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It’s Time to Visit the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing

Michigan State Capitol Building Lansing

Don’t Wait for a Field Trip to Explore the Michigan State Capitol Building

Did you know that you can tour the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing?

Braving a blustery winter day, my son and I took a self-guided tour of this national treasure. We almost forgot it was so cold outside as we got lost in the atmosphere and beauty. Our visit brightened our day, leaving us excited to return and bring the rest of our family with us.

The capitol building in Lansing, Michigan is a treasure.

If you’re hoping to explore the capital building yourself, this is what you need to know:

Michigan State Capitol Building Lansing
Michigan State Capitol Building downtown Lansing

How to Tour the Michigan State Capitol Building

The Michigan State Capitol moved from Detroit to Lansing location in 1847. The capitol building we know today was completed in 1873. The building was designed by Detroit architect, Elijah E. Meyers (the same architect who later planned the Texas state capitol in Austin.)

Visit the Texas State Capitol and the buildings’ similarities will strike you.


There is a reverence of sorts when you walk into either building.

Don’t let that intimidate you.

You are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the Michigan State Capitol building within its hours of operation.

Touring the history, art, and detail as an adult was a whole new experience. It was very special to be able to share this with my son, just as my mom loved visiting with us when we were kids. I imagine this generational tradition will continue to flow through many Michigan families and visitors for decades to come.

Self-Guided Tours

Self-guided tours generally take place 8 AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday.

When you check in at the information desk, the guide will explain a bit about what you’ll see, but most of your findings will be all on your own.

Be sure to pick up a self-guided tour book at one of the information desks located inside Heritage Hall or the Capitol. These books are also available in Español (Spanish), Français (French), Deutsch (German), Pусский (Russian), 日本語 (Japanese), 中文 (Chinese/Mandarin), and العربية (Arabic).

Representatives Door Michigan Capitol Building

Guided Tours of the Capitol Building

Guided tours are available between 9:00 and 4:00. Groups of 10 or more people can schedule a tour in advance, smaller groups and individuals are permitted to join with scheduled groups. Please call (517) 373-2353 to confirm tour times or schedule a tour.

Smartphone Tours

The Capitol also offers smartphone tours. These efficient, self-guided experiences delve into specific Capitol themes, including historical furniture, portraits, and artwork throughout the Capitol and its surroundings.

Michigan State Capitol Stats

Height: 267 feet tall, from the ground to the tip of the spire

Number of Floors: 4

Number of Rooms: 139

Building Dimensions: 420 ft × 274 ft

Year Inaugurated: 1879

The Michigan State Capitol steps
The Michigan State Capitol steps

5 Reasons to Take a Self-Guided Michigan State Capitol Building Tour

All self-guided tours including the Smartphone tours are FREE of charge.

1. Soak Up Grandiose Structure and Beauty

Don’t have a lot of time but want to take an awesome adventure?

Try out touring the Capitol Building by wandering through it. You’ll be able to take in a lot in a short amount of time, is worthwhile and can be really fun.

My son loved seeing the decadence and learning all about the Capitol Building. He kept saying over and over, “Wow, look at that!” I answered things like “Right!? That’s all hand-painted!” and “Yes, these are called the grand staircases.”

The absolutely gorgeous dome high above his little gaze was what got the most attention.

Starry Dome of the Capitol Building

2. Notice the Detailed Architecture and Monuments

13 monuments grace the grounds before you even walk into the building, including The Hiker Memorial which was sculpted by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson, one of the first American women sculptors to gain international prominence!

Michigan Capitol Building Lansing

We’ve been to many events on the Michigan State Capitol grounds, but slowing down to learn about each individual piece is really special.

Civil War cannon on the grounds of the Michigan State Capitol building

Sauntering the halls and seeing the wall-to-ceiling hand-painted detail of the architecture is breathtaking!

Can you imagine being one of those painters!? Thrilling!

Each balcony has a unique view, and you’ll find an extensive amount of architecture throughout the Michigan Capitol Building.

Michigan State Capitol Grand Staircase

3. Explore the Fine Art

Placed purposefully throughout the building are fine art pieces of each governor, eight muse paintings, and hand-painted murals.


Included on this list of art is the starry dome in the center of the Capitol Building.

You’ll find this as you stand on the round glass floor at the main level by gazing upward.

Inside Michigan State Capitol Building Glass Floor
Glass Floor of the Rotunda, Michigan State Capitol

4. Learn Michigan and American History

Lansing wasn’t always the capital city; it was first in Detroit. In March of 1847, Lansing was chosen as the second capital location – and there have been three buildings.

The Capitol Building in Lansing’s downtown is the third capitol building Michigan has known.

Michigan State Capitol Historical Sign

Now, more than 100 years later, boy have we proved the “horrified observers” wrong that Lansing is not a “howling wilderness” or “village-less.”

Michigan State Capitol chamber

We not only have villages, but a vibrant community filled with amazing people and our city has tons of things to do with our families.

It’s so awesome to learn about the history of our state while touring a building filled with just that – history!

You’ll find all of this information and much, much more when you visit and take the Historic Tour of the Capitol Building.

Michigan Capitol Building House of representatives photo

5. Explore it All

Spend the day at the Michigan State Capitol Building by doing all of the tours.

If you’re visiting from out of town and want to have a memorable experience, this is a great way to make the drive worthwhile. Be sure to check out our tips before you come our way.

Cast Metal Chandelier

Check out the tips below to make your day trip to Lansing great:

Tips for visiting the Michigan State Capitol

1. Parking: There are credit card meters along Washington Square. Finding parking there will ensure you don’t go over your meter and provides a nice walk through Lansing’s downtown strip. Also, parking structures are located on Capitol Ave between Shiawassee and Ionia, and Washington and Kalamazoo. Both of these structures are within walking distance of the Capitol.

2. Coming with kids? Have the Talk: Visiting the Capitol Building is a lot of fun, but letting the kids know it’s not ok to touch the walls or important pieces is really important before you go.

3. No worries: The building has many people walking in and out at all times. You might feel overwhelmed when you arrive but don’t worry, you are welcome, even with kids in tow. The friendliness as you walk through the building is awesome.

Visiting the Michigan State Capitol Building Will Stick With You

As my son and I walked up to the Michigan State Capitol Building he said, “Mommy! Is this where the king of the castle lives?!”

I replied, “Well, sweetie, if this was a castle – technically it would be considered where the queen of the castle resides. After all, we now have our second female governor in office in Michigan’s history!”

Checkered Floor, Michigan State Capitol

Special trips like this can bring up fun and engaging conversations with our kids. I love that we have this type of opportunity right here in downtown Lansing!

The Michigan State Capitol is one of those wonderful places mutually enjoyed by all ages. Kids are welcome in our Capitol building and they love to see all of the beauty, history, art, and information just like we do.

Try it out and let me know how your trip goes! We’d love to hear your feedback, thoughts, and tips.

Inside Michigan State Capitol Building

Carla Brooks

Carla is Oregon born, Michigan raised, so it comes as no surprise she's an avid adventurer in all things nature and water fun. She's passionate about storytelling and the power it has to engage the community, give voice to the teller, and invoke a call to action. She is a proud Mexican-American woman who loves to travel (while eating and cooking delicious foods from around the globe), is grateful for her daily yoga practice, and garners much joy from spending time with friends and family. Life is ripe with story and she is always working to capture the magic wherever she goes, so don’t be surprised if you catch her jotting notes with a camera in hand.

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