Open main menu

Traverse City (/ˈtrævərs ˈsɪti/ or locally /ˈtrævər.sɪti/) is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the county seat of Grand Traverse County,[6] although a small portion extends into Leelanau County. It is the largest city in the 21-county Northern Michigan region. The population was 14,674 at the 2010 census, with 143,372 in the Traverse City micropolitan area.

Traverse City, Michigan
City of Traverse City
Traverse City as seen from the Open Space
Traverse City as seen from the Open Space
Official logo of Traverse City, Michigan
Official Logo
Etymology: French: la grande traverse (the long crossing)
Traverse, "T.C.", The Cherry Capital (of the World), Cherryland
Location within Leelanau County (top) and Grand Traverse County (bottom)
Location within Leelanau County (top) and Grand Traverse County (bottom)
Traverse City is located in Michigan
Traverse City
Traverse City
Location within the state of Michigan
Coordinates: 44°46′05″N 85°37′20″W / 44.76806°N 85.62222°W / 44.76806; -85.62222Coordinates: 44°46′05″N 85°37′20″W / 44.76806°N 85.62222°W / 44.76806; -85.62222
CountryUnited States
CountiesGrand Traverse and Leelanau
Incorporated1891 (village)
1895 (city)
Founded byPerry Hannah, Albert Lay, Horace Boardman
 • TypeCouncil–manager
 • MayorJim Carruthers[1]
 • City managerMarty Colburn
 • City8.66 sq mi (22.43 km2)
 • Land8.33 sq mi (21.58 km2)
 • Water0.33 sq mi (0.86 km2)
626 ft (191 m)
 • City14,674
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,862.55/sq mi (719.10/km2)
 • Metro
144,411 (Traverse City micropolitan area)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
49684, 49685, 49686, 49696
Area code(s)231
FIPS code26-80340
GNIS feature ID1615042[5]
WebsiteOfficial website

The Traverse City area is the largest producer of tart cherries in the United States.[7] Near the time of cherry harvest, the city hosts the annual week-long National Cherry Festival in the first full week of July, attracting approximately 500,000 visitors annually.[8] The surrounding countryside also produces grapes, and is one of the centers of wine production in the Midwest.[9] Tourism, both summer and winter, is another key industry. The Traverse City area features varied natural attractions, including freshwater beaches, vineyards, a National Lakeshore, downhill skiing areas, and numerous forests.[10] In 2009, TripAdvisor named Traverse City the number two small town travel destination in the United States.[11] In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the country by U.S. News & World Report.[12]


First native settlers (pre-1847)Edit

Before European colonists and the Northwest Territory, Traverse City was occupied by the Ojibwe and Ottawa people. Many locations in the Michigan area used to have native names. Traverse City was called "wequetong" which means "at the head of the bay" This area was an Indian camp near what is now Clinch Park in downtown Traverse City. Over time, this camp was slowly abandoned.[13]

Europeans and American settlersEdit

After the colonists came in, they discovered the Grand Traverse Bay. The bay earned its name from 18th-century French voyageurs who made la grande traverse,[a] or "the long crossing", across the mouth of bay. The area was owned by the French, followed by Great Britain as the Province of Quebec. After 1776, the area was owned by the Americans.[15] On Old Mission peninsula, Rev Peter Doughtery started the first permanent settlement in 1839. This was called "Grand Traverse"[16]

Downtown Traverse City as viewed from West Grand Traverse Bay

In 1847, Captain Boardman of Naperville, Illinois, purchased the land at the mouth of the Boardman River at the head of the west arm of the bay, where the Indian camp was. During that year the captain, his son, and their employees built a dwelling and sawmill near the mouth of the river. In 1851 the Boardmans sold the sawmill to Hannah, Lay & Co (Perry Hannah, Albert Tracy Lay and James Morgan), who improved the mill greatly. The increased investment in the mill attracted additional settlers to the new community. Perry Hannah today is known as the founding father of Traverse City

As of 1853, the only operating post office in the Grand Traverse Bay region was the one located at Old Mission, which was then known as "Grand Traverse". While in Washington, D.C. in 1852, Mr. Lay had succeeded in getting the U.S. Post Office to authorize a new post office at his newer settlement. As the newer settlement had become known as "Grand Traverse City", after the Grand Traverse Bay, Lay proposed this name for its post office, but the Post Office Department clerk suggested dropping the "Grand" from the name, as to limit confusion between this new office and the one at nearby Old Mission. Mr. Lay agreed to the new, shortened name of "Traverse City" for the post office, and the village took on this name. Also around this time, the first cherry trees were being planted on the Old Mission Peninsula, something the peninsula is widely known for today.

