A Car-free Traverse City for Your Traverse City Film Festival Vacation

Traverse City, a Michigan travel destination, is a truly walkable city, adding a wonderful car-free component to your Traverse City Film Festival vacation. Traverse City hotels, restaurants, beaches, shopping and more are right out the door or a short walk from most of the Traverse City Film Festival venues. Here’s our quick guide to planning a car-free Traverse City Film Festival experience.


Book a room downtown and you’ll be within walking distance of all but one movie venue (shuttle for that), plus the restaurants, nightlife and beaches.


Traverse City restaurants are known for outstanding, diverse dining choices, all walkable from Traverse City Film Festival venues. And in the summertime, Traverse City is the perfect spot for outdoor picnics on Traverse City beaches, parks or perched along the Boardman River.

  • Find great Traverse City restaurants right outside the door of each Traverse City Film Festival venue
  • Pack a perfect picnic at Folgarelli’s Market (424 W. FRONT, 231-941-7651) is a picnic-lover’s dream. Order a gourmet sandwich to go, or assemble your own meal from fine cheeses and meats, fresh artisanal bread, killer homemade cookies and other provisions. Feast away under the shade trees at Veterans Memorial Park, at the corner of Cass and Washington, where a grassy bank leads down to the Boardman River.


All you need is a pair of flip-flops to get to these close-by beaches on West Grand Traverse Bay.

  • Clinch Park: A popular spot with 1,500 feet of sandy shoreline, plus picnic tables, lifeguards, restrooms and a pint-sized steam train. On Grandview next to Clinch Park Marina.
  • Volleyball Beach: TC’s hotspot for beach volleyball. Sit back and watch the action, or gather up your friends for a few games before cooling off with a dip in the bay. On Grandview just west of Open Space park.
  • West End Beach: A quieter place for a peaceful swim or a quick snooze on your beach towel. Look for weathered bits of wooden piers and old wharves in the water—remnants of TC’s frontier days. On Grandview at Division.


Traverse City’s cross-town trails and bike-friendly streets make getting around a breeze. Rent wheels at thefollowing shops:


  • Boardman Lake Trail: This wooded 2.5-mile trail hugging Boardman Lake sets the pace for a quiet stroll. Access at Hannah and Woodmere, just south of the Traverse Area District Library. TRAVERSETRAILS.ORG.
  • TART Trail: A 10.5-mile paved biking and walking path, TART Trail has a particularly lovely section that stretches along West Grand Traverse Bay. Access the trail at West End Beach at Grandview and Division. TRAVERSETRAILS.ORG.
  • Sixth Street: Once known as “Silk Stocking Row,” brick-paved Sixth Street is home to elegant turn-of-the-century mansions—including a 32-room home built by Traverse City’s founding father, Perry Hannah. Between Union and Division.
Find the complete schedule for the Traverse City Film Festival, film descriptions, special film events and more on the MyNorth Film page.