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 Traverse City.

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

Bank or Financial Institution (Branch)

1. 4Front Credit Union, Traverse City
Enjoy the resources of a national bank, with one big difference—4Front’s commitment to creating personal connections with their members.

2. TBA Credit Union, Traverse City

3. Lake Michigan Credit Union, Traverse City

Bar to Hear Live Music

1. Kilkenny’s Irish Pub, Traverse City
What’s better than live music five nights a week? Kilkenny’s stellar happy hours, trivia nights, Three Dollar Tuesdays and Whiskey Wednesdays.

2. The Little Fleet, Traverse City

3. The Workshop Brewing Company, Traverse City

Bloody Mary (Place)

1. Bubba’s, Traverse City
Crafted with 24 ounces of homemade mix + 2 ounces of vodka, the Big Bubba Bloody is a meal in itself—a sky-high stack of onion rings, mac and cheese bites, chicken wings, pickles, pickled onion, jalapeno and an Irish egg roll.

2. Boone’s Long Lake Inn, Traverse City

3. The Towne Plaza, Traverse City

Breakfast Spot

1. Red Spire Brunch House, Traverse City
Omelets, cinnamon rolls, red velvet pancakes—Red Spire serves up morning delights with an elegant (and delicious) approach at Grand Traverse Commons.

2. The Omelette Shoppe, Traverse City

3. Patisserie Amie, Traverse City

Brewery (Must Brew Own Beer)

1. The Filling Station Microbrewery, Traverse City
This is no ordinary pizza and beer. Pair one of The Filling Station’s legendary flatbreads with a house-brewed beer or cider at this cozy vintage train depot.

2. Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City

3. Rare Bird Brewpub, Traverse City

Cherry Cider 

1. Cherry Ginger, Taproot Cider House, Traverse City
Soft aromas and flavors of organic Montmorency cherries and ginger meld together perfectly in this crisp, tart cider. Go ahead, get a growler.

2. Loaded Lug Premium Hard Cider, Cherry Republic, Traverse City

3. Cherry Apple Cider, Spirit Ciders by Bower’s Harbor Vineyards, Traverse City

Chicken Wings (Place)

1. Peegeos, Traverse City
A Peegeo’s original—order these fresh, never frozen charbroiled wings bone-in or out. Choose from flavors like Mexican, TexMex, Asian or BBQ.

2. Brady’s Bar, Traverse City

3. Blue Tractor Barbeque, Traverse City

Conservancy Preserve

1. Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area, Traverse City
There’s something for everyone at this 140-acre park—a hike to the Hippie Tree, biking, cross-country skiing or a stroll through the 25-acre Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park.

2. Mission Point Lighthouse, Traverse City

3. Brown Bridge Quiet Area, Traverse City

Entertainer (Comedian, Musician, Performer)

1. The Accidentals, Traverse City
This well-known female-fronted power trio pumps out edgy, indie folk-influenced pop rock—think Neko Case’s lyrics, Jack White’s rock and Queen’s dynamic.

2. Ben Whiting, Traverse City

3. Levi Britton, Traverse City


1. Gallagher’s Centennial Farm, Traverse City
Certified centennial and family-owned, this 600-acre farm specializes in GMO-free Angus beef, a variety of brats and sausages, pork, ham and bacon. All cuts of meat are offered individually packaged, vacuum-sealed or frozen.

2. Cherry Street Market, Kalkaska

3. Altonen Orchards US 31 Market, Williamsburg

Favorite Nonprofit (In Region)

1. Cherryland Humane Society, Traverse City
If you’re an animal-lover looking to volunteer or you’re hoping to adopt a new furry friend, Cherryland is the place to be. Their mission? Find safe, loving, permanent homes for the animals entrusted to them.

2. AC PAW, Traverse City

3. Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Traverse City

Fish Fry

1. Scalawags Fish & Chips, Traverse City
Look no further for the freshest Great Lakes whitefish, perch and walleye. Dine in or carry out, Scalawags always cooks with premium vegetable oils.

2. Sleder’s Family Tavern, Traverse City

3. Brady’s Bar, Traverse City 

Fishing Charter Company

1. Storm Hawk Sport Fishing, Traverse City
Storm Hawk utilizes top-of-the-line fishing equipment and safety gear, but it’s the coveted experience of hauling in coolers of fish that keeps folks coming back each summer.

2. Big Kahuna Charters, Traverse City

3. Traverse City Charter Fishing, Williamsburg

Gallery to Buy and Browse Local Art

1. The Red Dresser, Traverse City
Check out this year-round vintage market for an ever-changing collection of furniture, home accessories and unique gifts created by local makers.

2. Dennos Museum Center, Traverse City

3. Crooked Tree Arts Center, Traverse City

Gift Shop for Souvenirs

1. Nifty Things, Traverse City
Known Up North for being truly unique in its offerings, visit this shop to find plenty of, well, nifty things!

