Discovering the Tulip Festival in Holland Michigan This Year

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Looking for a weekend getaway from Chicago? How about visiting 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 colorful landscapes draw visitors from all over the Midwest to the Tulip Time Festival to see the breathtaking beauty of tulips in bloom.

In this post, we’ll cover some great things to see and do for a family trip to Holland, Michigan.

The Best Tulip Farms of Holland Michigan

When we lived in Indiana, we took family trips almost every year to the Holland Michigan Tulip Festival.

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.

We visited old Dutch villages and was amazed at the decades-year-old tulip farms.

In addition, the tulip lanes of Holland was a trip highlight for us. I remember driving through 12 miles of tulips that stretched through the neighborhoods.

Veldheer’s Tulip Farm

rows of red tulips growing

With over five million tulips being planted each year, the Veldheer Tulip Farm is truly a incredible sight for visitors, 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 Veldheer tulip gardens.

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.

We bought so many plants for my grandmother’s garden from this farm. We also saw 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

red and orange tulips in bloom with a windmill in the background
Credit: Holland Area CVB

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 at the Tulip Festival

Visit Centennial Park

topiary shaped like a book in a park for the tale of Wizard of Oz
Credit: Holland Area CVB

Since my youth, I still return to celebrate the Tulip Festival with my own family. One of my favorite spots is Centennial Park. It is 5.6-acres and was originally meant to be the village market area of Holland but then it was renovated to be established as a park.

Because I am an early riser, I love to take a 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 just one of them. It is a memorial that was established to honor Michigan’s Dutch people.

A statue of Albertus Van Raalte, who was the founder of Holland is here and the Holland Museum is located right next to the park.

Explore Nelis Dutch Village

large yellow Dutch show with sliding board for kids
Credit: Holland Area CVB

Looking for kid-friendly activities in Holland. Add the Nelis’ Dutch Village to your itinerary!

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.

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.

You can explore the entire Dutch Village in 4-5 hours and all of the facilities are included in the admission fee.

Visit the Tulip Festival

man dressed in parade uniform marching in the street with wooden dutch shoes
Credit: Holland Area CVB

There is a lot more to this town than a Holland tulip farm!

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 festival 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.

Tickets for the parade can be purchased if you want premium seating. Otherwise, arrive by 6 AM with chairs and blankets to secure a spot for viewing.

Tulip Immersion Garden

color rows of tulips in bloom
Credit: Holland Area CVB

As the centerpiece of the Holland Tulip Time celebration, the tulip immersion garden in Kollen Park offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to truly connect with the region’s Dutch roots through a visually stunning floral display and authentic cultural performances.

No trip to the Holland Tulip Time festival is complete without a visit to the tulip time display gardens, where you can bask in the beauty of millions of vibrant blooms and discover the stories behind the festival’s Dutch dance traditions.

Holland Tulip Quilt Show

The quilt show is a harmonious blend of art, culture, and craftsmanship that invites you to fully embrace the spirit of this beloved annual event.

I remember marveling at the captivating tapestry of colors and textures, where every square inch is a masterpiece in its own right.

Delicate stitches by hand stretch across the fabrics, weaving intricate patterns that tell the stories of generations of skilled artisans.

Warm hues of crimson, amber, and indigo blend together in harmonious quilts, while bold geometric designs create a striking contrast.

Grab Some Traditional Fare

tulip-farm holland-michigan tulip-festival

If you want to have a traditional American breakfast or lunch when you are in Holland, you can head to the Windmill Restaurant

If you are wondering where to stay for Holland Tulip festival, this restaurant is close to downtown. It is situated at 28 West, 8th Street and stays 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.  

And don’t miss the pastries at DeBoer Bakkerij (that’s Bakery, in Dutch). It doesn’t get more authentic than this. Try some of the local Dutch food specialities during your visit for a cultural immersion. 

Choose from a variety of flaky, golden croissants and danish. They will have you saying heerlijk (pronounced “here-lick”, meaning delicious).

How to Get There

dancers in dutch attire dancing in wooden shoes

Traveling to Holland is a breeze by car.  The drive is about 2.5 hours.

The closest airport is the West Michigan Regional Airport which services private flights.  The Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) is about 30 miles from Holland. Delta has non-stop flights to GRR for about $100 round trip.  Other airlines include United and American.

Train travelers can take an Amtrak route from Chicago Union Station directly to Holland in about three hours.  It’s a great way to take the stress out of travel and reach this popular Michigan destination.

Holland Michigan Map

More Getaways from Chicago

Expand your horizons beyond the Windy City with our curated selection of weekend getaways.

Why not delve into the charm of nearby Oak Park with our comprehensive guide to this quaint suburb that is a 40 minute train ride from the city.

For a refreshing retreat, explore the top attractions in a lakeside haven called Union Pier where sandy beaches and quaint shops await.

Or venture southeast to a bustling city nearby and discover the vibrant attractions highlighted in our guide to exploring the vibrant metropolis of Indianapolis.

Alternatively, you can hop over to the neighboring city of Milwaukee for a mix of culture, cuisine, and waterfront views.

Finally, immerse yourself in the historic allure of a charming town that is a 3-hour drive from Chicago. Galena is a quaint historic destination.

These escapes offer a perfect blend of relaxation and exploration, ensuring your weekends are filled with memorable experiences.

FAQs

When do tulips bloom in Holland Michigan?

Tulips begin to bloom in spring (late April and early May).

When is the Tulip Festival in Holland Michigan?

This annual event is usually held the second weekend of May.

Final Thoughts on the Tulip Festival in Holland Michigan

rows of yellow tulips behind a white picket fence

From the quaint quilt show to the mesmerizing Dutch dance routines, the Holland Tulip Time festival is a harmonious blend of art, culture, and the natural wonder of the tulip, inviting visitors to fully embrace the spirit of this beloved annual event

Holland is a nice place for a family getaway or a couple’s weekend.

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 for accommodations.

Add this list of things to do to your bucket list and take Instagrammable photos by visiting Nelis’ Dutch Village, Windmill Island Gardens, and Centennial Park.

Safe travels.


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6 Comments

  1. I am from North of Grand Rapids and going to Holland was an annual school trip for years. I remember it well!

    1. Tanya Taylor says:

      Yes, I remember getting my first pair of wooden shoes! We used to visit the Tulip Festival when I was in elementary school. Now, the tradition continues with my hubby+kid.

  2. I had no idea that this town existed but it looks so cute to visit! I love that it has strong ties to the Netherlands too.

    1. Tanya Taylor says:

      It’s a great place to experience a slice of the Netherlands without a boarding pass 🙂

  3. I’ll be honest, your blog post title made me do a double-take and was what made me click on this post in the first place – but boy am I glad I did! At first I thought it was Holland, and then I realized it was Holland, Michigan; and then I got curious as to there whether there would be any ‘Holland’ in it – and turns out there is! Tons of it! That tulip farm is AMAZING!

    1. Tanya Taylor says:

      Ha! …some cities are full of surprises! Hope you visit, it’s about 2 hours from Chicago. The annual Tulip Festival is in May 🙂