In December 1872, rail service arrived in Traverse City via a Traverse City Railroad Company spur from the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad line at Walton Junction. This opened up the area to settlement and industrial development. Many more people started living here, and in 1881, Traverse City was incorporated as a village. This began the major commercial growth of the town.

In 1895, Traverse City was incorporated as a city.

20th and 21st centuriesEdit

1925 was the year of the first National Cherry Festival, then called "Blessing of the Blossoms". This tradition has carried on in Traverse City (except interwar[clarification needed]) since, and has become a popular gathering around the state. During the week the festival takes place, the population of Traverse City rises from about 15,000 to about 500,000.

In 1929, Traverse City's first airport, Ransom Field, opened in what is today Memorial Gardens Cemetery on US 31 (now Veterans Drive). The airport offered flights to Grand Rapids.

The later half of the 20th century saw many older things from the area close. Ransom Field, then renamed Traverse City Airport, closed in 1969, when Cherry County Airport was opened. Two drive in theaters in the vicinity (Sundowner Drive-In and Traverse Drive-In) closed, as well as three normal theaters in the area. With this, the Cherryland Mall and Grand Traverse Mall opened in these years.

In 2005, the first Traverse City Film Festival was held in downtown Traverse City by Michael Moore.[17] In 2015 and 2016, Traverse City was called the best small town in America by[18]


Boardman River between downtown Traverse City and Grand Traverse Bay


Traverse City is a part of the greater Northern Michigan region. The city is the main inland port of the Grand Traverse Bay—a long, natural harbor separated from the waters of Lake Michigan by the Leelanau Peninsula, and divided longitudinally almost evenly by a narrow peninsula of tiered hillsides and farmland called Old Mission Peninsula.

The most prominent of the city's waterways is the Boardman River. Along with Boardman Lake, the river is part of the Boardman River Watershed. The Boardman's 287-square-mile (740 km2) watershed contributes one-third of the water volume to the bay and is one of Michigan's top-ten fisheries, with more than 36 miles (58 km) of its 179 miles (288 km) designated as a Blue Ribbon trout fishery.[19] It is also a state-designated "Natural River".[20] Recently, a large project was finished on the Boardman.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.66 square miles (22.43 km2), of which, 8.33 square miles (21.57 km2) of it is land and 0.33 square miles (0.85 km2) is water.[21]


The Grand Traverse Heritage Center (formerly known as Carnegie Library), on 6th Street in Old Towne.

Nearby townsEdit

Layout and cityscapeEdit

Traverse City, like most of Grand Traverse County many other cities in the United States, is laid out in a grid plan. Major streets run east-west and north-south. North-south streets are named after people, trees, and geographical locations. East-west streets are named after numbers and people.

Traverse City has many fairly tall buildings for a small city. The tallest building is the Park Place Hotel (at 9 stories), although recently, many proposals have been made to build taller buildings. One of these was the River West building, which did not end up being built.

Traverse City has many beaches and public parks. A notable example is Clinch Park, a public park, beach, and splash pad. This park can be very congested during the summer months and especially during the National Cherry Festival.



  • Airport
  • Boardman
  • Central
  • Civic Center
  • East Bay Beach
  • Holiday Hills
  • Incochee
  • Kids Creek
  • Midtown
  • North Traverse Heights
  • Oak Park
  • Old Towne
  • Orchard Park
  • Slabtown
  • South Greilickville
  • Waterview Ridge
  • Willow Hill



  • Park A
  • Acme Bayside Park
  • American Legion Park
  • Arbutus Court Park
  • Ashton Park
  • Boon Street Park
  • Bryant Park
  • Park C
  • Clancy Park
  • Clinch Park (former zoo)
  • Darrow Park
  • East Bay Park
  • F & M Park
  • Fulton Park
  • Gens Park
  • Grace MacDonald Park
  • Grand Traverse Commons
  • Greilickville Harbor Park
  • Hannah Park
  • Highland Park
  • Hull Park
  • Huron Hills Park
  • Indian Woods Park
  • J Smith Walkway
  • Jupiter Gardens
  • Killingsworth Park
  • Lay Park
  • Meijer's Silverbrook Acres
  • Mini (Wequetong) Park
  • Open Space
  • Senior Center Park
  • Slabtown Corner
  • Sunset Park
  • Traverse City State Park
  • Union Street Dam Park
  • Volleyball Courts
  • Veterans Memorial Park
  • Wags West Dog Park
  • Wellington Plaza
  • West Bay Waterfront
  • West End Beach


Its location near the 45th parallel is tempered by the strong and moderating effects of Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay, which have a particularly noteworthy effect on the peninsulas that branch north of the city. As a result, they have viticulture and cherry orchards.[24] Consequently, it generally experiences warm, mild summers and severe winters. Lake Michigan especially, but also Grand Traverse Bay, greatly impact the area's diverse coastal weather patterns, which occasionally consist of sudden and/or large amounts of precipitation during the seasonally active periods. Lake-effect snowfall constitutes a large percentage of the total annual snow accumulation, which averages around 80 inches (203 cm).[25] Periods of snowfall typically last from November to April, although light snow as late as May or as early as late September sometimes occur.

