Planning Your Traverse City Vacation

Traverse City, widely known as the nation’s “Cherry Capital,” is a culinary and cultural hub of Northern Michigan. It’s a hip, foodie town with restaurant options ranging from upscale Italian served in an former state-run hospital to a farm-to-table restaurant situated downtown in a historic home. But, it’s also a place where you can come to escape the daily grind, as hiking areas, biking trails, and beaches are basically integrated into the city—making an urban escape incredibly easy. Travel outward from town to visit countless wineries and breweries, or spend a day boating in the sun or reading a book on one of Traverse City’s countless beaches.  Read on to discover travel ideas and useful links to help plan your Traverse City vacation, whatever your vacation flavor may be.

Where to Stay

Depending on the type of vacation you’re looking for, there are a variety of hotels situated throughout the greater Grand Traverse area that will provide you the perfect place to come home each night. If you’re looking for a more urban vacation, with easy access to shopping and dining, check out hotels like the historic, 190-year-old Wellington Inn, located just steps away from downtown Traverse City in a quaint neighborhood, provides an oasis from the bustle of the city. Or, stay at the downtown Park Place Hotel. Completed in 1930, the hotel was once the tallest standing building in the Grand Traverse area at ten stories tall.

If you want to immerse yourself in the wineries and idyllic countryside, stay at a Bed & Breakast in the heart of wine country on Leelanau Peninsula, which is situated northwest of Traverse City, or Old Mission Peninsula, which is directly north of Traverse City. Check out the contemporary-feeling Tesoro Inn, nestled in a farm in Old Mission Peninsula.

If you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation, there are a number of hotels on the East Bay and beyond that are just a short car or bike ride into downtown Traverse City. Popular choices include the Sugar Beach Resort Hotel and The Bayshore Resort, on East Grand Traverse Bay.

Find a Room at the Perfect Traverse City Hotel

Where to Eat

Traverse City, considered one of the top foodie towns in the country, has a multitude of different offerings that make choosing a restaurant a nearly impossible task. The following links should help make that choice a little simpler. From the farm-to-table, boutique-feeling Cook’s House downtown to the Italian-inspired Trattoria Stella set in the old State Hospital Grounds, there are a number of restaurants you have to try before you leave, so make sure to come hungry:

Where to Shop

There are tons of shops with local products, artisan goods, and boutiques unique to this area. Use these guides to help determine what areas to go to beyond downtown and what shops you must take a peek at:

Traverse City VacationOutdoor Activities

← One of the great things about Traverse City is that your day can switch from an urban adventure to a nature-immersion experience literally within minutes. From the hiking trails on Old Mission Peninsula to the endless beaches that line the peninsula, there’s a million ways to get outside:

Wineries & Microbreweries

Some of the country’s best wineries can be found right here in Traverse City. The microbrewery scene is, too, a rapidly-growing industry in the area:

Festivals & Events

Traverse City Wine & Art Festival — Saturday, June 21, 2014

Held at the Grand Traverse Commons, this one-day festival celebrates all that makes Traverse City such a unique place—culture, food, and wine (the ultimate trifecta).

Tickets to the Traverse City Wine & Art Festival are available at

Buy Tickets Now

National Cherry Festival — July 5–12, 2014

The festival that has almost everyone thinks of when they of Traverse City, it’s the most popular, and for good reason, too. Going much beyond its namesake there’s live music, fireworks, and parades. But of course, there’s cherry pie eating contests, a cherry pit spit contest (yes, you read that right), and countless cherry products.

Traverse City Film Festival — July 29–August 13, 2014

Traverse City VacationThe founder and president of this festival, Michael Moore, is committed to bringing “just great movies,” to Traverse City, and year after year, he delivers on this promise. There are screenings, parties, and salons that provide attendees the opportunity to engage with the films in elevated, yet relaxed ways.  Visit both the State Theatre or the Bijou by the Bay year-round to get a taste of what the TCFF offers. →

Microbrew & Music Festival — August 22 & 23, 2014

This festival is one with a cause. It’s about celebrating craft brew—one of Traverse City’s fastest growing industries—and music. But, the festival simultaneously raises money for local nonprofits. There’s so much to love about this festival—it features over 40 craft breweries, it’s a zero-waste event, and it’s held at the beautiful Village at Grand Traverse Commons.

Tickets to the Microbrew & Music Festival are available at

Buy Tickets Now

Taste of Traverse City — August 29–31, 2014

This three-day festival is a foodie’s dream. See cooking demonstrations, sample dishes from Traverse City’s top restaurants, and attend a variety of informative seminars. Don’t miss the White House Dinner, a four-course dinner by the former White House Executive Chef and Iron Chef participant Walter Scheib and inspired by the favorite dishes of former presidents.

More events and festivals in Traverse City can be found at visit to purchase tickets to Traverse City events.

More Traverse City at




Cornerstone: Traverse City

Article Comments

  • Sijjvra

    Here’s an idea for your TC vacation: Go somewhere else. I’m sick of you tourists trashing the place, getting drunk and driving around, and acting like you own everything here. And I’m not the only one that feels this way.