Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Holland, MI

  • Published 2022/03/29

From world-class tulip gardens to critically-acclaimed establishments, the city of Holland is the perfect place to relax and enjoy at the same time.

Initially inhabited by Dutch immigrants, the city is living proof that the Netherlands’ culture and heritage remain instilled in the area.

Led by Albertus C. VanRaalte, a group of 60 men, women, and children began their journey towards Michigan in an attempt to escape religious oppression and economic depression.

Today, Holland is blossoming in its vibrant culture while celebrating its Dutch-influenced roots.

If you’re looking for a place in the US that makes you feel like you’re in another country, Holland is the perfect destination for you.

Check out 15 of the best things you can do in the beautiful city of Holland, Michigan.

See the Inner Workings of an Authentic Dutch Windmill at Windmill Island Gardens

Scenic view of Windmill Island Gardens

Rachael Martin /

Holland is home to the only authentic Dutch windmill in the United States.

Located in Lincoln Avenue, the DeZwaan or “The Swan” serves as one of Windmill Island Gardens’ main tourist attractions.

Brought over from the Netherlands in 1964, the DeZwaan measures a total of 125 feet and towers over 36 acres of land.

Check out how Dutch-certified millers operate and turn wheat into flour, and buy some from the gift shop on your way home.

People admiring a windmill at Windmill Island Gardens

Susan Montgomery /

At the deck’s fourth floor, catch a panoramic view of the entire Windmill Island Gardens.

If you’re planning to visit this treasured land sometime in spring, you’ll be in for a nice surprise, as over 100,000 tulips of various colors bloom during the season.

After touring the inner workings of the DeZwaan, you can also check out other facilities in the garden, such as the Little Netherlands Village display, a hand-painted Dutch carousel, and the Four Columns Street organ.

A shed at Windmill Island Gardens

RonaldL /

Live the Dutch Life at Nelis’ Dutch Village

View of the houses at Nelis’ Dutch Village

ehrlif /

As you step inside Nelis’ Dutch Village, don’t be surprised if you find yourself questioning whether or not you’re still in Michigan.

Established in 1958, the village was originally the Nelis family’s property, where they grew vegetables and cared for a tulip farm during the 1930s.

View of the Nelis’ Dutch Village

Rachael Martin /

To date, the establishment has over 25 structures throughout the village, representing some of the Netherlands’ provinces.

Learn the Klompen dance from the Holland Dutch Dancers, dress up like the Dutch, and check out how wooden shoes and Dutch cheese are made.

A tree and bell tower at Nelis’ Dutch Village

Rachael Martin /

Kids can also try their hand at making Stroopwafel cookies and visit the petting farm where they’re free to pet bunnies and goats, go on a stroll with a flock of sheep, and see the llamas and alpacas up close.

Make more memories by taking photos of the village’s tulip garden and canals and by getting on Harry’s Windmill Ride一a full-size windmill that functions as a Ferris wheel.

Exterior of a house at Nelis’ Dutch Village

Claudine Van Massenhove /

Buy a Pair of Wooden Shoes from the De Klomp Wooden Shoe Delft Factory

There’s nothing more Dutch than a pair of carved, wooden shoes.

At the De Klomp Wooden Shoe Delft Factory, you can buy a pair of wooden shoes hand-painted by the shoemakers themselves.

Watch as the shoemakers carve out the wooden shoes using authentic Dutch machinery imported from the Netherlands.

The De Klomp Wooden Shoe Delft Factory is also recognized as the only facility in North America that produces Dutch pottery products.

Watch the artists up close as they mold, paint, and glaze the blue and white Delftware.

Stroll around the Veldheer Tulip Gardens

Colorful flowers of Veldheer Tulip Gardens

Rachael Martin /

Don’t leave Holland without stopping by the Veldheer Tulip Gardens down in Quincy Street.

From April to mid-May, marvel at the myriad colors that grace the entire tulip farm.

Veldheer Tulip Gardens' colorful flowers

Rachael Martin /

Founded in 1950 by Vern Veldheer, the tulip farm was originally put up as a personal hobby一today, nearly 5 million tulip bulbs are planted every year, and the blooming season has become a much-awaited event by locals and tourists alike.

