Traverse City is the largest city in the 21-county Northern Michigan region. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 14,532. In 2005, the Traverse City Micropolitan Statistical Area was the 13th largest in the United States, with a population estimate of 141,011. It is the county seat of Grand Traverse County, although a small portion lies in Leelanau County. Despite its modest population, Traverse City, especially its downtown, functions as the major commercial center for a seven-county area totaling over 2,700 square miles (7,000 km2) and, along with cross-peninsula counterpart Alpena, is one of Northern Lower Michigan's two anchor cities.
Traverse City is the self-proclaimed Cherry Capital of the World, holding an annual week-long Cherry Festival the first full week in July to celebrate. Besides cherries, the surrounding countryside produces grapes, and is one of the centers of wine production in the Midwest. Tourism, both summer and winter, is another key industry. Freshwater beaches, a mild summer climate, upscale golf resorts, vineyards, a nearby National Lakeshore, nearby ski resorts and thousands of square miles of surrounding forests make Traverse City (based on AAA's 2005 TripTik requests) the second most popular tourist city in the state behind Mackinaw City.