When you’re trying to get off the beaten path there are few better states to get away from it all than Michigan. The Traverse City area is the largest producer of tart cherries in the United States. Near the time of cherry harvest, the city hosts the annual week-long National Cherry Festival in the first full week of July, attracting approximately 500,000 visitors annually. The surrounding countryside also produces grapes, and is one of the centers of wine production in the Midwest.
Below you will find our recommendations for the best things to do on your travels through the city.
Located in the city’s Old Town district Ferment is an inviting, casual, neighborhood brewery that is truly all about the beer. The brewery blends traditional styles and techniques with a new world approach to brewing, influenced by traditions throughout the world while remaining true to Northern Michigan. They have five flagship brews along with a plethora of rotating beers and specials. This place is a must for beer lovers.
City Opera House
The City Opera House is one of 48 opera houses built in the state of Michigan during 19th and 20th Centuries. The one in Traverse City is lovingly referred to as “The Grand Old Lady” because it was opened in 1892 and is one of only seven remaining in the state. The building features two world-class Performing Arts series featuring professional national-touring artists, multiple arts education programs for children ages 8-18, and hosts an active schedule of public and private community events year round.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Sleeping Bear Dunes is as old as continental ice sheets and as young as the 1970 Establishment Act that set aside the Lakeshore for preservation of the natural resources and for public use. The most prominent features, and those for which the park is named, are the perched dunes above Lake Michigan. These immense sand dunes are “perched” atop the already towering headlands that are glacial moraines. The dune overlooks at the Sleeping Bear, Empire and Pyramid Point bluffs are about 400 ft above Lake Michigan. With 65 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and numerous inland lakes and streams, the park is wonderfully water oriented.
Leelanu Sands Casino
The Leelanu Sands Casino & Lodge has become a popular vacation spot for locals and visitors alike looking to get away while staying close to home or on a big adventure. A free shuttle takes guests to the large casino, plus its restaurant and 1,000-seat entertainment venue. The property also includes a picnic area with a barbecue grill.
One of the best examples of Farm-to-Fork dining in Michigan the Mission Table restaurant is serves as both a dining and tasting room. The menu features the best ingredients available from local farms and fishermen, using the freshest products, honoring the seasons and supporting the agricultural economy of the region. These foods are used in ways both innovative and traditional to bring out their unique essences. Garnish and presentation are always secondary to flavor and quality.