Traverse City : Michigan


What It Is Like to Retire in Traverse City

Traverse City, Michigan, the "Cherry Capital of the World,” enjoys a reputation as one of the top arts towns in the country. It has become popular retirement community for active adults in northern Michigan because in addition to arts and music, it has terrific golf, skiing, and other outdoor activities on Lake Michigan. Traverse City is also all about water - it is on Grand Traverse Bay and connected to it by the Boardman River and Boardman Lake. The fishing is some of the tops in the U.S. The Traverse City Micropolitan Statistical Area was the 13th largest in the United States, although the city itself had a 2019 population of almost 16,000. 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. New building construction downtown has been active resulting in River's Edge, Harbor View Centre, Radio Centre Phases 1 and 2, and a parking deck.  Nearby Empire is a very small town on the Lake right next to the magnificent Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Watch this short Youtube video prepared by Traverse City Tourism:

Here is Topretirements Mini-Retirement Guide to Michigan


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.


Who Will Like Retirement in Traverse City

Traverse City draws in active adults who are interested in living in a small city with a rich cultural arts environment. It has more of an urban feel than other towns in the area. It would be attractive to people looking for access to its access to the water and outdoor activities such as biking, skiing, and golf.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Tourism and agriculture. The downtown functions as the major commercial nexus for a seven-county area.

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.

Valuable Links

Traverse City.


What people are saying about Traverse City

No Comments

Leave a Comment

To comment you must be a registered member of

Login Here


Create Your Free Membership Account

Suggest a community we want to know about your top retirement spots
Please note that all contributions to Topretirements may be edited, altered, or removed by other contributors. If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly, then don't submit it here. By submitting content and/or photographs here you agree to give the rights to use them in any manner without cost or attribution.You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource (see Project:Copyrights for details). DO NOT SUBMIT COPYRIGHTED WORK WITHOUT PERMISSION!

Copyright © 2006-2022 All Rights Reserved.