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Guest anisa

East Lansing, MI

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Guest anisa

anybody living in or has lived in East Lansing, near Michigan State. Is there a particular residential area that is great to live in? Is it easy to get around? Advice?

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Guest Lambda

Forgive me if this is posted twice - I just wrote a long reply but it seems to have disappeared.

I grew up in East Lansing and lived there for 18 years. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.

A lot of graduate students with families (especially international students) live in the neighborhood called Red Cedar. It's directly next to the MSU campus, and there are lots of apartments in that area. I grew up in Central Neighborhood, which is walking distance to the west side of campus. It's a beautiful neighborhood, with a very mixed rent/own community. The rentals in that neighborhood, though, are full-size one-family houses. Other options are Spartan Village (an apartment complex near campus with lots of families) or apartments near the corner of Harrison Road and Lake Lansing Road. Some students choose to live in Okemos, which is the city next to East Lansing. I don't recommend living in Lansing proper.

Transportation on-campus is provided by the MSU buses, which is good because the campus is *huge*. There's no way that you could walk from one end to the other and still be on time for your next class. Off-campus, you'll probably want a car. There are city buses, but most of them are useless because they are scheduled so infrequently. The exception is the #1 bus, which runs the length of campus along Grand River Ave and will connect you to the mall and grocery store in Okemos. East Lansing is a great place to bike, so I highly recommend that as a mode of transportation in the summer. The city is really very flat, and there are bike lanes on most of the major streets.

Let me know what else you'd like to know. I love East Lansing, and I'm happy to share my knowledge.

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Guest smd

Hi,

I've got an admit from the chemical and materials engg department at MSU. Since you live close by, do you have an idea about the reputation of MSU, and what kind of community they have? Any information about the area, living expenses, career prospects, etc is welcome.

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Guest

Why don't you recommend living in Lansing? Just curious; I'm considering MSU and I have no idea where to start with housing....

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Guest wolverine
Why don't you recommend living in Lansing?

because it is a depressed, rust belt city with little more to its credit than a half-decent little league baseball team (http://www.lansinglugnuts.com/) and its proximity to the nation's first land-grant college. I grew up in Lansing and quality of life there is quite low. There are enough good places to live near campus (within biking/walk/bus distance) that it should not be necessary to resort to Lansing.

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Guest
because it is a depressed, rust belt city...and quality of life there is quite low.

Yep, that's basically it. Lansing is more dangerous, dirty, and depressing than East Lansing. You'll literally be able to feel the difference when you cross the city line. Stick to the areas in East Lansing and Okemos that are close to campus. Cost of living is low all around - far cheaper than any big city and even cheaper than most small cities. There's plenty of good food in downtown East Lansing, which is the strip of Grand River Ave between Abbott and Hagadorn Roads. That area also tends to have unique shops, although it has become more chain store oriented in recent years (there's a Blockbuster there now). The big box chain stores (Best Buy, Circuit City, major department stores, etc) are found in Okemos, near the Meridian Mall, which is also on Grand River Ave. The third option for shopping, which has also grown a lot in recent years, is the Frandor shopping area between Michigan Ave and Grand River Ave near Coolidge Road. The #1 bus, as I mentioned in a previous post, would take you to any of these three shopping areas.

A store called "Meijer" will quickly become your best friend. There are tons of them in Michigan, but not many anywhere else. They're basically the equivalent to Super Wal-Marts, but they're not corporate evil. They're open 24 hours, and they sell *everything*. Groceries, hardware, clothes, toys, lawn/garden supplies, pet supplies (even live fish), etc. Anything you'll ever need can be found at Meijer, and for a very good price. There's one in Okemos near the Meridian Mall, which is easiest to get to if you don't have a car. If you do have a car, there's one at the corner of Lake Lansing Road and Harrison Road that is bigger and cleaner.

I don't know much about MSU's reputation in engineering. MSU is most famous for their teacher ed program, their vetrinary school, and their farming/agriculture/forestry type programs. I do know that East Lansing residents love MSU and are very proud of it, even if they sometimes have a love/hate relationship with the noisy undergrads. Within the state limits, you should have no trouble finding a job with a degree from MSU. Outside the state, I'm not sure. It will probably depend on the quality of your work in grad school.

East Lansing is a very family oriented community, and is a great place to raise kids. The summer art fair brings out pretty much everyone in the whole city. The Wharton Center (on MSU's campus) is a great theater, which brings in big-name national tours of Broadway shows. College sports are popular, especially MSU Basketball, Football, and Hockey. You can find something to do to suit pretty much any taste, unless you're looking for the sort of dance clubs and bars that you'd find in a big city.

