Tag Archives: Traverse City

Mario Batali’s Favorite Traverse City Haunts

Photo by Bill Rockwood

Each year famed chef Mario Batali spends the greater part of the summer at his vacation home near Traverse City, fishing, cooking and hunting down the best eats the area has to offer.

He shared some of his favorite spots to shop and dine in Michigan on his blog: Michigan Summer

See his recommendations for everything from an old-school butcher to the best hard apple cider to a great seafood place on the Bon Appetit Blog: How Mario Batali Escapes New York Summers

Here are a few original Mario Batali Traverse City inspired recipes:
Celebrity chef Mario Batali dishes up three Michigan-inspired summer recipes

In this article Mario Batali names his favorite nine restaurants, including 2 Traverse City, Michigan establishments
Mario Batali’s 9 favorite restaurants around the world

Mario Batali sat down with the folks at PureMichigan.org to share his favorite things to do in the Traverse City area.



Great Wolf Lodge, Traverse City, Michigan

If you’re looking for a fun place to stay with the family in Traverse City, Great Wolf Lodge may be just the hotel for you. Great Wolf Lodge is a hotel / indoor waterpark perched on the outskirts of Traverse City, right by the Grand Traverse Mall.

The huge waterpark has activities for all ages, from a splash pad for the ankle biters, a play structure for older kids to explore, thrilling water slides for the big kids and a hot tub just for adults. Guests can grab a tube and take a relaxing float around the lazy river, or play a game of water basketball. The temperature inside Great Wolf Lodge’s water park is kept at 84 degrees Fahrenheit, so that it’s comfortable even when the Michigan snow is blowing outside.

There is so much to do at Great Wolf Lodge, my family rarely makes it outside of the hotel to see the rest of Traverse City. When not in the waterpark, kids can hang out at the arcade or play a round of minigolf outside in the warmer months. A kid’s club keeps kids occupied with stories and crafts. There’s a spa with treatments for adults and kids, and a gift shop to browse through.

My kids’ favorite activity at Great Wolf Lodge outside of the waterpark is the Magiquest game. Kids head to the Magiquest store to pay for the game and purchase a magic wand if they don’t already have one from a previous visit. They then head out to a grove of trees in the hall by the elevators, where they are given a quest. They then walk up and down between the floors of the hotels, searching for symbols in paintings, opening treasure chests and activating talking video screens. When they’ve completed enough quests they can move on to challenges like helping a princess or battling a dragon. The game takes several hours to complete, but kids have a few days to finish it, so they can spread play out throughout their visit.

The hotel has standard hotel rooms, but also family suites. In the suites +the kids have their own area, with a camp or wolf den theme, with bunk beds and their own television set.

There’s a snack bar in the waterpark, with choices like pizza, fries, ice cream and alcoholic drinks for adults who just want to kick back on a lounge chair and mellow out. There’s also a sit down restaurant in the lobby that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Kids can bring their Magiquest wands in there and make a tree light up and squirrels swing. The ice cream shop outside the waterpark sells milk and cereal in the mornings for those who don’t want the full sit down breakfast at the restaurant.

If you’re traveling to Great Wolf Lodge in the winter, don’t forget to bring flip flops for walking to park from your room – so much more comfortable than snow boots!

Contact Info:
Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City
3575 N US Highway 31 S
Traverse City, MI 49684
Hotel Direct: