In the middle of the mitten lies Lansing, the state capital of Michigan. As the home of an enormous automobile manufacturing industry, including General Motors, this city’s geography at first appears purely postindustrial. However, traveling about the city reveals beautiful natural nooks that surround the Grand River, which flows throughout the entire city. In addition to offering ample wooded areas and wildlife, Lansing hosts attractions including an acclaimed symphony, a teeming zoo, and one of the largest genealogy collections in the U.S.
Lansing boasts the second-highest public transport ridership in Michigan, and for good reason: its Capital Area Transport Authority (CATA) was the winner of the APTA America’s Best Transit Award in 2007. Lansing is also a major Amtrak stop, making for easy weekend trips to Chicago or Toronto. Biking throughout the city is also a solid option, especially if you’ll be sticking to the 13-mile River Trail along the Grand.