Best Things to Do in Holland, MI: 12 Must-See Attractions

by Emil Backup
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Are you planning to visit Holland in Michigan soon? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Holland. These quaint sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Situated quietly by the gleaming shores of Lake Michigan lies Holland, a city that effortlessly marries its rich Dutch heritage with contemporary allure. As you wander its cobbled streets, you’re transported to a European haven, with historic windmills standing tall against the backdrop of a modern skyline. Things to do in Holland range from exploring vibrant tulip festivals, browsing through charming boutiques, to savoring local cuisine and relaxing on pristine beaches, offering a captivating blend of cultural immersion and natural beauty.

Downtown Holland beckons with its harmonious blend of age-old architecture, chic boutiques, and inviting cafes. The aroma of freshly baked Dutch treats fills the air, guiding you to quaint bakeries that promise a taste of Holland’s culinary legacy.

But it’s not just the city’s charm that captivates; Forbes has hailed Holland as one of America’s prettiest towns. Whether you’re immersing yourself in the vibrant hues of the world-famous tulip gardens, soaking up the sun on pristine beaches, or delving into the city’s rich history, Holland offers an experience that lingers long after the journey ends. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Holland.

The best things to do in Holland, MI right now.
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Best Places to Visit in Holland

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Holland? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this charming vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Holland places to visit.

Are you looking to engage in vibrant tulip festivals or explore cultural landmarks? Or would you prefer relaxing on pristine beaches? Whatever you’re planning, these must sees in Holland can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Holland that you should know about.

1. Windmill Island Gardens

Windmill Island Gardens is a captivating blend of nature and history, offering a variety of best things to do in Holland. As you enter, the towering De Zwaan windmill, the last to leave the Netherlands, immediately catches your eye. It’s not just a picturesque backdrop; this functioning mill grinds grain into flour, offering visitors a glimpse into Dutch traditions.

The gardens themselves are a visual treat. Wander through paths lined with a myriad of tulip varieties, each blooming in vibrant hues. Especially during tulip season, the gardens transform into a colorful spectacle, reminiscent of the vast tulip fields in the Netherlands.

For those compiling a list of unique places in Holland, this attraction is a must-add. Beyond the tulips, the gardens house a delightful carousel, a testament to Holland’s commitment to preserving its heritage. As you explore, the gentle hum of the windmill and the fragrance of fresh blooms create an ambiance of tranquility.

Before you leave, make a pit stop at the local shops. Authentic Dutch pastries and souvenirs await, ensuring you take a piece of Holland with you.

Vibrant blossoms surround the charming windmill at Windmill Island Gardens.
Vibrant blossoms surround the charming windmill at Windmill Island Gardens.

2. Downtown Holland

Stepping into Downtown Holland feels like opening a vibrant storybook. If you’re pondering where to visit in Holland, this bustling heart of the city should top your list. With its historic architecture juxtaposed against trendy boutiques, every corner tells a tale of the past meeting the present.

As you meander through the streets, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee from local cafes mingles with the laughter of street performers, presenting an array of best things to do in Holland. Each shop window offers a unique shopping experience, from handcrafted Dutch souvenirs to contemporary fashion finds, ensuring you have a delightful and diverse range of activities to enjoy during your visit.

Foodies will rejoice at the array of dining options. From authentic Dutch pancakes to gourmet farm-to-table dishes, there’s a culinary adventure waiting at every turn. And as the sun sets, Downtown Holland transforms. Illuminated by strings of fairy lights, it becomes a hub of nightlife, with live music echoing from bars and theaters.

For those seeking cool destinations in Holland, Downtown is a blend of cultural experiences, shopping sprees, and gastronomic delights. It’s a testament to how Holland cherishes its roots while embracing the new.

Bustling streets and quaint storefronts create a captivating scene in the heart of Downtown Holland.
Bustling streets and quaint storefronts create a captivating scene in the heart of Downtown Holland.

3. Holland State Park

Holland State Park is where nature’s beauty meets adventure. If you’re compiling a list of must-see in Holland, this sprawling park should undoubtedly feature. Golden sandy beaches stretch as far as the eye can see, inviting sunbathers, swimmers, and those simply wanting to dip their toes in the refreshing waters of Lake Michigan.

As you explore further, you’ll find scenic picnic spots perfect for a family day out. And if you’re into photography, the views of the iconic Big Red Lighthouse against the vast expanse of the lake are nothing short of breathtaking. It’s one of those Holland attractions that captures the heart and soul of the city.

For the more adventurous, there are ample opportunities to indulge in water sports or embark on hiking trails that offer panoramic views of the surroundings. As evening approaches, the park becomes a haven for those wanting to witness a mesmerizing Michigan sunset.

In essence, Holland State Park is a blend of relaxation and thrill. It’s one of those unique places in Holland where every visit feels like a new experience, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Sun, sand, and endless horizons at Holland State Park, where Lake Michigan's beauty takes center stage.
Sun, sand, and endless horizons at Holland State Park, where Lake Michigan’s beauty takes center stage.

