September in Greater Lansing brings back MSU Football, tons of festivals, new zoo animals, activities, farmers markets, fun-filled ball games and so much more. Read on for all the happenings around the region!
Known as Michigan's festival capital, Greater Lansing has been home to 60+ festivals, fairs and public shows throughout the year and September is no exception. Celebrate all things weird and macabre in Michigan at Charlotte's Festival of Oddities, and don't miss out on the cornhole tournament and more happenings at Charlotte Frontier Days. Find live music, a variety of wings, a wing eating contest and more at the Michigan Chicken Wing Festival. Join Lansing 5:01 at the Coffee Capitol, the coffee tasting festival in the historic Cooley Gardens. Get loud with headliner G-EAZY and special guests Tee Grizzley, Duckwrth, Yung Baby Tate and Jahmed at Common Ground Music Festival. And join downtown St. Johns at their second annual Fall Feastival.
Starting Tuesday, Sept. 7, the MSU Museum will welcome visitors Tue.–Sat. from 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Free, timed-entry tickets are required, and can be reserved online beginning in September. The museum has three floors, 15 galleries and exhibit spaces and is Michigan’s first Smithsonian Institute affiliate. Enjoy Habitat Hall with complete, mounted articulated skeletons of two of the great Jurassic dinosaurs, Allosaurus and Stegosaurus, as well as several smaller displays related to dinosaurs. You can even find a giant stuffed grizzly bear and elephant bones!
Walk through Michigan's rich past, from the time of the state's earliest peoples to the late 20th century. You can pose by the giant map of Michigan, say "Hi" to Carl, the state tree, learn more about Michigan's mining history and even more! Museum is currently open Fri.–Sat. from 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. and Sun. from 1:00–5:00 p.m.
Save the date for Michigan Anishinaabe Heritage Day on Sept. 25 from 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. This annual program celebrates Michigan’s rich Anishinaabe/Indigenous history and culture, past and present. More details to come—themes, presentations, demonstrations and other activities for the program are being developed by members of Michigan's 12 federally recognized tribes.
GO GREEN! There's nothing like a football Saturday in Spartan country. From students to alumni, patrons fill the campus roaring with Spartan pride. And Michigan State University is making every effort to bring back a traditional gameday experience including spectators, band, spirit squads, tailgating and hospitality events. They will remain flexible regarding these decisions as the number one priority remains the health and safety of student-athletes, staff and patrons. For now, face coverings must be worn by everyone in attendance when in an indoor area of Spartan Stadium, unless actively eating or drinking. You can learn more about game day info and safety procedures here.
Home Game Days this month will be Sep. 11 vs Yougnstown and Sept. 25 vs Nebraska. Homecoming starts Sept. 27 with the game day on Oct. 2 vs Western Kentucky. This year’s Homecoming theme, "Spartans Journey Together," highlights and recognizes Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee as the 2021 Grand Marshal. Don't forget to Glow Green during Homecoming week!
Read our 5 Tips for Attending a Michigan State Football Game for tailgating tidbits, parking and more!
Greater Lansing has 20 different markets spread across at least 14 different cities, with many open until October. Enjoy a variety of produce carried by the local vendors that may include organic produce, seasonal flowers and homemade goods. Like at Allen Neighborhood Center, open year-round on Wednesdays 2:30–7:00 p.m., featuring local farmers selling produce, homemade treats and sometimes live music. Their outdoor Farmers Market run through September 29, and then move indoors. And mark your calendars for the Farmers Market at the Capitol returning this Sept. 30! Each farmers market has its own unique vendors, so be sure to check out more than one.
6. Celebrate Sparty’s Birthday
On Sept. 16, thirty-two years ago Sparty was unveiled as the official mascot of Michigan State University—HAPPY BIRTHDAY SPARTY! Celebrate our beloved and buff mascot's day with a visit to campus anytime. You can get a picture with Sparty inside the MSU Union, located just outside the Spartan Spirit Shop and MSU Dairy Store. Find him perched on a bench with his arms outstretched—perfect for photo ops! You can also snap a pic with the iconic Sparty Statue, a popular spot for graduation day photos.
