Kick-start your shopping day with a spot of joe or an iced chai at Créma Café (300 E. Front St., 231-922-9311), where the early-bird menu includes focaccia breakfast sandwiches. Satisfied? Head out to browse Front Street’s boutique strip. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find:
(224 E. Front St, 231-947-0633): Smooth and fresh and two stories high, Cali’s sells casual, chic dresses and cool home accessories like clocks, candles and furniture. The eclectic mix of cream-colored linen, sky blue cotton, white lace and brass bedrails generates a romantic and relaxed atmosphere.
(206 E. Front St., 231-929-8997): A sweet and feminine specialty shop with unmentionables galore: panties, bras, lingerie and swimwear.
(152 E. Front St., 231-932-0510): Dresses, scarves and shoes with attitude displayed in shabby-chic armoires and atop antique benches create a beautiful clutter. Snoop through the sale room hiding in the back.
(417 S. Union St., 231-933-6262): Charming, fashionable clothing and gifts for mamas to be. Designer diaper bags, lingerie, nursery-room decor, beauty products, bibs, blankets and more.
(157 E. Front St., 231-947-9401): Browse through vintage shoes, purses and jewelry, retro-style tops, sassy Frye cowgirl boots and dresses by designers like Betsey Johnson.
(134 E. Front St., 231-995-0551): Take the stairway down to this cosmetics boutique and play with product samples. Step back up looking (and smelling) like a star. Call ahead to schedule a make-up application instruction session.
QUICK BITE: Grab a patio seat at Amical (229 E. Front St., 231-941-8888, amical.com) to people-watch while supping on a crock of tomato soup en croute or a crisp, summery salad. A few blocks down, the cozy, bustling Espresso Bay (202 E. Front St., 231-941-9100) dishes up the perfect cool-down: a creamy, chocolate-caramel MilkyWay Bay Breezer.
SMART TIP: Want to surprise your favorite shopper? Perhaps give your Up North hostess a thank you gift before you go? Or simply want to invest in keeping downtown Traverse City the sweet strollin’ paradise it is? Try a Downtown Traverse City gift certificate. They’re available in $5, $10, $20 and $25 denominations and accepted at 150+ downtown businesses. Buy them online or find other locations at downtowntc.com.