Located in Northern Lower Michigan, Traverse City is known for producing cherries and has even named its regional airport the Cherry Capital Airport. The area produces about 300 million pounds of cherries every year. The city is also a tourist's dream with an abundance of activities in both warm and cold weather. The summer brings visitors to the freshwater beaches, vineyards, and upscale golf courses. They also amass in the winter to hit the slopes and cross-country ski trails and enjoy the area's prodigious snowfall. The city's appeal is no secret: Traverse City is the state's second most popular tourist destination. National Geographic Adventure magazine named Traverse City one of the best places to live in the country.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Tourism is the area where the Traverse City economy has seen the most growth in recent years, especially with a focus on developing a strong winter tourism industry.
While tourism is front and center for the local economy, other industries provide some diversity for the local economy. Manufacturing in Traverse City has had a hard few years, with many factories closing. As recently as 2003, the local economy boasted 2,000 manufacturing jobs. That number has lessened in recent years due to plant closings.
Besides cherries, the surrounding countryside grows superb grapes, making it a center for Midwest wine production. The first winery opened in Traverse City in 1974. Since then, the industry has boomed, with several vineyards calling the area home.
The city's largest employers include Munson Medical Center, Hospitality West (Pizza Hut) and Hospitality Syracuse (Taco Bell).
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
- The Village at Grand Traverse Commons: This neighborhood is built in an unusual setting: the restored and repurposed Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane. The hospital was built in 1885 and abandoned in 1989. A development group, drawn by the sprawling grounds and its gorgeous Victorian-Italianate architecture, has been renovating the area since 2000. Condominiums of various sizes are available in this pedestrian-friendly neighborhood complete with shops and nightlife.
- Slabtown: The Slabtown area hugs the city's coastline. Popular with executives and young professionals, the neighborhood features mostly historic homes.
- Kids Creek: This largely quiet neighborhood is filled with mostly single-family homes. It is popular with families and features a mix of owners and renters. Residents tend to be professionals.
- Central: The Central neighborhood offers mostly historic single-family homes with one or two bedrooms. It is popular with all ages, although it has pockets that especially appeal to young professionals.
- Boardman: This pedestrian-friendly neighborhood is mostly quiet and has a mix of renters and owners. The area is popular with all ages.
- Fivemile Corner: The neighborhood, which tends to have mostly medium-sized single-family homes, is popular with college students as well as sales and service workers.
- Festival of the Senses: This citywide fall festival is designed to appeal to all five senses through art, music, theater, and fine dining.
- National Cherry Festival: Celebrate all things cherry with this weeklong summer festival that features live music, a race, food, an air show, and-of course-lots and lots of cherries.
- Traverse City Film Festival: Cofounded by documentarian and Michigan native Michael Moore, the festival focuses on documentaries and independent films.
Traverse City abounds with outdoor activities, from the sedentary to the cardiac-pumping:
- Bus-driven "color tours" travel the area each fall to show off the foliage.
- The Old Mission Peninsula offers wonderful sea kayaking with a view of a lighthouse.
- The Traverse City State Park has hundreds of campsites and beachfront access.
- The Schooner Manitou is a tall ship berthed at Traverse City that offers passages to the public.
- The Nauticat catamaran books passages to the public.
It's easy to hit the links in Traverse City, which offers four courses in town (and several more a few miles from town):
- Bay Meadows Golf Course
- Crown Golf Course
- Elmbrook Public Golf Course
- Traverse City Golf & Country Club
Traverse City has cold winters with a remarkable amount of snow. It can have snow as early as September or as late as May. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and skiing and snowboarding are perfect fits for Traverse City's winter climate. The city has two ski areas:
- Mount Holiday
- Hickory Hills
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- Art Works Alliance: This member-based arts group holds events to feature local artists.
- City Opera House: This historic downtown theater features plays, movies, and other performances.
- Dennos Museum Center: Located on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College, this museum features a large collection of Inuit art as well as a children's museum.
- State Theater: This 1923 restored movie theater screens art movies.
- Traverse Symphony Orchestra: This regional professional orchestra focuses on symphonic music and music education.
- Jacob's Farm: A fall favorite, Jacob's Farm features an enormous corn maze as well as a pumpkin patch.
- Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf: This park features championship miniature golf courses, a water coaster, go-carts, bumper boats, and kiddy cars.
- Detroit Red Wings Training Camp: The National Hockey League team holds its training camp at the local Centre I.C.E. hockey arena.
- Traverse City Beach Bums: This Frontier League baseball franchise plays its games at Wuerfel Park.
- Traverse City North Stars: The junior A level hockey team plays at Centre I.C.E. hockey arena.
- Traverse Bay Blues Rugby Football Club: The club has been playing since 1973.