Traverse City is home to several distinct shopping districts filled with unique Northern Michigan shops and galleries (here’s your guide), street-side cafes, and even views of West Bay beach a block away from downtown. With a blend of trendy boutiques and inventive restaurants, be sure to spend (at least) an afternoon strolling the streets (pack a picnic for a break by the lake!).

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.

[A new downtown TC brewery and community marketplace is opening summer 2017!]

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 bayside 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 prime location—just blocks from downtown and steps from the beaches on West Bay.

[Check out this video of the Warehouse MRKT, offering a modern take on shopping and dining]

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 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.

[Take a video tour for a look at the underground tunnels at the asylm]

West End:
On Front Street between Union and Division streets is a host of independent businesses. Highlights include a doggie boutique (these treats are so cute!), a gourmet kitchen supply shop, a chocolatier and several specialty grocers with regional wines and fabulous food finds from around the region.

[The West End underwent a reconstruction in 2016. Check out the awesome new look.]

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 beach gear for summer living.

Old Town:
On Union Stree,t a few blocks south of Front Street, is TC’s Old Town district, a handsome shopping district where the vibe shifts to a more laid-back, casual feel. Businesses here include galleries, boutiques, home goods stores, salons, a neighborhood grocer (with a renowned butcher counter) and a handful of restaurants, like Blue Tractor Cook Shop, where you can dig into burgers, comfort food and a post-shopping brew.

[Tip: If you love shopping at Haystacks, be sure to stop at their outlet store on Union Street for amazing bargains.]

South Side:
About three miles south of Traverse City is a host of retailers on South Airport Road, anchored by Grand Traverse Mall. The mall is home to more than 100 shops, a food court and even an antique carousel.

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More Must-Dos in Traverse City:

Photo(s) by Taylor Brown