Read This: 100 Things to Do in Lansing Before You Die

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

You think you know a place well...and then a book comes along that greatly expands your knowledge! Such is the case with a new travel guide about Lansing, Michigan - our state capitol! 100 Things to Do in Lansing Before You Die, written by Amy Piper and published by Reedy Press, is a meticulously researched treasure chest that is a must-read for anyone heading to (or living in!) the area. It's SO MUCH FUN.

Read This: 100 Things to Do in Lansing Before You Die

I love this book for many reasons: the mix of old and new businesses and places (grad school was a LONG time ago for me), the variety of tips and suggestions, the delving into arts and culture, the inclusion of free things to do, and the joy of exploring a city through the suggestions of a local (our favorite kind of resource). It includes MSU and the Capitol, but shows that the greater Lansing area is so much more than those two powerhouses. 

Whether you're looking for BBQ or banh mi, sports or art, history or music, pinball or skygazing, the MSU Dairy store or a local roller derby team, you'll find plenty of inspiration. I suggest reading through a few times, and then doubling the size of the book by filling the pages with post-it notes marking your favorites. That's what I did!

Highly, highly recommended.

Broad Art Museum, MSU. From Read This: 100 Things to Do in Lansing Before You Die

Amy Piper is a freelance travel writer, blogger, photographer, and author specializing in luxury and multi-generational travel. She is a native Michigander who travels through the lens of a food lover and has been to 41 countries and 45 states. 

From getting chased by bomb-sniffing dogs in the middle of the night in Bogotá to being refused boarding her plane from Buenos Aires to Paraguay due to the wrong visa, Amy always has an exciting adventure to tell her readers and community of travel enthusiasts.

In 2022, Amy was recognized as the Greater Lansing Certified Tourism Ambassador Star of the Year, and she is a published author of two travel books. 

We were so lucky to interview Amy and ask her about her book, inspiration, research, and more. Here's what she had to say...

Author Amy Piper

Please tell us about your new book, 100 Things to Do in Lansing Before You Die.
The book offers five sections — Food and Drink, Music and Entertainment, Sports and Recreation, History and Culture, and Shopping and Fashion. It makes a great passport to memories. As you check off the items in the book, have the venue initial the page, write the date, and you can record some specific memories that your family experienced at that stop. So, it becomes more than a book, but a memory of your family’s experiences.

What inspired you to write this book?
100 Things Lansing was my pandemic project. I had a ticket to London for my corporate job, and the borders closed. I want to keep writing about travel, now what?

At the same time, Midwest Travel Network approached me about a group of writers writing a book called Midwest Road Trip Adventures covering the 12 Midwest states. They invited one writer from each state to write about their favorite road trips, so I wrote the Michigan Chapter. That book was an Amazon bestseller and is now in a second edition.

Several of those writers had written for Reedy Press and suggested I pitch them a book about Lansing. After all, I believe you don’t have to travel far to have the travel experience. So, I became a tourist in my own town and wrote the book.

What were the joys and challenges of researching and writing this book?
The biggest challenge was getting the information during the height of the pandemic. I’ve lived in Lansing my entire life, so I am well-versed in the area, but getting details and wondering which of my favorite restaurants would survive, was a challenge. Then, as things re-opened, I could return to those spots and confirm facts before submitting the final book for publication.

The biggest joy was when at an event, people showed me they have the book and they have it marked with places they’ve been and want to go. It makes me feel happy that they are discovering places in my hometown.

Historical Center. From Read This: 100 Things to Do in Lansing Before You Die

What might people be surprised to learn about Lansing?
Here’s a blog post on Lansing, Michigan: 12 Fun Facts. These facts are often surprising even to those who call Lansing home.

What’s up next for you?
Midwest State Park Adventures will be out in mid-May, where I wrote the Michigan chapter. So that’s another collaborative effort with the eleven other authors I wrote the Midwest Road Trip Adventures with.

Then, I’m authoring another book with Reedy Press called Secret Michigan: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure. That will be out in the spring of 2024. So, I have a lot of focus on Michigan travel this summer.

How can people find your work?
I have a blog,, where I blog about my adventures. My book website is

My social media handles are:

Instagram: amythepipertravels

Twitter: amythepiper

FB: FollowthePiper

You can also purchase the book at these Greater Lansing area stores:

Bookstores in Lansing, Michigan, that offer 100 Things to Do in Lansing Before You Die

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
As locals, we think we can get out and go anytime, so we tend to think we’ll do it later. Using the book as a passport will challenge us to get out there and be tourists in our own town. It provides local history and details that even locals may not know.

Tourists can use it as a definitive list of must-do things in the area. So, if you have a short time, you don’t have to do as much research. Instead, you can find a place in one of the sections, check their website and go.