Traverse City, Michigan: Mental Hospital Tour: Buildings and Tunnels

The Northern Michigan Asylum was open from the mid-1880s until 1989. Dozens of buildings scattered across 63 acres. The Asylum property has been converted into a mall, but special tours of the old buildings are available by appointment.

Address:
1200 W. 11th St., Traverse City, MI
Directions:
The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. US Hwy 31 north into town. Left at the rock pyramid onto 11th St. Cross Elmwood Ave. onto the former Asylum grounds.
Hours:
by appt only. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
231-941-1900
Admission:
Adults $35 and up.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Visitor Tips and News About Mental Hospital Tour: Buildings and Tunnels

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Asylum tour, 2019.

Mental Hospital Tour: Buildings and Tunnels

The mental hospital tours still exist -- my wife and I were there for our honeymoon about 10/01/2019. You can see the tours currently offered at the facility's official website. We loved the tour!

[Michael Baribeau, 02/02/2022]
Mental Hospital Tour: Buildings and Tunnels

Tours are not by appointment. They have daily tours and they cost $25. Well worth it for 2 hours. One of the highlights of my trip. If you get a chance to do the tour, do it.

[Angela Haggerty, 06/19/2019]
Mental Hospital Tour: Buildings and Tunnels

Great tour, lots of info about engineering and architecture. If you want more information about patients and personal stories regarding the daily Ins and outs of the hospital -- do the Twilight Tour.

[Krob, 08/11/2017]

Tunnel.

Mental Hospital Tour: Buildings and Tunnels

This place is awesome. Worth the price of a tour. You'll learn a ton and get to go into buildings that have been rehabbed. You also get to go into the tunnels.

[Sarah Campau, 11/15/2016]

Traverse City State Hospital.

Mental Hospital Tour: Buildings and Tunnels

The Traverse City State Hospital (formerly known as the Northern Michigan Asylum) is the last remaining Kirkbride-style asylum in Michigan, open from the mid-1880s until 1989, at which time every teenager in Traverse City and the surrounded areas descended on it with spray paint and enthusiasm. After dodging demolition by the state, the main building and outlying cottages are being renovated into shopping/dining/living spaces.

The grounds and buildings give off feelings of both extreme sadness and tranquility. A guided tour is available of some of the not-yet-refurbished buildings and of the tunnels that connected the main building to the outbuildings.

Eerie, interesting, and well worth the $25 ticket price. It's not your basic history lesson, for sure. Unfortunately there is no wheelchair access -- lots of walking, uneven steps, dark places, lead based paint peeling; you'll have to sign a waiver to participate. The tour changes as more renovations are completed.

Also, one of the outlying buildings -- formerly a laundry for the hospital -- is now a wine tasting bar, and the bar is made of doors from the asylum patient rooms.

[Autumn O'Grady, 10/24/2013]

The hospital grounds are also home to the grave of the World Champion Cow of the Insane.


Nearby Offbeat Places

World Champion Cow of the InsaneWorld Champion Cow of the Insane, Traverse City, MI - < 1 mi.
World's Largest Cherry Pie PanWorld's Largest Cherry Pie Pan, Traverse City, MI - 1 mi.
Man Made of CanoesMan Made of Canoes, Traverse City, MI - 1 mi.
In the region:
Old Rugged Cross Museum, Reed City, MI - 60 mi.

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