Where to Eat in Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City Beach

I was recently asked where we were headed next. My answer…No where! And I was excited about it! This weather is what Michiganders endure 6 months of winter for! It is finally going to be beach weather and we have some of the best beaches and beach towns (I may be a bit biased.) Okay, so I’m not exactly going to stay put. Truthfully, I am going to take every opportunity to hit up the lakeshore and road trip it up north. We just had our very own family tradition of our “unofficial first weekend of summer” in Traverse City. Here is where we ate:

Traverse City Blue Tractor restaurant

In town, we chose Blue Tractor. It was a few blocks off of the main drag but worth the walk. The atmosphere was kid-friendly, with a very cute kids menu. My kids lasted for over an hour for lunch here, which is actually saying quite a bit. Originally a saloon, the fare is traditional American and quite tasty.

Cherry Republic Traverse City Michigan

If you have time (or even if you don’t), I’d recommend that you meander downtown to pop into Cherry Republic to pick up some dark chocolate covered cherries or dried cherries or cherry salsa (you get the idea). You can even take care of all of your Christmas gifts right at the store. Or, you can wine taste. Or,  eat at the cafe in back or sample all of the wonderful offerings or let your kids burn off some energy in the cherry pit (I must admit that I was somewhat relieved that they had replaced the real cherry pits with red play balls). The possibilities are endless. 

Traverse City Mission Table

Traverse City Jolly Pumpkin

Out on Old Mission Peninsula, we almost always make a beeline for Mission Table or Jolly Pumpkin (they are on the same property). The food is delicious! For a more formal setting, gourmet food, and views of the west bay, Mission Table is the perfect culinary experience. With children and/or for a more casual woodsy setting, Jolly Pumpkin is your spot. 

Traverse City Boathouse restaurant

Traverse City Boathouse Sunset

We typically go to the Boathouse (also on Old Mission Peninsula) by ourselves, but eventually will invite our children along. Again, the view of the west bay are stunning. There is also a small sandy beach and docks to watch the boats coming in. The food is very nicely plated and tastes delicious. 

Traverse City Bonobo Winery

While on the peninsula, you might as well stop by Bonobo Winery to glimpse the vineyards and bay in the background. On a trip here last year, we showed up with 4 adults and 5 children and were immediately told it was absolutely fine. We sampled the wine and the kids played Scrabble (I think that maybe two of them could spell but they still had fun with this novel game). It was amazing. I am not typically a Chardonnay drinker, but theirs is definitely worth a try and a bottle for home.

All in all, a fabulous weekend! In fact, it was so great that I had to chase down our 4 year old across a public and then private beach (the kid is fast) because he didn’t want to leave. If you don’t already have Traverse City on your itinerary for the summer and/or autumn months, you definitely should add it. And here is a pin in case any/all of these restaurants sound like your cup of tea (or glass of Chardonnay).

Where to Eat in Traverse City


31 thoughts on “Where to Eat in Traverse City, Michigan”

  1. Great post! Now I need a Jolly Pumpkin beer (La Roja is the best). TC is a cool city – thanks for the tour!

  2. Dark chocolate covered cherries! *gulp*
    Okay I guess now it’s time to renew my USA visa. I’ve never been to Michigan before and it looks like there’s a bunch of interesting places to explore there 😀

  3. I totally understand what you mean about enduring months of winter! I live in SLC and we have been waiting for the snow to melt in the mountains so we can go hiking without snowshoes! And cherry salsa? What? That sounds absolutely divine and unique!

  4. I have bookmarked this list for the time I will visit, although I am not certain as to when that will be. Anyway, I have been to the US before and tried just about everything there was to try (based on what I’ve seen in movies), but I must confess that I have to visit again to have a taste of the “real” thing.

    1. Wonderful! I hope you are able to visit again soon- there is so much to see off the beaten path 🙂

  5. I would take the dark chocolate covered with cherries and sit near the winery fields on one of those white chairs. Beautiful pics. 🙂

  6. Never heard of the cherries immersed in the dark chocolate…it sounds divine! I’ll be visiting Michigan soon and can’t wait to explore it!

  7. Always good to get location advice from a local! And did I know that Michigan made wine? I did not! That’s pretty cool!

    Happy travels!

  8. Michigan looks so pretty. I have a friend from there and really hope I get to visit soon. Cherry Republic sounds so good 🙂 Thank you for the recommendation. I would definitely check out Traverse city if I make it to Michigan 🙂

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