Don't let winter discourage you from enjoying one of the most fascinating shopping experiences of a Traverse City visit -- exploring some of the picturesque freshwater port towns that lie nearby. These charming villages are even more beautiful and cozy in wintertime. (Of course, some of the more seasonal places may be closed for the winter.) Browsing through their art galleries, craft shops, bookstores, boutiques, and gift stores is a delight. (Be aware, of course, that a few of the more seasonal places may be closed when summer is over.)
Many of these little towns -- Empire, Northport, Suttons Bay, Leland, Lake Leelanau and Glen Arbor --are located on the scenic Leelanau Peninsula, northwest of Traverse City. To the east, in Antrim County's beautiful Chain of Lakes region, you'll find the picturesque villages of Bellaire,Elk Rapids and Alden are wonderful places for a shopping adventure. And if you're lucky to be here ahead of the Christmas season, you may have a chance to enjoy some of their wonderful small-town holiday celebrations.