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Guest

East Lansing is a great little city with all the stores, bars, and coffee shops you could want. That being said, Lansing is probably not up to par with most the major cities out there. For that you would need to travel to Detroit or Chicago (an hour, three hours by car). MSU is a huge campus, and choosing a good place to live is important. Like they said, you probably want to avoid living in Lansing. I don’t think its as bad as they made it sound, but there aren't any real perks to living out there. My recommendation is to live just north of campus near Hagadorn or Abbot at a rental house or apartment complex where you can walk/bike/bus in. If you plan on commuting in, know that parking is a pain in the ass. It’s either expensive parking fees, or you have to park out in the middle of nowhere and then either walk or bus in from there. It all depends on how you like to live. If you want access to campus, bars and the East Lansing downtown, then the north campus area makes the most sense. But if you want to save money on rent, there are places on all sides of it. If you've decided to commute, its about the same time no matter where you live so you have near limitless choices. If you do a search for DTN east Lansing, they have a huge chunk of the apartments in the area. There are also lots of smaller independent places too, dtn is just to get you started ( you could also look up "the state news" the local paper, they have listings. Be careful of places that claim they are within minutes of campus. The roads around there were never made for 40,000+ people, so you can be sure their estimates are way off. As far as living expenses, I think the msu is very affordable. A two bedroom apt runs around 600-800 bucks and usually covers heating and water, although you can go cheaper and much higher. Choose the right place and you wont have travel expenses. The eateries on campus and on north campus can get pricey but start around 5-6 bucks for a lunch. For groceries, you have Meijer, and Krogers plus a couple international and healthy living stores, so you can hunt for the right price. Even if you commute the greater lansing area just isn't that big, so you probably wont pay much for gas, but parking can cost you 50-60 bucks a month for some of the lots.

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Guest anisa

Thanks so much for the great advice--exactly what I needed. It's 90% sure that i'll be heading to MSU (PhD program in school psych).

In terms of getting around during the winter...how difficult is it? I've never lived anywhere where it snows like it does up in Michigan. Are the streets clear usually? How difficult is it to head to Chicago?

Another question, most of you guys recommended north campus. Is there any area to stay away from? I'm in the midst of looking at online rental places, just curious if there is an area where the undergrads hang out and may cause excessive noise??

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Guest

Winter can make things difficult in East Lansing. If its not the snow, it can just be the bitter cold. But once you are dressed and ready for it, its generally not a problem. The school has pretty good snow removal, so unless it is a blizzard out, the roads and side walks are mostly cleared quickly. Obviously depending on the conditions surrounding areas and side streets can get bad once in a while. People like to complain about it, but as long as its not still coming down it doesn't take them long to catch up. The best thing to do is pay attention to the weather and do the smart things like give yourself lots of extra time if its going to or is snowing, dress extra extra warm if they say the wind chill is going to bring the temp down.

Chicago is an easy drive, even in the winter... the highways almost never have snow on them, unless its a snow storm, so you just plan accordingly like push your trip back a weekend.

Cedar Village is a loud apt place to be avoided; they are as close as you can be on campus without living in the dorms though. Also, the main party houses and crowds are on and around albert road. However within the last couple years they have passed some very strict party regulations for east lansing, so the huge loud house parties are kinda getting muffled. Albert is the road where several of the bars are located, and is the main route between those bars and the rented houses... so even with strict party laws, you still get large drunk crowds on that road. If you can just get on a side street, or north another road or two, its very quiet for the most part. Another couple apt complexs I might avoid are those close to the junction of abbot and albert. That is essentially where the bars are at, and in general the noisiest part of town.

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What is the activist or punk scene like in town? We are having trouble finding groups online and some people have recommended just wating till we get there to talk to people. Also, what outdoor activities are available - we are big hiking/biking/climbing folks and were having trouble finding people who knew where to go or had any ideas. Any help you can give would be great, thanks!

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Guest Lambda

There isn't really an activist/punk scene in the city. I'm not even sure if there's much of one on campus. There aren't any good alternative newspapers in the area. I'm not even sure where the closest place to find that sort of atmosphere would be. Maybe Ann Arbor (is that blasphemous?) ? Maybe even as far away as Chicago.

For outdoor activities, you'll want to head to the Great Lakes. Lake Michigan is especially beautiful, and there are some really great camping sites in the various state parks along the lakeshore. The Muskegon area is nice. Climbing sand dunes is a popular pastime, and you can probably find more information on the web about the places to do that. In general, southern and central Michigan are very, very flat, so if you're looking for hills for biking/hiking, you're out of luck. When you have some extra time (in the summer, perhaps), I highly recommend the U.P. to outdoorsy people. Copper Harbor (at the tip of the U.P. in Lake Superior) is full of absolutely breathtaking hills and forests and waterfalls. Mackinac Island is a popular tourist destination in the summer, and there are *no* cars allowed on the whole island. Pretty much everyone gets around by bike. The island is only 8 miles in circumference, and there is a bike path that completely encircles the island.

