While you’ve heard a lot about the lively and warm city of Chicago, you might not have heard as much about its quaint suburb down south. Sure, a day at the museum or watching a baseball game while chowing down a good ol’ hotdog sounds like a lot of fun, but we’re taking you away from the city and closer to Mother Nature for a breath of fresh air in Lansing, Illinois. Think nature walks, historic sites, and beer tasting—you’re bound to enjoy the small town’s old-world charm. Dive into a nostalgic and slow-paced lifestyle for a break from your busy life in the city. If this sounds like your kind of fun, read on to explore the best things to do in Lansing, Illinois.
1. Dive into nature at Sand Ridge Nature Center
Explore nature and wildlife at Sand Ridge Nature Center, which offers a variety of walking trails that lead to natural habitats like prairies, oak savannas, sand dunes, and many more. Get up close and personal with the native wildlife that includes birds of prey, snakes, and turtles, and learn a thing or two about the culture and history of the Calumet region from the exhibits on-site. You can also participate in hands-on activities by exploring interactive and interpretive displays, sauntering through a colourful butterfly garden, or watching bird feeders at work. In addition, the center has a number of public programs that could enhance your experience there.
Sand Ridge Nature Center
Address: 15891 Paxton Ave, South Holland, IL
Website: Sand Ridge Nature Center
Opening hours: Mar - Oct: 9am - 5pm; Nov - Feb: 9am - 4pm (closed on Fri)
2. Reminisce history at Historic Ford Hangar
This airplane hangar has a rich history dating as far back as the 1920s. While it has not been in use as an airplane hangar since 2011, this historic building remains an important part of Lansing’s history. Since it ceased operations, it has been empty and used occasionally for events. The building’s wide space and old-school charm make it an ideal venue for functions—some people have even suggested using it as a wedding venue. It sure would look great in pictures! The area around still operates as an airport, so locals and tourists alike would head down there to watch airplanes take off. Unfortunately, the structure does not have restrooms, and the nearest ones are in a newer building on the other side of a parking lot.
Historic Ford Hangar
Address: 19507-19539 Burnham Ave, Lansing, IL
Website: Historic Ford Hangar
3. Enter virtual reality with Gamma VR
#SaturdayStyle Pump up your social media with awesome selfies holding a Pistol used in VR Gaming. (No it's not an...Posted by Gamma VR Lansing on Saturday, 16 November 2019
Change things up a bit with a relatively new place, Gamma VR, which only opened in November 2018. This premium virtual reality arcade is the most advanced VR arcade in the state—it has more than 200 games to choose from and is equipped with top-notch VR technology. Upon stepping inside, you will find yourself in a trendy and modern neon-lit environment to set the mood for an intense game coming up. It also makes a good backdrop for a post-game snap with your gang. Yes, you can play alongside your family and friends as the stations are all multiplayer-friendly!
Address: 2416 176th St, Lansing, IL
Website: Gamma VR
Opening hours: Mon & Wed - Fri: 2pm - 12am; Sat - Sun: 11am - 12am (closed on Tue)
Price: From 15 USD
4. Treat yourself at Gayety's Chocolates & Ice Cream Co.
Calling all dessert lovers! With a rich history as one of USA Today’s Top 50 Ice Cream Parlours and the winner of several national awards since the 1920s, this place is a must-visit when you’re in town. It closed the year before and just reopened this year, much to the fans’ delight. Back better than before, its sundaes and chocolates are all the rave in town. There’s really no better way to treat yourself in Lansing than with a good ol’ banana split and chocolate-covered strawberries!
Gayety's Chocolates & Ice Cream Co.
Address: 3306 Ridge Rd, Lansing, IL
Website: Gayety’s Chocolates & Ice Cream Co.