Traverse City's record high temperature is 105 °F (41 °C), recorded in 1936, and its low temperature is −33 °F (−36 °C), recorded on February 17, 1979.

Climate data for Traverse City Airport, Michigan (1981-2010 normals, extremes 1896)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 59
Average high °F (°C) 27.8
Average low °F (°C) 15.2
Record low °F (°C) −21
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.82
Average snowfall inches (cm) 23.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 17.0 12.3 11.4 10.9 10.4 9.7 8.5 9.9 12.0 13.1 14.6 16.0 145.8
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 12.6 8.9 5.6 2.3 0.1 0 0 0 0 0.3 4.8 11.7 46.3
Source #1: NOAA [26]
Source #2: NOAA NOWData [27]


Census Pop.
Est. 201815,651[4]6.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
2012 estimate

2010 censusEdit

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 14,674 people, 6,675 households, and 3,369 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,761.6 inhabitants per square mile (680.2/km2). There were 7,358 housing units at an average density of 883.3 per square mile (341.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.4% White, 0.7% African American, 1.8% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.

There were 6,675 households of which 22.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.6% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 49.5% were non-families. 38.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.77.

The median age in the city was 40.8 years. 18.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.7% were from 25 to 44; 28.3% were from 45 to 64; and 16.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.4% male and 52.6% female.

2000 censusEdit

As of the census of 2000, there were 14,532 people, 6,443 households, and 3,485 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,728.7 per square mile (667.2/km²). There were 6,842 housing units at an average density of 813.9 per square mile (314.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.00% White, 0.65% African American, 0.98% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.67% of the population.

There were 6,443 households out of which 24.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.7% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.9% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city, the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,330, and the median income for a family was $46,912. Males had a median income of $31,587 versus $22,512 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,247. About 4.8% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.


Traverse City is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord.[28] It is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan and served by Grace Episcopal Church.[29]


Traverse City is a home rule, charter city under the Home Rule Cities Act, incorporated on May 18, 1895. The city is governed by six commissioners and a mayor, elected at-large. Together they comprise a seven-member legislative body. The commission appoints a city manager who serves as chief executive for city operations.


Public schoolsEdit

The main school district in Traverse City is the Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS). The district currently has 12 elementary schools (including four within the city), two middle schools, three high schools (one within the city), one Montessori school (within the city).[30] Another school is The Woodland School, a public charter school in nearby Union Township.

Religious schoolsEdit

Traverse City houses several religious schools, including St. Francis High School, Trinity Lutheran School, Immaculate Conception Elementary School, Traverse Bay Christian School, and Traverse Bay Mennonite School.

Private schoolsEdit

Just outside of Traverse City is the Children's House, a private montessori academy.[31] Finally, there is the Pathfinder School in Greilickville, an independent school.[32]

Higher educationEdit

Traverse City is home to Northwestern Michigan College, a two-year community college.[33] Its annual enrollment is around 5,100. One of its campuses is at the Cherry Capital Airport, and offers aviation and auto service classes. Another campus is at the Hagerty Center on Grand Traverse Bay, which is home to Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Great Lakes Culinary Institute, Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, and the Hagerty Conference Center.


Traverse City is served by the Traverse Area District Library, which has six branch libraries.[34]


Tourists crowd Clinch Park Beach during summer months in Traverse City

Most of Traverse City's economy is based on tourism.[35] As part of the 2011 tourism advertising campaign the Traverse City Visitors Bureau, Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport and local businesses sponsored a video to be played on all Delta flights in the month of June 2011.[36] The National Cherry Festival, usually in the first week of July, tends to host hundreds of thousands of tourists and locals to the area, as does the Traverse City Film Festival (established in 2005) at the end of July. It has become a focal point within the craft brewing trend. In November Beer Week is celebrated, with tours of breweries including samplings of craft brews, dinners and workshops.[37]


Traverse City has many nicknames. "T.C." or just "Traverse" is used by many locals. Because of booming summer tourism, locals also often refer to it as "Traffic City." "Up North" is used by people in southern and central Michigan.



