Throughout the year, a variety of fun and cultural festivals held in Lansing provide locals and visitors alike the opportunity to experience something a little different. Music, cinema, science, food, and drink are all celebrated at events across the capital city, with many of them free or inexpensive ways to support the community. Here are just some of our favorites.
Common Ground Music Festival
The Common Ground Music Festival is mid-Michigan’s premier outdoor music event, taking place every July since 2000. Held in Adado Riverfront Park, it regularly features impressive headline acts of all genres, from rock and pop to country and hip-hop. The 2018 event will be on July 5–8, with weekend tickets starting at $79. Alongside the music, activities include zip-lining across the Grand River.
Capital City Film Festival
Despite being named as a film festival, the Capital City Film Festival (CCFF) is, in fact, a multimedia showcase of both independent films and live music. Across 10 locations around Lansing, including The Robin Theatre and the Impression 5 Science Center, there are more than 100 films and 30 musical performances from which to choose. Tickets can be bought for individual film events or concerts, with an all-access pass costing $50.
MSU Science Festival
The MSU Science Festival is a free multi-day series held throughout April, featuring events such as tours, expert speakers, expo zones, open houses, and after-hours museum nights, all exploring the power of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics). With over 200 activities in total, the festival expands beyond the MSU campus to include events in Michigan cities such as Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids.
Put on by the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art, Lansing JazzFest brings thousands of jazz fans to the streets of Old Town each August for two free days of music. Three stages of music are joined by a range of food options and crafts vendors, and there’s an emphasis on providing interactive activities for kids of all ages. The 24th annual Lansing JazzFest will take place Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4, 2018.
Sister to the JazzFest, the Michigan BluesFest originally started in 1994 as an OktoberFest before moving to September and changing its name. Over 5,000 people from across Michigan and nearby states gather to see more than a dozen local favorites and regional and national acts for free, though for $5 you can enjoy a prime location in the Turnaround Lounge to watch both main stages.
East Lansing Art Festival
The East Lansing Art Festival started all the way back in 1964 as a sidewalk art sale for a club at Michigan State University. Over the subsequent half a century, it has evolved into a major community event featuring hundreds of artists, performers, and craftspeople and attracting tens of thousands of visitors during its two days.
Beerfest at the Ballpark
In its 5th year, Beerfest at the Ballpark is a one-day beer festival held at the Cooley Law School Stadium, home of the Lansing Lugnuts. Try more than 300 craft beers from over 50 Michigan breweries, including rare beer tastings, as well as ciders, meads, and spirits. A $32 ticket buys you a glass and 10 three-ounce pours. The event takes place on April 28, 2018.
Mighty Uke Day
The eighth annual Mighty Uke Day festival will take place over a weekend in May 2018 in Old Town, once again celebrating the “diminutive yet dynamic” ukulele. Over its life, it has featured many of the world’s top ukulele players, and as well as the performances, there are workshops, group strums, and children’s activities. Tickets for concerts and workshops can be registered for online.
Apple Butter Festival
The Apple Butter Festival—put on by the Fenner Nature Center for more than 40 years—is a real celebration of autumn. Get involved by stirring and tasting the butter, playing heritage games, carving pumpkins, and seeing blacksmiths, potters, and other artisans demonstrate their crafts, all while local musicians perform. The festival is free. However, all proceeds support the Center, so make a donation.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.