30 Best Things in Leelanau County (Resort, Brewery, More!)

More than 12,000 people voted in MyNorth’s 2020 Red Hot Best competition, and if you were one of them, you saw we’ve changed it up. After more than a decade of sharing the winners in each category for Northern Michigan as a whole, we decided to dig into 11 different regions and discover the best in each unique area. So, without further ado, here are voters’ picks for best businesses, people and places in Leelanau County.

Want to see the winners from other regions, too? Click here for Above the Bridge, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Gaylord & Grayling, Ludington, Mackinac Island, Manistee & Benzie, Marquette, Petoskey & Harbor and Traverse City.

Bar to Hear Live Music

1. Hop Lot Brewing Company, Suttons Bay
Local favorites like The Drew Hale Band, New Third Coast and Mike Moran keep this acre-wide outdoor beer garden filled with folk, light rock and country music.

2. Boonedocks, Glen Arbor

3. Little Traverse Inn, Maple City

Beach for Sunset

1. Good Harbor Beach, South of Leland on M-22
Where to go to see the sun sink below the Manitou Islands. Ahhh …

2. Empire Beach, Empire

3. Van’s Beach, Leland

Bloody Mary (Place)

1. Northern Latitude’s Distillery, Lake Leelanau
The kick comes from house-made horseradish vodka. Giddy-up!

2. Boone’s Prime Time Pub, Suttons Bay

3. The Cove, Leland

Breakfast Spot

1. 45th Parallel Cafe, Suttons Bay
Take a seat halfway between the Equator and the North Pole and stuff yourself on omelets filled with asparagus, morels and a bounty of other earthly delights.

2. Fig’s, Lake Leelanau

3. Martha’s Leelanau Table, Suttons Bay

Brewery (Must Brew Own Beer)

1. Hop Lot Brewing Company, Suttons Bay
This beloved, brother-owned establishment nestled in the woods outside of Suttons Bay features a dozen rotating microbrews including their flagship Norseman, a hop-forward IPA named after the town’s Norwegian history.

2. The Mitten Brewing Company, Northport

Cherry Cider (Name, Place)

1. Tandem Ciders, Suttons Bay
The folks who pioneered hard cider in Leelanau County are still making it big, bold and tasty. Enter under the tandem bike mounted above the door and drink up.

2. Cherry Fest!, Suttons Bay Ciders, Suttons Bay

3. Loaded Lug Premium Hard Cider, Cherry Republic, Glen Arbor

Chicken Wings (Place)

1. Hop Lot Brewing Company, Suttons Bay
House-smoked and served with celery sticks and your choice of buffalo sauce or house-made bbq, ranch or blue cheese dressing. Yup, they got the wings down.

2. Dick’s Pour House, Lake Leelanau

3. Boone’s Prime Time Pub, Suttons Bay

Conservancy Preserve

1. Whaleback Natural Area, Leland
Huge view of the Manitou Passage. Worth every step of the short climb up the bluff.

2. Clay Cliffs Natural Area, Leland

3. Palmer Woods Forest Reserve, Glen Arbor

Farmstand

1. 9 Bean Rows, Suttons Bay
A bounty of fruits and veggies, grown chemical-free. (And the best croissants this side of the pond!)

2. Gallagher’s Farm Market, Traverse City

3. Omena Cut Flowers U-Pick, Omena

Favorite Nonprofit (In Region)

1. Leelanau Conservancy, Leland
Quietly protecting 14,000 acres of land, 47 miles of lakes and streams and 23 miles of trails this beautiful peninsula and counting. Thank you!

2. Fishtown Preservation Society, Leland

3. Wings of Wonder, Empire

Fishing Charter Location

1. Fishtown Charter Services, Leland
Captain Munoz has been taking charters out of Leland for 46 years so know that you’ll come back with fish—and plenty of fish tales.

2. Bill Wright, Cutter Charter, Leland

3. Watta Bite, Empire

Gallery to Buy and Browse Local Art

1. Two Fish Gallery, Leland
Steps from Fishtown and the Leland Harbor, this don’t-miss-gem is packed with arts and crafts perfectly suited for our cottage lifestyle.

2. Tamarack Gallery, Omena

3. Laughing Fish Gallery, Suttons Bay

Photo courtesy of Hop Lot Brewing Co. 

