Traverse City, Michigan is located about an hour away from my hometown of Petoskey in northern Michigan, along Grand Traverse Bay, and is somewhere I have frequented most of my life. Famous for being a huge exporter of juicy cherries bursting with fresh flavor, and fantastic Michigan wines, Traverse City is a major summer destination, and for good reason! Click here to check out my full gallery from Traverse City, order prints, and more.
Thank you Traverse City Tourism for sponsoring our long weekend away! As always, all opinions are my own.
*Originally published July 2018. Updated August 31st, 2018.
Where to Eat:
American Spoon is not a restaurant, but you can order delicious locally made jams and jellies have it shipped to you anywhere in the world!
Amical casual European eatery – reservations recommended
Apache Trout Grill has stunning views of the bay and even better fresh fish
Brengman Brothers is a winery that also serves irregular meals and teaches guests how to pair wine with their meal, and uses only local ingredients
Gaijin is one of the best Japanese fusion restaurants I’ve ever experienced. They bring out hot towels and popcorn before the meal and everything is made fresh to order, blending traditional Japanese cuisine with Midwest flavors and ingredients. I highly recommend the mushroom ramen, tofu bao, housemade blueberry soda, tofu skewers, and asparagus skewers!
The Good Bowl Vietnamese has amazing food, and they donate $1 from each bowl of food purchased to charity!
Grand Traverse Pie Company is a local chain bakery that offers awesome lunches and even better baked goods made from local ingredients
Milk & Honey offers delicious, organic and local ice creams
The Little Fleet is probably one of the most interesting places to eat in Traverse City. Every evening a fleet of roughly a dozen food trucks opens up shop with indoor and outdoor seating options and serves everything from sushi and sandwiches to açai bowls and salads along with beer, wine, and mixed drinks. It was extremely popular with the locals, and although it says it’s open until 1 am online, the food trucks close up shop at 10pm (at least on weekends).
Minervas is an upscale restaurant that serves seafoods and pastas
Omelette Shoppe has two locations, in Grand Rapids, MI and Traverse City, MI and I love them both! I recommend calling ahead and putting your name in, these locally owned restaurants are very popular
Paesano’s Pizza is a local owned pizza place with a number of gluten free options
S2S Sugar to Salt was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had, and I eat breakfast everyday, so I’m kind of an expert on the matter. They use fresh, seasonal ingredients, and created the fantastic breakfast dishes you see above!
Where to Stay:
Chateau Chantal offers stunning views of the Grand Traverse Wine area, because it’s situated within a winery!
Grand Traverse Resort is one of the largest resorts in Traverse City, and has an on-sight spa, as well as golf-courses, restaurants, tennis courts, and much more.
The Homestead Resort is actually a place we considered having our wedding at, because it’s so lovely. Set along the bay, not far from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, The Homestead Resort is famous around the world for its hospitality, incredible views, tranquility, and luxurious amenities.
Hotel Indigo may be an international chain hotel, but it came highly recommended from locals I spoke with, who said they recommend it to anyone who wants to stay in the heart of downtown Traverse City.
Park Place Hotel is located right downtown and has beautiful suites and great views of the city of Traverse City
Believe it or not, you can rent out a portion of Pointe Betsy Lighthouse, and live like a lighthouse keeper, right on the water! It goes without saying that it has incredible views, but it is a bit of a drive from Traverse City.
What to Do in Traverse City:
Traverse City has lots to do from wine and beer tastings, kayak brewery tours, to helicopter rides, realxing on the beach, paddle boarding, swimming, walking around downtown, cooking classes, biking, exploring the parks, and picking your own fruits, vegetables and flowers in nearby farms. On the weekends there’s usually some sort of festival and during warmer months there’s an adorable farmer’s market on Wednesdays and Saturdays! There are lots of adorable, locally owned shops and boutiques downtown as well, so be sure to explore the downtown shopping area during your visit.
Day Trips in the Area:
Leelanau Wine Peninsula
Leland (historic fishing town)
North & South Manitou Islands (1&1/2 hour boat ride each way)
Pointe Betsy Lighthouse
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Pavlova European Spa
Beach Front & Marina
Bijou By The Bay Theatre
The Village at Grand Traverse Commons was a luxury mental hospital, and has been turned into a shopping/housing complex, and is still stunning.
Traverse City Theatre
Vineyards and Cherry Orchards (with permission)
When to Visit:
Traverse City is a great place to visit all year long. In the spring time there are lots of spring time festivals and events happening, and into summer when the snow melts the area becomes a haven for sailing, hanging out on the beach, and exploring nearby smaller towns, biking along the Grand Traverse & Leelanau Peninsulas, and a number of other outdoor sports. In the fall as the weather cools, wineries and wine tasting goes into full swing, and the forests around the town become engulfed in the fiery colors of fall, making Traverse City an international destination for people who want to see the leaves changing colors unlike anywhere else in the world. During the winter Traverse City is a great place to stay when skiing, snowboarding, snow mobiling, ice fishing, and more, plus they have lots of great winter activities as well.
Have you ever been to Traverse City, or is it on your travel list? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time!
See More by Annie Fairfax
Baden-Baden | Bay Harbor | Bay View | Beverly Hills | Carmel | Chicago | Cincinnati | Colmar | Disneyland | Grand Rapids| Greenland | Harbor Springs | Heidelberg | Indianapolis | Irvine | Laguna Beach | Los Angeles | Mackinac Island | Mexico City | Nara | New Orleans | New York City | Niagara Falls | Nikko | Petoskey | Querétaro | Rome | Tokyo | Toronto | Traverse City | Tucson | Tulum | Vatican City | Venice | West Hollywood |