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Guest

I'm not sure about the activist or punk scene. Outdoor stuff though... look into the MSU Outing Club (http://www.msuoc.org/), a large student organization that does all sorts of activities. You can get on their mailing list and they'll keep you updated on trips being planned. Hiking and Biking, there are tons of parks and such in Michigan, your best bet is either to talk to the outing club members, or just get yourself a michigan parks and trails guide book. I say that because I haven't been able to find a great resource for all michigan has to offer online. There are a couple parks that are easily within the radius of a day trip, Rose Lake, Sleepy Hollow, Oak Park, Lake Lansing Park East. For Rock Climbing in michigan you have only one outdoor option and that is "the ledges" at Grand Ledge, in Oak Park, 30 minutes west of E.L. It is top rope only and the max height of any climb is aprox 30 feet. Not bad to get into climbing or staying in shape, but quite limited otherwise. Dont get me wrong though, it is worth checking out. If you want weekend trip type stuff, the options are near limitless for biking and hiking but to get you started I highly recommend Sleeping Bears Dunes on the west coast and for a long weekend, The Pictured Rocks in the upper peninsula.

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Guest

awesome, this was all really helpful, thanks! I'm glad you agree this stuff is hard to find online - I thought I was going nuts. GL sounds allright and we talked to the folks at Velocipide (I think) about road and mtn biking while we were there. Mtn biking it sounds like we have to travel but road biking in the summer should be good. We are already looking forward to the UP trips - it sounds amazing up there!

One more question - is the outdoors club only for students or can sig. others join or go on trips as well?

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Guest Guest

I just moved away from East Lansing after living there for 3 years and I hated it. The town is heavily geared towards 19-22 year olds in a way that Ann Arbor (for example) is not. As mentioned the social circuit revolves around the heavy bar scene downtown where fistfights and shivering girls in tank tops waiting for an hour in line outside a shitty bar are commonplace. Drunkenness is a big part of the MUS experience. Maybe that's your thing. The town also seems to work for people with kids. If you are in between, it sucks, and there is no cohesive graduate community with its own separate scene. Also, don't forget the regular March riots or incidents such as last year where non-rioting students peacefully leaving said bars after the game conclusion were tear gassed by overzealous and uncontrolled officers from East Lansing and beyond.

On the plus side, the collection of international restaurants is excellent. There are at least 8 sushi restaurants in the grater Lansing area - the best of which is Akagi near the Okemos mall. Woody's (Middle Eastern) is delish, and there is Korean, Indian, Thai all close to campus. Also, the campus is lovely, with a quaint river running through it (which drunk students fall in on a semi-regular basis.)

Lansing is pretty glum, but they are trying to re-develop the downtown with some gut rehab lofts that are a total bargain for beautiful spaces. And the stadium the Lansing Lugnuts play in is beautiful and very new, even though it is just a farm team, it's still a lot of fun (especially on Thirsty Thursdays - $2 beers $2 wings.)

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Guest Guest

Actually your best bet for those routes are the Amtrak trains. There is one that runs EL-Chicago direct 1x/day. To get to Detroitm you need to take a train down to Battle Creek, then transfer. This is also 1x/day. The train station is on the south side of campus. http://www.amtrak.com for routes and prices.

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Guest guest

I've spent the last 4 years in Northern CA (and 2 years before that in Southern CA), and am likely going to go to MSU next year for grad school. Housing prices seem incredibly low there compared to CA (and probably most of the country), and it seems like it's cheaper in the long run to buy a small house and pay the mortgage as opposed to paying apt rent. Is this common among students at MSU?

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Guest anon

Buying is always better than renting-if you can do it. You spend money but you get to own something (and that something is probably going to gain value so you can sell it and be happy). The problem is that you might not be able to pay all you need per moth (repairs, amenities) but if you can-there is no alternative, in my opinion. If people are not buying it must be for some other reason- too complicated, not aware of the facts, etc.

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Guest guest

The decision between buying and renting also depends on how long you plan to stay, though. If you'll be finishing in less than five years, it's still better to rent. Property values won't rise enough to cover the difference before you leave, and you'll end up losing money. If you are aiming for a degree that will take longer than five years (say, if you're in the humanities, or if you're planning to do a postdoc in the area), you might find it worthwhile to buy a house.

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Guest anon

It does not have to rise at all, you still own what you payed for and will get money back for that. Renting is just giving the money away. (Of course, in both cases you get to live somewhere.)

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Guest nopurchase

But the housing market is kind of crappy there, isnt it? I saw tons of houses for sale up there when I was visting, many of which friends told me had been on the market for months or years, even with substantial improvements and renovations. I dont want to buy four 3 years and then be stuck with a house I can't sell when I want to leave. Also, factor in things like utilities, home improvements, appliances like furnaces and washers and dryers, snow removal and lawn care, sewer and water, all of which you are responsible for if you own your home. I'm not saying owning cant ever be a good idea, just be aware of all the potential costs above and beyond the initial purchase and monthly mortgage costs.

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Guest anon

Would you people who know about EL mind leaving some comments in The Bank, MSU 12-13K, in case you have not done so, please? :wink:

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anybody know which are the best facilities at MSU for working out? I know there is an IM West and IM East and a couple of others--any one better than the other? Also, what are the CATA buses like? on time? suck?

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Guest anon

Does anyone know what is the diff. between the basic, remodeled, and renovated apartments there? Thnks. :?:

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