Making friends and finding your groove in a new place can be overwhelming. With so many incredible organizations, meetup groups, sports leagues, professional networks etc. in town, it can feel impossible to know where to start. This is the place to dive in. In addition to our team of Northern Navigators who are here to help you get connected, we have compiled this page as a central resource for opportunities to volunteer, network, socialize, and find your community in the Grand Traverse Region.
If you are looking for professional development or business support, be sure to check out our Regional Resources, Entrepreneurial Toolbox, and Education pages! Also, check out the full rundown of Traverse Connect’s Chamber Programs for professional growth.
get involved with US.
Fresh Coast Quarterly Club
Our Fresh Coast Quarterly Club meetups are an opportunity to gather in a welcoming space with other people living in the Grand Traverse Region, as well as being a great way for remote workers and newcomers to the region to get plugged into a network, meet new people, and learn about one of the most vibrant arts & culture communities in Michigan, the Midwest, and beyond.
Traverse City Young Professionals
The Traverse City Young Professionals is a program of our parent organization, Traverse Connect, empowering and activating young professionals in the Grand Traverse region by providing a dynamic environment for networking and social and professional development. The program seeks to address the three main priorities young professionals have identified as most important to them when choosing a place to live and work: Connecting, Serving, and Growing. Check out TCYP for endless opportunities to volunteer, socialize, and network, and stay tuned to the TCYP Facebook page for events and updates.
Find your community.
Tap into a network to get connected with the latest happenings around town and to share your voice in the community.
Up North Pride’s mission is to foster inclusive spaces by providing education and resources, inspiring activism and advocacy, and producing community-focused 2SLGBTQIA+ programs and events.
The Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network is the regional arts and cultural service organization serving as a convener, connector and advocate. Their goal is to help arts and culture thrive with services – promotion, tools, training, funding, collaboration – to support the individuals, organizations and ecosystem driving our region’s creative sector.
Commongrounds is a real estate cooperative in Traverse City, Michigan. They are developing a building at 414 Eighth Street, owned by its tenants and our community — so we all can make the community we love even better, together.
Northern Michigan E3’s purpose is to eradicate racism and build a regional movement toward racial justice and collective liberation through engagement, education, and elevation that is BIPOC-led and BIPOC-centered.
TCNewTech is a community of tech enthusiasts, businesses, entrepreneurs, and Michigan policymakers building a culture of innovation, economic growth, and opportunity for local talent in the Traverse City Region. TCNewTech pitch nights occur the first Tuesday of every month and are free/open to the public.
Raise a glass to the tech community in Northern Michigan! Beer30s are a relaxed way to meet some new people, chat about tech and entrepreneurship, and enjoy a beverage in the 20Fathoms space. These sessions are open to the public as well as 20Fathoms members.
The Community Development Coalition empowers and engages cross-sector leadership to set collective priorities in the areas of economic, societal, and environmental improvements and to collaboratively drive favorable outcomes for the communities in our region.
The International Affairs Forum at Northwestern Michigan College is committed to being a leading community resource on critical issues facing the world. The mission of the International Affairs Forum of Traverse City is to advance the understanding of the world and its critical issues through education and public dialogue.
Polestar LGBT+ community center’s mission is to educate, advocate, and connect our communities to ensure that all feel welcome in our Grand Traverse region. We host monthly youth and adult support groups, connect with local organizations to host events such as queer prom, and post updates to news and resources on our Facebook page and website.
Make a difference.
One of the best ways to get to know a community while making an impact is to volunteer your time with a cause close to your heart.
From land conservation to community arts, the Grand Traverse Region is home to numerous non-profit organizations dedicated to the diverse needs of the community and environment. Visit our Arts & Culture or Outdoor Recreation pages for a comprehensive rundown of the specialized groups in the area.
Alternatively, check out United Way’s Volunteer Center featuring current agencies and volunteer needs around northern Michigan. United Way is the central hub for organizations across the region to connect with volunteers, mobilizing the caring power of our local communities to advance the common good.
Whatever activities and interests you prefer, there is likely a social group for you to find like-minded friends and have fun!
This is a social outlet for telecommuters, digital nomads, and remote workers to have an after-work happy hour! Make friends, swap stories, network, etc. Just because you gave up having an office doesn’t mean you have to give up the after work happy hour.
Evergreen is a young adult group dedicated to connection to the nature and the community and based in arts and socializing. Find cool events and meet other 18-32 year olds, participate in the arts, and make Traverse City a more socially connected place to live!
The Traverse City Track Club promotes and encourages health, fitness, fellowship, community service, family recreation and competition via running and walking. All ages and abilities are welcome.
GT Social Sports organizes sports leagues for soccer, kickball, softball, and volleyball. The leagues are all about getting out, playing sports, having fun, meeting new people, and hanging out afterward to enjoy some food and drink.
This Facebook group is for women who work in a marketing, communications or a creative capacity in the Traverse City area. It is a sounding board for ideas, common issues, and challenges where collaboration is King (or Queen!)
Life Slap: It’s not always easy for 20 and 30-somethings to meet people! The goal of this group is to make it easy for this demographic to connect to one another, get off the couch for the night, and have a great time.
Stay in the loop.
Subscribe to the newsletters of various community entities to stay in the know about opportunities to get involved.
ASK YOUR NORTHERN NAVIGATORS.
From a track club run to a 20Fathoms community event, chances are that you will see Brittany Vanderbeek’s smiling face around town.
I KNEW THAT I WAS LUCKY TO MOVE TO TRAVERSE CITY, WHICH IS THE ESSENCE OF MICHIGAN: CRYSTAL CLEAR FRESHWATER EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK; TRAILS FOR HIKING, BIKING, AND SKIING; ROLLING HILLS OF WINE COUNTRY; FRESH FARM-TO-TABLE FOODS; AND MIDWESTERN HOSPITALITY… I CAN RELATE TO THOSE WHO ARE MOVING AND ADAPTING TO NEW PLACES, AND I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT SHARING MY LOVE OF MICHIGAN’S CREATIVE COAST.
We don’t know how she does it, but Brittany also serves on the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Center board, is a member of 20Fathoms and TCYPs, volunteers as an ESL tutor at Networks Northwest while still staying active in all four seasons with the Traverse City Track Club, GT Social Sports kickball, paddle boarding, biking, hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and more.
Through my work at Commongrounds Cooperative, I’m familiar with a lot of nonprofits and small businesses in town. I’m always glad to help connect people to other people and organizations that might fit their interests.
CHOOSE A COUPLE OF ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES FOR DEEPER INVOLVEMENT. DON’T BE AFRAID TO REACH OUT TO ANYONE WHOSE WORK YOU FIND INTERESTING – PEOPLE ARE GENERALLY PRETTY FRIENDLY AND HELPFUL AND WILLING TO HELP YOU CONNECT YOU TO YOUR INTERESTS.
Photography by JohnPaul Morris, Crackerjack Photography, Allen-Kent Photography, Harpe Star.