Meeting and event planning in Traverse City can take advantage of Lake Michigan's white sandy beaches, cool lake breezes and enthusiastic culture built around sailing and watersports. But that's not all: Traverse City also happens to sit at the crossroads of 20 stellar golf courses and dozens of award-winning vineyards. Traverse City event venues are well equipped and within walking distance of a diverse, sophisticated dining scene almost unthinkable for a town of 15,000. There's a leisurely pace to life here, and a cosmopolitan range of dining and entertainment belies a genuine, small-town warmth in which northern Michiganders rightfully take pride.
Cherry Capital Airport (TVC), two miles south of downtown Traverse City, offers direct service to Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit and, during the summer travel season, New York, Atlanta, Denver, and Cincinnati. The airport, built in 2004, is still relatively new and routinely receives praise for its striking beauty. An interior finished in an Arts and Crafts-style (with cherry wood trim and paneling, of course) complements the architecture, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. TVC has about 20 daily arrivals in summer.
The area is a can't-miss for meeting planners looking for a place to hold incentives and executive retreats in the heartland. Among the largest resorts in the area is the Grand Traverse Spa & Resort (85,000 square feet of meeting space, 585 guest accommodations) in Acme, six miles northeast of Traverse City. Grand Traverse is the largest year-round resort destination in the Midwest. (Covered outdoor space boosts its seasonal square footage to more than 100,000.)
Just a little further outside of Traverse City, in the Chain-of-Lakes region, is Shanty Creek Resorts. As a four-season golf and ski resort facility, Shanty Creek offers three distinctively different hotel and conference center venues including a 9,600-square-foot grand ballroom and over 1,100 guest accommodations.
In-town locations include the historic Park Place Hotel just steps from downtown Traverse City's vibrant shopping and entertainment district, the Holiday Inn West Bay hotel located on Grand Traverse Bay, Great Wolf Lodge waterpark hotel with 10,000 square feet of conference space. Other in-town meeting facilities include Cambria Suites Hotel, Comfort Inn and Bayshore Resort.
In addition to Traverse City's hotels and resorts, North Michigan University's Great Lakes Campus offers the 6,000-square-foot waterfront Hagerty Conference Center. This facility is flanked by the Holiday Inn West Bay Hotel and the Bayshore Resort, creating a unique campus concept right on the water. The conference center features state-of-the-art conference and exhibition space and facilities that can be configured to accommodate trade show exhibits, conferences and banquets. Its main meeting space comprises 5,810 square feet, which can accommodate up to 380 people for banquets and is divisible by four.