The Traverse City Record-Eagle is one of northwest lower Michigan's daily newspapers. It is circulated in the 13 counties surrounding the city. In December 2006 it was sold by Ottaway Newspapers Inc., the community newspaper subsidiary of Dow Jones & Company to Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. (CNHI). It is the newspaper of record for Grand Traverse County. Daily editions of the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, and The Grand Rapids Press also are available on news stands throughout the region. Other local publications have included Traverse (a monthly regional magazine), NM3 Magazine (a local lifestyle and entertainment publication, no longer published), Grand Traverse Insider (a local weekly community newspaper), Northern Express Weekly, Traverse City Business News, Edible Grande Traverse magazine dedicated to the food, farms and chefs of the area, and Grand Traverse Woman Magazine.

At least seven national magazines were published in Traverse City, including Thirdeye Magazine. Village Press is based in Traverse City; it publishes the Home Shop Machinist, Live Steam and Outdoor Railroading, Machinists' Workshop, Just Labs, Pointing Dog Journal, Retriever Journal and Twin and Turbine magazines.

Traverse City is also the home of Arbutus Press, one of the leading Michigan publishers for regional non-fiction. The company has published many books including four books selected by the Library of Michigan as Michigan Notable Books: Historic Cottages of Mackinac Island (awarded in 2002), Asylum for the Insane: History of Kalamazoo State Hospital (awarded in 2009), Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike (awarded in 2012), and Fishtown (awarded in 2013).


Traverse City is the largest city in the Traverse City–Cadillac–Sault Ste. Marie designated market area, the largest television market in area east of the Mississippi River.[citation needed] Accordingly, most stations in this region are broadcast simultaneously on widely spaced transmitters on separate channels.

Traverse City has two television stations licensed directly to the city:

Additionally, WGTU operated a CW Plus station on its second digital subchannel and Northern Michigan cable television systems:

  • Channel 61: WGTU-DT2 "Northern Michigan's CW" (The CW). This is no longer in operation in Traverse City (as of June 2009)

The city also has a low power rebroadcast transmitter of Mount Pleasant's PBS affiliate, WCMU-TV, operating on channel 46 (W46AD).

Stations licensed to nearby Cadillac are considered local to Traverse City:

  • Channel 9: WWTV "9 & 10 News" (CBS) (simulcast on channel 10, Goetzville in the eastern UP)
  • Channel 32: WFQX-TV "Fox 32" (Fox)

Fox's sister network, MyNetworkTV, did not have an affiliate in the region when it launched back in September 2006. That changed at some point in 2008 when WLLZ-LP channel 12 (now WXII-LP) added the network.

Cable television service is provided within Traverse City and many outlying communities by Charter Communications. Public-access television cable TV programming is provided on channel 189.


WLDR studios

Traverse City is the home of Northern Michigan talk radio station WTCM News/Talk 580 AM. Other talk stations available in the Traverse City area include WJML, WMKT, WSRT, and WLDR. AM 1310 ESPN Radio (operated by WCCW) broadcasts national ESPN content along with Detroit Pistons, Tigers, Red Wings and Lions games. MSU Football and Basketball can also be heard on 1310.

There are 16 [38] commercial radio stations in a variety of radio formats. WKLT-97.5/98.9-FM is the area's longest serving rock station, known for its show Lunch at the Leetsville Cafe with Terri Ray, and the iconic Giant Red Radio party trailer. WNMC 90.7 FM is a community public radio station that is committed to a wide variety of musical genres and local events, with a broadcast focus on jazz, blues, and world music.

Traverse City has three religious radio stations: W201CM (a translator at 88.1) and WLJN AM/FM 89.9 FM and 1400 AM. In 2014 WLJN added another frequency at 95.9 playing contemporary Christian music 24 hours a day.

Interlochen Center for the Arts broadcasts the NPR member station dubbed Interlochen Public Radio.[39] it serves a large portion of Northwest Lower Michigan via two stations:[40] 88.7 is music and 91.5 is talk.

WLDR was for 10 years Sunny Country 101.9 until October 22, 2014, when the station switched back to an adult contemporary format. The station went on the air in 1966 with owner Roderick Maxson serving the Grand Traverse area and surrounding counties. They were the first to broadcast in HD radio in Michigan. They have been the sponsor for several major events in Traverse City, including The Beach Bum Games, Horses by the Bay, the Make-A-Wish Motorcycle Tour, and the Traverse City Easter Egg Hunt.


The National Cherry Festival, held during the first full week of July every year, is a draw for tourists to Traverse City. The festival features parades, fireworks, an air show, election of festival royalty, live music, a pie-eating contest and cherries. It is estimated that the Grand Traverse region produces up to 360,000,000 pounds (163,000,000 kg) of cherries annually. The largest variety of cherry produced locally is the Montmorency cherry, or the "pie cherry". Other cherries grown in the region include the Ulster, or sweet cherry, and the Balaton (from Lake Balaton in Hungary), a cherry situated between the Montmorency and Ulster in terms of color and taste.

