Lansing is more than just the political hub of Michigan. It’s also a richly diverse destination for arts, culture and learning.

Mayor Andy Schor says, “We’ve seen a lot of growth and development and recently there’s been a population increase with people wanting to move to the city. There’s a lot of diversity here, both economic and ethnic. We have a big population of immigrants and refugees from all over. In fact, the kids in our school system speak 65 different languages besides English. We have several commerce areas and 40 neighborhoods and many other amenities.”

Known as “the heart of the action” downtown, the Stadium District, across Michigan Avenue from the Lansing Lugnuts baseball stadium, features numerous eateries and entertainment venues as well as sports events.“We just approved Michigan’s only pro soccer team,” Schor says.

“Portrait of a Dreamer,” an aluminum and steel, interactive sculpture with turnable gears by Ivan Iler, stares down at Lansing҆s Museum District at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Museum Drive. Placed there in 2017, it is part of Lansing’s project to carve out unique places in the city as part of its economic development plan. This effort is leading to new business and talent springing up in the city.

Michigan History Center discovers, preserves, and shares Michigan’s history. It is home to several museums and archival collections and offers many educational programs to the public. The Archives of Michigan keeps records of Michigan government and other public institutions.

The Michigan State Capitol, built in 1879, is one of the first state capitols to be topped by a neoclassical style cast-iron dome. Inside, it has been restored with Italianate decor that gives a welcoming, warm, yet spacious ambiance. Replicas of more than 160 historic battle flags are displayed In the rotunda.

Downtown Lansing’s Central Business District was established in 1996, and its 64 blocks provide a home for more than 1,000 businesses. The entire downtown area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A Meijer store and a hotel will open by the end of 2020. On November 16, downtown will host the annual Silver Bells in the City. “On Michigan Avenue we have a new brewery opening up and an Italian restaurant coming in,” Schor says.

Old Town is Lansing’s creative cultural district. Historically restored buildings provide space for a diverse mix of residents and retail, creative endeavors and entertainment businesses. Special events and eclectic shops abound.

REO Town is named after Ransom Eli Olds, whose name also survives in the Oldsmobile. Along South Washington Avenue you’ll find local businesses, and REO Town includes three neighborhoods: Fabulous Acres, Moores Park and River Point. “REO is really up-and-coming,” Schor says. “It’s a new, gritty area with a coffee shop that recently opened, a barbecue joint and record stores.”

LCC is a two-year public college on an urban 42-acre site in downtown spanning seven city blocks two blocks away from the state capitol. LCC’s Famous Sculpture Walk, featuring conceptual works like the 30-foot “Red Ribbon in the Sky,” a stack of books called “Literacy” and abstract sculptures to celebrate abstract ideas like “Inspiration” and “Harmony,” are the work of artists affiliated with LCC in some way, either students or faculty members.

The 98-year-old Potter Park Zoo, features more than 160 species of animals including threatened or endangered species like Amur tigers, red pandas, snow leopards, bongos and more.

The All Around the African World Museum presents evidence of the presence of people of African descent in the history and development of the world. Africa is the cradle of humanity, and the museum teaches of the African diaspora and the contributions made by African people on every continent. It spans two buildings on Shepherd Street.

Malcolm X, civil rights activist and spokesman for the oppressed and for social justice in the African- American community, was born Malcolm Little in Nebraska. As a child, he lived in Lansing in the 1930s. The Little home, known as the Malcolm X Homesite, is now a registered historical landmark.