Holy crap, it’s going to be 70 degrees today – and it’s FEBRUARY in Michigan! If you’re like the rest of us, you’re obviously thinking about ways to leverage this glorious heat wave. Thankfully, Lansing has us covered. Here are a few ways you can leave the winter coat at home, dust off your flip-flops, and enjoy the warm sun in our city!
Zoobie’s Tiki Party
If Mother Nature is gracing us with 70 and sunlight, coconut bombs and tropical drinks should be a required part of your day’s agenda. Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern, in conjunction with Cosmo’s Pizza next door, is throwing an impromptu Tiki Party on their fantastic patio from 3pm – 10pm. This is definitely the place to celebrate summer-loving shenanigans in February.
For many paddlers, winter keeps them from enjoying their hobby all year long. But when it feels like summer in winter, it’s time to break out the paddles and get on the water. River Town Adventures, inside the City Market on the river front in downtown Lansing, will be open just for today in honor of the unseasonably warm temperatures. It’s a fantastic and inexpensive way, for novices and experts, to enjoy the scenery of the Lansing community on a kayak! And once you’re done on the water, be sure to take a stroll on the Lansing River Trail, too.
Grab your Golf Clubs
Golfing in February is typically reserved for southern climates. But not today. Go grab your clubs and head to Lansing’s very own Groesbeck Golf Course. You can’t beat $6 for 9 holes walking. And when you’re done, drive a few seconds north to the Eastwood Towne Center, where you can walk outside, enjoy upscale restaurants, and shop until your heart’s content.
Attend The Hatching
Lansing’s own version of Shark Tank is happening tonight! This monthly event at Lansing Brewing Company starts at 6pm, is free to the public, and allows up to 5 teams to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges (and the public) for a $1,000 check! Don’t miss this event, and while you’re there, be sure to enjoy the patio scene in those balmy 70 degree temps.
Hang with the Animals
Lansing is so lucky to have the Potter Park Zoo, but it’s easy to forget it’s open year-round. Since it’s a very walkable zoo, integrated with the Lansing River Trail, what better way to enjoy the sunny skies than to walk around a scenic park and visit some lions, tigers, moose, or the new friendly otters?
Find Your Patio
Typically, by February, most Lansing residents are clamoring for the opportunity to sit at a local tavern’s patio, but are forced to wait a few more months until the ice has thawed. Looks like Old Man Winter will be vacating the premises for the day, so here’s your shot to grab a spot at local eateries with legendary patios like Peanut Barrel, Crunchy’s, or Reno’s Sports Bar. Just remember – save a table for us!
Alright friends, it’s cold and snowy* in Mid-Michigan. If you booked your Caribbean vacation 4 months ago, good for you! This is for the rest of you looking to get some fresh air in the cold months.
I’m going to focus on activities you can *only* do when it’s cold or snowy. Since movement is the key to warmth, Cross Country (Nordic) Skiing can be learned in a few hours. It also takes a lifetime to master so I tell students, when you fall, it means you’re trying! Burchfield Park and Harris Nature Center both will rent you a pair of skis/shoes/poles. Burchfield Park packs down ski trails making it easier to learn and ski faster.
These other snow activities can have a shorter learning curve. Snowshoeing is a lot like walking, but backing up can be difficult. Ice skating is speedy fun when you find a frozen lake without snow. Early season cold usually sees the local lakes freeze up. East Lansing City hosts outdoor skating at Valley Court Park. Sledding in your sloped driveway is fun, but other good spots are Raney and Bancroft Parks in Lansing. Burchfield and Hawk Island Parks rent tubes for sliding down their hills. With your own gear, you can play for free at your local park or preserve.
Snow can be pretty…and cold. Let’s talk about layers. The idea is that layers trap air between the clothes. If the air trapped in between is warm, then so are you. From sweaters in summer to shorts in winter, I say this--if you need a layer, wear it! Answer the question: How long can I handle this weather? Three layers matter in variable cold: insulating fleece/wool, water resistant, and wind blocking. Some products claim all three! Most winter clothing only does one thing well. If you must choose one active layer, find something insulating, not cotton and 90% water resistant.
As the snow holds on into April, you’ll have to get creative. Got some new cold weather skills, imagine a winter campout at Rose Lake State Natural Area. Winter bike commuting is a good option if you find a fat-tire bike or invest in some metal-studded tires to grab the icy pavement. For trail adventures, try running with snowshoes for a challenge. There are a number of ski races and organized events short distances Lansing.
My last piece of advice is this: Bring a friend. Make a friend. Be a friend. Keeping warm together (or miserably cold) makes the experience more fun, statistically safer, and your stories wilder at your favorite taproom. To you weekend warriors and couch surfers alike, let’s get outside, stay active and have fun!
**I make no claims about the safety of any of these activities. Plan ahead, ask around, or get in touch for more information!
The 5:01 is looking for guest bloggers to share their experiences on the benefits of living, working and playing in the greater Lansing area.