The Traverse City Film Festival, held at the end of July and beginning of August every year since 2005, is another draw for tourists and film buffs to Traverse City. It was started by Michael Moore, Doug Stanton and John Robert Williams as a way to bring more culture into the area via cinema.

The locale and topography is conducive for road bicycling, aided by the TART trail system.[41] A map with routes, different trips, advice and local knowledge is available.[42] Lake Michigan presents a location for sailing, fishing, and kayaking.[43]

The Traverse City State Park, with about 250 campsites, is located three miles (4.8 km) east of downtown on 47 acres (19 ha) including a quarter mile beach on the East Bay arm of Grand Traverse Bay.

The Boardman River Nature Center is the interpretive center and management headquarters for the Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve, a 505-acre local park and natural area.

The sandy soil is conducive to viticulture, and there are over 50 wineries in the Traverse City area.[44] Most offer free wine tasting. Traverse city is located at the base of the Old Mission Peninsula wine region.

Arts and cultureEdit

The City Opera House, located in downtown Traverse City features plays, movies, and other performances.

The Traverse Symphony Orchestra (TSO), founded in 1952 by community leader Elnora Milliken as the Northwestern Michigan Symphony Orchestra, has grown from a small group of volunteer musicians to a paid professional orchestra of 60 contracted members. There was a connection over the years with Interlochen Center for the Arts, providing a core of musicians and conductors from among faculty and students. Until 1985 it was known as the Northwestern Michigan Symphony Orchestra.[45]

The Dennos Museum Center, located on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College, is home to a collection of Inuit art including sculpture, drawing and prints. The center is also home to an interactive gallery, as well as various ongoing exhibitions in their large exhibition space. The museum expanded in 2017 and added two new wings of galleries to display art from its permanent collection (both of Inuit art and non-Inuit art).[46]

Historical markersEdit

Historic postcard of Building 50, c. 1930

There are eleven recognized Michigan historical markers in the Traverse City area.[47] They are:

Surrounding wineriesEdit

View from entrance of Chateau Chantal

Traverse City was named by USA Today among the Top Ten Places for Local Wine.[48] There are nine wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula and 21 wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula,[49] both just a few minutes drive from downtown Traverse City. Both peninsulas sit close to the 45th parallel, a latitude known for growing prestigious grapes. The two arms of Grand Traverse Bay provide the ideal maritime climate and the rich glacial soil does the rest. Northern Michigan specializes in growing white grapes and is known for its Rieslings which grow well in the summer months and late fall which Traverse City is known for. Every October the wineries host a harvest fest. Some Riesling grapes are spared being picked in the fall to be picked when they freeze, from which ice wine is made. The wineries along the Old Mission Peninsula are Black Star Farms, 2 Lads Winery, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery, Chateau Chantal Winery And Inn, Chateau Grand Traverse, Bonobo Winery, Mari Vineyards, and Peninsula Cellars. The wineries along the Leelanau Peninsula are Black Star Farms, Leelenau Cellars, Silver Leaf Vineyard and Winery, Gill's Pier Vineyard and Winery, Raftshol Vineyards, Circa Estate Winery, Forty-Five North Vineyard and Winery, Good Harbor Vineyards, Chateau Fontaine, Boskydel Vineyards, L. Mawby Vineyards, Ciccone Vineyard and Winery, Willow Vineyards, Chateau de Leelanau Vineyard and Winery, Shady Lane Cellars, Cherry Republic Winery, Longview Winery, Boathouse Winery, Verterra, Brengman Brothers, Bel Lago Winery, and Rove Estate Vineyard and Winery.[49][50]


Traverse City is home to many public sporting facilities. These include the Grand Traverse County Civic Center, which is a large sports complex in the heart of the city, housing seven baseball/softball fields, a skatepark, a mile-long walk trail, an amphitheater, sledding hill, pavilion, playground, an indoor pool, and an indoor hockey rink.[51] Other complexes include the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA, four complexes that offer public swimming, soccer, and tennis.[52] Many of the city parks in Traverse City also offer volleyball, soccer, and basketball.

Professional sports teams
Club Sport League Venue Founded Reference
Traverse City Pit Spitters Baseball Northwoods League Wuerfel Park 2019 [53][54]
Traverse City Cohos Hockey Midwest Junior Hockey League Centre Ice/Huntington Rink 2012 [55]
Traverse City Wolves Football Great Lakes Football Conference Thirlby Field 2007 [56]


Traverse City is home to a number of local businesses including Hagerty Insurance Agency and Munson Medical Center. There is a significant manufacturing presence, as well.[57] In recent years, the city has developed a growing technology industry, with numerous tech start-ups, a startup incubator,[58] podcasts, and breweries. Traverse City and its micropolitan area are known for their small business, which bring in a multitude of people during the summer months.

