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Michigan Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff

Michigan Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff
by Colleen Burcar
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Downtown Lansing, Michigan

America's Brainiest Cities: 5 Unexpected Reasons to Move to Lansing, MI

by James James

Despite its endless dining options, variety of outdoor experiences, business opportunities and world-class performance venues and galleries, the home of Michigan State University is getting attention for something a little unexpected. Lansing, Mich. is one of the brainiest cities in the country.

Richard Florida from Theatlanticcities.com reported that Lansing ranks 16th in America's 25 brainiest metros, a result he concluded from a metric developed by Lumos Labs. Instead of focusing on city residents' education levels and college degrees, this metric tracks people's cognitive performances through online games.

If you want to move to Lansing, chances are this smart lifestyle may rub off on you. With so many great things the city has to offer, here are five unexpected things that may draw you in and help make Lansing home.

Job Market

Since the recession ended in June 2009, Lansing is one of three cities in Michigan to report some of the largest relative job increases national wide, Mlive.com reports. According to the Urban Institute analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Lansing ranked No. 1 in manufacturing and No. 7 for total private job growth. The city has strong ties to the automotive industry and is known for having hard workers.

Social Scene

Like any other big city, Lansing is full of great bars, clubs, cafes and cultural centers. Residents can work downtown, find Lansing apartments for rent and experience the variety of night life the city has to offer. Though not your normal social scene suggestion, Burgdorf's Winery deserves a spot at the top. A boutique winery that offers a unique tasting room and wine-making facility, guests can visit the country atmosphere and even create their own bottle of wine with the guidance of trained staff.

Nature Areas

Located just 10 miles from Lansing, residents and visitors enjoy Ingham County's largest outdoor recreation area, Burchfield Park. The area is made up of 540 acres of scenic woods, trails and beaches providing park-goers with the best nature experience in town. All ages can enjoy mountain biking trails, supervised swimming in the Grand River, horseshoe pits, ball games, fishing, canoeing, volleyball games, picnicking and playgrounds.

Cultural Experiences

Established nearly 50 years ago, the Lansing Art Gallery is the city's first permanent art gallery and one of the area's most prominent independent non-profit galleries. It exclusively features Michigan artists and hosts monthly exhibitions, statewide art competitions and community education programs. Visitors can purchase original artwork and enjoy a seasonal holiday gift market put on by the Gallery.

Family Fun

Just a short drive from Lansing, Country Mill Farms is the area's only full-service cider mill. Offering events and attractions, a farmer's market, winery, fruit picking and more, the farm is a great place to regularly spend a day or two. Guests can ride around the Orchard Express Train, take an orchard tour, trek through a corn maze and experience the Haunted Cider Mill. A popular place for weddings, the Country Mill Farm is a unique park setting with a homey, family-friendly feel.

James James Jim grew up on a farm in Idaho and left the cornfields for the big city. He learned that a bachelor's degree in economics from NYU doesn't guarantee that big paycheck, so he's working on an M.B.A. and lives and breaths real estate.


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