Top 12 things you must do during the Tulip Festival in Holland Michigan

Feild of tulips windmill girl wearing dress

I joined the dance in celebrating Tulip Times 90thanniversary!

Girl sitting field tulips wearing hat

This year the Tulip Time Festival is commemorating their ties to the Netherlands with some flair by painting the town orange.

Why orange you ask? Amsterdam celebrates with an all-day extravaganza called Koninginnedag also known as Kings Day, heralding the House of Orange. During this celebration, the citizens dress themselves and the entire city in orange for festivities. Tulip Time decided to do the same inviting Holland to gather in orange spirit celebrating their 90thanniversary!

This was my second time visiting during the Tulip Time Festival! A few years ago I discovered I lived only three hours away from millions of beautiful blooming tulips in the Spring! I thought I had to travel across the world and spend a fortune to see fields of tulips but NOPE… Holland Michigan is home to this incredible festival that offers not only tulips but experience Dutch culture as well.

I spent three days exploring and immersing myself in all the Tulip Times festivities sharing all the details about what I did, where I stayed and what NOT TO MISS!

Windmill Island Gardens

tulips dutch windmill girl standing

Windmill Island Gardens is home to the ONLY 251-year-old Dutch working windmill in the US. The windmill was shipped all the way from the Netherlands! The City of Holland bought it in 1964, reconstructed it, opened the park in 1965 and has been open ever since.

dutch style homes

Visiting the windmill during the Tulip Time Festival with over 100,000 tulips in bloom is truly breathtaking. Explore the 35-acer park that features all things Dutch culture from Dutch dancing, antique Dutch carousel, games, guided tours manicured gardens, Dutch style homes and so much more.

READ MORE: My Experience Visiting Windmill Island Gardens during Tulip Time Festival

Dutch Dance in the Park – Centennial park

Dutch dancing holland michigan

Dutch dance performances are by far one of the most entertaining Tulip Time treats. Nearly 1,000 dancers dressed in bright, authentic costumes and wooden shoes high-kicking their way through traditional dances. Don’t be a stranger, ask them for a quick lesson! They love when you ask questions! I attempted one of their traditional steps, and its much more difficult than it looks or this girl has NO rhythm… or both :P!

Dutch dances occur every day throughout the city of Holland.

Watch the Muzieparade – Holland civic center

Girl laughing during parade

Tulip time parades are some of the largest and most spectacular events in Michigan. Thousands of spectators line the streets of downtown Holland to watch the amazing floats, marching bands, and Dutch Dances. Over two miles of pure celebration. I watched the parade from the Holland civic center where they have tickets for purchase.

dutch band parade

It was wonderful because I didn’t have to worry about finding a good spot to watch, large crowds, losing my spot, or nowhere to use the restroom. I had my own chair a couple of feet away from the parade. They also offered non/alcoholic beverages and snacks for purchase. It was wonderful!

Tulip City Tours in a Trolly

Girl standing in trolly

Immerse yourself in the history, beauty, and excitement of Tulip Time! With a Dutch-costumed, guide as your host. It’s a one hour tour though Tulip lanes, Hollands historic District, city parks and award-winning downtown.

Girl On trolly orange dress

I love city tours! I feel like it’s the best way to see the most important highlights of a town, especially when don’t have much time. Rather than trying to do your own research they do all the work for you. There have been many times where I have explored a city and think something is interesting than later on do a city tour and learn a fascinating historical story about it. It brings the city to life. Plus, who doesn’t love a trolley ride?!

Carnival

Carnival at night from above

Rides, food and fun! I’m not going to lie… I haven’t been to an actual carnival in nearly a decade let alone ride the rides! However, I loved that this carnival was central to all events I couldn’t help but want to partake! My cousin and I got wristbands and rode all the rides during the day and night! Not sure if it was even planned but the Ferris wheel looked like an orange tulip.  It was my favorite ride at night seeing all the colorful lights below! The most terrifying yet exhilarating ride called Top Gun spun and flipped nearly 100-feet in the air! The best part is partaking in the carnival food… corn dogs, fried cheesecake, cotton candy, cheese fry’s, funnel cakes… I want it all!

Yoga in the Tulips

Girl yoga pose in the tulips 2

Tulip Time bringing community and strangers together around thousands of tulips for a relaxing hour of morning yoga in the tulips. Led by Happy Soul Yoga.

women yoga in park

It’s perfect for beginners and experienced yogis. I absolutely loved this experience and cannot wait to be a part of it again.

Girl yoga pose in tulips

Lindy Lou Cruise

Girl sitting on boat

Take a leisurely cruise on this beautiful mahogany and cherry wood electric-powered replica river launch. It gives you the chance to recapture the days from the late 1890-1930s when launches plied the Black River delivering guests to resorts, taking picnickers to up-river parks and filling lazy hours of summer with a relaxing cruise.

Tall Ship Dockside tour

Ship Holland MI

Welkom aboard the tall ship Friends Good Will, a replica Great Lakes sloop from 1810, owned and operated by the Michigan Maritime Museum. The Dutch heritage is deeply intertwined with water, trade, and sailing.