Top employers[59]
Rank Employer Industry
1 Munson Medical Center Healthcare
2 Traverse City Area Public Schools Education
3 Northwestern Michigan College Education
4 Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Education
5 Grand Traverse Resort & Spa Entertainment
6 Interlochen Center for the Arts Education
7 County of Grand Traverse Government
8 Grand Traverse Pavilions Healthcare
9 Tyson Foods Food Processing
10 Hagerty Insurance Agency Insurance
Lucky's Market in Traverse City

Traverse City's central business district is located along Front Street downtown. Another major shopping district is on US 31 southwest of town, where several big box stores are located, as well as a shopping malls, the Grand Traverse Mall, anchored by Target, JCPenney, Macy's. The Buffalo Ridge Shopping Center is also on US 31 about a mile northwest of the Grand Traverse Mall. Another mall, the Cherryland Center, is located on Garfield Avenue on the south end of town; this mall featuresBig Lots, Two Meijer stores, one Walmart, one Sam's Club, one Costco, one Target, one Menards,and a multitude of local grocery store chains offer grocery and other options to big-box shopping.



A Coast Guard helicopter landing at Cherry Capital Airport, with the air traffic control tower in the background

With a new terminal completed in 2004, Cherry Capital Airport provides regularly scheduled passenger airline service to Chicago and Detroit, with seasonal flights to Dallas-Fort Worth, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Atlanta, New York City, Denver, and Newark. It is the fourth largest airport in Michigan. Around the area, there are smaller nearby paved and unpaved airports.

Ships and boatsEdit

  • Adjacent to the airport is Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, responsible for both maritime and land-based search and rescue operations in the northern Great Lakes region. On April 7, 2010, the USCG designated Traverse City a Coast Guard City. Traverse City is the second city in Michigan and tenth in the country to receive this honor.[60]
  • Located in the harbor of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy is the T/S State of Michigan, a 224-foot (68 m) former Navy submarine surveillance vessel. The vessel is used as a classroom and laboratory while cadets of the Academy are underway and shore side.
  • A tall ship, the schooner Manitou is berthed at Traverse City, and offers passages to the public.[61]
  • Near Traverse City are two other tall ships, the schooner Madeline and the 55-foot (17 m) long replica of the sloop Welcome, an 18th-century British warship sloop, which was built for the 1976 Bicentennial of the American Revolution. They are the only two boats recognized by the State of Michigan for their historic significance. From May through October, trained volunteers conduct tours (when in port), and give a history of the boats and Great Lakes sailing. The Madeline is berthed at Elmwood Township "Coal Dock" (Heritage Harbor), West Bayshore, just south of the Elmwood Township Marina[62] Both are maintained by the Maritime Heritage Alliance.[63][64]
  • The Nauti-Cat, a 43-passenger catamaran books passages on Grand Traverse bay. The Nauti-Cat is the largest commercial sailing catamaran on the Great Lakes at 47-foot (14 m) long, 29-foot (8.8 m) wide and has a 63-foot (19 m) mast. They offer cruises 7 days a week, 4 times a day.[65]


The area is served by Indian Trails Bus service, an intercity bus system that connects to St. Ignace to the north and to Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo to the south. The bus station is located at 107 Hall Street with connection to the BATA transfer station.

Traverse City also has a public transportation system, the Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) which serves most of the Grand Traverse and Leelanau region. With link services and a fixed route bus service, called the Loops,[66] serves Traverse City and the urbanized areas of Garfield Township. BATA put into service its first hybrid bus in December 2005. BATA's downtown bus transfer terminal on Hall Street opened July 21, 2006. The terminal is used to transfer riders to different buses on different routes.

Major highwaysEdit

Sign on M-22


The Great Lakes Central Railroad (GLCR) provides freight rail service to the Traverse City area on track owned by the state of Michigan. The tracks were once owned by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (ex-Pere Marquette Railway) and the Pennsylvania Railroad (ex-Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad) but were purchased by the state in the late 1970s and early 1980s to preserve rail service in the area. Current freight traffic includes fruit/perishables, scrap metal, and lumber.

