Berries, cultural and artistic value and a colorfully adapted past have helped make Traverse City a well-known destination.
The urban environment benefits from the addition of galleries, museums, historical sites, wineries, monuments, and other cultural attractions.
Because there is such a wide variety of activities and places to choose from, we have put up a travel guide to assist you in making your selections.
The following is a list of our recommendations for the 18 most enjoyable things to do in Traverse City, Michigan.
Things To Do In Traverse City
It is impossible to visit Traverse City without spending some time on Front Street, which serves as the city’s beating heart.
It is a genuine tribute to the manner in which the city has expanded and changed over the course of time, adapting its historical history to contemporary yet culturally relevant enterprises, education facilities, and other establishments.
Front Street in Traverse City, Michigan, is a popular destination for shopping as well as cultural and culinary experiences.
It is the site of several exciting yearly events, such as the National Cherry Festival, which is held every year and is highly regarded on a national scale, and the Winter Comedy Festival, which is held annually.
Its mood is enhanced by a variety of galleries, marketplaces, antique stores, and other types of shops, making it desirable to both residents and visitors.
The Hippie Tree
The Hippie Tree is without a doubt one of the most amazing and one-of-a-kind sites to see in Traverse City, despite having a nickname that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
In the surrounding forested region, it may be found in close proximity to the grounds of the Old State Hospital.
If you take the steep slope that leads to the clearing, you will discover the remains of an ancient willow tree there.
The center of the tree has officially died since it has rotted away for a very long time, but its branches still have some signs of life, and its trunk has been painted with a brilliant neon paint that makes it seem much alive than it is done before.
Painters from the surrounding area of Traverse City, Michigan have traveled to this private location for many years in order to decorate the tree with vivid colors, which has resulted in the Hippie Tree being covered with a rainbow’s worth of colors.
The outcome is something out of a storybook: a winding growth that has managed to survive all these years while being hidden in local mythology.
It is said that ghosts that used to wander the old hospital walls took up home in this tree. As a result, artists and spiritual folks began decorating it with vibrant colors and creative designs in order to subtly protect themselves from the most negative aspects of the “ghost” energy.
There are still many urban legends surrounding the Hippie Tree, including tales of hauntings and the supernatural. Some people even say that a gateway to Hell can be found under the roots of the tree if you walk around them in the correct direction.
Within this dynamic urban landscape in Michigan, TC Flyboard, also known as Flyboard Traverse City, is regarded as one of the top 10 methods to enjoy oneself while having fun in the water.
Flyboarding is a hybrid kind of water sport that takes elements from skateboarding, wakeboarding, and jet skiing and merges them into a single activity.
People are able to fly higher, even up to forty feet in the air, thanks to a home that is linked to the front of the board and is around 55 feet in length. It is propelled to enable users to soar upwards.
It’s an incredible experience, and right here in the heart of the city is one of the best places in the world to have one of these kinds of adventures.
TC Flyboard can accommodate riders of all skill levels, from complete novices to experienced pros and everyone in between.
In addition to receiving sufficient and devoted supervision and training, you will also be given a helmet, a life jacket, and a wetsuit to wear throughout the activity.
Because every guide has a valid license and has undergone extensive training, you can enjoy the experience without worrying about your own safety.
Mission Point Lighthouse
The Mission Point Lighthouse may be reached by car from Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City, Michigan, after traveling nineteen miles in the other direction.
It was in use between the years 1870 and 1933 and has always been a wonderful location, being surrounded on both sides by a gorgeous, lush environment and leading past orchards and vineyards.
The lighthouse was constructed as a consequence of an accident that occurred when a ship ran into a barrier of coral close to shore and sank before it could find its way to safety. The accident led to the construction of the lighthouse.
Even while the lighthouse’s keepers were still working there, the Mission Point Lighthouse was well-known as a popular destination for tourists because of its stunning appearance. This was despite the fact that it performed a useful and essential job.
This is even more accurate nowadays since a significant number of people visit the area just to hike the tower’s steps and take in the breathtaking sight from the peak.
The National and State Historic Registers also include the Mission Point Lighthouse, and it has been modified with safety equipment so that people may access it.
You have the option to take a self-guided tour of the gardens, climb the steps, or go straight ahead to a little beach.
In addition to that, there is a little gift store that is ideal for purchasing personal items.
The public may visit the lighthouse from May through November, and it is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Traverse City at that time of year.
The Fairy Trails
If you’ve ever had the fantasy of living in a forest straight out of a storybook, you may be shocked to learn that one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States offers visitors the opportunity to do just that!
The Fairy Trails are located in the Historic Barns Park and span a dirt route that makes its way through a section of Northwoods woodland. They are widely regarded as being among the most beautiful spots in the United States.
