun, watching it set and then enjoying the cool night air? There’s plenty of ways in Greater Lansing to enjoy the heat coming our way. 

Kayaking down the Grand River is a classic Lansing pastime. One of the easiest ways to experience this tradition is with River Town Adventures, which will be fully operational for the summer, albeit with some coronavirus safety protocols. River Town Adventures is also situated right alongside Rotary Park, a beautiful place to soak up some rays, warm your feet up in the sand and play games like cornhole. 

Don’t forget that Lansing is home to several great nature centers that will be open to the public through out summer: Fenner, Woldumar and Harris. You can enjoy the beauty of Fenner Tuesday through Friday during the afternoon hours. Fenner is also open during early afternoons on the weekend. 

Woldumar’s hiking trails are open dawn to dusk. You can schedule private visits to Harris Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

If you’re feeling especially adventurous, the Ledges at Fitzgerald Park is stunning and can be visited daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Other great public parks open throughout summer to bring your friends and family to, or just enjoy solo, include Hawk Island, Grand Woods, Lake Lansing and Valhalla. And if you love animals, it might be worth it to see what the famous baby rhino Jaali is doing over at Potter Park Zoo. 

Fenner Nature Center 

Tuesday-Friday, noon to 6 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

2020 E. Mt. Hope Ave., Lansing 


Fitzgerald Park

Daily, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

100 Fitzgerald Park Dr., Grand Ledge


Grand Woods Park

Daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Grand Woods Park Dr., Lansing

Harris Nature Center 

Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

3998 Van Atta Road, Okemos 

Facebook.com/HarrisNatureCenter and Meridian.mi.us

Hawk Island Park

Daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

1601 E. Cavanaugh Road, Lansing

Lake Lansing Park

Daily, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


6260 E. Lake Dr., Haslett


1621 Pike St., Haslett

Potter Park Zoo

$3 resident, $5 non-resident

1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing


River Town Adventures

305 Riverfront Dr., Lansing


Rotary Park

325 Riverfront Dr., Lansing


Woldumar Nature Center 

Open dawn to dusk

5739 Old Lansing Road, Lansing 


Valhalla Park

Daily, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

2287 Pine Tree Road, Holt

Do you love music?

While concerts are not quite back into full swing — hopefully, we can expect more to come in the fall — there are a number of outdoor and socially distanced shows worth checking out this summer. 

Common Ground, which has migrated from Adado Riverfront Park to Jackson Field, is finally going down. Although headliner Blink 182 has canceled, a new lineup will be announced soon for a weekend outing on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11.

Lansing Symphony Orchestra is bringing its powerful concerts to the great outdoors throughout the summer. The Concerts on the Lawn series, held at the MSU Federal Credit Union headquarters, continues with “Piano Trio” on June 29, “Brass Quintet” on July 27 and “Percussion Duo” on Aug. 24. 

UrbanBeat in Old Town has been steadily booking small intimate shows since spring. The classy venue has more gigs prepared for the summer as well. These include Charlie Richardson on May 27 and Jack Brandfield and Friends on May 29. More will be booked in the coming weeks. 

The 420 Cannabis Festival takes places at Adado Riverfront Park on Aug. 13 and Aug. 14. The music festival, which honors the legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan, will also feature several vendors and food trucks. 

Lansing JazzFest and Michigan BluesFest will return as hybrid events featuring a blend of live onstage music and virtual concerts. More updates will be announced as the dates in August and September approaches.

420 Cannabis Festival

Aug. 13-14

Adado Riverfront Park

201 E. Shiawassee St., Lansing


Common Ground Music Festival

Jackson Field

505 E Michigan Ave, Lansing

Sept. 10-11

More announcements soon at


Lansing JazzFest

Aug. 5-7

Check online for updates at


LSO: Concerts on the Lawn

June 29, July 27 and Aug. 24

MSUFCU Headquarters

3899 Coolidge Road, East Lansing


Michigan BluesFest

Sept. 16-18

Check online for updates at



1213 Turner Road, Lansing

View schedule of shows at


Excited for the Lugnuts comeback?

