National Cherry Festival Tips Every Visitor Should Know-Where to Park, Shuttle, Hotels, Map of Events

National Cherry Festival | By Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan

The Cherry Festival brings over 500,000 people to Traverse City every July!  Think you shouldn't go because of the crowds?  Trust us, you don't want to miss out. 

BUT do yourself a favor and grab our tips and tricks every visitor should know before they go! It will make your trip more successful and fun for everyone.

National Cherry Festival Parking Tips

  • If you get to Traverse City early (by 9:30 a.m.) you should be able to park in the very close parking garage located on Front Street and Park.  (See map above) They will have event parking which will run you around $15 for the day but trust us, it's so worth it. 
  • You can also park in the downtown Hardy parking garage (Park and E. State) shown on the map above.There is also a shuttle.
  • Street parking and most lots (that we found) are all 2 or 4 hour parking in which you HAVE to move your vehicle, not just go back and add more money.  So we found it easiest and less stressful to just park in a garage.

Traverse City National Cherry FestivalTraverse City Cherry Festival

Is there a Shuttle at the National Cherry Festival?

Is there a Shuttle at the National Cherry Festival?

The Bayline will run from 7am to 1am during the National Cherry Festival every 12-15 minutes. The best places to get on the shuttle is at Woodland Creek (East), Cherry Lot at Northwestern Michigan College (Central) and Meijer (West) Parking Lot adjacent to the Car Wash.

Shuttles coming from the west will drop you off at State St & Union St. Shuttles coming from the east will drop you off at Front St & Union St. 

What Should You Bring to the Traverse City National Cherry Festival?

  • Bring your bikes!  There is a free bike valet so you can park your bike without worrying it could get stolen.
  • Lots of water
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Swim attire, towels, flip flops
  • Money to rent a kayak if you enjoy water sports
  • Dry bag if you rent a kayak
  • Cash for garage parking in case they only accept cash

Recommended National Cherry Festival Hotels in Traverse City Michigan - Where to Stay!

We recommend the Cherry Tree Inn as the rooms are lovely, the water views from your balcony is breathtaking and there's a private beach!  

Also, the Grand Beach Resort Hotel has a fabulous private beach, balconies, and very nice modern rooms. We love their indoor pool as Michigan weather can be questionable at times!  

Things  to Do Other Than The National Cherry Festival?

  • Get there early and go to the beach!! It's literally right next to the National Cherry Festival!  Then drop your stuff back off in your vehicle and go to the free festival!
  • Play in the kids' water fountains!
  • Rent a kayak on the beach!
  • Get tickets for the beer tent. And the best part?  There's chairs set up to enjoy the air show!
  • Walk around downtown and enjoy the shops and restaurants!

While you are in Traverse City at the National Cherry Festival, you MUST get your picture in front of the World's Largest Cherry Pie! I mean, seriously! You can't miss these awesome roadside oddities!

National Cherry Festival Schedule

Don't miss a moment of the National Cherry Festival!  Here's the National Cherry Festival Schedule!

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Don't miss the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City Michigan! We had an absolutely blast this year! Plus it's free! Get there early (by 9:30 a.m.) and you will have no problem parking in the parking structure downtown.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We sat on the beach and watched the beautiful boats, sampled the cherries at the Cherry Connection, enjoyed a gyro, wandered along the marina and explored the NASA exhibit. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ There's plenty of shade trees to sit beneath as you enjoy your cherries, snacks and lunch from the numerous Cherry Festival vendors. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #cherries #traversecitytourism #traversecity #traversecitymi #traversecitymichigan #traversecitycherryfestival #cherryfestival #michiganfestivals #Michigan #puremichigan #michigantravel #greatlakesstate #michiganstate #travelingmichigan #michiganoverboard #michigan_wanderlust #greatlakesstateofmind #puremittenpride #lovemichigan #michiganders #exploremichigan #greatlakesstate #greatlakesstateofmind #greatlakeslocals #midwestmoment #michiganders #onlyinmichigan #michiganunsalted #puremichiganders

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

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    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "" A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

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