Over the last couple months, I traveled to Traverse City, Michigan three times for work. Each trip was only a couple days long, but it was my first time there since I was a kid, so I wanted to get as much sightseeing in as possible!
I was lucky enough to have a friend from the area to give me recommendations of what to do, as well as coworkers and training buddies willing to tag along . I had a great time adventuring around the charming city and watching it come to life from April to June as the cherry trees bloomed and it kicked off tourist season.
Here are four things that I did (and loved) in my time in Traverse City, and I hope you enjoy them, too!
1. Hike the Sleeping Bear Dunes
The Sleeping Bear Dunes are a must if you are visiting Traverse City! There are a bunch of different overlooks, but my friend recommended the Empire Bluff Trail. About 1.5 miles round trip, Empire Bluff Trail is easy and classic.
I hiked this one solo, and it took about an hour round trip with time for pictures along the way. There were a few other parties hiking at the same time, including a couple families with little ones. Everyone was super friendly, including the girls I befriended to snap a couple shots for me (thanks, ladies!).
It took about 30 minutes to drive from Traverse City to the trail. The Sleeping Bear Dunes Park Headquarters is on the way. Take a stop into the visitor center for souvenirs and directions, because me trying to give you directions will just get you lost 😉
2. Go Wine Tasting
The question is not whether to go wine tasting, but where to go wine tasting. And who’s driving.
There are so many options for wine tasting in the Traverse City area, my recommendation is just to choose a peninsula and get out there. If you’re short on time and staying right in Traverse City like I was, the Old Mission Peninsula is a great option because it’s right there. If not, Leelanau is a bit of a drive but very popular.
I went with a couple peeps from my training because I’m that weirdo that will make friends with strangers wherever I go (reference random girls from #1). They had gone out wine tasting pretty much every night we were there, so they took me to their favorites, plus a couple that happened to be open later in the evening.
All of the tasting room staff was super friendly and knowledgeable, the tastings were inexpensive and the atmosphere was casual. If you don’t have a designated driver in your group, you can rent a van/bus with a driver to take you around to the wineries. Make sure you have some snacks along the way or dinner plans after, or it could be a rough morning!
3. Check out the Food Trucks
My coworkers and I found out about the food trucks the best way you can find out about food trucks…which is simply by stumbling upon them.
We were actually on our way to dinner at PoppyCock’s, and drove right by a bunch of food trucks parked outside a bar called The Little Fleet. It’s the kind of place my friends and I would spend all of our free time if we lived in TC. So we made a quick change of plans and entered food truck heaven.
There were probably seven or eight trucks total with cuisine ranging from sushi, to tacos, to burgers, to ice cream. It was perfect for a group because we were each able to get whatever we felt like eating and meet at a picnic table. I’m taco kind of girl, so it was lamburger and pork belly deliciousness for me.
We topped it off with a trip to the Grand Traverse Pie Company. I’ll let the picture speak for itself, yes?
4. Shop Local
This one is super easy. Ready? Okay, here we go…
Park downtown. Get out of your vehicle. Walk in and out of stores, spending your hard-earned money on Michigan made products as desired.
I spent at least an hour, maybe two, browsing the cute stores downtown. I doubt I even hit a quarter of them them. Maybe not even an eighth? I could’ve kept going (and spending), but my friends sushi and hot sake were calling.
Apparently I was too busy shopping to snap any photos while I shopped, so to make up for it, here’s a mouthwatering picture of sushi from Red Ginger. A coworker and I went there each of the three times we traveled down. They have great service, an awesome happy hour menu, and incredible sushi that turns me into the living version of the heart eyes emoji.
That’s a Wrap!
I did these over the course of about a week since I only had a couple free evenings at a time, but you could easily squeeze them all into a day or two. Treat yourself to a weekend in Traverse City 🙂