East Lansing, best known as the home of the Michigan State University (MSU) Spartans, is the eastern neighbor of Michigan’s state capital and one of the most popular cities in Greater Lansing. With over 25 unique neighborhoods within East Lansing and each appealing to different people, it’s difficult to rate the best East Lansing neighborhoods. We took a closer look at 5 of the most popular communities to show you the best East Lansing neighborhoods and why they top the list.
Overview: East Lansing and Michigan State University
MSU makes a big impact on the lifestyles, diversity, education, entertainment and even the overall population of East Lansing. The 5,000 acre land-grant university is the center of sports, arts, culture and nightlife in East Lansing.
About 39,000 undergraduates attend MSU—including about 15,000 living on-campus and an unknown number renting nearby—compared to about 20,000 permanent East Lansing residents. This means the population roughly doubles between August and May. Some neighborhoods cater more towards students, others to permanent residents, and others include both groups.
Overall, regardless of which is the best East Lansing neighborhood, East Lansing is a great place to live. It was rated one of the top 100 best places to live in America, and it’s easy to see why. Income and education are above average, cost of living is below average, crime rates are low and dropping, home values are rising and East Lansing has been a “Tree City” recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation for 30 years, giving it a beautiful appearance and cleaner air.
For hard data on the homes values in East Lansing compared to nearby communities, see the market statistics.
The Top 5 Best East Lansing Neighborhoods
Located between Saginaw, Lake Lansing, Abbott and Hagadorn roads, Whitehills is one of the closest neighborhoods to MSU which does not cater to students. Comprised of 13 subdivisions, Whitehills is within an “overlay” district, with zoning ordinances that make very few of these impressive properties available for rent. With two large, beautiful parks, paved walking and biking trails, very low crime rates, and a short walk to the university, library, elementary school and high school, Whitehills is one of the best East Lansing neighborhoods for families especially, though couples and young professionals will also feel at home here. Besides the great location, homes in this area have become more and more desirable as homeowners have added many features Michigan homeowners want, and surrounding property values have increased as well.
Like Whitehills, Glencairn is within walking distance to the University and it is also within an overlay district, making it another of the few neighborhoods very close to MSU, but not catering to students. Some of the most beautiful homes in East Lansing lay in Glencairn and, despite the close proximity to the university and downtown East Lansing, the relative peace and quiet is what makes it one of the best East Lansing neighborhoods. This triangular community located between Saginaw, Grand River and Abbott roads is also located near the popular Frandor shopping center, however Ranney Park in between keeps the community from becoming too busy.
3. Southeast Marble
Southeast Marble, towards the eastern side of East Lansing between Hagadorn road, Park Lake road, Burchum Drive and Cahill Drive, is a bit further removed from the university, but many Southeast Marble families also work at the university, and many of their children attend as well. Also located within an overlay district, there are very few student rental properties, but a variety of beautiful single-family homes. The bordering streets of this community are much quieter and less trafficked than Grand River or Saginaw, making this community generally quieter and safer. This may be the best East Lansing neighborhood for families with younger children, as it is within walking distance to Burcham park and two elementary schools.
4. Chesterfield Hills
This community, located just south of Glencairn between Grand River and Michigan, is the closest community to MSU that does not cater to students. The western half of Chesterfield Hills is another overlay district, so renting here is very limited and the community is mostly comprised of single-family homes. The eastern half is not zoned, however, and there are some student rental properties here. Located across from the Brody Complex on-campus living community, an MSU baseball field and the Kellogg Center, while also within walking distance from the Breslin Events Center, this community is generally busier than others. However, for many residents, this is what makes it one of the best East Lansing neighborhoods. With differences in zoning and a wider variety of home types, many first-time Michigan homebuyers may find some areas of this community more accessible than others in East Lansing.
5. Abbott Parkside and Hawk Nest
Located in the northwest portion of East Lansing, the Abbott Parkside neighborhood is farther from the university both in distance and lifestyle. Zoning ordinances pertaining to renting are less strict, however the distance from the university makes this less of an issue for most residents. With many relatively new homes, new constructions underway, close proximity to Eastwood shopping center and the highway, and farther distance from schools, Abbott Parkside is one of the best East Lansing neighborhoods for young professionals and commuters.
There are many other unique and beautiful communities within East Lansing, all which offer prospective homeowners exceptional places to live. You’ll find a wide variety of homes throughout the city, and which of these is the best neighborhoods in East Lansing is ultimately for you to decide.
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