Colorful flowers at Veldheer Tulip Gardens

Rachael Martin /

Drown in seas of purple, yellow, pink, orange, and lavender as you walk around the blooming garden.

You can also buy imported flowers and perennials to liven up your very own garden back home.

Beautiful flowers at Veldheer Tulip Gardens

Ganeshkumar Durai /

Drink a Glass of Wine at the Warner Vineyards Tasting Room

Wine connoisseurs can’t possibly leave Holland without swinging by the Warner Vineyards’ tasting room.

Located along 8th street, Warner Vineyards is recognized as Michigan’s second-oldest winery.

Indulge in over five wine selections from the tasting room, including the Warner Brut, which was served to President Ford himself.

Explore the flavors of Warner Vineyards’ best-sellers, such as Holiberry, Grapes of Love, Peach & Honey, and more.

Warner Vineyards’ wine tasting experience requires an advanced booking, so make sure everything’s settled before you drop by.

Attend the Tulip Time Festival in May

Three people on a float for Tulip Time Festival

Roberto Galan /

Visiting Holland in May?

If you are, then you’re just in time for the annual Tulip Time Festival.

People dancing during Tulip Time Festival

Roberto Galan /

What started as a flower festival in 1929 has now become a week’s worth of festivities that celebrate the city’s rich Dutch culture.

Catch a series of live entertainment in the form of concerts, parades, pageants, town crier competitions, meal shows, and more.

City-wide attractions are available for the entire duration of the festival, such as artisan markets, tulip gardens, and carnivals.

People dancing on the street for Tulip Time Festival

Roberto Galan /

Grab a Few Drinks at the Coppercraft Distillery

At the Coppercraft Distillery, beer buffs can try award-winning premium crafted spirits made from ingredients sourced from the city’s local farmers.

The distillery uses proofing and blending techniques and unique infusions to deliver world-class liquor that travels from barrel to bottle.

Taste the bursting flavors of single-variety and craft-blended spirits with the distillery’s collection of whiskey, gin, bourbon, applejack, and rum.

Or, you can bring the party with you with Coppercraft Distillery’s premium canned cocktails that are perfect for your getaway.

Distillery tours are held during the weekends and require you to book reservations, so make sure you’re guaranteed a slot before going there.

Catch Live Performances at the Holland Civic Theater

Exterior of Holland Civic Theater

Roberto Galan /

Make your way to 9th street and get a glimpse of Holland’s creativity in the field of performing arts at the Holland Civic Theater.

The small, intimate theater comes alive at night to showcase a variety of mainstage shows headlined by a team of volunteer actors.

The theater, which has been producing and culminating talent since the 1960s, continues to be supported by the locals through donations.

With over 200 shows since its inception, the theater has remained a popular entertainment hub where viewers can laugh, cry, and sing along to various tunes.

The theater produces seasonal shows under different genres and typically starts selling tickets a month prior to the show.

Take a Photo with the Big Red Lighthouse at Lakeside Road

Aerial view of Big Red Lighthouse

Frederick Millett /

Your trip to Holland wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the Big Red and taking a few photos.

Built in 1870 on a 4,000-dollar budget, the lighthouse was originally a small, wooden structure just above the pier deck.

Water surrounding Big Red Lighthouse

Frederick Millett /

It was later improved with steel in the early 20th century after the original structure wore out due to harsh weather conditions.

In the following years, a fog signal, Palladian windows, and air-powered horns were installed to further improve the lighthouse’s facilities and overall appearance.

Exterior of Big Red Lighthouse

AJKamps /

For decades, the Big Red has been a classic favorite for artists to paint and photograph.

There’s just something about the lighthouse guarding the shores of Lake Michigan that captures the city’s simple and serene beauty.

Sunset behind Big Red Lighthouse

Ayman Haykal /

Explore the Stu Visser Trails

Going on a long walk and drowning in the sound of rustling leaves and the howling wind is an excellent way to clear your headspace.

At the Stu Visser Trails, you can explore 37 acres of land filled with trees and ponds while you catch some native birds hanging out on some branches.

Cross the nature trail’s rustic boardwalk and grab a bite of some of your favorite snacks by the picnic tables.

