Whether it’s an intimate covered patio on Front Street or a deck with views of West Bay, dining outside in Traverse City is about the atmosphere, and the food to match. Here are 8 great restaurants that offer dining outside in Traverse City.

Towne Plaza:

A downtown eatery where the passion is for all things local—and all things pork. Sit on the pretty brick patio and feast on classics like pulled pork, or stretch your palette with pork confit or roasted pork belly. Smart presentation. 202 E. State St., Traverse City, 231.929.0900, thetowneplaza.com.

Read more about chef and owner, Chris Hoffman here!

Apache Trout Grill:

Enjoy signature dishes like BBQ ribs, fresh Great Lakes fish, steaks and key-lime pie on the big outdoor deck, where there’s a bit of rustic Northern Michigan charm and a great view of the bay. 13671 S. West Bay Shore Dr., Traverse City, 231.947.7079, apachetroutgrill.com.



A Traverse City institution with classic Euro-inspired cuisine, a solid wine menu, and outdoor dining right on Front Street’s main drag for primo people-watching. 229 E. Front St., Traverse City, 231.941.8888, amical.com.


Upscale dining room on the Bower’s Harbor shore that blends the culinary traditions and ingredients of traditional French cuisine with those of the Great Lakes. 14039 Peninsula Dr., Traverse City, 231.223.4030, boathouseonwestbay.com.

Take a look at a conversation with Boathouse chef, Eric Nittolo.


Harbor 22:

The classic bar-and-grill motif gets modern upgrades with a menu that’s built around ingredients from local farms and fishermen. Linger-forever views overlooking West Bay and the marina. 12719 S. West Bay Shore Dr., Traverse City, 231.922.2114, harbor22.com.

The Shed:

A cozy pub and seasonal rooftop beer garden, attached to Blue Tractor Cook Shop in Old Town. Excellent burgers, brick-oven pizzas, and beer from every brewery in Michigan. 423 S. Union St., Traverse City, 231.922.9515, bluetractorcookshop.com.

Mission Table:

A superb farm-to-table experience at a casually elegant restaurant overlooking sparkly Bowers Harbor on Old Mission Peninsula. 13512 Peninsula Dr., Traverse City, 231.223.4222, missiontable.net.



A trendy spot with a bit of a big-city vibe and a killer menu of sushi, small plates, steak and cocktails. Snag a seat on the back patio, which overlooks a quiet section of the Boardman River. 310 Cass St., Traverse City, 231.932.1310, tcfirefly.com.

For more summer vacation ideas in Northern Michigan, grab the 2013 MyNorth Vacation Guide!

Your Guide to Traverse City, Mackinac Island, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Leelanau, Benzie & More

From the same people who produce Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, this is a colorful, easy-to-use guide to Northern Michigan vacation ideas from Ludington to Traverse City, from Charlevoix to Mackinac Island and everything in between. It is filled with ideas, tips and hundreds of websites that connect you to fun, food, activities, lodging and recreation in every part of Northern Michigan.

  • More than 140, full color pages with stunning photography and travel stories
  • Maps of each region
  • Hundreds of resources

Be sure to also check out our free online area-specific vacation guides!


Photo(s) by Angela Brown