The Insider’s Guide: Coolest Things to Do in Traverse City

Stroll these cool enclaves and neighborhoods, and stay a while! These are the best things to do in Traverse City.

SOUTH UNION STREET (AKA SU)

This art and antique paradise is located just off Front Street.

THE VIBE: Best “Secret” Side Street

THE MUST-DOS: Check out Higher Art Gallery’s contemporary exhibits and peruse Wilson Antiques for delightful vintage goods. Then grab a crepe at Millie & Pepper and walk down to the Boardman River—only a block away. End your day at Low Bar—an underground craft cocktail lounge serving delicious concoctions. Try the Pisco Sour, a tangy, frothy summer classic.

EIGHTH STREET

Our beloved Eighth Street is getting a makeover this summer, but businesses are open! View construction updates online, and know these destinations are worth the detour.

THE VIBE: In Progress

THE MUST-DOS: Find fine wine at Bon Vin and refreshing brews at Silver Spruce. Early birds: Order a B.A. Bagel at Rose & Fern Cafe then head down the street to Press on Juice to grab a fresh pick-me-up (each juice is packed with more than two pounds of produce).

WAREHOUSE DISTRICT

Anchored by the edgy Warehouse MRKT and Hotel Indigo, this downtown district sits between Front Street and Grandview Parkway on Garland Street.

THE VIBE: Industrial Modern Meets Midwest/Instagram Heaven

THE MUST-DOS: Wander Warehouse MRKT’s stylish shops— Darling Botanical, Relish, Grey Wolf Creek and Wood + Cloth. Order an artisan coffee and baked goods at BLK MRKT. Make dinner reservations at Alliance for an elegant and locally sourced meal.

Say hey to Simon, the precious pug, at Relish. 

Pleasanton Bakery at the Commons serves up homemade breads, morning pastries and cookies. Good luck deciding between the loaves of parmesan olive and cranberry pecan.

GRAND TRAVERSE COMMONS

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is filled with fantastic restaurants and boutique shopping. Access it at the intersection of Division and Eleventh streets.

THE VIBE: Historic Estate

THE MUST-DOS: Craving a cup of coffee or a breakfast sandwich? Try out Cuppa Joe or Higher Grounds. For brunch there’s Sugar 2 Salt and Red Spire Brunch House. The dinner hour calls for visits to local favorites Trattoria Stella and PepeNero. And be sure to swing through the shops at the indoor Mercato.

SLABTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD

Adorable homes, neatly trimmed grass, chalk-covered sidewalks and a beloved burger joint sit between West Front Street and Grandview Parkway.

THE VIBE: Classic

THE MUST-DOS: Find an upscale souvenir at consignment stores, Evergreen (which is actually moving soon to Eight Street) and Zany Boutique. Burgers on the brain? Us too. Try the TC Cherry Burger at Slabtown Burgers for an unforgettable burger experience. Burgers!

CASS STREET

The fun starts downtown at the local shops and continues for a mile down the street with a craft distillery, brewery and riverside park.

THE VIBE: Laid Back

THE MUST-DOS: Take a tour at Traverse City Whiskey—a fantastic local distillery on Fourteenth Street. Or, if you’re more into suds than liquor, check out nearby Right Brain Brewery on Sixteenth. Relax at Legion Park with a picnic then catch the next show. 

FRONT STREET

Front Street is the heartbeat of Traverse City. It’s about a mile long east to west and is home to restaurants, shops, the State Theatre and more.

THE VIBE: Main Drag

THE MUST-DOS: Grab a cocktail and an appetizer at Poppycocks and sit in the window to watch passersby—the pita platter is amazing. Horizon Books and Brilliant Books are always cozy are very inclusive of local authors and events. On the fringes of Front, The Little Fleet (east side) and Nada’s Gourmet Deli (west side) offer fabulous options for lunch and dinner.

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