Stu Visser Trails is also a pet-friendly area, so you don’t have to worry about leaving your furry companions behind as you wander the trails.

The Stu Visser Trails is accessible from either of the parking areas at Lakewood Blvd. or Ottawa Beach Rd.

Immerse Yourself in Holland’s Rich History at the Holland Museum

Exterior of Holland Museum

Roberto Galan /

Tourists can get a crash course on Holland’s history and cultural heritage at the Holland Museum at 10th street.

The museum houses a combination of over 90,000 artifacts and archival collections that represent the city’s early years.

Go on an educational tour around the museum and unravel a 400-year-old story about the Dutch settlement in Holland.

Get a glimpse of the museum’s collection of Delftware, silver, Dutch costumes, and more.

Aside from the Dutch and Holland Galleries, the museum also showcases temporary exhibits throughout the year, featuring themes like astronomy, Native America, heritage barns, and more.

You can also check out the Pére Marquette Restoration Project, which is the museum’s plan to refurbish the Pére Marquette Caboose, No. A967一a conductor’s headquarters and crew hub named after Jacques Marquette, the founder of Sault Sainte Marie and Saint Ignace in the mid-1600s.

Witness Global Art Collections from the Kruizenga Art Museum

Situated in Colombia Avenue, the Kruizenga Art Museum is home to a collection of art pieces from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America that date back to as early as the 1600s.

Feast your eyes on traditional and ceremonial crafts from African tribes, marvel at the intricate artworks from Asian countries like Japan and China, and discover the wonders of Mexican paintings, sculptures, and prints.

The Kruizenga Art Museum also showcases over 1,000 art pieces donated by the alumni of Hope College.

As a teaching museum, the Kruizenga Art Museum also offers various art programs一from dance and theater to music and art history.

The museum encourages guide-free tours, so you can wander on your own and appreciate the various collections in the area.

Get a Tan at Holland State Park

Aerial view of Holland State Park

Frederick Millett /

Holland State Park might have the word “park” in its name, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy beach-related activities while you’re there.

Lay back on the fine sand and soak up the sun’s warmth by the shore.

From the beach, you can also see the Big Red as the sun sets slowly behind it.

People fishing at Holland State Park


Just make sure you have a day pass or a recreation passport before you enter the beach.

But if you’re not a beach bum and you’re looking for something cooler and quieter, Holland State Park also has camping grounds where you can set up camp and have a barbecue party instead.

Sunset at Holland State Park

AJKamps /

Set Up Your Camp by Lake Macatawa

Night time view of Lake Macatawa

MattKPhotos /

Get lost in the woods and take some time off from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life by setting up a camp by Lake Macatawa.

Located in Ottawa Beach Rd., the lake has over 200 campsites perfect for nature lovers.

Sunset at Lake Macatawa

MattKPhotos /

Also known as the “Black Lake,” Lake Macatawa was called as such due to the tannin released by decaying vegetation.

Spanning a total of six miles, Lake Macatawa is a popular fishing spot and a site for water sports, like jet skiing, wakeboarding, and kayaking.

At night, you can relax by the bonfire and watch the star-lit sky.

A fishing toll beside Lake Macatawa's pier

Bonita R. Cheshier /

Go Birdwatching at Paw Paw Park

Formerly known as the Macatawa Greenspace, Paw Paw Park is a wetland encompassing the union Macatawa River and Noordeloos Creek.

The park is a birdwatcher’s favorite, as you can easily spot some Blue Herons and Waterfowls in the area.

Admire the scenic view of Holland from the boardwalk or observation deck, or walk along the paved trails before the sun sets.

If you’re planning to visit Holland in the winter, you can also take your cross-country skis with you to explore the trails.

The park won’t require you to pay for an entrance fee, and you’re allowed to bring your pets, but make sure to clean up after your furry friends to maintain the park’s cleanliness.

Final Thoughts

Holland offers a wide range of activities and destinations that will surely be at the top of your “best places to travel” list.

With its world-renowned cultural attractions, art collections, and tourist spots, the entirety of Holland is definitely a sight to behold.

Dive into everything Holland has to offer and book your trip today!

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