Traverse City: Beyond Typical Things to Do

by Amanda
(Traverse City)

Visitor Traverse City Tips: The beach is a main attraction in the summer time for families and the ski resorts in the winter, but there are also places like KidzArt, the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park, Lucky Jacks (bowling & bumper cars), and Hands on Art where you can take the kids and have some fun year round.

Here are some top tips:

Tip 1: If you are planning to visit Traverse City in the summer time, book your hotel in advance. They fill up fast.

Tip 2: If you want a hotel within walking distance to downtown, the two best options are The Park Place (Historic, great view, small-ish rooms) or The Holiday Inn (On the water, Shimmers night club)

Tip 3: If you're looking for a fun time for the family, or enjoy a festival atmosphere, Cherry Festival is the time to come to Traverse City. There's all sorts of activities for the kids, a beer tent for the adults, live music, and fireworks.

Tip 4: Film Festival is geared more towards adults, though there are some kids movies in the evenings. There are smaller crowds then there are for Cherry Festival; movies sell out fast, so be sure to get your tickets in advance.

Tip 5: Color season is one of the most spectacular times to visit the Traverse City area and enjoy Nature's beauty. Driving on Old Mission or Leelanau Peninsula is a must! A visit to the Sleeping Bear Dunes or a camping trip to one of the Manitou Islands is an breath-taking event.

There are many cool things to see in Traverse City, no matter how old you are, whether you have kids, or want a romantic getaway.

One thing the Traverse City Area has that you can't get elsewhere are two beautiful peninsulas that are just a few minutes drive away. You'll feel like you've just been transported to a different country when you take a drive on either.

There's so much to see: from the u-pick farms and farmers' roadside stands, filled with fresh produce in the summer, to the 30+ wineries, and great foodie stops along the way. It's a fun day trip, or you can make a weekend or even a week out of it by staying at one of the many bed and breakfasts, or even at one of the wineries.

A must see if you visit Traverse City is the bustling downtown. There are many stores and art galleries to wander though, as well as some delectable restaurants. If you plan on visiting the area wineries, there's a little-known bar downtown that can help you plan your trip: Uncorked. It's located inside of the Cherry Stop and is actually a full-service bar that serves only Michigan made beers, cocktails, liquors, and local wines. You can sample some wines before you head to the wineries, and they have over 260 of the local wineries' wines for sale as well. It's well worth the stop.

The newest place for shoppers and town-explorers is The Village in the Grand Traverse Commons. The old state hospital has been converted, in part, into a mini-shopping center. There are a couple restaurants, clothing, jewelry, art, wine tasting rooms, and specialty shops at the Village. It's also a great place to go hiking or take the dog for a walk, or go snowshoeing- there are many trails behind the partially renovated buildings.
Traverse City has a great nightlife scene. Most all of the bars have live music every Friday and Saturday. In late summer the downtown area is closed off on Friday nights for Friday Night Live which has live music in the streets, street stands, kids events, and more.

And if all of that's not enough for you, there are music festivals, wine and food festivals, beer and music festivals, art walks, and many other events throughout the year in the area.
I could go on and on, but I'll close with this:
Traverse City is not your typical vacation location and is so beyond what people expect, that you'll come back year after year.

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