Regular intercity passenger train service ended on October 29, 1966, after the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) discontinued Grand Rapids–Traverse City–Bay View service. Since then, excursion passengers trains have operated in and out of Traverse City on an irregular basis. Recently, Lake Central Rail Tours has operated a summer excursion during the Cherry Festival until 2008. On May 11, 1996, the Grand Traverse Dinner Train began year round service from the Traverse City depot to Williamsburg and to Walton Junction. Dinner train service was suspended in 2004 after a contract dispute with the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway and additional difficulties. The train itself was removed to Owosso in mid-July 2006.[citation needed] However, in 2015 a study was started by the Michigan Department of Transportation, and passenger rail is gaining interest.[67]

Sister cityEdit

Traverse City has one sister city:

  Tsuchiyama (Koka), Shiga (Japan).[68]



  • Greatest Midwest Town, Midwest Living
  • Top 100 Best Small Towns,
  • 25 Best Small US Cities to Spend the Weekend, Thrillist
  • Top 20 Small Towns to Visit,
  • Must See American Cities, Horizon Travel Magazine
  • Destination on the Rise, TripAdvisor
  • Up-and-Coming Food City, Condé Nast Traveler
  • 14 Best Beach Towns in America, Thrillist
  • One of 5 Midwestern Small Towns to Visit Now, Fodor's
  • One of 7 Top Wine Regions to Watch, Touring & Tasting
  • One of America's Favorite Towns, Travel + Leisure
  • America's Most Scenic Waterside Drives, Travel + Leisure
  • Michigan's Three Best Beach Towns, Coastal Living
  • Top 10 Things for Families to Do in Michigan,
  • Top 7 Beer Destinations in North America, The Travel Channel
  • One of America's five top foodie towns, Bon Appétit
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: "The Most Beautiful Place in America", Good Morning America Viewers
  • Top Midwest Travel Spots, TripAdvisor
  • Top 10 Places to Enjoy Local Wines, USA Today
  • One of 3 Emerging Beer Towns, Draft Magazine
  • 25 Coolest Midwest Vacation Spots, Midwest Living
  • Ten Great Boating Towns, BoatUS Magazine
  • Top 10 Beach Towns in America, AOL Travel News

In popular cultureEdit

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ In modern standard French, traverse no longer has the sense of 'crossing'—which is now traversée.[14]