Hardware and Building Supply Store

1. Northern Building Supply, Suttons Bay
Since 1946—says it all about their quality products and service.

2. Bunek True Value Hardware, Lake Leelanau

3. Cedar Hardware, Cedar

Hotel, Inn or Resort

1. The Homestead, Glen Arbor
Jewel of the freshwater seas. To stay there is to believe.

2. The Leland Lodge, Leland

3. Falling Waters Lodge, Leland

Ice Cream Shop

1. Blue Moon Ice Cream Shop, Cedar
Shakes, malts, flurries, sundaes, slushies, glaciers, homemade waffle cones and more. Hot dogs, chili dogs, brats and bbq sandwiches. Served up with a friendly smile and reasonable prices. Reason enough to stop in Cedar!

2. Scoops 22, Suttons Bay

3. Cherry Republic, Glen Arbor

Inland Lake

1. Lake Leelanau, Leland, Lake Leelanau
A 21-mile long blue beauty that makes boaters, cherries and wine grapes oh, so happy.

2. Glen Lake, Empire, Glen Arbor

3. North Bar, Empire

Local Insurance Agency

1. Bonek Insurance Agency, Suttons Bay
Covering all the basics as well as the stuff that makes life Up North fun—from boats to motorhomes—since 1934.

2. Devette & Ford Insurance Agency, Inc., Glen Arbor

Local Red Wine

1. Blustone Vineyards, Lake Leelanau
Award-winning reds artfully produced from estate-grown merlot and pinot noir.

2. Black Star Farms, Suttons Bay

3. Leelanau Cellars, Omena

Local White Wine

1. Blustone Vineyards, Lake Leelanau
Award-wining whites artfully produced from estate-grown pinot gris, pinot blanc, riesling, chardonnay and Gewurztraminer.

2. Mawby, Suttons Bay

3. Black Star Farms, Suttons Bay

Outdoor Dining

1. Hop Lot Brewing Company, Suttons Bay
All ages love this Northwoods beer garden where you can fill up on smoked meats, tacos, sandwiches and awesome craft beer while you play yard games.

2. The Cove, Leland

3. Knot Just A Bar, Omena

Outdoor Running Trail

1. TART Leelanau Trail, Suttons Bay
The scenery—farms, vineyards, lakes and ponds—helps ease the workout pain.

2. Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, Glen Arbor, Empire

3. Alligator Hill Trail, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Party Store

1. Barrels & Barrels Inc, Suttons Bay
From beer to beer pong, they make your party.

2. Hansen’s Foods, Suttons Bay

3. Buntings Cedar Market Inc., Cedar

Place to Get Coffee

1. Leelanau Coffee Roasting Company, Glen Arbor
Glen Arbor’s morning happy place.

2. Pedaling Beans Coffee House, Lake Leelanau

3rd Place Tie: Mundos Roasting & Co., Suttons Bay

3rd Place Tie: Blue Boat Coffee, Leland 

Place to Get Your Annuals and Perennials

1. Plant Masters, Suttons Bay
Family owned and family grown since the 1940s—says it all!

2. Breeze Hill Nursery, Leelanau County

3. Omena Cut Flowers U-Pick, Omena

Place to Take an Instagram Photo

1. Fishtown, Leland
These weathered shanties just keep looking more charming with age. You can’t miss with this shot!

2. Empire Bluff, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire

3. Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive #9, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Glen Arbor

Realtor (Name, Realty)

1. Vicky Oltersdorf, Oltersdorf Realty, Suttons Bay
She’s sold more than 1,000 homes throughout her 30-year career. Vicky gets it done!

2. Tim Schaub, Schaub Team Premier Realty, Suttons Bay

3. Carolyn Telgard, Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors, Leland

Sports Gear Rental Company

1. Crystal River Outfitters, Glen Arbor
Bikes, kayaks, canoes and anything else you might need to get out and explore the woods and water of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

2. Suttons Bay Bikes, Suttons Bay

3. Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak, Empire

Summer Festival or Event

1. Leland Wine and Food Festival, Leland
Local wine and food, great music all set at the Leland Harbor. This June event is the peninsula’s summer kickoff.

2. Cedar Polka Fest, Cedar

3. Suttons Bay Art Fair, Suttons Bay

Wedding Venue

1. Aurora Cellars, Suttons Bay
An ancient weeping willow and old farmhouse in the foreground, a vineyard beyond. Meet your dream wedding.

2. Black Star Farms, Suttons Bay

3. The Homestead, Glen Arbor

Winter Festival or Event

1. Suttons Bay YetiFest, Suttons Bay
From a hunt to find Freddy Yetti and his friends around town to a chili cook-off, this is the North’s most abominable festival!

2. Taste of Leelanau, The Homestead, Glen Arbor

3. Glen Lake Winterfest, Glen Arbor