All-around excellent, they are available all year long. Try your hand at all five of these top Traverse City activities to give your trip a well-rounded experience. And after completing each category, start from the beginning and repeat; there is a depth of goodness that never runs out.


1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Ever feel as though you are at the top of the world? Here is where you can get a glimpse. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, perched more than 400 feet above the beautiful baby blues of Lake Michigan, is a jewel that never ceases to astound its visitors (and locals). If you don't believe us, remember Good Morning America, which a few years ago dubbed the National Lakeshore as the Most Beautiful Place in America.

If you're just in town for a quick weekend in the summer, go to Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and exit at the Lake Michigan Overlook. It's breathtaking, stunning, and has an incomparable iconic view. However, if you do have the luxury of time, consider taking a tour, exploring some nearby trails for a hike, bike ride, or snowshoeing, or getting in serious exercise at the renowned Dune Climb. No matter what you decide, make sure to visit the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire for the latest information on the park.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakershore


2. Outdoor Recreation

We all need to put in a few extra miles because of the fruit salad, beverage, and bread. There are different options for getting up and get up and start moving without entering a gym. On the 45th Parallel, the summer days are unusually long, giving us more time to walk, bike, fish, golf, swim, sail, or simply laze around. And the possibilities only intensify when winter arrives. It's a playground without boundaries where you can fat bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, downhill ski or snowboard, ride a snow tube, ice skate, or go ice fishing. There is also a four-season calendar of races and sporting events if you need a little friendly competition to keep you motivated. Perhaps, as a result, Midwest Living awarded our town the Greatest Town in the Midwest.

Winter Wonderland


3. Wine Tasting

The Piedmont area of Italy and Bourdeaux in France share the 45th Parallel, which is one of nature's wonders. As a result, there are roughly 40 distinct wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms along the Traverse Wine Coast. In addition, the area is protected from mother nature's irregularities by Grand Traverse Bay, with the added benefit of longer daylight hours, which allows for slower, more exquisite ripening. Our winemakers have ranked us highly on a number of lists, including Travel Channel's Top 10 Cities for Wine Snobs, for everything from crisp whites to complex reds.

There is also the aesthetic to consider. The tasting rooms themselves are breathtaking, with everything from a traditional European setting to a minimalist modern design. However, they also have some of the most beautiful views of the landscapes along the coastline. Whether it's a self-guided tour, a snowshoe outing, or a shuttled event, the wineries never fail to show their warmest welcome.

Wine Tasting in Traverse City


4. Dining

What is superior to liquid bread, you ask? Serve it on dense bread. And home-made butter, of course, as we're bringing that farm right here to the 45th Parallel to your table. Our northern corner of Michigan is, well, productive, coming in second place to California as the most agriculturally diversified state in the U.S. Before there was a locally sourced movement, our restaurant owners embraced the way of life since the food was readily available, it helped our neighbors, and, most importantly, it tasted fantastic. In 2010, Traverse City was designated one of the top five culinary towns in America by Bon Appetit. Of course, experiencing the fruits of the great outdoors while outdoors is the best of all worlds.

Alfresco Dining in Traverse City


5. Microbreweries

Fluid bread You're about a dozen times welcome in this Astonishing City. Maybe it's the plaid shirts, the scruffy beards, or maybe it's the amazing folky song flowing over the taps, but breweries all seem to shout "You're Welcome Here!" Each brewery and taproom brings a distinctive style to the pub scene, but they all share a goal: to promote our country. There is a pint for everything, and we're raising it, whether it be empire hops, asparagus, whiskey, farm-raised pigs, apples, or a complete cherry pie. CNN Money also lists us as one of America's Best Beer Towns, so we are both. We have Traverse City Beer Week every November, and it makes sense.



6. Museums and Galleries

Butterfly House - Open from May through October, it offers a wide variety of butterflies, insects, and stunning flora. For all ages, they provide a wide variety of instructive workshops and presentations! Anybody stopping in Traverse City must go here.

Great Lakes Children’s Museum - Children can also find a ton of entertainment at the Great Lakes Children's Museum. For the best chance of enjoying this play-based exploration, make reservations. They provide a ton of exhibits for kids from 1 to 8 years old and even free online streaming events like story time and kid-friendly craft stations!

The Dennos Museum Center -  Which is on the campus of Northwest Michigan Community College, aims to encourage change and spark dialogue through its exhibitions, programs, and events. Whether you choose a self-guided or guided tour, don't forget to browse the museum store for one-of-a-kind items created by regional to global artists.

There's more, The Traverse City Opera House is a historical location that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, however, it is not a museum. Now used as a local playhouse and gathering place for the community, this Victorian opera building.

Dennos Museum

Traverse City is well renowned as one of America’s “Must see” sites for family holidays, fine arts, local artisan beer and wine, farm-to-table food, exciting festivals, sailing, golf, hiking, skiing, fishing, and miles of beautiful freshwater shoreline. After a successful day at work, nature's playground is only outside your door.