Traverse City is a city in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, situated on the southern shore of Grand Traverse Bay. The area was originally inhabited by the Anishinaabe people, who called the area "Noopiming," meaning "place of the balsam." The first Europeans to arrive in the area were French explorers in the 1600s, who established trade relationships with the Anishinaabe.
In the mid-1800s, the land around Traverse City was settled by European Americans, and the village of Traverse City was founded in 1852. The village was incorporated as a city in 1891. Traverse City was originally a lumber town, with logs floated down the Boardman River to the bay, but the economy shifted to agriculture in the late 1800s and early 1900s, particularly the cherry industry.
Traverse City is known as the "Cherry Capital of the World" due to its high concentration of cherry orchards and the annual National Cherry Festival, which has been held in the city since 1926. The festival celebrates the cherry harvest and includes parades, concerts, and other events.
In addition to agriculture, tourism has become a major industry in Traverse City, with its location on the bay and proximity to numerous lakes, rivers, and forests making it a popular destination for outdoor recreation. The city has also become known for its food and wine scene, with many farm-to-table restaurants and wineries in the surrounding area.
Today, Traverse City is a thriving city with a population of over 15,000 people. Its history and natural beauty continue to attract visitors from around the world.
Top Tourist Attractions
Traverse City, is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches, cherry orchards, wineries, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Traverse City:
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: This stunning park features towering sand dunes, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters. Visitors can hike, swim, kayak, or take a scenic drive along the park's 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.
- Old Mission Peninsula: This narrow strip of land extends northward from Traverse City into Grand Traverse Bay, offering scenic views of the water and rolling hills dotted with cherry orchards and vineyards. Visitors can enjoy wine tasting at the area's many wineries, visit historic lighthouses, or explore the region's parks and nature preserves.
- National Cherry Festival: Held each July, this festival celebrates Traverse City's status as the "Cherry Capital of the World." The event includes parades, live music, carnival rides, and, of course, plenty of cherry-themed food and drink.
- Grand Traverse Bay: This picturesque bay is the centerpiece of Traverse City, offering opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking. Visitors can also stroll along the downtown waterfront or enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants with water views.
- Traverse City State Park: Located on the southern end of East Bay, this park features a sandy beach, hiking trails, and picnic areas. Visitors can rent paddleboats, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards or take a scenic drive through the park's wooded areas.
- Dennos Museum Center: This museum features rotating exhibits of contemporary art, as well as a permanent collection of Inuit art and artifacts from around the world.
- The Village at Grand Traverse Commons: This former state hospital has been transformed into a unique mixed-use development, featuring shops, restaurants, and galleries set amidst the historic buildings and beautiful grounds.
- Interlochen Center for the Arts: Located just outside of Traverse City, this world-renowned arts academy and summer camp offers performances and exhibitions in music, theater, dance, and visual arts.
- Turtle Creek Casino: Located just east of Traverse City, this casino offers gaming, live entertainment, and dining options.
- Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART) Trail: This network of paved trails and boardwalks stretches for over 60 miles through the Traverse City area, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing.
Traverse City has a humid continental climate, characterized by warm summers and cold winters. The city is located on the 45th parallel, which is halfway between the equator and the North Pole, and experiences a wide range of temperatures throughout the year.
Summer temperatures in Traverse City are typically warm, with average high temperatures in the mid to upper 70s (Fahrenheit) and low temperatures in the mid to upper 50s. July and August are the warmest months of the year, with occasional heat waves bringing temperatures into the 80s or 90s.
Fall in Traverse City is mild and beautiful, with colorful foliage and crisp temperatures. Average high temperatures in September and October range from the mid 60s to the low 50s, and nighttime temperatures can dip into the 30s and 40s.
Winter in Traverse City is cold and snowy, with average high temperatures in the low 30s and low temperatures in the teens or single digits. Lake-effect snow can bring significant amounts of snowfall to the area, particularly in December, January, and February.
Spring in Traverse City is cool and wet, with average high temperatures in the mid to upper 50s and low temperatures in the 30s and 40s. Rain and snowmelt can lead to flooding in some areas. Overall, Traverse City's climate offers a variety of seasonal activities and scenic beauty throughout the year.
The city is situated on the southern shore of Grand Traverse Bay, which is a deep-water bay connected to Lake Michigan. The area is characterized by rolling hills, forests, and inland lakes, as well as miles of sandy beaches along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
The city of Traverse City covers an area of approximately 10 square miles (26 square kilometers) and has an elevation of 620 feet (189 meters) above sea level. The city is divided into two main sections by the Boardman River, which runs through the heart of the city and empties into West Bay. East of the river is the downtown area, which is home to many shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. West of the river is the residential area, which includes several parks and natural areas.
Traverse City is located in the northern part of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) north of Detroit and 150 miles (240 kilometers) west of the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The city is also within driving distance of several other popular Michigan destinations, including Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Mackinac Island, and the Upper Peninsula.