Exploring Traverse City: 10 Unforgettable Things to Do in Northern Michigan

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Things to Do in Northern Michigan

Things to Do in Traverse City

Traverse City, located along the pristine shores of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, is a captivating destination that offers a plethora of activities for every traveler. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a foodie, an art lover, or someone seeking relaxation, Traverse City has something to offer. What’s even better? Many of these experiences won’t break the bank. In this article, we’ll explore 10 fantastic things to do in Traverse City, including their costs.

1. Traverse City State Park Beach

Traverse City State Park Beach

Traverse City State Park Beach is a must-visit spot for sun-seekers and water lovers. The sandy shoreline and crystal-clear waters of Lake Michigan provide a picturesque backdrop for sunbathing, swimming, and picnicking. The small entrance fee gives you access to a day of relaxation and water-based fun.

Cost: $9 per vehicle (Michigan residents), $32 per vehicle (out-of-state visitors)

Address: 101 West Grandview Parkway, Traverse City, MI 49684

2. Downtown Stroll and Window Shopping

Traverse Downtown Stroll

Take a leisurely walk through Downtown Traverse City and immerse yourself in its charming atmosphere. Explore unique boutiques, art galleries, and local shops. Admire the beautiful architecture, murals, and sculptures that line the streets. Even if you don’t spend a dime, the ambiance and cultural experience are priceless.

Cost: Free

Address: 600 W Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684

3. Clinch Park and Marina

Clinch Park and Marina

Head to Clinch Park to enjoy the marina’s stunning views and the inviting green spaces. Watch sailboats glide across the water and take in the beauty of Grand Traverse Bay. The park’s open areas are perfect for picnics, frisbee games, or simply basking in the sun.

Cost: Free

Address: 111 E Grandview Pkwy, Traverse City, MI 49684

4. Cherry Capital Cycling Trail

Cherry Capital Cycling Trail

Rent a bike and explore Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Cycling Trail. This network of scenic paths caters to cyclists and pedestrians, guiding you through the city’s urban charm and natural beauty. Enjoy a refreshing ride while taking in the breathtaking landscapes.

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Cost: Varies (affordable bike rentals available)

Address: 1220 Woodmere, Traverse City, MI 49686

5. Boardman River Nature Center

Boardman River Nature Center

Engage with the local ecosystem at the Boardman River Nature Center. Explore interactive exhibits, educational displays, and hiking trails. Gain insights into Northern Michigan’s wildlife and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature without worrying about admission fees.

Cost: Free (donations appreciated)

Address: 1450 Cass Rd, Traverse City, MI 49685

6. Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART) Trail

Traverse Area Recreation

The TART Trail is a paradise for walkers, runners, and cyclists. This expansive trail system winds through scenic landscapes, connecting Traverse City with its surroundings. Enjoy the fresh air, beautiful views, and the freedom to explore at your own pace.

Cost: Free

Address: 148 East Front, Suite 201, Traverse City, MI 49685 

7. Visit the Grand Traverse Commons

Grand Traverse Commons

Discover the history and charm of the Grand Traverse Commons, a former asylum turned into a unique commercial and residential complex. Stroll through the beautifully restored buildings, enjoy the serene surroundings, and marvel at the impressive architecture.

Cost: Free (guided tours available for a fee)

Address: 1200 W Eleventh St, Traverse City, MI 49684

8. Tour Local Breweries and Wineries

Tour Local Breweries and Wineries

Traverse City is renowned for its breweries and wineries. While some tastings may come with a fee, the experience of sampling local beers and wines is worth it. Many places offer affordable flights, providing you with a taste of the city’s flavors.

Cost: Varies (tasting fees can apply)

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Address: 891 Industrial Circle Traverse City, MI 49686

9. Attend Farmers’ Markets

Farmers' Markets Traverse City

Immerse yourself in Traverse City’s local culture by visiting its farmers’ markets. Sample fresh produce, artisanal goods, and local crafts. Even if you don’t buy anything, the vibrant atmosphere and community spirit are worth experiencing.

Cost: Free to explore (purchase items as desired)

Address: 830 Cottageview Dr, Traverse City, MI 49684

10. Hike Old Mission Peninsula

Hike Old Mission Peninsula

Embark on a hiking adventure along Old Mission Peninsula’s scenic trails. Enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and lush landscapes. With various trails to choose from, you can tailor your hike to your preferences and fitness level.

Cost: Free

Address: Old Mission Point Park, 4001-4475 Murray Rd, Traverse City, MI 49686


Traverse City is a treasure trove of affordable activities that cater to a wide range of interests. From relaxing on the beach and cycling along scenic trails to exploring the city’s culture and natural beauty, there’s something for everyone. With careful planning and a budget-friendly mindset, you can create lasting memories without overspending in this charming Michigan destination.

Frequently Asked Questions On Things to Do In Traverse City

What are the top attractions to visit in Traverse City?

The attractions to visit include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Downtown Traverse City, Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City State Park, Old Mission Peninsula, Great Lakes Children’s Museum etc.

Are there any must-try restaurants in Traverse City?

Restaurants like The Cook’s House, Trattoria Stella, Red Ginger, Sleder’s Family Tavern, Slabtown Burger, The Filling Station Microbrewery e.t.c tops our list.

What outdoor activities are available in Traverse City?

Outdoor activities available include: Hiking and Biking Trails, Water Sports, Beach Relaxation, Wine Tours, Golfing, Art Galleries, Dining and Food Tours, Outdoor Family Adventures e.t.c.

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Are there any unique events or festivals happening in Traverse City?

The following events Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, National Cherry Festival, Traverse City Film Festival, Winter Comedy Arts Festival, Northwestern Michigan Fair, Old Town Arts & Crafts Fair, Traverse City Hops Festival e.t.c, tops our list.

Can you recommend any wineries or breweries to visit in Traverse City?

We recommend the following wineries or breweries Chateau Chantal, Black Star Farms, Old Mission Peninsula Wineries, Right Brain Brewery, The Workshop Brewing Company, Rare Bird Brewpub e.t.c.

What are some family-friendly activities to do in Traverse City?

Family-friendly activities include Great Lakes Children’s Museum, Clinch Park Beach, Traverse Tall Ship Company, Boardman River Nature Center, Clinch Park Zoo, Dennos Museum Center, Family-Friendly Tours, Wineries with Play Areas e.t.c.

Are there any scenic spots or parks to explore in Traverse City?

Spots or parks to explore in Traverse City include Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Clinch Park, Traverse City State Park, Bryant Park, Mission Point Lighthouse, Leelanau State Park, Green Lake Township Park, Empire Bluff Trail, Glen Haven Historic District e.t.c.

What are the best beaches to visit in Traverse City?

Beaches like East Bay Park Beach, West End Beach, Elk Rapids Beach, Suttons Bay Beach, Haserot Beach, Bryant Park Beach tops our list.

Can you suggest any hiking trails or nature walks in Traverse City?

The following places Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Old Mission Peninsula, Leelanau State Park, Boardman River Nature Center, Traverse City State Park, Brown Bridge Quiet Area, Alligator Hill Trail, Hickory Hills e.t.c tops our list.

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