Picture the perfect small-town getaway: autumnal trees in gold and red, local diners where everyone knows your name, vineyards within short driving distance. Welcome to Traverse City, a bucolic retreat on Michigan's lower peninsula that is a rising destination for foodies and viticulturists. Founded in 1852 and home to just under 15,000 people, Traverse City is the nation's tart cherry capital, offers skiing in the winter and bayside beaches in the summer, and possesses the communal charm particular to American small towns. Travel to Traverse City to experience what many call one of the best small-town vacation destinations in the United States.
The best thing about Traverse City travel is that you can set your own pace. You'll never be overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the city or a bunch of must-sees. Rather, you can leisurely experience why Traverse City has been named one of the best places to retire. Nevertheless, there are a few things you'll want to check out, and our Traverse City travel guide will help you narrow down your list.
Things Not to Miss in Traverse City
• The National Cherry Festival, which attracts 500,000 visitors during the first week of July
• The Traverse City Film Festival, co-founded by the Academy Award-winning documentarian Michael Moore
• Shopping at the historic Front Street downtown area
• Wineries in the surrounding area. There are seven wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula and 21 on the Leelanau Peninsula, all of which are a short drive from downtown Traverse City.
When to Go to Traverse City
Traverse City sits on Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay, which create ideal conditions for growing grapes and cherries, and lead to pleasant springs and summers. Unfortunately, winters are bitterly cold, so unless you're looking to ski, you might want to visit Traverse City when it's a bit warmer outside. December, January, and February all average more than a foot of snow and subzero temperatures, but from April through October, temperatures range from the 50s to the high 70s F. Most of the city's festivals, including the National Cherry Festival, are during the summer.