Holland Hotspots – Things to See and Do in Holland, Michigan
Every town has a “Best Of” list made up of fun or interesting things to see and do in the area, and Holland, MI is no different. Located on the West Coast of Michigan directly on the Lake Michigan shoreline, Holland is a mix of unique cultural influences and waterfront lifestyle.
With a population of more than 33,000 people, Holland has city numbers with a small town feel. The Holland downtown area sits directly on the shores of Lake Macatawa, where it was founded in 1847 by a group of Dutch men and women.
The area’s Dutch history is obvious throughout the city, with windmills, wooden shoes, and tulips decorating many signs and storefronts. The area’s Dutch influence also provides some of our favorite things to do in the Holland area.
Whether you are considering relocating to Holland or the lakeshore or just traveling through, there are some great restaurants, museums, and other attractions and here are just a few of our favorites.
Holland’s most well-known and loved landmark, or watermark in this case, the lighthouse known as Big Red stands watch over the channel providing marine traffic with access to Lake Macatawa and the city.
Although visitors are not allowed inside, there are two places to take great photos of this unique local landmark. The lighthouse can be clearly photographed from Holland State Park on the north side of Lake Macatawa, and can be visited on the south side by following 16th street and South Shore Drive to the end.
Located just north of Holland near the intersection of US 31 and Quincy St., Veldheer is a one-stop-shop for all things Dutch. Veldheer’s huge tulip garden treats visitors to the amazing colors of nearly 5 million tulips along with daffodils, hyacinths, and crocus.
Their store features Delftware pottery, authentic wooden shoes made on site, and a wide variety of Dutch foods and treats. A unique attraction, Veldheer guests can also see a herd of buffalo.
Every year, Holland, MI locals celebrate the blooming of the city’s millions of tulips with a week-long celebration. Known as Tulip Time, the festival features a parade complete with authentic Dutch klompendancers, a carnival, food trucks, and other food vendors parked throughout the downtown area.
However, visitors can simply drive around and take in the incredible colors of the millions of tulips planted at curbside all through the city center. Arguably, the best place to see the beautiful flowers is Centennial Park, where visitors can find a variety of incredible colors planted for up close and personal viewing.
This small municipal park sits on an island at the eastern tip of Lake Macatawa, which juts into Holland’s city center. Visitors to Windmill Island will find guides in traditional Dutch costumes, a hand-painted Dutch carousel, an Amsterdam street organ, and a replica Dutch Inn alongside the gorgeous tulip-filled gardens.
Guests can also take a guided tour of De Zwaan, the only operational authentic Dutch windmill in the US. The unique structure is still used to grind wheat into flour, which is also sold in the island’s gift shop.
For beachgoers, swimmers, and those looking for the best place to see the sun set over Lake Michigan, Holland State Park provides a beautiful way to spend a day, afternoon, or evening when a crowd often gathers to watch the setting sun.
Accessed at the end of Ottawa Beach Road on the north side of Holland, the state park sits alongside Holland’s channel leading in from Lake Michigan, treating visitors to a steady stream of boat traffic as well.
With its location along the Lake Macatawa shoreline and its close proximity to the Lake Michigan coast, Holland is a water town. For a real taste of Holland’s aquatic personality, take a sunset or dinner cruise on the Holland Princess – a 65 foot Victorian style paddle wheeler offering public and private cruises.
Based on Holland’s north side, guests can enjoy a scenic lunch or dinner cruise daily. The riverboat’s path takes passengers past beautiful lake homes, historic landmarks, and, of course, Big Red.
The paddle wheeler is also available for private charters and can be reserved for weddings, private parties, retirement celebrations, family reunions, and more.
Holland area visitors don’t need a specific destination when touring the area. Instead, guests can park downtown for free and walk the city’s sidewalks in search of the best food, drinks, or shops.
Holland is very walkable and pet-friendly, and dogs can be seen walking people throughout the shopping district. Even snowy weather can’t dampen downtown Holland’s cheerful atmosphere. Winter visitors can tour the city by walking on it’s heated sidewalks and warm up by corner fireplaces.
There are a variety of choices for great food and drink in Holland. Whether you’re looking for a great Dutch bakery, basic meat and potatoes, or even an authentic Irish pub, Holland has something for everyone.
DeBoers Bakkerij has delicious pastries and other Dutch treats.
Alpenrose treats people to a contemporary menu in a fine dining atmosphere.
Visitors to The Curragh can sample traditional Irish fare such as Bangers and Mash
The New Holland Brewery serves brewpub food with its own branded brews
The Windmill might just serve the best breakfast in town
Boatwerks serves Sunday brunch overlooking the waters of Lake Macatawa.
These are just a few of the great restaurants in the Holland area.
No matter what your reason for visiting, make Holland one of the stops on your next trip through the West Michigan area. For current or future residents, the city has much to offer but is also within easy reach of the big city shopping, restaurants, and entertainment of Grand Rapids. Other nearby towns offer a variety of attractions too, such as Muskegon’s Winter Sports Complex and the Saugatuck and Douglas art scene.
Come experience the beautiful colors, amazing history of Holland, MI, but be advised – one trip is not enough. You’ll want to return again and again!
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