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Living a Lakeside Lifestyle in Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City, Michigan, enjoys the distinction of being on the shores of Lake Michigan. The lake is so popular for swimming and fishing and boating. And its micro-climate helps Traverse City be the Cherry Capital of the World,”. Beyond the boating lifestyle, Traverse City is a top arts town.  It also has terrific golf, skiing, and other outdoor activities on Lake Michigan. In 2005, the Traverse City Micropolitan Statistical Area was the 13th largest in the United States, with a population estimate of 141,011. The campus of Northwestern Michigan College is here. Traverse City is the seat of Grand Traverse County. The historic downtown area of Traverse City has great shops, restaurants, and offices.

Where to Retire in Traverse City and Home Prices

Active adults over 50 will find plenty of housing options in this community. Slightly inexpensive (and rustic) cabins are located in the woods near the water. Small lots on the water are available in the $200’s. There are older homes downtown or in new developments.  According to Zillow, the median home value was $380,837 in early 2022. Many of the homes offered for higher prices are on the water.

What Is Special about Traverse City

The National Cherry festival is held each July; Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore; Many festivals throughout the year, including the Traverse City Film Festival; Numerous golf and ski resorts; Fantastic boating and beaches; 13 museums including the Bellaire Historical Museum, and the Grand Traverse Art Center & Gallery. It also has a convenient airport, in addition to being a very walkable community.

What Is Not Special about Traverse City

It's cold in the winter. It is somewhat remote, although less so than the towns to the north. There is a surprising amount of traffic on the roads, particularly at rush hour.

Climate and Physical Environment

Traverse City is located at the head of the Grand Traverse Bay on the 20 mile long Old Mission Peninsula. It is in northern Michigan.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Traverse City area has plenty of fine arts. The Interlochen Center for the Arts (13 miles south of Traverse City) offers 750 concerts, visual art exhibits and theater and dance productions annually. Some of the other busy cultural venues include the Music House Museum, Old Town Playhouse, Dennos Museum Center on the Northwestern Michigan College campus, Encore Society of Music, and the Traverse Symphony Orchestra. Many artists live and work here with over 21 galleries in the area. The City Opera House was recently restored and provides a variety of entertainment. We enjoyed a very good meal at Bistro FouFou in the downtown. The Hotel Indigo has a nice rooftop restaurant.


The crime rate in Traverse City is just below the national average.

Medical Facilities

Munson Medical Center is the regional medical referral center serving patients from 32 counties.


Cherry Capitol Airport has regular service to Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis. The Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) serves most of the Grand Traverse region with dial-a-ride services and a bus service.

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