Looking for a weekend getaway from Chicago? Visit a tulip farm in Holland, Michigan or spend the weekend at the Tulip Festival.
The gardens in the Holland area is a kaleidoscopic delight for visitors. As the city’s most celebrated attraction, these vibrant landscapes draw visitors from all over the Midwest to the Tulip Time Festival to see the breathtaking beauty of tulips in bloom.
With a rich Dutch heritage on every corner from historic towns to the wooden shoes and tulip festivals, Holland is a lovely place to be as there are many family-friendly activities and beautiful floral sights to experience.
You can visit old Dutch villages and be amazed at a decade-year-old tulip farm. In addition, the tulip lanes of Holland make for a popular drive-through experience with 12 miles of tulips stretching through the neighborhoods.
The Best Tulip Farms of Holland Michigan
Veldheer’s Tulip Farm
With over five million tulips being planted each year, the Veldheer Tulip Farm is truly a bewitching sight for its viewers, especially in the springtime.
It is the only tulip farm in Holland and therefore, it is a must-visit place when you are here. If you are a person who loves flowers, you will never feel like leaving the farm.
Veldheer’s Tulip Farm began in the 1950s when Vern Veldheer started to plant tulips as a hobby. But today, there are millions of tulips on the farm with vibrant colors, blooming gracefully from late April to May.
You can also see many other flowers and perennials including Dutch lilies, day-lilies, peonies, daffodils, and hyacinths.
You are not allowed to pull any of these flowers from the ground, but you can buy them with the guidance of the Veldheer’s staff so that you get what is most right for you.
Windmill Island Gardens
Windmill Island Gardens is another place that highlights the Dutch heritage in Holland.
Spreading over an area of 36 acres, the garden is home to the De Zwaan, the only genuine Dutch windmill still operating in the United States.
De Zwaan which translates into ‘the swan’ was built in 1761 in Krommenie but the locals wanted a genuine Dutch windmill in Holland to proudly display their heritage.
Therefore, the windmill was bought by the Dutch government, and then this park was created to display it as a landmark of Michigan.
Today, you can visit the inside of De Zwaan, and know about its history and how it operates. In addition to that, there is a small village replicating the Netherlands’ vibe, a Dutch Carousel that is hand-painted, and an old organ that was played in the streets of Amsterdam.
The Windmill Island Gardens is also home to thousands of tulips and they are in full bloom during the first few weeks of May.
Things to Do in Holland Michigan
Centennial Park is a 5.6-acre park that was originally meant to be the village market area of Holland but then it was renovated to be established as a park in the 1870s.
You can stroll in the mornings in Centennial Park which is located between the 10th and 12th Streets and River and Central Avenues.
This is a dog-friendly park and therefore, it is the perfect place for your furry friend to play around with a ball.
There are many attractions within the park itself; the Veterans Memorial is one of them. It is a memorial that was established to honor Michigan’s Dutch people.
You can also see a statue of Albertus Van Raalte in the park, who was the founder of Holland. You can also visit the Holland Museum which is located right next to the park.
Nelis Dutch Village
This is also known as the Nelis’ Dutch Village. It feels like you are going back in time, and it’s the perfect place to learn about Dutch culture.
The Dutch Village is more suitable for families because there are many entertainment options.
You can see Dutch architecture from the 1800s, wear wooden shoes, and dance to the beats of traditional Dutch music. You can also learn about the cooking methods of Dutch and how Dutch wooden shoes are made along with information about the pottery and cheese industry of Holland.
For kids, there is a mini zoo in which they can feed different kinds of animals. There are several thrilling rides as well; the most popular one being the Ferris Wheel which is built in the shape of a windmill.
You can explore the entire Dutch Village in 4-5 hours and all of the facilities are included in the admission fee.
The Tulip Festival of Holland is the largest in the United States. The festival is known as the ‘Tulip Time’ and it is held every year in May.
The Tulip Festival of Holland dates back to 1929, and since then it has attracted visitors from all over the world- floral enthusiasts and fun-seekers alike.
The tulips originated in Turkey and made their way to Holland in the 1600s with early Dutch settlers during the ‘Tulip Fever’ when people were going crazy over these lovely flowers.
It is not only a particular destination but 6 miles filled with tulips of different colors.
So, you can see them and take Instagrammable photos by visiting Nelis’ Dutch Village, Windmill Island Gardens, and Centennial Park.
The Nelis’ Dutch Village alone plants over 30,000 bulbs with more than 100 varieties. You can also enjoy the performances, fireworks, and Dutch cuisine when you are here for the Tulip Festival.
Places to Eat in Holland Michigan
If you want to have a traditional American breakfast or lunch when you are in Holland, you can head to the Windmill Restaurant.
It is situated at 28 West, 8th street in downtown Holland and keeps open from 5.00 AM to 4.00 PM Monday to Saturday, and 7.00 AM to 2.00 PM on Sunday.
It has a long history and being in business since the 1940s the place is loved by locals and foreigners alike. You can take your kids too if you are traveling with them as this is a family-friendly restaurant.
The specialty of the Windmill Restaurant is that you can have delicious home-cooked meals and freshly baked items.
The must-eats when you are here for breakfast are a hash brown omelet with homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, a cheeseburger with ham, French toast, Cinnamon toast, Raisin toast, fresh fruit cup, fruit pancakes, Windmill mini cakes.
You can have grilled chicken breasts, soups, salads, and much more for lunch.
Enjoy the waterfront at the Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant.
It’s a gem during warmer weather when you can sit outdoors with a sandwich or burger, and a cold one.
Stop at The Biscuit for a hearty breakfast, where biscuits are made from scratch and done right. The biscuits are soft and fluffy, which is a great start to whatever you want to roll with (did you catch that?)
For sweeter fare, try the Nutella French Toast made with sweet and creamy Mascarpone, strawberry sauce, whipped cream, fresh fruit, and topped with toasted almonds.
If you need to handle a hungry crowd, giddy up to the Crazy Horse Steakhouse & Saloon for ribs, steaks, chops, and seafood. The watering hole awaits you!
And don’t miss the pastries at DeBoer Bakkerij (that’s Bakery, in Dutch). It doesn’t get more authentic than this.
Choose from a variety of flaky, golden croissants and danish. They will have you saying heerlijk (pronounced “here-lick”, meaning delicious).
Where to Stay in Holland
We recommend the City Flats Hotel which is located in downtown Holland. This modern hotel provides easy access to dining, shopping, and entertainment. The hotel features rooms with a flat-screen TV and common areas for meetings and events.
We also like Courtyard by Marriott Downtown. It boasts an indoor swimming pool, an on-site restaurant, and a fitness center. Drinks and snacks vending machines are on site. Laundry facilities are also available at an extra cost.
With a rich Dutch heritage on every corner from historic towns to wooden shoes and tulip fields, Holland is a lovely place to be as there are many family-friendly activities and beautiful floral sights to experience.
Final Thoughts on the Tulip Farms in Holland Michigan
Holland is a nice place for a family getaway or a couple’s weekend. It is about a 3 hour drive from Chicago and there are plenty of comfortable inns and hotels to stay.
I particularly enjoy going when the tulips are in bloom. If you plan to attend the festival, you’ll need to book in advance because waiting until the last minute will mean that you’ll have to find lodging on the outskirts of the city or pay a premium.
If you are looking for more getaways from Chicago, here are some resources.
- Oak Park: The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide
- Best Things to Do in Union Pier
- The Best Things to do in Indianapolis, IN
- Fun Things to do in Milwaukee, WI
- A Visitor’s Guide to Galena, IL
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