Beginner's Guide to the Good Life at Michigan State
(for new faculty)
Where do I shop for bottles of good Wine!
Wine joints (bottle shops for the serious): Vine & Brew (Okemos), DustyÕs Wine Cellar (store in restaurant, Okemos), (more affordable) World Market (Frandor). And, of course, in Michigan you can buy wine, beer, liquor in all grocery stores too.
Where might I go to get food made from scratch by a chef?!
Restaurants (for grown-ups, foodies and winos; this list is predominately continental cuisine):
The People's Kitchen (Lansing on Michigan Ave)
DustyÕs Wine Cellar (Okemos)
Capital Prime (Steaks, Eastwood, Lansing) *very nice outdoor patio
Maru Sushi (East Lansing)
Red Haven (East Lansing)
The State Room (East Lansing/MSU campus)
BeggarÕs Banquet (East Lansing downtown)
Soup Spoon Cafe (Lansing on Michigan Ave)
Bowdie's Chophouse (formerly The Knightcap) (Lansing on Michigan Ave)
EnVie (French, Downtown Lansing on S. Washington Square)
Golden Harvest (breakfast restaurant, Old Town)
Cosmos/Zoobies wood-fired Pizza and Old Town Tavern (Old Town, Lansing); *expansive outdoor patio!
Meat Southern BBQ & Carnivore Cuisine (Old Town, Lansing); *summer outdoor patio
The English Inn (Eaton Rapids)
Nikos Taverna (Williamston)
Tavern 109 (Williamston)
Red Cedar Grill (Williamston)
River House Inn (Williamston)
Old Nation Brewing Co. (Williamston)
Bridge Street Social (Wine Bar, Dewitt)
The French Laundry (Fenton)
Main Street in Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor)
Downtown in Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids)
Chains that don't suck: (all of these are at Eastwood Towne Center) Capital Prime Steak & Seafood, Bravo Cucina Italiana, MitchellÕs Fish Market, PF ChangÕs.
GEMS with unique local flavor/fare/ambiance!: (in East Lansing, downtown)
Georgio's Pizza- this is a local family "pizza slice" place worth a visit! The pizza is hauntingly good and the variety of different pizza slices to chose from, all spread out on display in front of you in a glass case, is vast.
(the roof of) El Azteco's- this is not about the food being special really, but primarily about the escapism of dining on the roof with friends and pretending you are in Cancun drinking cerveza.
Tailgating (Spartan Stadium)- do not forget the combination of food, drink and fall weather makes living in a BigTen Football town amazing. Socializing with friends before/during/after the football game is better than the game itself.
IN SUMMER: Excellent outdoor dining make these worth a second look: Capital Prime, Cosmos, Meat AND (in East Lansing, downtown) Dublin Square, Peanut Barrel, Roof of El Azteco's, HopCat Brew House, Field House pizza; (at Eastwood Towne Center) Mitchell's Fish Market
Where can I get work done (and drink good espresso!)?
Coffee houses: Strange Matter Coffee Co. (best, for serious Java, two locations, Michigan Ave & downtown, Lansing), Chapelure Cafˇ (a little like French Cafˇ patisserie, Hannah Plaza East Lansing), Biggby Coffee (local franchises, one in MSU Union), Starbucks (national franchises, two in EL). MSU also has a number of SpartyÕs coffeehouses with mediocre industrial swill on campus.
Where do I find food to stock my kitchen (anything other than big boxes)?
Grocery: Aldi, Fresh Thyme, Foods for Living, Whole Foods Market, (soon Trader Joe's) World Market (Frandor), The Food Co-op, MitchellÕs Fish Market (store), a tiny urban grocer Mert's Specialty Meats (& pork, chicken, bison, fish, breads, pasta, wine) (Okemos), local TomÕs Food Center (Okemos) and several national grocery chains are nearby e.g. Kroger. Also SuperBig boxes with groceries include Costco, Walmart, Meijer (local version of Walmart) and Target. Tips -> For best quality Fish/Seafood: try at MitchellÕs Fish Market restaurantÕs inside store also Whole Foods & Mert's, Meat: try at MertÕs Meats or MonticelloÕs, Chicken: try Bell & EvanÕs Chicken at Foods for Living or Mert's. *Also, you can get seasonal fresh farm-to-table for your kitchen via CSAs (community supported agriculture) like Titus Farms and MSU Student Organic Farm.
