Get to Know Our New Venues

New this year: exciting additions to the festival’s lineup of venues that provide incredible acoustic and visual experiences as well as insights into Traverse City’s modern day and historically significant landmarks.

With Lars Hockstad Auditorium and The Buzz off the table this summer due to the temporary closure of Central Grade School, we’re temporarily expanding the festival’s locales and creating new can’t miss festival experiences. The spacious and easily-accessible Central High School Auditorium and the lovely Kirkbride Hall at the Grand Traverse Commons will be transformed by our team of technical geniuses into state-of-the-art movie houses. The new venues are both on the shuttle route and will both be perfect places for watching Just Great Movies. The Buzz movies this year will be spread throughout the venues, so everyone has a chance to experience free films in beautiful locations, and Kids Fest has been relocated to the lovely and scenic Clinch Park behind the Bijou.

While the locations may be new, you can still count on the same world-class presentation the TCFF is famous for. Read more about these new venues and all they have to offer below.

Central High School Auditorium

is newly renovated to seat 450 moviegoers in air-conditioned, spacious comfort! Home of the Trojans, it’s the place where the youth of Traverse City celebrate the arts, and now it can be the place where you see some of your favorite films.  Central High is right next to Northwestern Michigan College, allowing for easy walking between the Auditorium and both Milliken and the Film School. Plus, there is ample parking out front. And it probably wins the award for best restrooms at the fest—they’re that great!

Kirkbride Hall

may be Traverse City’s oldest place to gather, but we’re bringing new life to its lofty ceilings and ornate façade with films worthy of the Hall’s grandeur. Seating 150, the beautifully renovated chapel of the old State Hospital is truly a sight to see and the Grand Traverse Commons is a must do! The Commons are host to a myriad of wonderful ways to pass the time between movies. Browse around the unique collection of local boutiques and shops or grab a cup of coffee at Higher Grounds Coffee, one of Traverse City’s favorite fair trade, sustainable coffee shops.

If you have a film-free afternoon, get lost in the beauty of 140 acres of hiking and biking trails in the Commons Natural Area. The Commons are also a perfect place to do a movie and a meal, with plenty of restaurants to choose from—Pleasanton Bakery, Northern Michigan’s only wood-fired brick oven bakery for bread, sweet treats, and delicious pizza;  Spanglish for traditional Mexican food with an American twist; Red Spire Brunch House for, you guessed it, brunch foods; or if you’re feeling fancy, spend an evening enjoying the Italian fare of Trattoria Stella or PepeNero. You can grab a drink with friends at the Earthen Ales Brewery or Left Foot Charley. There’s so much to do that you won’t ever need to leave—but if you do, just hop on a shuttle or grab a bike from the Norte! Bike Share and you can be at any of the other venues in minutes.

Kids Fest

is getting new digs at Clinch Park, with its scenic views, shady trees, and the always exciting waterscape! An easy walk easy from the main downtown hub of the festival and the Kids Fest movie screenings, this year’s Kids Fest will take advantage of the spacious lawns in the Bijou’s backyard. Kids can play dress-up, make crafts, and have exciting new adventures with our daily fun and educational activities. Learn more about Kids Fest activities here. Afterwards, grab an ice cream and spend some time at the Clinch Park beach, or have a picnic on the Open Space lawn before the free outdoor film of the night!

Find maps and check  out the other oldie but goodie venues here!