The Fairy Trails are roughly forty small cottages, most of which are constructed from natural materials, and each one was hand-crafted by locals to imitate the homes of fairies.
Heather and Jay Harrington, a couple who wanted to add a bit more pleasure and happiness to the great outdoors of the state, were the motivation for the creation of this initiative.
Making homes for the route is something that can be done by absolutely anybody, and each year over the summer and early autumn, the existing houses are removed and replaced with new ones of various styles.
If you live in the nearby region, you have the opportunity to design a fairy home and submit it to be shown. This creates a fantastic and lovely opportunity for the community to come together.
A large bird’s nest sculpture fashioned out of tree limbs and sticks is one of the permanent features of the Fairy Trails. Each year, the artwork undergoes maintenance to ensure that it remains in excellent shape.
It all started in 2015 as a project for an Eagle Scout, and ever since then, it has become an essential part of the path.
Great Lakes Children’s Museum
Are you looking for some ideas for things to do in Traverse City with your children?
Make your way to the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, where you’ll have a lot of fun!
The children’s museum was created to be an interactive, hands-on sort of learning and interaction environment, and it is stuffed to the gills with activities that will fascinate, test, and educate kids all at the same time!
The Great Lakes Children’s Museum originally opened its doors in 1988, and its exhibits are geared toward children aged one to 10.
Its exhibits contain a broad variety of subjects, such as bridge-building, gravity, water tables, dress-up games, imitation lighthouses and freighters, and more.
There are activities like courses and story time programs, educational events about nature and science, and a wonderful gift store with items that are appropriate for families.
It is definitely a valuable asset in this town.
Clinch Park, which can be found in Traverse City, Michigan, is a terrific place to go for a good time and is regarded as one of the most impressive locations of its sort in the city.
The park has its own modest beach that is 1,500 feet long and is located relatively close to Front Street.
Because this beach is the most frequented in the city, going there for some leisure over the weekend is an excellent idea.
A snack bar, a splash pad, lifeguards who are on duty throughout the summer months, bike routes and bike racks, picnic tables, and kayak rentals are all available at Clinch Park.
The facilities are both contemporary and handy.
It’s a great spot to kick back and relax while keeping an eye on what’s going on around you.
An existing well-known urban beach park may often be found to have a vibrant environment thanks to the presence of performances or bright lighting at night.
The Village at Grand Traverse Commons
If there’s one thing that the city of Traverse City, Michigan excels at, it’s keeping its rich past alive while also finding new uses for it.
To put it another way, it is the raison d’être of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
The Village is a center for the preservation of historical sites, and it has repurposed older buildings that were at risk of being destroyed into contemporary services and destinations.
It takes advantage of the location of an asylum that was constructed in the 1800s and converts it into hair salons, restaurants, shops, stores, workout classes, and even offices.
The architecture of the structures employed is magnificent, and they were created in a Victorian-Italianate style. They are part of a beautiful 63-acre complex that sits on a 480-acre preserve.
It was designed to be gorgeous in accordance with the ideals of the medical superintendent of the old Traverse City institution, who firmly believed that a wonderful atmosphere would aid in the healing of patients, both physically and psychologically. This conviction led to the creation of the magnificent structure.
In point of fact, patients were given food and drink on excellent crockery from China, and artwork and flowers graced the hallways as well as some of the patient rooms.
Today, this is one of the most well-known sights in all of Traverse City. It serves as a reminder of the ways in which we can take something that is traditional and bring it into the modern-day.
You will be able to learn about the history of the location while taking a walking tour that will take you around the grounds.
In close proximity to The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, there are also a lot of other interesting places to visit.
Traverse Area Recreation Trails (TART)
The Traverse Area Recreation Trails, sometimes known as TART for short, are a network of transit and recreational trails that cover the Leelanau Peninsula and give access to the city of Traverse City.
TART is surrounded by more than 60 miles of multi-use trails, the largest of which is the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail at 27 miles in length. These trails provide access to a wide variety of attractions.
The Traverse Area Regional Transit (TART) system in Traverse City is comprised of a wide range of point-to-point routes that are widely dispersed across the downtown area.
Travel time from this city in Michigan to nearby places such as Sutton Bay may be cut significantly by using these trails, which are open to both locals and visitors.
It is a wonderful way to go sightseeing around the local region, particularly if you are interested in hiking through forest paths and being in the great outdoors.
Vasa Pathway is a tough track that may be enjoyed by walkers, cyclists, runners, joggers, and even those who use snowshoes. Boardman Lake Trail is an option for those who are looking for a more natural route to take.
Trail Marker Tree
Even though the Trail Marker Tree has a weird appearance at first glance, the fact that it is one of the greatest attractions in Traverse City for a short and simple educational stop does not alone explain why it has this distinction.
