The Lansing River Trail is one of the best free ways to get around the city. It has minimal exposure to car traffic and is also a way to have fun! So, come enjoy the cool temps and beautiful fall colors around town. Come along as we take you through all the fun and details on biking the Lansing River Trail.
Exploring MSU and the East Side
Parking | One of the easiest places to park is at the Clippert Street Parking Lot. Located at the southern end of Clippert Street, near Steakhouse Philly. This small lot might not look like much, however, it will put you right on the River Trail with easy access in any direction. Pro Tip: If the lot is crowded head back across Kalamazoo Street. There is a nearby parking lot at the Municipal Baseball Field at the corner of Clippert and Kala.
On the Trail | Head East biking the Lansing River Trail and you’ll be on the MSU campus in minutes. The signs say MSU is just .1 miles away but the Breslin Center and Spartan Stadium area is about one mile. Near the University Village Apartments there’s a playground if your littlest family members need a place to get down. If you’re good to continue on into campus, there is so much to see!
You can check out the steps down to the Red Cedar River, visit the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden garden, or just wander around campus. If it’s not too cold, and you have a portable hammock, bring it and enjoy the hammock poles down by the river behind Shaw Hall. When you get hungry, head on over to the Grand River Corridor. You can grab a coffee at Starbucks, Insomnia Cookies, or choose from a host of other great places.
Exploring Potter Park and Downtown
Parking | When the zoo is closed, this also makes another great free parking lot, though you’ll pay for it when the zoo is open.
On the Trail | Head West on the River Trail from the Clippert Street Lot and in around 3.5 miles, you can be either at Hawk Island or downtown. You’ll see the turnoff for Hawk Island just past Krueger’s Landing. If you continue on, you’ll soon be at Potter Park Zoo located 1.4 miles from your starting point. Even if the zoo is closed, the playground out near the picnic shelters and the Eagles Nest out near the trail are worth a visit.
If you’re ready for more biking, in about two miles you can reach the edge of downtown. There you’ll find the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum and Impressions 5. Impression 5 has posted Planet Walk signs along the trail in both directions. Continue on another 0.5 miles, and you’re in the heart of downtown at the Lansing City Market. This area has a Story Walk for the kids to enjoy, one of many around town put up by the Capital Area District Library. With the addition of a beach and patio area this past year, near the market, this area has become a sweet spot to relax. You can also rent a kayak or canoe at River Town Adventures (by reservation only in October). Just beyond the market, you’ll see even more Art Path exhibits, and come to the new outdoor fitness area sponsored by AARP.
Exploring Old Town and Downtown
Parking | If you’re looking for a starting point closer to downtown to begin biking the Lansing River Trail, and Old Town, you’ll want to park at Lot 56 at Cesar Chavez Plaza. There’s been a lot of construction in the area, so it may be closed. Either way, there’s lots of street parking nearby as well on the weekends. It’s at the intersection of Turner Street and Grand River Avenue in Old Town.
On the Trail | Check out the Brenke Fish Ladder, give the kids a chance to get down at the playground equipment nearby, or tool around Old Town’s many boutiques. Grab takeout from MEAT Southern BBQ, Punk Taco, or Sir Pizza.
If you’re up for a bit more biking, head just over one mile south to the downtown area. One of the best things about downtown is how quiet it is on the weekends.
Your choices for food will be significantly limited in the downtown area on the weekend but don’t miss The Peanut Shop on Washington, a Lansing favorite since 1937. The vast open and paved spaces away from traffic are really great for toddlers who need an enclosed space to roam. Between the Capitol Mall and the Hall of Justice, near the Library of Michigan and the X, you’ll have plenty of places to wander by bike or foot.
When you’re ready to wrap it up for the day, head on over to the Capital City Market. The newest neighborhood grocery store by Meijer is set to open October 14 at Michigan Avenue and Larch Street. They’re expected to have an assortment of local products as well as the usual staples and grab-and-go items.
We can’t wait to hear where you like to head around town on your adventures! If you plan on taking any of these rides consider heading to the following posts that will accompany some of the great suggestions here with more detail! Take a StoryWalk in Lansing, Five Things to Do on Campus, or What to Know About Michigan Zoos Re-Opening.