Baseball has finally returned to Lansing in full-force. After fans had to settle for the small and experiment Lemonade League back in 2020, the beloved Lugnuts are back to play at the newly renamed Jackson Field. 

If you’re just visiting, or if you’re a local, a Lugnuts game is tried and true as one of the best ways to spend a hot summer night in Lansing. The team is celebrating its return with special game day events and promotions throughout the season. You can keep up with the Lugnuts and check out the schedule and ticket prices by visiting the team’s official website. 

Lansing Lugnuts

Purchase tickets and view schedule at


Consider yourself an art aficionado?

If your idea of a perfect summer day isn’t complete without enjoy beautiful art, you’re in luck. There are many events going down in Greater Lansing that celebrate masterful paintings and sculptures.

Lansing Art Gallery’s ArtPath project along the Lansing River Trail is returning for the 2021 summer season. Twenty locations with new pieces are planned for local neighborhoods including Old Town, downtown and REO Town.

East Lansing Art Festival is returning after being limited to a digital outing last year. The two-day event will feature great art, live music, art activities and demonstrations and a section of downtown will be transformed into an international-style food court.

The MSU Broad Art Museum and the Broad Art Lab across the street are both open throughout the summer. The Broad’s “Interstates of Mind,” a deep dive into Michigan’s car culture, runs through Aug. 8. Broad Art Lab also debuted a new exhibit, “Visualizing A Year Like No Other,” which runs through Aug. 15. The exhibit uses photographic storytelling to showcase the response to the chaos of last year.

ArtPath 2021

Summer 2021

Find the schedule and map at


East Lansing Art Festival

August 7-8

Downtown East Lansing

Learn more at


MSU Broad Art Lab

565 E. Grand River Road Ste. 1, East Lansing

For a schedule of exhibitions visit


MSU Broad Museum

547 E. Circle Dr., East Lansing

For a schedule of exhibitions visit

Do you frequent festivals?

There are numerous festivals going down this summer in the surrounding Greater Lansing area. They’re motivation to hit the road and spend a fun day out of town. 

Dansville’s annual Memorial Day festivities are returning for 2021, and its Freedom Festival will kick-off with a parade on Friday (May 28). 

The St. John’s Mint Festival, which features an arts and crafts flea market, food and fun family activities, is also making its return with a scaled-back version of the event Aug. 13-15. Grand Ledge is hosting Yankee Doodle Days, which is the town’s own classic summer showcase featuring a firework display and live music. Charlotte will hold its Frontier Days vendor flea market and festival in September. 

Charlotte Frontier Days

Sept. 10-12


Dansville Memorial Freedom Fest 

May 28-May 31


Grand Ledge Yankee Doodle Days

June 19


St. John’s Mint Festival

Aug. 13-Aug. 15


Want to catch some local theater?

2020 was plagued by nonstop Zoom presentations. While the heart and respect for the “show must go on” mantra were admirable, watching a series of talking heads pales in comparison to a proper onstage production. Since getting used to the post coronavirus world, many local theater companies have adapted by producing unique shows, which are then filmed for digital presentations. While it’s still not quite as electric as seeing a play in the flesh, it’s a vast improvement that’s much better at scratching the theater itch. 

Peppermint Creek Theatre has been expanding its horizons with many different video productions. On Friday (May 28), it will debut a 60-minute documentary called “Radical Acts of Education,” which examines the state of education in Michigan through interviews with local educators. Riverwalk Theatre is presenting “Working,” which will be shown online on Riverwalk’s website on Friday through Sunday (May 28-May 30). 

If you have young ones interested in theater, the All-Of-Us Express Children’s Theatre Summer Camp has a wide variety of acting classes and programs throughout the summer. And while the MSU Department of Theatre canceled its 2021 Summer Circle Theatre program, it has plans to host free arts and theater-based activities that families will be able to enjoy from home later this summer. 

All-Of-Us Express Children’s Theatre 

Camps are held at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center 

819 Abbot Road, East Lansing 

More information available at 


MSU Department of Theatre

Online Summer Theatre 

Activities for Kids

Follow Theatre.msu.edu for updates

“Radical Acts of Education”

Peppermint Creek Theatre

Debuts May 28 



May 28-30

Viewable online at



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