Traverse City is a relaxed beachy town in the northern part of Michigan and a beacon for visitors during the summertime — for good reason! With pristine turquoise waters that look like they’ve been plucked from the Caribbean, how could you not want to spend your whole summer there (and, also come back for the fall colors)!?
But it wasn’t too long ago when a trip to this Northern Michigan gem meant a pre-trip grocery run was in order because the vegan options were slim to none. Luckily, the dining landscape has changed and there are great vegan food options, plus so much natural beauty to enjoy.
If you’re planning a trip to Traverse City use this guide to find plenty of vegan food, things to do, and so much more!
If you’re hitting the road and looking for travel recommendations, check out these companies that I use regularly. Plus, by using these links, you can support Veggies Abroad!
- Hotels: Booking.com— They highlight properties with sustainable practices!
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- Activities & Tours: Viator & Get Your Guide
- Trains, Ferries, & Buses: Omio — use code OMIOFERRY to save 10% on ferry bookings.
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Vegan & Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Traverse City
Use this vegan guide to find a diversity of food in Traverse City from treats to curry and everything in between! But, then fun doesn’t stop there! This guide also contains the best things you should do, where to stay, and more. And, if you only have two days in Traverse City, I can help with that too!
Rad.ish Street Food
If you can only make it to one restaurant on this list, make sure you come here! Their vegan Mexican-inspired menu is jaw-dropping — seriously, I had people walk up to me and ask, “where’d you get that!” The menu features many traditional favorites like nachos, tacos, and taquitos, but all of them are amped up just a little bit with their house-made sauces and special seasoning. I wish I could’ve brought them back to Detroit.
Gluten-free options available
523 Munson Ave, Traverse City, MI 49686
A bakery that is 100% gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, with a ton of vegan options!? Count me in. This great little café and bakeshop creates a variety of breakfast treats — scones, muffins, and breads plus a delicious assortment of cookies, brownies, and cakes! Their treats rotate regularly but they also take orders for custom cakes and anything else your sweet tooth desires.
328 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684
Vietnamese cuisine with loads of vegan options! Oodles of noodles, fresh summer rolls, and more make for a tricky time deciding what to order. Their classic pho, and bahn mi dishes can be made vegan by selecting their grilled turmeric tofu option. Also, make sure to let your server know just in case any of the sauces contain animal products.
Gluten-free options available
240 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684
With a name like Milk + Honey, you’re probably thinking how could this be vegan-friendly?! This local creamery makes house-made ice creams with local and natural ingredients including a rotating menu of vegan ice creams! Hooray!
The ice creams come as a base flavor — chocolate, coconut, Mumbai, and vanilla then you get to select toppings to have added in or choose one of their pre-selected concoctions. The vegan Mumbai was my favorite! A mix of chai spices with roasted and salted almonds can’t be beat.
Most of the vegan ice creams are gluten-free, along with some of the toppings.
300 E Front St Suite 104, Traverse City, MI
Farm to table is a focus throughout the dishes at Taproot. Their vegan dishes feature garbanzo beans from Omena as well as other local produce. Their vegan options are diverse — falafel tots and vegan grilled cheese or a healthy yogi bowl, plus much more. They even have vegan wine options!
144 Hall St Suite 107, Traverse City, MI 49684
Located in the hip Warehouse Mrkt., this 100% vegetarian spot focuses on Middle Eastern inspired dishes. You can find coconut curry fried rice, fūl mudammas, and always, hummus on the rotating menu. They are open in the morning with coffee and house-made baked goods and for lunch.
615 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49686
If you’re looking for an upscale vegan-friendly restaurant, don’t skip Artisan! This is one of the few waterfront dining options in Traverse City and, to my knowledge, the only vegan-friendly one! Their menu rotates to focus on local and seasonal produce as much as possible. There are a couple of vegan and gluten-free dishes and a few that can be made vegan.
439 East Front Street Traverse City, MI 49684
A new vegan café — just opened its doors in July 2021! Their menu features smoothies, loaded toasts, superfruit acai bowls, and various wraps and salads for lunch. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, Tuesday-Saturday.
7263 N Long Lake Rd, Traverse City, MI 49685 (Also sold in select shops throughout the city)
The dairy kingpin of Traverse City now has a lineup of fruity sorbets! The flavors rotate regularly, but if they have watermelon, don’t miss it.
128 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684
This vegan-friendly spot has really improved its veggie offerings over the years. The menu is well marked for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free items, including a small section of the menu for just vegetarian dishes. Many of the vegetarian dishes can be made vegan and their staff is super helpful and knowledgeable with adjustments.
