Welcome to Empire!
Empire is a small village of about 400 people, located on the Lake Michigan side of the Leelanau Peninsula in northwest lower Michigan. We are a short drive (26 miles to the west) from Traverse City. Empire is home to the Headquarters for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We are surrounded by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, in a dynamic four-season paradise!
Any time of year is wonderful for visiting our area, but the Summer is the busiest with the most constant sunshine and perfect beach days. Fall treats us all with beautiful changing leaves, cool breezes, big waves, and great weather for hiking the Empire Bluffs trail or surfing off-shore.
Winter brings arctic-like ice formations on the shoreline and plenty of time to stand in the middle of Front Street, talking with friends, or go for a cross-country ski on one of the many area trails. Don't miss the Empire Winter Fest: your chance to jump in a hole cut in the ice of South Bar Lake, in February! This past dip turned into a run into Lake Michigan due to lack of safe ice. A total of 57 souls ran in and all lived to tell their story of just how cold it was.
Spring, of course, brings a welcome burst of green, along with morel mushroom hunting, Empire is home to the Empire Asparagus Festival, our unique celebration of Spring! Listed as # 9 in the World's weridest festivals by MSN Travel!! Please click through our website and email any questions or comments you may have.
13th Annual Asparagus Festival
Music, Dancing, Great Food, Asparagus Beer and much more.
Anchor Day - July 15th 2017
Empire Hops Festival happens October 1st on Front Street!
Featuring beers from New Holland, Right Brain Brewery, Stormcloud Brewing Company, Beards of Petoskey. Lake Ann Brewing, St Ambrose Cellars, and more!
Empire Area Museum
Explore History at the Empire Area Museum!
Ranger Programs at Sleeping Bear
Information on ranger-guided tours and other programs from the National Park System.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Play in One of the Most Beautiful Places in America! Come and enjoy 35 miles of Lake Michigan's eastern coastline.