2. Cherry Republic, Traverse City

3. My Secret Stash, Traverse City

Happy Hour

1. The Parlor, Traverse City
Does it get any better than 50 percent off all drinks and 25 percent off the entire food menu? Head over from 4–7 p.m. daily for Half-Off Happy Hour.

2. Firefly, Traverse City

3. Red Ginger, Traverse City

Photo by Dave Weidner

Brys Estate // Photo by David Weidner

Interior Furnishings

1. Golden Fowler Home Furnishings, Traverse City
Quality home furnishings, sensible prices, a vast selection and custom choices. Did we mention amazing service?

2. The Red Dresser, Traverse City

3. Nest of Grand Traverse, Traverse City

Local Insurance Agent 

1. Susan Soffredine Rauser, State Farm Insurance, Traverse City
Susan and her team often get top marks from their clients, thanking them for a painless (and even fun!) experience. She prides herself on helping people realize their life-long dreams.

2. Tim Collins, Tim Collins State Farm, Traverse City

3. Jeff Needham, Farm Bureau Insurance, Traverse City

 Local Realtor

1. Amber Cyman, Real Estate One, Traverse City
How do clients describe Amber? Friendly, helpful, thorough, knowledgeable, the list goes on. Best of all? She’ll find you the home of your dreams in short order.

2. Holly Hack, EXIT Realty, Traverse City

3. Jennifer Edson, Key Realty, Traverse City

Local Shop for Pet Supplies

1. Pets Naturally, Traverse City
Recently named one of Michigan’s 50 Companies to Watch, Pets Naturally is the North’s only holistic pet food store. (And their bakery whips up gourmet dog treats that are as cute as they are delicious.)

2. McGough’s, Traverse City

3. DOG Bakery, Traverse City

Outdoor Dining

1. The Little Fleet, Traverse City
In the mood for a steamed bao bun, a pulled pork and mac-n-cheese sandwich or a refreshing slushie cocktail? Look no further than this food truck fleet of six local eateries.

2. The Filling Station Microbrewery, Traverse City

3. Boone’s Long Lake Inn, Traverse City

Outdoor Gear Store 

1. Backcountry North, Traverse City
This 100 percent local outdoor specialty retailer has everything you need for adventuring Up North—watercraft, apparel, footwear and equipment.

2. Brick Wheels, Traverse City

3. Boyne Country Sports, Traverse City

Outdoor Running Trail

1. TART Trail, Traverse City
Run this 10.5 mile-long paved corridor, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush scenery, shops, restaurants and access points to other trails, like the Boardman Lake Trail, Three Mile Trail and Leelanau Trail.

2. Boardman Lake Trail, Traverse City

3. Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area, Traverse City

Party Store

1. The Beverage Company, Traverse City
Known in town for their vast selection of wine, soda, specialty drinks and imported and domestic beer, The Beverage Company’s friendly and knowledgeable staff are ready to help you with your drink needs.

2. Francisco’s Market & Deli, Traverse City

3. Bayside Market, Traverse City

Place to Get Your Annuals and Perennials

1. Garden Goods, Traverse City
This quaint, 5-acre garden center and nursery is focused on helping folks beautify their homes, gardens and landscapes. They also offer plenty of holiday decor and cute gifts.

2. Barker Creek Nursery & Landscaping Inc., Williamsburg

3. Pine Hill Village Gardens, Traverse City

Radio Host or Team

1. Interlochen Public Radio, Interlochen
Serving all of Northwest Michigan, Interlochen Public Radio is the local source for NPR news, arts and culture (and some really soothing classical music).

2. Ron Jolly, WTCM, Traverse City

3. Mikey Zeroe & Intern Brendan, 104.5 BOB FM, Traverse City

Restaurant for a Special Occasion

1. Trattoria Stella, Traverse City
The farm-to-table philosophy and Old World atmosphere of this beloved Italian eatery sets it apart from the rest when it comes to spending a night out on the town.

2. Boathouse Restaurant, Traverse City

3. Boone’s Long Lake In, Traverse City

Sports Gear Rental Company

1. Brick Wheels, Traverse City
Get back in gear at this full-service indie bicycle shop, where they believe a bike isn’t just a bike—those two wheels bring freedom, excitement and forever keep us young.

2. The River Outfitters, Traverse City

3. Paddle TC, Traverse City

Wedding Venue

1. Cathedral Barn at Historic Barns Park, Traverse City
The newly restored 3,535-square-foot space is just a mile from downtown Traverse and shares land with the Botanic Gardens—rustic charm and lush landscapes abound.

2. BlueBridge Event Centre, Grawn

3. Chateau Chantal Winery and Inn, Traverse City

Winery or Wine Bar

1. Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery, Traverse City
Celebrating 15 years in business, this 111-acre estate on Old Mission Peninsula is home to a tasting room open daily, a deck overlooking the vineyard and East Grand Traverse Bay and 12 acres of vibrant gardens.

2. Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Traverse City

3. Left Foot Charley, Traverse City

Photo(s) by Taylor Brown