Have 1 hour before the next show starts? 3 hours? More? Get out and explore Traverse City and the surrounding areas between your Film Fest flicks.


IMBIBE: Rare Bird Brewpub, 7 Monks Taproom, The Workshop Brewing Company and The Little Fleet are relaxing hangouts for a beer and a meal. It’s easy to walk—less than 10 minutes—from these locations to several TCFF venues: State Theatre, City Opera House and Bijou by the Bay.

TAKE IN SOME (MORE) ART: Plan a visit to the Dennos Museum Center. The fine arts museum is home to Milliken Auditorium— which doubles as a TCFF film venue—outdoor sculptures, Inuit art and traveling collections. Back downtown, several galleries, including Higher Art Gallery, Michigan Artists Gallery and Art & Soul Gallery, are just a block from the State Theatre and City Opera House. On Sixth Street (one block from The Kubrick venue at Central Grade School), Crooked Tree Arts Center has year-round exhibitions and classes, and admission is always free.

GET MOVING: Get some feel-good fresh air and stretch your legs with a quick bike ride around downtown or down the Boardman Lake Trail. Rentals at Brick Wheels and Bayfront Scooters.

3-4 HOURS 

IMBIBE: Head north on M22 to tour the Leelanau Peninsula’s cideries. Suttons Bay Ciders, Tandem Ciders and Two K Farms sit along, or near, the famous scenic highway. Hop Lot Brewing Co., also on M22, has traditional-style ales, Belgian and seasonal beers, plus wine and cider.

TAKE IN SOME (MORE) ART: Beautiful galleries dot the villages along M22. In Suttons Bay, stop by The Painted Bird and Brenda J. Clark Gallery. Leland boasts Main Street Gallery, and Glen Arbor’s Synchronicity is always a treat. The beautiful Tamarack Gallery and Wright Gallery are located in Northport—and that’s just to name a few. Many more artists to discover in each town.

GET MOVING: Many of Northern Michigan’s most beautiful hikes are located a short (and stunning) drive from the Traverse City area. A local favorite: Mission Point Lighthouse. Set at the tip of Old Mission Peninsula, the lighthouse is surrounded by miles of trails. Find maps in the park, and expect forest views and spectacular beachcombing.

5-6 HOURS 

IMBIBE: Elect a designated driver or reserve a tour bus to take you to our peninsulas’ incredible wineries. From lakeside to hilltop, the locales on Old Mission and Leelanau simply cannot be outdone. Even if wine isn’t your thing, it’s wonderful to sit and enjoy the views, and many wineries also serve cider.

TAKE IN SOME (MORE) ART: Drive out to Interlochen Center for the Arts (about 25 minutes from downtown Traverse City) to see students’ final performances and exhibits. This summer’s shows are 9 to 5 The Musical and The Drowsy Chaperone. There are also opportunities to visit on-site student galleries and classical music performances.

GET MOVING: Locals will tell you, the views are stellar, but there’s no better feeling than being on the water. For a quick jaunt, we recommend renting a standup paddle board on a placid Grand Traverse Bay day. Or head to Crystal River Outfitters in Glen Arbor (a 40-minute drive from The State) for an easy kayak adventure.


Front Street

  • Pop a “Michael Morsel,” a bite-sized treat named for film fest founder Michael Moore, and look for other movie-inspired goodies at Morsels Espresso + Edibles the week of the fest.
  • Cherry Republic’s iconic Boomchunka (aka a massive cookie crammed with cherries and chocolate) is a must.
  • The groovy donuts at Peace, Love and Little Donuts are mini—meaning you can have more than one! (Pictured above.)
  • For the charcuterie inclined, stop by Burritt’s or Folgarelli’s for all of your cheese platter needs.
  • Pop-Kies Gourmet Popcorn has fun (and delish) flavors like PB&J, dill pickle, bacon cheddar and cookies & cream.
  • The Balsamic Chocolate Cookie at Fustini’s Fresh Take is out of this world. Don’t leave town without a taste.

State Street

  • Goodboy Provisions has buttery pastries from 9 Bean Rows, healthy grab-and-go snacks and a chicken salad sandwich that makes grandmas proud.
  • Crêpes & Co, located inside the State Street Market, has sweet and savory fillings, and every crêpe is made from scratch.

Tenth Street

  • Oryana Community Co-op has lots of options for people with dietary restrictions—the walnut chicken salad is amazing, but the whole store is honestly a snack goldmine.

Union Street

  • Only a specialty meat market with 106 years of street cred would pull off a salad bar this scrumptious. Maxbauer’s uber-fresh veggies, meats and cheeses are at the ready; load up a small container with your heart’s desire ($5.99 out-the-door). Balance things out with a homemade hot dog and a bottle of wine.