Lansing's minor league baseball team—the Lansing Lugnuts—has a packed season with fun-filled game day themes and more. Sept. 14 is $1 Deal Day—dollar Miller Light, hot dogs, popcorn and sodas. You can bring your pup to the game on Sept. 15 for Dog Days of Summer. Sept. 16 is Thirsty Thursday with $2 domestic 16oz drafts and $4 craft 16oz drafts. Sept. 18 features Fireworks after the game. And Sept. 19 is Capital City Market Kids Day—where kids can run the bases after the game! Learn more and get tickets here.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University is a definite must when you are on campus. This contemporary art museum is dedicated to exploring global contemporary culture and ideas through art. Admission is always free and walk-in visits are always welcome! Just make sure you check in at the visitor services desk when you arrive. You can also reserve your free tickets online in advance. Three new exhibits start up this month:
Sept 1–Dec. 12, 2021, Per(Sister): Incarcerated Women of the United States. This exhibition explores the root causes of mass incarceration in the US through art inspired by the interviews of thirty formerly incarcerated women of Louisiana—the state known as the “Prison Capital of the World.” The women share stories of loss, hope, despair, survival, triumph and persistence in a variety of forms, demonstrating the universal struggles faced by communities impacted by incarceration and the personal resilience of each the women.
Sept 4–Jan. 30, 2022, Silenced: Voices from Solitary. This exhibit confronts the difficult topic of solitary confinement and isolation within the United States prison system. The work of a group of talented artists, many of whom have experienced solitary firsthand, share their images, words, videos, and personal testimonies. The exhibition provides an opportunity to learn about the practice and impact of solitary confinement on the residents of Michigan, and beyond.
Sept. 10–Oct. 3, 2021, The Vault: Janice Redman. The Vault, which also houses some of the works from Broad Art Museum's permanent collection, is dedicated to featuring and displaying works chosen by MSU students who work at the museum. This month's works, selected by Molly Killingbeck (Class of 2020), are of artist Janice Redman. According to Redman, her works are made from domestic objects that are typically everyday items and materials that she became familiar with while growing up. Influences came from her seamstress mother, tinkering father, and additional family members that worked in wool mills and the steel industry.
The Makers & Shakers trail is made up of over 20 different breweries, wineries and distilleries throughout the Greater Lansing area. Each producer takes their craft seriously and comes up with their own signature creations with creativity, passion and the desire to bring something unique and tasty to the masses. Most offer flights or tastings to sample some of their product before purchasing.
September has been named “Michigan Craft Spirits Month” throughout the state of Michigan by Michigan Craft Distillers Association (MCDA). You can celebrate right here in Greater Lansing at one-of-a-kind distilleries like American Fifth Spirits, Michigrain Distillery, Red Cedar Spirits and Sanctuary Spirits. Cheers!
10. Potter Park Zoo
So many things are happening at the zoo this month! There's some new activity in the tiger yard—Timmy, a four-year-old Amur tiger, arrived from the Detroit Zoo and is getting acclimated to his new home. You may also spot two new red panda cubs who were born on July 4th. Be sure to celebrate Red Panda Day, Sept. 18 from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., where you can see the red pandas in action and enjoy family activities and a scavenger hunt. And you can also celebrate World Rhino Day on Sept. 25 from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Learn about rhino conservation, play rhino themed games and come see the resident black rhinos Doppsee, Jaali, and Phineus!
11. Biking & Hiking Trails
Looking for some fresh air and exercise? Greater Lansing has three amazing nature centers that offer miles of trails through woods, fields, around ponds and more! Discover Fenner Nature Center and Woldumar Nature Center in Lansing and Harris Nature Center in Okemos. You can also bike, hike, walk or run the Lansing River Trail. With over 17 miles of paved and boardwalk type surfaces, it winds from Old Town Lansing through the heart of downtown and out onto the campus of Michigan State University (awarded a national gold status as a bicycle-friendly university!). You can rent a kayak or bike from River Town Adventures in Downtown Lansing or rent a bike at MSU Bikes Service Center on the campus of Michigan State University.
Want more ideas for outdoor fun? Check out our list of recommended Outdoor Activities in Greater Lansing.
12. Hit The Links
Another great way to get outside for some fresh air and exercise is on any of Greater Lansing's golf, disc golf and foot golf courses. Greater Lansing offers challenging holes with scenic views for players of all abilities and is home to an active and passionate golfing community. And the region has played host to numerous events and tournaments and luckily for you—you can play the same courses the experts do!
Photography: © Michigan State University and Our #lovelansing community—a special thanks for their awesome imagery and social media posts.