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Oh, it has been ages since shared a Destination Lansing post with you!

This is the time of year when I love to start getting back outside, taking walks and taking pictures. Running through Lansing, largely in a generally north-south orientation, though with tributaries jutting off here and there, is a modest river of asphalt called the River Trail.

Lansing River Trail, MI

It follows not one but two rivers, the Grand through downtown Lansing and the Red Cedar past Potter Park Zoo and Michigan State University, carrying travelers by bike, roller blades, or feet through woods, under concrete bridges, and by parks, museums, and markets. One trip on the River Trail and you can see almost all that Lansing and East Lansing have to offer represented in some way. In fact, here’s a list off the top of my head of where you can get and what you can see if you start on the southern end of the trail on Jolly Road (right by the 7-Eleven there) and head north:

Hawk Island County Park (fun and relaxing yearround)

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Scott Woods Park (GORGEOUS in the fall, but great anytime)

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Mount Hope Cemetery

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Fenner Nature Center

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Red Cedar River Natural Areas

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Potter Park Zoo

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Impression 5 Children’s Museum

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Lansing Center

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Lansing City Market

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Downtown Lansing and the Capitol Building

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Adado Riverfront Park (which, depending on the day, may include various concerts or events)

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Brenke Fish Ladder

Old Town (and all the cool shops and restaurants therein–like Elderly Instruments and Pablo’s Panaderia, where you should order the torta sandwich with pork on their life-changing homemade bread or the huevos y chorizo with warm, homemade flour tortillas)

The Turner-Dodge House and Heritage Center

If you take the spur that heads east along the Red Cedar River, you can get to MSU and East Lansing, including these destination spots: The Breslin CenterThe Kellogg CenterBroad Art MuseumMSU Gardens, and Sanford Natural Area. All the way up to Hagadorn Road, where you can stop for dinner at Sultan’s Restaurant for some shawarma and falafel.

And I didn’t even list all the awesome restaurants in both downtown Lansing (like the Tavern on the Square or Mediteran or Troppo) and downtown East Lansing (like Dublin Square or Woody’s Oasis).

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The trail is open yearround. Even in winter it is plowed to allow regular foot traffic and biking for those of us who don’t have cross country skis. So, if you took the notion, you could bundle up and bike down to Hawk Island County Park and go snow tubing in the wintertime.

But of course, my favorite time is fall.

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