Is there any hint of civilization, umm, for shopping?!
Shopping: (best) Eastwood Towne Center (outdoor shopping center, near by, Lansing) has: Apple Store, William Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Sephora, Banana Republic, Lululemon, Ann Taylor, Gap, Express, DSW shoes, DickÕs Sports, and more, as well as, NCG Cinemas movie complex and 10 restaurants. It's also surrounded by new big box stores (Walmart, SAMs Club), three hotels and residential condominiums, a Tesla Supercharger site. Indoor Malls: Meridian Mall with MacyÕs (near, Okemos) and Lansing Mall (Lansing). Other shopping sites: Frandor Shopping Center with World Market, TJ Max. Downtown East Lansing is nice walkable shopping. There are big national boxes aplenty, like Costco, Home Depot, BestBuy, Staples, Menards, Lowes, Marshall's, Target, on and on. *Also there is an IKEA within an hours drive (Canton MI) and seven Trader Joe's in MI, most near IKEA/Detroit suburbs.
**Nightlife: MSU Jazz Events, the Robin Theater (Lansing), Pump House Concerts (East Lansing), Wharton Center (talks and Broadway Shows), MSU Opera, MSU Department of Theater, Lansing Symphony Orchestra, Williamston Theater (Williamston), Summer Circle Theater (Shakespeare outside by Kresge Hall), Summer Solstice Jazz Festival, East Lansing Art Festival **Daylife: Golf courses (all around), Bowling on campus (at MSU Union), MSU Beal & Horticulture Gardens, MSU Bug house (at Natural Science Bldg.), MSU Abrams Planetarium, MSU Dairy Store (ice cream), MSU Vet school Š walk a dog (Sponsor a Dog program), MSU Museum (science & culture), MSU Greenhouses, Red Cedar River Š feeding ducks, maybe canoeing on campus (ducks by Wells Hall), MSU sporting events (Fall Football games: outdoor tailgating is BIG10 level), Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, Golf, Volleyball, Field Hockey, Tennis, and Ice Hockey, etc, East Lansing Aquatic Center (fancy outdoor pools), East Lansing Hannah Center (indoor pool, theater, fitness, classes), East Lansing Library, Impressions 5 Science Museum, Potter Park Zoo, Lansing Capital building (tours), *Lansing Lugnuts baseball team/stadium (*frequent fireworks), Lake Lansing beach and park (oh, and it you have an EV, 55+ electric car charging stations in Lansing Metro area, dozen+ on campus).
Art/films: Studio C! Cinemas (best boutique theater, Okemos), Broad Museum of Art (BAM), other movies (three local movie complexes with new releases, Celebration Cinemas has four EV charging stations), East Lansing Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival (Traverse City), East Lansing Film Society, Landmark Cinemas (Royal Oak, Bloomfield Hills), State Theatre, Michigan Theatre (Ann Arbor). Detroit Institute of Art (DIA Detroit), Art Institute of Chicago (AIC Chicago), Grand Rapids Museum of Art, Art Prize Competition (Grand Rapids).
Getaways: (overnight) Take Amtrak train from MSU campus East Lansing Station direct to downtown Chicago Union Station (art, museums, food, film, theater, Chicago), (overnight/daytrip) Drive to Somerset Collection-elite shopping e.g. Tiffany's/Royal Oak Art Theaters etc (Troy/ Royal Oak), (food, film, overnight/daytrip) Drive to Ann Arbor (restaurants, art films, Ann Arbor), Drive to Detroit (Tigers baseball, Fox Theater, Lions Football, RedWings Hockey, Pistons Basketball, DIA Art Museum). (summer) Drive to Stratford Ontario (food, theatre, Canada), Drive to Lake Michigan beach towns/B&Bs, (summer) Drive to Traverse City (foodies, wine, beer, beaches).