  1. ^ Merlin, Michelle; McGillivary, Brian (November 4, 2015). "Carruthers Wins City Election". Traverse City Record-Eagle. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  2. ^ "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  7. ^ "Cherry Production" (PDF). National Agricultural Statistics Service. June 17, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 22, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  8. ^ "National Cherry Festival". Local Legacies: Celebrating Community Roots. Library of Congress. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  9. ^ "Traverse City Wineries". Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  10. ^ "Things to Do in Traverse City". TripAdvisor. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  11. ^ "Top 10 Charming Small Towns". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. June 19, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  12. ^ Brandon, Emily. "The 10 Best Places to Retire in 2012". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015.
  13. ^ Vogel, Virgil J. (1986). Indian Names in Michigan. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472063650.
  14. ^ "traverse" (in French). Centre national de ressources textuelles.
  15. ^ "Grand Traverse Bay". Michigan Historical Markers. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  16. ^ Norton, Mike (April 15, 2014). "Exploring the Past in Historic Traverse City".
  17. ^ "About the Traverse City Film Festival". Traverse City Film Festival. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  18. ^ "Traverse City Accolades". Retrieved May 10, 2018.
  19. ^ "Boardman River". Boardman River Dams Committee. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  20. ^ "The River". The Boardman River Dams Project. Boardman River Dams Committee. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  21. ^ "US Gazetteer Files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 20, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  22. ^ "Neighborhood Associations | City of Traverse City". Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  23. ^ "City Parks Map List | City of Traverse City". Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  24. ^ "Traverse City Climate Narrative". Antrim County: Michigan State Climatologist's Office. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  25. ^ "Gaylord, MI Weather Forecast Office". National Weather Service. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  26. ^ "NOWData: NOAA Online Weather Data". National Weather Service. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  27. ^ "Record Highs and Lows". Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  28. ^ Diocese of Gaylord. Counties & Vicariate Maps (Map). Diocese of Gaylord. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  29. ^ "Grace Episcopal Church, Traverse City, MI". Episcopal Church. June 13, 2011. Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  30. ^ "Schools". Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  31. ^ "The Children's House, An Independent Montessori School". Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  32. ^ "Pathfinder School: Independent Day School, Traverse City, Michigan : Pathfinder School". Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  33. ^ "NMC : Northwestern Michigan College". Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  34. ^ "Traverse Area District Library". Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  35. ^ "Tourism in Traverse City". Michigan History.
  36. ^ "". Archived from the original on February 4, 2016.
  37. ^ "Traverse City Beer Week". Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  38. ^ "Commercial Radio Stations in Traverse City, MI". Retrieved April 9, 2009.
  39. ^ "NPR Stations in Traverse City, MI". Find a Station. NPR. Retrieved March 27, 2006.
  40. ^ "Coverage Area". Interlochen Public Radio. Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved March 27, 2006.
  41. ^ Mansnerus, Laura (June 6, 1993). "Bicycling in Western Michigan". The New York Times. p. 3. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  42. ^ Club Map (Map). Cherry Capital Cycling Club. Archived from the original on April 13, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  43. ^ "Old Mission Peninsula: Traverse City Michigan Sea Kayak Tours". Archived from the original on January 5, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  44. ^ "Michigan Wineries and Vineyards: Winery Tours and Tastings". Pure Michigan. Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
  45. ^ Flesher, John (February 28, 2014). "Traverse Symphony Orchestra Conductor Kevin Rhodes". Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  46. ^ "Dennos Museum Expansion Means New Space, New Exhibits, New Performers". September 25, 2017.
  47. ^ "Grand Traverse County". Michigan Historical Markers. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  48. ^ "10 Great Places For Local Wines". USA Today. January 10, 2011.
  49. ^ a b "Michigan Wines : Maps : Winery Tour Map : Northwest Region". Archived from the original on December 28, 2012.
  50. ^ "Rove Estate". Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  51. ^ "Grand Traverse County Civic Center".
  52. ^ "Grand Traverse Bay YMCA". Grand Traverse Bay YMCA. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  53. ^ "Introducing the Traverse City Pit Spitters!". January 29, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  54. ^ Herringa, Katie (January 29, 2019). "Traverse City Baseball Announces New Team Name". Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  55. ^ "TC Cohos take the ice". UpNorthLive. Traverse City, MI: WPBN-TV. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  56. ^ "Traverse City Wolves". Traverse City Wolves. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  57. ^ "Information". Grand Traverse Area Manufacturing Council. Archived from the original on August 17, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  58. ^ "20Fathoms Tech Incubator Home to 20 Startups, and Growing". January 22, 2019. Archived from the original on February 3, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  59. ^ "Major Employers: Northern Nexus". Retrieved February 14, 2018.
  60. ^ "Coast Guard Cities". United States Coast Guard. April 7, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  61. ^ "Tall Ship Manitou". Traverse Tall Ship Co. Archived from the original on October 24, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  62. ^ "Greilickville: Elmwood Township Marina". Michigan Department of Natural Resources. May 14, 2009. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  63. ^ "Schooner Madeline". Maritime Heritage Alliance. Archived from the original on December 9, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  64. ^ "Armed Sloop HMAS Welcome". Maritime Heritage Alliance. Archived from the original on August 24, 2010. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  65. ^ "Welcome to Nauti-Cat Cruises". Nauti-Cat Cruises. Retrieved October 28, 2010. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  66. ^ "Bay Area Transportation Authority". Bay Area Transportation Authority. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  67. ^ Slagter, Martin (August 1, 2016). "Ann Arbor to Traverse City Rail Study Explores Costs, Demand for Service". MLive. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  68. ^ Detroit, Consulate-General of Japan in. "Sister Cities and States | Consulate-General of Japan in Detroit". (in Japanese). Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  69. ^ "Accolades | Traverse City, MI". Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  70. ^ Brauer, Richard; Campbell, Larry Joe; Mayberry, Mariann; Guerrero, Kimberly (November 6, 2012). "Dogman". IMDb. Retrieved October 27, 2017.[unreliable source?]
  71. ^ Brauer, Richard; Campbell, Larry Joe; Mayberry, Mariann; Guerrero, Kimberly (October 31, 2014). "Dogman 2: The Wrath of the Litter". Retrieved October 27, 2017.[unreliable source?]
  72. ^ "Home". Retrieved October 27, 2017.[self-published source]
  73. ^ Staff, Stateside. "Fiction Novel Station Eleven Set in Northern Michigan Is the 2015–16 Great Michigan Read Winner". Michigan Public Radio. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  74. ^ Drahos, Marta Hepler. "Local Set, Actors Featured in Camp Manna Film". Traverse City Record-Eagle. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  75. ^ Bowman, Rob (October 27, 1996), Unruhe, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Pruitt Taylor Vince, retrieved April 12, 2018
  76. ^ Phillip, Abby (July 22, 2014). "Liberal Filmmaker Michael Moore's Conservative Neighbors Gawk, Revel in His Messy Divorce". Washington Post. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  77. ^ "State Theatre". State Theatre. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  78. ^ Dalbey, Beth (July 23, 2014). "Michael Moore, Longtime Wife Split in Acrimonious Divorce". Bloomfield-Bloomfield Hills Patch. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  79. ^ Moore, Michael (July 15, 2012). "Emmy-Winning Director: I Built a Movie Theater—and a Film Festival—and I'd Like You to Come to It". The Huffington Post. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  80. ^ Coates, Rick (October 25, 2007). "Mark Farner". Northern Express.
  81. ^ LeBrun, Pierre (February 12, 2016). "After All-Star whirlwind, birth of twins, John Scott getting back on the ice". Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  82. ^ Warikoo, Niraj (March 21, 2015). "Bernice Steadman, Part of NASA's 'Mercury 13' program, Dies". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on April 11, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015.

Works citedEdit

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit