Traverse City, a city on the Lake, is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway, relaxing vacation or a retirement oasis. Traverse City offers the perfect mix of trendy shops, boutiques, art galleries, fine dining, shoreline parks and public beaches. There is something for everyone and everyone loves Traverse City. With that in mind here are 25 unique and fun things to do to get you started on your visit to Traverse City.
1). Take a hot air balloon ride and see Traverse City from the air with Grand Traverse Balloon rides.
2). Paddle your kayak up the coast with the help of Uncommon Adventures.
3). Watch for freighters and enjoy a sunset at Traverse City State Park.
4). Cool off with a delicious ice cream cone at Moomers Homemade Ice Cream.
5). Check out the rich history of the region and the city at the History Center of Traverse City.
6). See a schooner Madeline and the sloop Welcome at the Maritime Heritage Alliance.
7). Go on a sailing adventure on the tall ship Manitou with the Traverse Tall Ship Company.
8). Take the kids to the Great Lakes Children’s Museum where kids can pilot a Freighter, become a raindrop in the Water Cycle, make a weather report in the Weather Station, engineer the aqueducts in the Water Table, dress up in the Lighthouse Keeper’s Quarters, try some arts and crafts, explore Toddler Beach, and more.
9). Visit the Music House Museum which features one-of-a-kind collection of rare antique musical instruments and music-making machines, dating from 1870 through 1930.
10). Learn kite boarding with Broneah Kiteboarding.
11). Visit the City Opera House which is the oldest of three historically intact Victorian opera houses in Michigan and boasts a rich history as a cornerstone of culture in the Grand Traverse region.
12). Sample the wines at Uncorked and consider yourself cordially invited to visit our wine bar for tasting, or to relax and have a glass of fantastic Northern Michigan wine and enjoy a gorgeous view of the bay.
13). Go to The River and see the steam engine that has become one of the biggest family attractions in all of Northern Michigan. The River boasts a fleet of Jackson and Ocean Kayaks as well as Old Town Canoes, Paddle buoy stand up boards, and a gaggle of commercial tubes for floats on The Boardman River and West Bay.
14). Visit the State Theatre located on East Front Street in downtown Traverse City. It was originally built in 1918 and rebuilt in 1923 after a fire. It showed the first talking movie seen in Northern Michigan in 1929 when it was known as the Lyric Theatre. It closed down in 1991, before being revitalized by being used during the Traverse City Film Festival beginning in 2005. On November 17, 2007, the community celebrated the grand opening of the theater as a year round art house.
15). Go fishing with the Northern Angler dedicated to continuing the fly fishing traditions that our Michigan rivers hold. Guide service and instruction are available to help improve your skills.
16). Stock up on your beads with Nawbin beads and artifacts one of the oldest and largest and most loved bead stores in Michigan. Nawbin is 120 year old storefront with artifacts, arrowheads, ancient art, fossils, world art items, pendants, Asian oddities, gold from India and meteorites. “History buffs and laymen find all kinds of curiosities and treasures to take home.”
17). Set sail on a catamaran cruise with Nauti-Cat Catamaran Cruises.
18). Visit Gallagher’s Farm Market: The Gallagher’s invite you to browse their wholesome products which include a full line of pies, breads and pastries, homemade cherry jams, salsa, mustards, cheese, dried cherries, chocolate covered cherries, cherry juice and cherry concentrate as well as local wines, cheese, maple syrup, and honey..
19). Take the kids to Pirates Cove Adventure Park which offers two 18-hole Adventure Golf courses, Billy Bones Go-Cart Raceway, battling bumper boats equipped with squirt guns, two water coasters and kiddy go-carts and a Zip line and High Ropes Course. Swashbuckling fun for the whole family.
20). Don’t miss Sleeping Bear Dunes a 71,000-acre national lakeshore park that includes 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. Go barefoot as you encounter the massive sand dunes and stunning sunset beaches.
21). Enjoy a day of pampering at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa located along the shores of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. One of the Midwest’s finest full-service, year-round, golf, spa, vacation and conference destinations, Grand Traverse Resort & Spa offers over 600 Hotel and Tower guest rooms and suites, plus studio, one, two and three-bedroom Condominiums. In addition we offer 85,000 square feet of versatile meeting space, and 54 holes of championship golf including The Bear, a signature design by Jack Nicklaus, and The Wolverine a Gary Player signature course, plus the Jim McLean Golf School. The golf courses are certified members of the Michigan Turf grass Environmental Stewardship Program. Additional features include a full-service spa, comprehensive tennis program with indoor and outdoor tennis courts, complete health club, 15,000-square foot indoor water playground, children’s center, shopping gallery, diverse restaurants and lounges and year-round recreation. The Resort is a pet-friendly property with the addition of a cage-free facility for dogs called The Dog House-The Ultimate Dog Retreat.
22). Take a tour and sample the wines at Chateau Grand Traverse offering stunning views, a modern wine making facility, and over 120 acres of estate vineyards, this is the oldest and largest winery on the Old Mission Peninsula. Owned and operated by the O’Keefe family, this pioneering winery is internationally known for producing outstanding Rieslings of consistent high quality and value. Offering guided winery tours, a well-appointed tasting room, and a friendly and knowledgeable staff, visitors will enjoy a complete winery experience. The Winery Inn offers six guest rooms overlooking the vineyards and Grand Traverse Bay. Offering complimentary wine tasting and guided winery tours.
23). Try your luck at the Turtle Creek Casino which features 650 slot machines, Blackjack, Caribbean Stud Poker, Let It Ride, Roulette and Craps gaming tables. A casual dining experience with a touch of first class at Turtle Creek’s Bourbons 72. Seasons Buffet has something for everyone with regional and ethnic favorites such as American, Asian, Italian, and Spanish Cuisines. Coffee Spoon overlooks the exciting Gaming Floor while enjoying a Michigan Roasted Fair Trade Specialty Coffee, Cappuccino or Espresso. The Level 3 Lounge is the place to be every weekend. Plus groove to great live music on the outdoor patio throughout the week. Find your overnight oasis in one of our 137 elegant rooms and suites. Whichever accommodations you choose, one thing is for certain. A night at Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel is a night you won’t forget.
24). Bring your camera and take a photographic tour with Great Lakes Photo Tours who invite participants to accompany them during Eco/Photo Tours & Excursions. They present a wealth of naturalist information, as well as many helpful tips & suggestions on how to make better nature photographs, regardless of equipment or skill level.
25). Hike the two mile Boardman Lake Trail which is located in the heart of Traverse City. This two mile trail hugs the east side of Boardman Lake and is part of a network of four trails located in the Grand Traverse and Leelanau County areas developed for walking, biking, running, in-line skating, and commuting.