Opening hours: Mon - Thu & Sun: 12pm - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 12pm - 10pm
5. Marvel at the interior of St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church
Step inside St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church and you’ll find yourself in amazement of the intricate paintings on its ceiling and walls. The tall pillars are painted like the rest of the church’s wondrous interior, and they uphold a unique dome shape on the inside. The exterior presents a simplistic and humble church in sand-yellow, which plays a part in taking your breath away. If the structure already looks this good in pictures, then you’d really have to see its beauty for yourself.
St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church
Address: 1500 186th St, Lansing, IL
Opening hours: Sun: 9:30am - 11:30am (closed on Mon - Sat)
6. Catch a movie at Cinema 8
With its retro exterior greeting you as you pull up in the parking lot, Cinema 8 looks like it came right out of an old ‘80s film, where your parents would have gone to for movie dates. While it is quite a sight and perhaps even a good location for an Instagram photo, why not enjoy a good film or two while you’re there and bask in its old-school charm.
Address: 16621 Torrence Ave, Lansing, IL
Website: Cinema 8
Opening hours: 11am - 11pm (daily)
Price: From 8 USD
7. Go beer tasting at One Trick Pony Brewery
Lansing Journal readers welcome our newest distribution location. One Trick Pony BreweryPosted by The Lansing Journal on Wednesday, 1 August 2018
One Trick Pony Brewery is great for a chat and drinks with friends. It is a cosy and humble microbrewery with tasting rooms that serve eight different selections of its handcrafted beer. If you’re a beer enthusiast who knows a good beer when you taste one, or if you would simply just like a good time, you ought to pop by this brewery when you’re in town!
One Trick Pony Brewery
Address: 17845-17851 Chappel Ave, Lansing, IL
Website: One Trick Pony Brewery
Opening hours: Mon: 6pm - 11pm; Tue - Sat: 3pm - 11pm; Sun: 2pm - 10pm
8. Enjoy a leisurely day at Lan-Oak Park District
Grab your picnic baskets or hop onto a bike and enjoy your day at Lan-Oak Park District. With well-developed recreational facilities and programs, you’re in for a relaxing day at the park. There are suitable activities for people of all ages, all year round—even in winter! Sometimes you just need to let your hair down and unwind, and truly there is no better place to do it than at a breezy park like this.
Lan-Oak Park District
Address: 17551 Chicago Ave, Lansing IL
Website: Lan-Oak Park District
9. Go fishing or golfing at Lansing Country Club
When you’re in a small charming town, you’re bound to do a lot of nature-related leisure activities. Why not grab a fishing rod and hop onto an electric motor for a relaxing day out on the lake? While it is not quite the most fast-paced activity, it would be nice to chitchat with family and friends while you await your bait to be bitten. If you prefer a more interactive sport, golf is an option. You can enjoy Lansing Country Club’s 18-hole golf course—with 15 of them on the water!
Lansing Country Club
Address: 18600 Wentworth Ave, Lansing, IL
Website: Lansing Country Club
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11am - 9pm; Sun: 11am - 8pm (closed on Mon)
Price: From 6 USD
10. End your day with dinner and drinks at J J Kelleys
Are you hot?!? ? This weather has us craving Summer Beers! We have them all! Stop on in for a refreshing drinkPosted by J J Kelleys on Thursday, 18 July 2019
With its themed nights like Wicked Wednesday, Taco Thursday, and Fish Fry Fridays, you’re in for a treat regardless of when you pop by J J Kelleys. While the food is what draws all the customers (they have really good tacos), the entertainment is what will make you stay. With live bands, jukeboxes, televisions, and a private bar, this is a great place to end your day with some drinks and snacks.
J J Kelleys
Address: 2455 Bernice Rd, Lansing, IL
Website: J J Kelleys
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 2am; Fri - Sat: 11am - 3am; Sun: 12pm - 2am
A small town with old-world charm
While Lansing is not quite your typical travel destination, you wouldn’t be short of fun experiences at this quaint suburb. With both authentic nature and new technology in abundance here, you could have a wholesome trip dabbling in a little of both—though we recommend slathering on some sunscreen and enjoying the outdoors!
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