TC is “Totally Cool”


View of Grand Traverse Bay with Traverse City in the foreground – Source:

There are certain cities that immediately exude a cool or hip vibe the very moment you arrive. I call this the “it factor,” as in you just know it and feel it as soon as you get there. It may be the street vitality, the arts, the culture, the architecture, the topography, the diverse population, the eclectic mix of land uses, or a number of other factors or several of them in combination. These same cities routinely show up in lists of best places to live, coolest cities, hippest cities, etc.

Here in Michigan, Ann Arbor (locally nicknamed A2) has been long regarded as the preeminent “it factor” city within the state – the place every other city is striving to emulate in some manner. Others vying for this title include Royal Oak, Ferndale, Midtown Detroit, Birmingham, East Lansing, and more lately Grand Rapids or Marquette. However, to this planner, traveler, and hipster wannabe, the city that has leapt ahead of all other contenders to challenge A2, while acquiring its own very perceptible “it factor” is Traverse City or TC as many Michiganders refer to it.

Situated in arguably one of the most beautiful topographic settings in the entire United States, Traverse City is no longer just a summertime destination for playful weekenders heading Up North, but has become the epicenter for arts, culture, entertainment, dining, recreation, business, sports, health, transportation, and just plain fun for the northern half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. One just need walk along Front Street in downtown or drive along Grandview Drive (aptly named) to know you are in an “it factor” city.

Coolness and hip vibe abound in the Traverse City region. So much so, that one can honestly pose whether A2 is now the TC of Southern Michigan? Some quick examples, include (not a comprehensive list):

Sure, TC does not have a major college sports program in its midst, but A2 does not have a coastline, lighthouses, breathtaking scenery, or a national park. Apparently others have noticed TC’s rise as well, given the positive press received – here’s a weblink to a listing of them.

If you are from Michigan, you probably know about many of TC’s attributes. If you live outside the state, consider a visit to the Traverse City area – it’s totally cool!

This entry was posted in Active transportation, adaptive reuse, Advocacy, Alternative transportation, architecture, art, beer, bicycling, branding, business, cities, civics, coffee shops/cafes, commerce, Cuisine, culture, downtown, economic development, economic gardening, entertainment, entrepreneurship, environment, family, film, Food, fun, geography, health, hiking, historic preservation, history, infrastructure, land use, movies, music, nature, peace, pictures, placemaking, planning, recreation, revitalization, sailing, seasons, skylines, spatial design, sports, sustainability, theaters, third places, topography, tourism, trails, transportation, Travel, urban planning, walking, water trails, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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