East Lansing Warming Up, Offering Opportunities

Friday, February 17, 2017, 7:55 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

Above: The Looking Glass River in April 2016.

The weather forecast is looking promising for this weekend, and as a consequence I find myself wanting to remind our readers of ELi’s reports on warm-weather opportunities in and around East Lansing. Having obtained permission to do so from Managing Editor Ann Nichols, I submit the following suggestions:

Be a hearty Michigander (or Michigoose): It may still be a little too chilly for all the public patios to spring to life around East Lansing but, as opportunity permits, take advantage of the ones our readers love. Just bring a sweater!

Enjoy both cities: Warm weather invariably enlivens the students among us, which can be both a special pleasure and something to pleasurably escape from “up north.” What am I talking about? Ann About Town explains.

Pull your boat out: Sure, it’s early to be going canoeing and kayaking, but is it really ever too early for a short paddle when you live in Michigan? Mike Townley offers ideas about where to go. (This will get you in shape for the Quiet Water Symposium, coming March 4.)

Discover there is a there-there: Yes, East Lansing has been invaded by a lot of chains, and that can be a drag. But the truth is that downtown East Lansing has a wealth of local small businesses that this reporter finds really enjoyable to poke around for diverting shopping. These include Clever Clover, Curious Book Shop, East Lansing Threads, Flat Black & Circular, Mackerel Sky, and The Record Lounge. If you are or know a Vera Bradley fan, or, like me, you're smitten with fresh office supplies and fancy amateur artists' materials, you want S.B.S. bookstore.

And don’t tell me there’s no place to eat downtown: Because come on, there’s Georgio’s Pizza (the potato pizza, with sour cream!), and Crunchy’s famous burgers nearby, and Velvet makes a true old-fashioned vanilla milkshake and will brew a real Bloom espresso for your companion to go with her choice of chocolate truffle. A neighbor also recently recommended Sapporo Ramen on M.A.C., a relatively new place that has 4.2 stars with 52 Google reviews.

Get your bike back in shape…so you can get back in shape! Two great places to do this include Evergreen Cycles and Repair (downtown) and Velocipede Peddler (in Brookfield Plaza). Both will sell you useful gear, including helmets, locks, paniers, bells, gloves, and water-bottle holders.

Make your dog happy: We are months away from what will hopefully be the second annual dog swim day at the Family Aquatic Center, but you can get your pooch used to doggy company right now by taking him or her to the Northern Tail Dog Park.

Take time for the run around: If you’re a runner, check out our new reporter Jessy Gregg’s suggestions about places to push yourself while we’re still technically in winter. The Northern Tier Trail is this runner’s personal favorite, not least because you sometimes get to have a deer be your pacer.

Art it up: Walk along the Red Cedar River on MSU’s campus to experience the Broad’s “Drowning World” exhibit—art in the river!—before it ends February 28. Then head over to Saper Galleries to enjoy art produced in a variety of media, and wrap up your artistic walk-about by discovering what’s new at Grove Gallery.

See what the Joneses are up to: Take a stroll in an East Lansing neighborhood in which you’ve never been. Check out the funky mix of midcentury modern and grandiose in old Whitehills, enjoy the historic charm of Chesterfield Hills or Glencairn, and introduce yourself to the new urban design motif of Avondale Square. Pro tip: Go at dusk and you’ll get to enjoy a “Rear Window” experience of seeing what color other people in East Lansing paint their dining rooms.