It was incredible to explore this ship and ask the men dressed in part questions. I kept envisioning how they lived/used this 1810 replica sloop from hearing the crackling of her billowing sails, creaks from the wooden structure as water crashed up against it, and standing at the bow feeling wind in my face yelling out, AHOY!

Girl orange dress on ship

The Michigan Maritime Museum makes all those things come alive! At their home location in South Haven, they offer sailing tours during the day, sunset and even during a fireworks display!

WATCH SUNSET at Ottawa Beach

Girl walking peir sunset holland mi

Ottawa beach is a quick 10-minute drive from downtown Holland. It includes 750 feet of Lake Michigan frontage, 2400 feet of Lake Macatawa shoreline and beautiful wooded dunes which are dispersed between the cottages and Holland State Park.

Girl standing big red lighthouse holland mi

You can view the “Big Red Lighthouse” and walk out to the pier for a beautiful sunset view. Not being biased but everyone should witness a Lake Michigan sunset! They are some of my all-time favorite sunsets!

QUILT SHOW

Girl standing next to quilt michigan

In Michigan, we point on our hand to give direction. This is where I am from.

I don’t know about you but I can appreciate a homemade quilt! The fine detail, patterns, colors and hours behind an authentic piece of art is so timeless! They display more than 100 exquisite handmade bed quilts, wall hangings, and art quilts. Local artist provided all the creations. They raffled off one quilt and all proceeds benefied local Living Threads Ministries and Big Red Quilters’ Guild.

Older women holding quilt

The winner of the quilt was visiting all the way from California. She mentioned she always wanted to go to the Netherlands to see the tulips and experience Dutch culture but never got the opportunity to travel there, so her daughter brought her to Holland Michigan for the Tulip Time Festival! A much more affordable and like experience! Congrats!

Veldheer’s Tulip Farm

Girl laying in tulips

Vern Veldheer in 1950 started a hobby with 100 red and 300 white tulips. Today Veldheers plants over 5 million tulips! You wouldn’t believe how many species of Tulips there really are. They also have the only identical twin bison in the WORLD, named “Wange & Nepa.

 READ MORE, about my experience exploring 5-Million tulips + how I lost my wedding ring amongst them!

FREE ATTRACTIONS

From concerts, art shows, parades, Dutch dancing, and markets supporting local artists.

There are many daily pop up markets all over the downtown Holland area supporting local artists and small businesses. Be sure to take a look at the line of events when planning your trip. You do not want to miss exploring these markets!

WHERE TO EAT

Beer fest groups of people

Tulip Time offers so many authentic Dutch style culinary experiences from a Dutch cooking demonstration, Dutch comfort and craft beer dinner, Boatwerks culinary twist on traditional dinner that presents four-course dinner that puts a spin on traditional Dutch cuisine with a beautiful waterfront view, and Bier Klomp a brew fest.

BIER KLOMP – Brew Fest

Beer mugs cheers

An exciting new event this year hosted by Brew Merchant and presented by New Holland Brewing Co. Bier enthusiasts won’t want to miss their selection of one-of-a-kind Tulip Time brews thoughtfully curated for the 90th Tulip Time Festival. With a menu, full of local and regional beers, ciders, spirits, and wines, there is something for everyone. Compact with local artists, food trucks, lawn games, and live music. My kind of JAM! Stay tuned for next years theme! I wonder what they will brew up next!

WHERE TO STAY – Stay Courtyard by Marriott Holland Downtown

Girl walking hotel view

If your planning to visit during the Tulip Time festival, Courtyard Marriott downtown Holland is the best location hands down! We parked our car in the secure lot and walked to every event the entire three-day weekend. All we had to do is walk out the door and enjoy all the festivities! I loved not dealing with traffic, paying for parking, road closures during parades, or dealing with street parking far away. It’s not only the perfect location, but it also has beautiful modern rooms with great balcony views. They have a Starbucks and small café that serves delicious food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As a fitness fanatic, they have a great gym, pool and hot tub as well! I will never stay anywhere else when visiting Holland Michigan.

These are just a few things Tulip Time has to offer during their nine-day festival! Have you ever been to a Tulip Festival? I would love to hear from you! Comment below, Pin, share and subscribe to stay up to date on my latest adventures!

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Top 12 things you must do during the Tulip Time Festival

WHERE  Holland, Michigan

WHEN  Save the date May 2-10th, 2020

WHERE TO STAY  Courtyard by Marriott Holland Downtown

WHAT TO DO 

  • Explore Windmill Island Gardens
  • See Dutch dance in the park
  • Watch the Muzieparade
  • Take a city tour in a Trolley
  • Get wrist bands for the carnival
  • Do morning yoga in the tulips
  • Take a leisurely Lindy Lou Cruise
  • Tour a Great Lakes sloop from 1810 replica – they still use today!
  • Watch a sunset at Ottawa beach
  • Explore a quilt show
  • Visit Veldheer’s Tulip Farm
  • Visit many FREE attractions
  • Attend a beer festival with food trucks, lawn games and more
  • MUCH MUCH MORE, see here.

*Disclaimer: This post was written in partnership with Tulip Time. As always, thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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