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Does your college town suck? Michigan State University

No alcohol for the first 61 years of its existence...?

New to the line up this season: we will be examining the various college towns of Wisconsin’s opponents. We’ll be answering all of the important questions – Is it a state capital? What is the population? Does it have a Culver’s?


City: East Lansing, Michigan

Size: 13.51 square miles

Location: 42°44′05″N 84°28′50″W

Population: 48,729 (2019)

State Capital? No

Time zone: Eastern

Landmarks: Michigan State University, W.J. Beal Botanical Garden, Potter Park Zoo, Abrams Planetarium


East Lansing is part of the Lansing-East Lansing metropolitan area, with Lansing as the state capital. So close to being the capital East Lansing... so close...always a city, never a capital city.

East Lansing is located on land that was an important junction of two major Native American groups — the Potawatomi and the Fox. The Lansing and Howell Plank Road Company was established in 1850 to connect a toll road to the Detroit and Howell Plank Road, which would aid in travel between Lansing and Detroit. The road cut right through what is now East Lansing and was finished in 1853.

A few years later, Michigan State University was established (1857). For the first forty years of the school’s existence students and faculty mostly lived on campus, with few living in Lansing. Over time, different subdivisions in the area were developed in an attempt to bring in more residents.

Fifty years after the school was established, incorporation of a city was proposed in the area under the name of College Park. The legislature approved the charter, but changed the name to East Lansing.

The initial city charter in 1907 prohibited the possession, sale, or consumption of alcoholic beverages and East Lansing was considered a dry city...which sounds like the perfect place for a college. This stayed the case until 1968...can you even imagine? Sixty-one years of no alcohol...


A buddy of mine, Matt Busse went to Thomas Cooley College of Law in Lansing and his first-hand account of the Lansing-East Lansing metropolitan area, paints an underwhelming picture.

“Lansing is basically the Roundy’s brand version of Madison,” Busse said, when I initially asked him for his thoughts. Anyone who knows anything about Copps and Roundy’s and their grocery stores, knows that Roundy’s brand products are garbage, so that comment speak volumes about the area.

He also said, “they are trying too hard. Too hard to be a cool capital city, too hard to be their (MSU’s) big sister Michigan”

While most of his experience occurred in Lansing, it’s hard to imagine it’s fellow-metropolitan cohort, East Lansing being any different...

Lastly he said, “Lansing has a square around their capitol with one way streets, but instead of bring able to drive around it, the one way streets alternate, it’s fucking stupid.”

The Mark Brendanawicz’s of the world would surely lose their shit if they stumbled upon that city planning blunder, it has to be a infrastructure nightmare.


According to Society19, Crunchy’s is the best college bar in East Lansing. Crunchy’s is said to offer a wide variety of draft beers, among other beverages and hosts karaoke nights.

HopCat in East Lansing, the second-rated bar in the article, has a 4-star rating on Yelp, which a whopping 508 reviews. Harper’s, Rick’s and The Riv, round out the list of far bars that should be visited while at Michigan State. (Editor’s note: I had a good time in East Lansing the one time I went there for a Wisconsin/MSU men’s hoops game, but spent most of my time there in a Labatt’s haze, so who knows how fun it actually was.)

Busse also said that Lansing has a cool downtown area with good bars and restaurants, about a block away from the Grand River.

Butter Burger and frozen custard aficionados can rejoice, as there is a Culver’s in Lansing.


The Jack Breslin Student Events Center, or more commonly known as just the Breslin Center is the home of the Michigan State Spartans basketball teams. The Breslin Center’s capacity is 16,280.

The stadium opened in November 1989, just over three years after ground was broken for construction on July 24, 1986.

The Breslin Center’s current floor has been in place sine the 2016-17 season. The previous court was the court that Michigan State won the NCAA Championship on in 2000... but that is enough about that...

Breslin, the stadium’s namesake is a former student athlete and administrator at the school and began pushing for the arena in 1969. MSU’s previous stadium, the Jenison Fieldhouse, which had been the home of the Spartans since 1939. It is located about 400 feet from the Breslin Center.

Does your college town suck?

Listen, any city that bans alcohol for the first 61 years of its existence, just cannot remove the stench of its previous mistakes. It sucks. Not to mention, my friend said it’s the Roundy’s brand version of Madison.