A Midwestern gem, Traverse City sits in the northwestern region of Michigan’s lower peninsula, surrounded by beaches, vineyards and a creative atmosphere—an environment to suit any artist’s taste.
As in surrounding areas like Northport and Mapleton, downtown Traverse City’s Front Street is a prime spot for gallery-, boutique- and restaurant-hopping. Tree-lined streets and Queen Anne-style homes add to the city’s small-town charm, and its pedestrian-friendliness makes it easy to get from place to place. It’s on Front Street between the 100 and 200 blocks where you’ll find Friday Night Live, a block party with live music, art and food from 5:30 to 9 p.m. every Friday through August 31. Events like the town’s art walks show off diverse work in galleries such as Belstone Gallery, Art & Soul Gallery, Gallerie Medici and Insideout Gallery (on Garland Street). You’ll find art glass at Belstone Gallery; a variety of landscape and abstract paintings at Art & Soul; fine international and local art, as well as Argentine Tango dancing, at Gallerie Medici; and outsider and underground art at Insideout.
Other notable art spots nearby include the Grand Traverse Art Center & Gallery, the Interlochen Center for the Arts and Dennos Museum Center. The Grand Traverse Art Center features a permanent collection of national artwork alongside rotating exhibitions by regional and national artists. Interlochen, a boarding high school, features 600 presentations each year by students, faculty and famous guest artists, and the Dennos Museum Center (on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College), exhibits a large amount of sculptures, prints and drawings by Inuit artists of the Canadian Arctic.
With the perfect climate for vineyards, Traverse City is well-stocked in wineries. Chateau Chantal Winery, also a bed-and-breakfast, caters to fine wine- and art-lovers alike with bed chambers named after artists such as Monet and Cézanne. It also hosts live Jazz at Sunset every Thursday through August 30.
Summertime also means festivals aplenty in Traverse City—translation: more live music, unique artwork and eats—for example, the National Cherry Festival (July 7-14), 47th annual Traverse Bay Outdoor Art Festival (July 28), third annual Traverse City Film Festival (July 31-August 5) and Sleeping Bear Dunegrass and Blues Festival (August 3-5).