Situated on the southern shore of West Grand Traverse Bay, downtown Traverse City offers shopping, dining, historic neighborhoods, parks, and theatres. (photo: Flickr:marada)
During the Traverse City Film Festival (late July - early August), thousands of people flock to the Open Space to watch free movies projected on a 65-foot screen.
The Grand Traverse Commons, formerly the Northern Michigan Asylum, is one of the largest historic preservation and adaptive reuse developments in the country.
Known as the cherry capital of the world, the Grand Traverse region is also destination for wine connoisseurs. Dozens of wineries dot the rolling hills of Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas. (photo: Flickr:lincolnblues)
Traverse City's historic and recently renovated State Theatre was named one of the "ten greatest places to see a movie in splendor" by USA Today.
Our area has no shortage of great places to eat and drink. You'll find excellent restaurants, craft breweries galore, and a burgeoning farm-to-table movement.
Interlochen Center for the Arts is located in northwestern lower Michigan, also known as the Grand Traverse region. We are 15 miles from Traverse City, a small town of 15,000. The region is home to 150,000 and hosts over half a million visitors annually. You'll find many things to do in the Traverse City area, including pristine beaches, hiking, festivals, an amazing culinary scene, shopping, and of course, arts and culture.
If you are vacationing in the Grand Traverse area, we invite you to visit our campus. We're an easy 20 minute drive from Traverse City. During the summer months, there are near-daily performances by our students, faculty, and world-renowned guest artists.
If you are bringing your child to Interlochen Arts Camp or Academy, or attending one of our arts programs for adults, we hope you are able to spend some time in the area. Downtown Traverse City, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Crystal Mountain Resort, several picturesque villages, and miles of scenic Lake Michigan coastline are within easy reach of our campus.
Either way, you'll discover why our region has received numerous accolades and recognition from national travel and food writers:
- One of America's top 10 "destinations on the rise," TripAdvisor.com
- One of America's top five foodie towns, Bon Appetit magazine
- Fodor's top 10 travel destinations for 2014
- America's favorite towns, Travel + Leisure
- Sleeping Bear Dunes named "most beautiful place in America" by Good Morning America
- 10 best summer trips, National Geographic
- Top 7 Beer Destinations, The Travel Channel
- Bicycling magazine's "Six Best Cities for a Bike Vacation"
- "Top 10 Places to Enjoy Local Wines," USA Today
- Top 10 Fall Foliage Destinations, TripAdvisor.com
Things to do in Traverse City
In addition to beaches, boating, biking and other outdoor pursuits, the Traverse City area offers a variety of festivals and events:
- Traverse City Film Festival - One of the largest film festivals in the midwest, TCFF offers over 180 screenings in eight downtown venues, industry panels, parties, activities for kids, and more.
- National Cherry Festival - The Cherry Festival celebrates Traverse City's tart cherry harvest with eight days of fun, including parades, fireworks, music, road races, and of course, cherry pie eating contests.
- Horse Shows by the Bay - Founded in 2004, this equestrian festival has grown to attract thousands of the nation's best horses and riders. It encompasses four consecutive weeks of premier hunter/jumper competition.
- The athletically inclined will find a number of competitive events, including the Bayshore Marathon, TC Zombie Run, Bigfoot Snowshoe Race, the M22 Challenge, Traverse City Triathlon, the Sleeping Bear Marathon, and the North American Vasa Ski Races.
- Elk Rapids Harbor Days - A small town celebration with a big reputation. One of the best fireworks shows in Michigan!
- Bay Harbor Arts Festival - A two-day exhibition and juried visual arts show. An hour and a half drive from Interlochen, via a very picturesque route along the Lake Michigan coast.
- Crystal Mountain Resort is 25 minutes southwest of Interlochen, and offers skiing, golf, mountain biking, a spa, and more. Crystal Mountain is also home to the Michigan Legacy Art Park, a beautiful 30-acre preserve of wooded hills with over 40 sculptures.
Food + Drink
For a small town, the Traverse City area offers a huge number of excellent restaurants, breweries, wineries, farmer's markets, and food-themed events. Some favorites include:
- Amical - cozy downtown bistro offering eclectic European cuisine and an amazing dessert menu.
- A trip to Traverse City is not complete without a stop by the Grand Traverse Pie Company.
- Located downtown next to the historic State Theatre, Red Ginger offers upscale Asian fusion and sushi.
- The Cooks' House is one of chef Mario Batali's favorites (reservation recommended).
- Located in the historic Grand Traverse Commons, Trattoria Stella offers unmatched service and ambiance.
- 7 Monks Taproom - over 40 beers on tap (including beer brewed by Trappist monks) and an inventive menu employing locally sourced ingredients.
- Drive 25 minutes north of Traverse City to the waterfront village of Elk Rapids, where you'll find elegant ambiance and fresh seafood at Siren Hall, and festive Cajun/Creole cuisine at Pearl's New Orleans Kitchen.
- 9 Bean Rows in nearby Suttons Bay is a charming artisan bakery and cafe, located in an old firehouse.
- Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival - In August, sample over 200 beers and enjoy great music on the grounds of the Grand Traverse Commons.
- Traverse City Wine & Art Festival - enjoy a selection over over 200 local wines from 32 wineries, as well as fresh, local fare from top restaurants. June 20, 2015.
- Moomers Ice Cream - voted "best ice cream shop in America" by Good Morning America.
- La Becasse offers authentic French country cuisine in an intimate cottage in Leelanau County. Winner of Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence.
- Visit Georgina's in downtown Traverse City for inspired Asian and Latin fusion, recently relocated to a beautiful, larger space.
For much more information and recommendations, check out the dining guide on MyNorth.com.
MyNorth.com, the online home of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine, is a great resource for getting the most out of your time here.
Formerly the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Traverse City Tourism website offers a regional event calendar and great ideas for things to do and places to see.
For a directory of downtown Traverse City merchants and restaurants and a calendar of events, visit the Downtown Development Authority website at www.downtowntc.com.