Traverse City Rainy Day: Movies, Muffins, Shopping and History

You may need an umbrella for the outdoor shopping of Traverse City’s Downtown, but a wet day is the perfect excuse to delay in some of Northern Michigan’s best boutiques.

Hang Out in Traverse City’s Many Districts

Summer is high season for strolling and shopping downtown Traverse City. The heart of the action is the three-block stretch on Front Street between Boardman and Union Streets, home to dozens of boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Lots of clothing and home accessories shops, independent bookstores, boutiques for babies, a toy store, gourmet food purveyors and more. Best of all? Many of the retailers showcase locally made goods, making it easy to shop Michigan made. Don’t forget to duck down the side-streets and alleys to find off-the-beaten-path shops. 231.922.2050, DOWNTOWNTC.COM.

The West End

On Front Street between Union and Division is a host of independent businesses. Highlights include a doggie boutique, a gourmet kitchen supply shop, a chocolatier and several specialty grocers with regional wines and fabulous food finds from around the region. 231.922.2050, DOWNTOWNTC.COM.

Old Town

On Union Street a few blocks south of Front Street is TC’s Old Town district, a handsome shopping district where the vibe shifts to more laid-back. Businesses here include galleries, boutiques, home goods stores, salons, a neighborhood grocer (with a renowned butcher counter) and a handful of casual restaurants, like Blue Tractor Cook Shop, where you can dig into burgers, comfort food and a post-shopping brew. 231.922.2050, DOWNTOWNTC.COM.

Warehouse District

In the 200 block of Garland Street between Front Street and Grandview Parkway, the Warehouse District offers a touch of urban edge in this little city. Formerly home to warehouses and factories, the area has been undergoing a renaissance, with an eclectic variety of shops and eateries moving in to take advantage of the spot’s primo location—just blocks from downtown and steps from the beaches on West Bay. 231.922.2050, DOWNTOWNTC.COM.

The Mercato at the Grand Traverse Commons

Find this expansive indoor marketplace on the garden level of Grand Traverse Commons’ historic Building 50—one of the gorgeous 19th-century buildings that make up the former Northern Michigan Asylum. The arched corridors, exposed brick alcoves and selection of fine boutiques make for an Old World European feel, which was exactly the developer’s intent—as a nod to the building’s architectural heritage as well as his own Italian roots. Find a jewelry boutique, furrier, yarn shop, fine art gallery, wine tasting room, bike shop, Michigan-made market and much more. THEVILLAGETC.COM

The South Side

About three miles south of Traverse City is a host of retailers on South Airport Road, anchored by Grand Traverse Mall (GRANDTRAVERSEMALL.COM) and Cherryland Center (CHERRYLANDCENTER.COM). The Mall is home to more than 100 shops, a food court, a nine-screen cinema and even an antique carousel. Cherryland includes a number of national retailers plus Opa! Coney and Grill, a sweet cafe and coney joint specializing in Greek and Polish food. 

Grand Traverse Resort

You don’t have to be an overnight guest at this resort to meander through the Gallery of Shops, a collection of inventive boutiques ranging from a toy store to gourmet foods boutique to a pro shop. New this year is Mud Pie, a store with hip clothing and accessories, gifts, items for baby, and beachy gear for summer living. 231.534.6705, GRANDTRAVERSERESORT.COM.

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