We enjoyed tasting multiple dishes — smoked watermelon salad (minus the feta and swapped the dressing), veggie tostadas, and coconut cauliflower. The coconut cauliflower was my favorite — a mix of sweet and savory with little bites of their sesame seed brittle.
Gluten-free options available
1333 Yellow Dr, Traverse City, MI 49684
Traditional Mexican dishes created with local ingredients and made with sustainable practices. They are Northern Michigan’s only certified green restaurant! Their menu features many vegetarian dishes like tostadas, tacos, and burritos — all of which can be made vegan. Don’t miss their house-made vegan tamales served with delicious green salsa.
Gluten-free options available
305 W Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684
Build your own tacos!? Don’t mind if I do. This Mexican spot allows diners to create the tacos (or bowls) of their dreams with a wide selection of fillings and sauces. Vegan filling options include Thai chili tofu, Gochujang BBQ tofu, black beans, seared portobellos, and more.
If the thought of creating your own epic taco isn’t your thing, that’s ok; choose the el vegano filled with portobellos, caramelized veggies, salsa, and more.
Gluten-free options available
346 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684
Who would think you could find a vegan coney dog in Traverse City!? Well, you can at Glizzy’s! Their coney menu features a vegan dog topped with meatless sauce, mustard, and onions, but if that’s not your jam, you can create your own dog from their lineup of toppings!
Bookmark These Helpful & Tasty Michigan Travel Articles!
- 10 Fantastic Traverse City Hiking Trails
- Where to Stay on the Water in Traverse City
- Where to Stay in Pictured Rocks
- The Best Pictured Rocks Hiking Trails
- Where to Enjoy the Fall Colors in Michigan
- 8 Epic Things to do in Pictured Rocks
- 9 Spots for Vegan Food in Munising & Marquette
- Where to Find Vegan Wine in Michigan
- The Best Restaurants for Vegan Food in Ann Arbor
Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Glen Arbor, Suttons Bay, & Northport
If you head outside of Traverse City, check out these cute little towns and their vegan food options!
6584 Western Ave, Glen Arbor, MI 49636
This nautical-themed local favorite has something for vegan diners at breakfast, lunch, and dinner! From tofu scramble to basil tofu served with grilled zucchini and couscous, I promise you won’t go hungry in this small town.
206 N St Joseph St, Suttons Bay, MI 49682
This fast-casual Mexican spot allows you to create your own bowls, tacos, and burritos with a variety of traditional fillings.
110 S Waukazoo St, Northport, MI 49670
Need a quick bite to eat for lunch in Northport, grab their curried chickpea wrap made with pickled cabbage and local greens. Add on a jolt of caffeine with a matcha or vanilla cinnamon latte with oat milk.
Vegan-Friendly Shops & Markets in Traverse City
260 E Tenth St, Traverse City, MI 49684
3587 Marketplace Circle Traverse City, MI 49684
This is the perfect place to stock up on vegan-friendly staples for meals throughout your stay or grab any toiletries you may have forgotten. Both locations also have cafes that sell coffee, smoothies, juices, and sandwiches — all with vegan options. Also, you should stop by their bakery; I saw plenty of vegan cookies and treats just waiting to be picked up.
1200 W Eleventh St, Traverse City, MI 49684
This is a fantastic example of adaptive reuse — back in the day, this complex was Northern Michigan’s only mental hospital, but today it is home to many shops and restaurants. There are many neat shops inside, from bookstores to floral shops, but two you should miss are Sanctuary Handmade Goods (I found a cool vegan cork wallet here) and The Refillery (this zero-waste shop has vegan makeup, soaps, etc.).
157 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684
If you’re in the market for new clothes, don’t miss Yana Dee. Everything in the shop is made by hand and ethically sourced. Many things are made with organic cotton and hemp but there are a couple things made from silk, so just check the tag.
154 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684
You really can’t leave Traverse City without indulging in the famed cherries! The area produces nearly 80% of the state’s cherries annually! While eating them in their native form is always the best, Cherry Republic has also gotten creative and made them into sodas, BBQ sauces, jam, and more. I didn’t find any vegan chocolate there; hopefully, one day soon!
Vegan-Friendly Hotel in Traverse City
Whether you’re planning on just staying in Traverse City or exploring more of Northern Michigan, Traverse City is a great spot to base yourself for your stay. We have stayed in a variety of hotels and Airbnbs — there are benefits to both.
One note, if you’re going in the summertime, book your accommodations early. Prices can be very high in the summer with low inventory.
