After a year and a half of virtual learning, many of Michigan State University’s freshman and sophomore classes will be stepping onto the green and white campus for the first time.
The 5300-acre campus with a 51-mile river running through its north side will be home to at least 9,600 freshmen moving in late August, according to an estimate Dan Olsen gave The State News in June. Before classes begin and the majority of your days are spent behind a computer screen or in a lecture hall, here are a few things you should do the moment you step on campus.
MSU and East Lansing are home to multiple recreational activities for students and their friend groups.
A popular place is Pinball Pete’s, located at 220 Albert St. Pinball Pete’s is home to East Lansing’s very own arcade, complete with air hockey, skee ball, and, of course, pinball machines.
The arcade is open Tuesdays-Thursdays from 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from noon to 1 a.m., and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m., making it an excellent hangout spot for college students.
For more of a theatrical approach to a good time, students can visit Wharton Center for Performing Arts on 750 Shaw Lane. Many live shows and virtual events come from the Wharton Center — for example, Reneé Elise Goldsberry will be there on Oct. 27, so Hamilton fans won’t want to miss this place.
For some after-hours fun, students can book a trip to Abrams Planetarium. Located at 755 Science Road, the planetarium hosts public shows most Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets have to be bought in advance due to COVID-19 restrictions.
For a "free" show, consider taking the lab for ISP 205 to fulfill your university credit and experience the planetarium! Either way, if you are even mildly interested in space and galaxies, this is a must-see place.
Food & Drinks
Local restaurants are all around Michigan State’s campus.
A personal favorite of mine is Sir Pizza on W. Lake Lansing. A little bit of a drive if you aren’t living in Chandler Crossings or surrounding apartments, but this place has the best pizza in my opinion.
Not to mention, their prices are reasonable and they offer extra-large pizzas for delivery for those vaccinated dorm parties.
If you are a “small breakfast before class” type of person, you have to visit Bruegger's Bagels, located at 505 Grand River Ave. Bruegger's offers breakfast and lunch bagel sandwiches that are extremely delicious, plus their soups are the best during the cold East Lansing winters.
Seriously, if you don’t stop at Breuggers as soon as possible when you get to campus, you’ll be missing out.
Finally, please do yourself a favor and visit HopCat. In my opinion, HopCat has top-tier bar-style food: chips with spicy queso, jumbo chicken wings, and their Cosmik fries — the unabridged winner of The State News' 2021 Fry Fest competition.
HopCat, along with other local bar-esque restaurants, was the epicenter of some outbreaks during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last summer, but nevertheless, their food is a staple of Michigan State University.
Miscellaneous things to do
You’ve made it to a Big Ten university with a beautiful campus, so naturally, there are many things to do outside of this list.
Whether it’s taking a stroll down the banks of the Red Cedar, jogging through the Sanford Natural Area ) or just sitting on the benches near the Beaumont Tower, MSU offers many opportunities to just sit and be one with nature.
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If you want to show your Sparty Pride, you can visit the Spartan Spirit Shop in the MSU Union, tailgate at one of the many fraternity houses around campus (within COVID-19 guidelines) and clap along to the fight song at the first home football game against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 11. Just make sure you know the words!
Finally, maybe you want to visit the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, which has a fitness center and a pool available by reservation. Or maybe you are more book-ish and just want to relax at one of the multiple libraries on and around campus, including the MSU Main Library on W. Circle Drive and the East Lansing Public Library on Abbott Road for all your book borrowing needs.
Whatever activities you plan to do at MSU, there are multiple places to help students feel at home at their new university for the first time.
This article is part of our 2021 Summer Mail Home Issue. View the full digital issue here.
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