You may have pondered this question if you’ve ever come upon a tree with an unusual form and wondered what caused it.
In any case, the process of shaping trees via the intervention of humans is not a new one. For millennia, people have been shaping trees so that they might serve as markers for the purposes of navigation and direction-finding.
Native Americans were among the numerous individuals who contributed to the development of this helpful technique.
Trees would have their growth patterns modified while they were young, enabling them to mature into trees that are easily identifiable as path markers.
One of these trees may be seen at what was once known as the Grand Traverse County Fairgrounds and is now called the Civic Center Park.
This trail marker tree is safeguarded and encapsulated, and there is a tiny informational board beside that describes how it came to be.
There are many other trees that mark trails in woods around the United States and Michigan, but very few of them have the same level of protection from vandalism as this one has.
Historians are strong proponents of this kind of conservation, and since 1939, they have been making efforts to try to conserve these trees in order to avoid them from being lost to development and deforestation. They strongly support this form of protection.
Around two centuries have passed under the canopy of this Trail Marker Tree in Traverse City.
Traverse City Beach Bums
The Turtle Creek Stadium in Blair Township is the home field for the professional baseball club known as the Traverse City Beach Bums, who play in the Frontier League.
It wasn’t that long ago, in 2006, that the team played its very first game ever, and the squad now has an estimated total fan number of 200,000, which is really impressive for an independent team!
The Turtle Creek Stadium is an official Minor League Baseball venue in addition to having a seating capacity of 4,600 spectators.
It is intended to be enjoyable and welcoming to families, and it will provide youngsters and young baseball players with instruction and entertainment that is geared toward their age group. Additionally, there will be a Kids Club for those who are less than 12 years old.
Every year, this venue hosts a total of forty-eight home games, all of which are favorable to one’s wallet and provide a satisfying way to spend an evening.
There will be giveaways, opportunities to take photos with mascots, and fireworks, all of which combine to make this an exciting choice among the attractions offered by the city.
Traverse Tall Ship Company
While you are at Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Michigan, taking a tour on one of the tall ships offered by the Traverse Tall Ship Company is an excellent and entertaining way to take in the views.
Whether they want to sail on the firm’s boat or their model of a tall ship, the company offers its customers a wide variety of sailing adventures.
The name of the tall ship is the Manitou, and it was modeled after a trading schooner that was popular throughout the 19th century.
It has a length of 114 feet and a capacity of 59 people, which is rather astounding.
In the meanwhile, the boat has a length of just 38 feet and is designed for more intimate gatherings.
Boats may be rented for a number of various amounts of time, and each of these options comes with its own set of benefits.
If you’re searching for something to do in the wonderful city of Traverse City, you should absolutely think about paying a visit to the Traverse Tall Ship Company, regardless of which of the other activities on this list piques your interest.
Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery
With a large number of breweries and wineries, Traverse City boasts an excellent selection of alcoholic beverages available for purchase.
The Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery is one of the wineries that is regarded to be among the city’s most popular tourist attractions.
It is one of the greatest venues in Traverse City to get a taste of the local wine, and a family owns and runs the establishment.
The Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery is located on the grounds of a farmhouse that was built in the 1890s. The majority of the historic buildings on the property have been repurposed, converting farms into stunning tasting rooms made of mahogany and brick.
Because of its precise position, the winery benefits from an abundance of temperate temperature, warm sun, bay breeze, and rich soil, which together provide ideal growing conditions.
If you travel to the Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery, you will have the opportunity to buy wine by the glass or bottle, take part in wine tastings in the winery’s designated tasting room, and have some charcuterie and cheese to complement the delicious drinks you will be sipping.
Head up to the Upper Deck to receive a bird’s-eye view of Grand Traverse Bay as well as a 360-degree perspective of the vineyard!
Also Read: 25 Best Things to do in Malibu
The Dennos Museum Center
Because it is one of the most well-known and respected cultural institutions in Traverse City, a visit to the Dennos Museum Center is consistently ranked among the top things to do in Traverse City.
It is an extension of Northwestern Michigan College and functions as an art gallery that has a sizable collection of artwork that dates back to the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
The significant Inuit art collection of the Dennos Museum Center, which originates from Nunavut’s Baffin Island in Canada, is one of the museum’s 3,000 pieces and is likely the factor that has brought it the greatest notoriety.
There are about 1,600 unique works in this collection, most of which were created by indigenous Inuit artists throughout the contemporary age. These works include drawings, fabrics, prints, and sculptures.
The Canadian Woodland Indian collection is another permanent collection of art that can be seen at the Dennos Museum Center and is another of the items that visitors can see there.
