Though Lansing is the capital of Michigan, it doesn’t exactly have tourists flocking there. This, however, does not erase the exciting and beautiful places that people, even some locals, don’t notice nestled behind an imperfect, or even “boring”, reality. Many travel guides focus in on cliché attractions and while, yes, those things can contain history, they do not always contain as much history as the sidewalks and the dance studios and the locals and the things we encounter in everyday life yet take for granted. In the museums, there exist so many stories of the past, locked away behind glass and hanging on the walls. But in unexpected places there exists so much life. So many stories that are still being written. So many adventures that are still being taken. So many stories that you could be a part of, too, if only you let yourself see them.
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These types of things can't be planned, exactly. They're stumbled upon by chance, taking you on a journey greater than one you had ever imagined. But these are the places in Lansing where much of these chances exist. Where you're so likely to encounter a story in the making that you better read this article, set it aside, and just experience it. Just live the life that beats through the pages.
The Lansing Art Gallery is located right downtown and admission is free. With its various events and receptions, along with classes and camps, it teaches people the many ways in which art can be formed and seen. Everyone can take a look at raw beauty while also learning something about the state of Michigan, about the world, about the artists, and about themselves. When looking at this artwork, a connection exists; a painting can bring two completely different people together by triggering various feelings that may or may not be the same. When people look at this artwork, they’ll see something different, demonstrating the idea that art is everywhere. Stories are everywhere.
Common Ground Music Festival is a music festival that takes place for a week every summer, featuring acts across a broad range of genres. During the time of the festival, the downtown area remains bustling at night with many people at restaurants and baseball games as well.
Schuler Books & Music, an independent bookstore in Michigan, does not have a store in downtown Lansing. However, their Lansing store is only about a fifteen minute drive from downtown. The bookstore hosts many events and is a great place to buy new and used books. Inside the store is also the Chapbook Café, which sells sandwiches, tea, coffee, desserts, and more. It is located in the Eastwood Towne Center, which is also home to stores including Forever 21, J. Crew, and The Great Lakes Olive Oil Company.
Just like in any city, you should be alert when exploring. During the day and during summer nights, it’s relatively safe, but you should try to avoid walking alone at night.
In the day, the streets bustle with business people, grabbing coffee on their way to work. Everything feels so close, like you’re in a big city while immersed in a small town. In the evening, families dine at the plethora of restaurants. At night, the bar scene comes to life and the streets seem nearly vacant: dark and almost deserted. But all the time, it’s a work of art. No matter where you come from or what you’ve seen, there’s a story for you to experience there. And regardless of the story’s length, it’s worth reading.
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