Traverse City Film Festival: Take 5 (or What to Do Between Flicks)

A film can transports you to faraway deserts, rugged mountain ranges, and winding European streets without making you leave your seat. But when the movie’s over, festival-goers often miss the Northern Michigan adventures hidden around every bend. Don’t miss these!

Floating at the Festival

If you’ve got a few hours between movies, get outside! The Boardman River runs right through downtown Traverse City, and flows peacefully into Grand Traverse Bay—a perfect in-town kayaking escape. Don’t worry about wrestling your boat to the top of your car before hitting the road, just rent one at The River in Clinch Park. It has tubes to rent too, for the ultimate floating experience. Squeeze in a paddle in between shows—these can range from a quick float to a faster jaunt to burn off pent up movie theater energy. Rates start at $15. For more information, call 883.1413.

Stretch your Legs on ‘Silk Stocking Row’

Just a couple blocks South of Front street looms historic Sixth Street, once known as “Silk Stocking Row.” Asphalt-paved streets transform into the knobby cobblestones reminiscent of eras past. Walking through time, ornate and opulent mansions reach majestically toward the sky. After the credits roll, de-cramp your legs with a refreshing stroll through this awe-inspiring historic district. But you don’t have to admire the architecture from a distance—see these mansions up close with a historic walking tour of the area! Organized and run by the Grand Traverse Heritage Center, tours are $12 per person, and last around two hours, beginning at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thursdays. 995.0313.

Get in Gear

Feel the wind in your hair as you pedal on a classic cruiser bicycle through Traverse. A fast and simple way to get moving after watching a couple movies, biking through town along the Traverse Area Recreation Trails (TART) is first-class. TART provides paved recreational trails throughout the Grand Traverse area, with legs extending a collective 28 miles to Suttons Bay and Acme. Bikes are also available for rental by the week, so keep your car at your hotel and bike to all the theaters. Try The River—883.1413, McLain Cycle & Fitness—941.7161 or Brick Wheels—947.4274.

Beach It, Baby

Step into the light after your afternoon flick and soak up some rays at Clinch Park beach, just across the street from the State Theater. Grab picnic supplies from Mary’s Kitchen Port (539 W Front Street Traverse City) or Folgarelli’s (424 W Front Street Traverse City) and head to the beach. On the shores of Grand Traverse Bay, this is one of Traverse City’s best beaches, and by far the most convenient for visitors to the festival. Plus, an evening picnic here is just a stone throw away from the Open Space, perfect for families who want to set up camp before the free movies at dusk.

Pour over the Peninsulas

Two Peninsulas: Leelanau and Old Mission. They are home to 24 wineries, and countless world-class, award-winning wines. 17 wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula and seven on Old Mission make for scrumptious tours and a fabulous escape from Traverse City for a day or merely a few hours. Riesling, Cab Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and more—all done beautifully right here in Northern Michigan—including at Chateau Chantal, the vineyard, winery and bed & breakfast shown here.

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