615 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49686
The new hotel is ideally located downtown and connected to the vegan-friendly restaurant Artisan. The hotel opened in 2022 and is working on including more vegan options on its menu, adding more locally made products throughout the property, and it currently offers EV charging stations. It is also right on the water, the best place to watch the sunrise or sunset!
Compare prices on Booking.com | Hotels.com
What To Do in Traverse City
There is so much to enjoy in Traverse City — beautiful beaches, great hiking, and delicious vegan food and wine to sample, it will really come down to one question: How much time do you have?
#1 Go vegan wine tasting!
To visitors, it is a surprise that Michigan ranks in the top 10 wine regions in the US. The Great Lakes and the area’s position on the map make it perfect for winemaking. But not all the wine is vegan-friendly! There are over 15 wineries that are producing vegan wine, my favorite is Green Bird Organic Cellars. The farm focuses on sustainable farming practices and produces all of its own wine. Interested in the other wineries, check out this guide to vegan wine in Northern Michigan.
#2 Go hiking!
There are so many great hiking trails to get away from the city and just enjoy nature. Here are a few that I suggest that you check out:
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – there are over 100 miles of trails throughout the National Lakeshore — this is definitely one of the best things to do in Michigan! One of my favorites is the strenuous dune climb. It is 3.5 miles round trip over steep and sandy dunes but when you get to the end, you’re right on Lake Michigan, making the struggle worth it.
If you want something a little less strenuous but equally beautiful, check out Pyramid Point. The entire trail loop is 2.7 miles with a side trail that is .6 miles to a lookout at the top of Pyramid Point. The trail does have a slow incline as you make it to the point, but it is nowhere near as difficult as the Dune Climb and you’re not in the direct sunlight.
Not too far from Pyramid Point are two other gorgeous trails — Sleeping Bear Point Trail and Empire Bluff Trail.
While you’re in the area make sure you drive through Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. The drive has many stops to enjoy the surroundings, but the best is the Lake Michigan overlook. The view is gorgeous — white sand, turquoise water, some might wonder if you’re in the Mediterranean or Michigan?! It’s that pretty. You can slide down the dune to the beach but be forewarned the climb back up is brutal and if for some reason you can’t make it back up the fee to be rescued is $3,000!
#3 Enjoy beautiful flowers and gardens
U Pick berries and cherries abound through Northern Michigan but what about U-Pick flowers? You can do that too!
12401 E Freeland Rd, Suttons Bay, MI 49682
With over 40 varieties of annuals and perennials — zinnias, peonies, hydrangeas, salvia — you will have more than enough to create beautiful bouquets. The farm is open from May-early November and the U-pick prices range from .10 – $3 a stem depending on the flower. If you don’t want to pick your own, they also have pre-made bouquets. They don’t accept credit cards so bring cash or pay with Venmo.
There is also another flower u-pick on Mission Peninsula called Old Mission Flowers.
The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park
1500 Red Dr, Traverse City, MI 49684
While you can’t pick anything from these gardens there is a lot to enjoy! The 25-acre property is home to a pollinator garden to attract bees and hummingbirds as well as eight other gardens filled with a variety of sunny blooms. Behind the gardens, you will find a path to a fairy-trail lined with little houses that have been created by local residents. Some of the enchanting little homes depict landmarks from across the globe. Free, guided tours of the gardens are available and throughout the year there are events and concerts.
#4 Visit North America’s only Certified Organic and Certified Demeter Biodynamic Tea Farm
Light of Day Organics
3502 E Traverse Hwy., Traverse City, MI 49684
The only other places to find a tea farm like this are in India and Sri Lanka! Certified Demeter Biodynamic Tea is the highest standard for commercially grown food. The hand-picked leaves are blended in small batches by hand so they can be enjoyed with the maximum taste and benefit! Tea blends include white, green, oolong, black, and herbal varieties. You can also check out their tea classes on the farm or just stroll around and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
#5 Stroll around the charming towns of Suttons Bay, Leeland, and Northport
Each of these little towns are full of cute boutiques, beaches, cafes, and more to explore. In Leeland, grab the ferry and head over to North and South Manitou island to explore and hike.
Traveling Throughout Michigan & Need More Vegan Help?
Then don’t miss our vegan guides and helpful articles to other Michigan hot spots!
How to Spend Two Days in Traverse City as a Vegan
Guide to Vegan Food in Munising and Marquette
What To Do in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Vegan Guide to Detroit
The Best Spots for Vegan Food in Grand Rapids