There is also a collection of works by the well-known American artist Jozsef Domjan, who is known for his distinctive woodcut art that has complex patterns and a high level of detail.
Keep an eye out for events, plays, concerts, and film screenings that are presented at this magnificent cultural site. There will be plenty of opportunities to have fun here.
City Opera House
As a fan of the performing arts, you need not go any farther than the City Opera House to find one of the most enjoyable things to do in Traverse City; it generates an aura that is both festive, entertaining, and royal.
It was constructed in 1892 and can lay claim to an extremely elegant architecture and design thanks to its location in the center of Traverse City.
Even though it is rather ancient, it has been beautifully renovated and maintained throughout the years.
The City Opera House has nothing short of beautiful architecture throughout its whole.
The Victorian design of the building creates an air of rich majesty, which is accentuated by details such as fresco murals, barrel vault ceilings, and gold leaf accents.
The venue has seating for 650 people and superb acoustics, both of which significantly improve the quality of an opera performance.
In addition to comedy performances and Broadway musicals, plays, concerts, and concerts on Broadway, you may expect to find a mixture of public and private events here.
Old Town Playhouse
The Old Town Playhouse is just another performing arts center, but it is located a very long way from the lavish atmosphere of the opera house that was previously mentioned.
Instead, it started as an initiative in Traverse City to bring local theatre to a wider audience in the surrounding areas of Northern Michigan.
The story begins in 1960 when the majority of its performances were staged inside of high school auditoriums. This was a significant amount of time before the theatre was constructed and completed.
The Old Town Playhouse in Traverse City, Michigan, features not one but two stages.
The Main Stage, which is located on East Eighth Street and has enough seating for 277 people, is one of the venues.
The second venue is the Studio Theater, which is located on Railroad Place and has a total of 80 seats.
Both are among the most enjoyable places to go and activities to participate in that are available in the central business district of Traverse City.
On an annual basis, there are a total of five productions brought to the MainStage, with four taking place in the Studio Theater.
In addition, throughout the course of the year, the Old Town Playhouse hosts a number of stage productions specifically geared toward children, with the goal of introducing young people to the performing arts.
This is accomplished through participation in a well-known summer theatre camp that runs for a total of four weeks!
Coast Guard City Monument
On September 6th, 2018, the Coast Guard City Monument was honored with a dedication ceremony.
It is a celebratory structure that was meant to honor the United States Coast Guard, particularly given its presence in the region, which has been abundant since 1946. The year 1946 marked the beginning of the Coast Guard’s presence in the city.
In point of fact, Congress has designated this particular community as one of the 21 “Coast Guard Cities”!
It serves as a home base for aircraft that perform search and rescue missions in Lakes Superior, Huron, and Michigan.
A student from the neighborhood was the one who came up with the idea for the monument’s design, which is a depiction of an air rescue helicopter that goes by the name the MH-65 Dolphin.
Between the years 2011 and 2017, these specific models of helicopters were in service before being phased out in favor of more recent variants.
It is interesting to note that the creation of this monument incurred a shocking cost of sixty thousand dollars, but the funding for it came from charitable organizations, donations, and volunteers, in addition to the costs associated with its masonry and site landscaping.
That should give you some idea of the charitable and giving nature of the people who live in the city, doesn’t it?
Since the dawn of time, the United States Coast Guard has been an integral part of keeping the nation free from harm and ensuring its prosperity.
Whether or not you have a lot of knowledge about the Coast Guard, this is an interesting and beautiful statue, and it is one of the best places to visit in the city!
Traverse City State Park
Are you looking for some of the best places to visit in order to have a vacation that you will never forget?
The urban park that is Traverse City State Park covers 48 acres and is located just a short distance from the central business district of the city.
You can take advantage of the numerous water-based activities that are available while basking in the warm rays of the Michigan sun on the approximately a quarter of a mile of beaches that are spread out across the larger stretch of Grand Traverse Bay.
At the park, you can choose from a variety of activities and attractions to engage in, such as sunbathing, hiking, fishing, swimming, boating, and metal detecting.
The beach is home to its very own playground in addition to a concession stand where visitors can purchase refreshments.
In addition, there is a campground that can be rented out, complete with fire pits, picnic tables, hookups to electrical and water facilities, and other amenities.
There are 343 of these campsites available, so there will be plenty of room for everyone!
Start making your plans to visit Traverse City today.
There is no doubt that Traverse City is a lively city that is packed to the brim with interesting and entertaining places to visit.
There is no limit to the number of things that you can do in this city, regardless of whether you are interested in the performing arts, are attending one of their many cultural festivals, or are looking for tourist hotspots to enjoy.
The city has something to offer everyone, from people who are interested in history and the natural world to those who have a passion for wine and the performing arts.