4. Tunnel Park

For those seeking the coolest activities in Holland, Tunnel Park stands out as a gem. This unique park, spanning 22 acres, offers more than just a day at the beach. Sure, the sandy shores and clear waters of Lake Michigan beckon, but there’s an adventurous twist waiting for visitors.

The park’s namesake, a tunnel through a sand dune, provides a fun and sandy passage from the parking lot to the beach. It’s an experience kids and adults alike find delightful. Once on the beach, the dune stairway calls out to those looking for panoramic views. Climbing it is worth every step, as the top gifts visitors with breathtaking vistas of the lake and the distant shoreline.

For families, the playground and picnic areas offer the perfect setting for a memorable day out. And if you’re wondering where to go in Holland for a serene sunset, the views from Tunnel Park are unparalleled.

In a city filled with attractions, Tunnel Park shines as one of the unique things to do in Holland, offering both relaxation and a touch of adventure.

Embrace nature's beauty and seaside wonders at Tunnel Park – a hidden gem among the best things to do in Holland, MI.
Embrace nature’s beauty and seaside wonders at Tunnel Park – a hidden gem among the best things to do in Holland, MI.

5. De Zwaan Windmill

Standing tall and proud, the De Zwaan Windmill is a testament to Holland’s rich Dutch heritage. As the last windmill to leave the Netherlands, it holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. If you’re compiling a list of Holland attractions, this iconic structure deserves a top spot.

Upon entering, you’re transported back in time. The windmill is not just a sight to behold; it’s a fully functioning grain mill. The rhythmic hum of its blades and the scent of freshly ground flour create an ambiance that’s both nostalgic and mesmerizing. Guided tours offer insights into its history, architecture, and the art of milling.

Outside, the surrounding gardens paint a picture of serenity. Blooming flowers, manicured lawns, and quaint benches provide the perfect setting for relaxation and offer a variety of best things to do in Holland. For those wondering how to make the most of their time, a picnic here is a delightful option, allowing you to savor the tranquil beauty of the surroundings while enjoying a leisurely meal.

In essence, the De Zwaan Windmill is more than an attraction; it’s an experience. It stands as a symbol of the city’s commitment to preserving its roots while offering visitors a slice of Dutch culture.

Graceful and iconic, De Zwaan Windmill stands proudly as a symbol of Dutch heritage.
Graceful and iconic, De Zwaan Windmill stands proudly as a symbol of Dutch heritage.

6. Dutch Village

Stepping into the Dutch Village is like embarking on a delightful journey to the Netherlands, without ever leaving Michigan. This attraction captures the essence of Dutch culture, making it one of the best places to go in Holland for an authentic experience.

From the moment you enter, the village charms you with its traditional Dutch architecture. Meandering pathways lead to quaint shops selling handcrafted wooden shoes, Delftware, and other Dutch souvenirs. The sound of traditional Dutch music fills the air, setting the tone for a day of exploration.

One of the highlights here is the Klompen Dance. Performed in traditional Dutch attire, this wooden shoe dance is a joy to watch and even more fun to join in. For those with a sweet tooth, the village offers a treat – freshly baked stroopwafels that melt in your mouth.

If you’re wondering where to visit in Holland for a family-friendly outing, the Dutch Village, with its petting zoo and playground, is a top choice. It’s a place where history, culture, and fun come together, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in all things Dutch.

Step into a picturesque slice of the Netherlands at Dutch Village – a highlight among the best things to do in Holland, MI.
Step into a picturesque slice of the Netherlands at Dutch Village – a highlight among the best things to do in Holland, MI.

7. Veldheer Tulip Gardens

Imagine a canvas painted with a riot of colors, each hue more vibrant than the last. That’s the spectacle Veldheer Tulip Gardens offers every spring. As one of the must-see in Holland, this garden boasts over 5 million tulips, turning the landscape into a mesmerizing sea of blossoms.

Walking through the gardens feels like a dream. Rows upon rows of tulips sway gently in the breeze, their petals shimmering under the sun. From classic reds and yellows to exotic purples and whites, the variety is astounding. It’s no wonder that photographers and nature lovers consider it one of the coolest things to do in Holland.

But tulips aren’t the only stars here. The gardens also showcase a range of other flowers, including daffodils, hyacinths, and lilies. As you explore, the fragrance of fresh blooms is both invigorating and calming.

For those looking to take a piece of this beauty home, the garden’s shop offers tulip bulbs for sale. Plant them, and you’ll have a touch of Holland’s magic in your backyard.

In a city known for its floral splendor, Veldheer stands out, making every visit a memorable affair.

Vibrant blooms where nature's kaleidoscope unfolds in a breathtaking display of color and beauty.
Vibrant blooms where nature’s kaleidoscope unfolds in a breathtaking display of color and beauty.

8. Holland Museum

Steeped in history and brimming with tales of yesteryears, the Holland Museum is a treasure trove for history buffs and curious souls alike. If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of this charming city and the stories of its people, this is the place in Holland to uncover those mysteries.

Housed in the historic former Post Office building, the museum’s architecture is a nod to the city’s rich past. Inside, a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, and interactive exhibits await. They paint a vivid picture of Holland’s journey from its Dutch roots to the vibrant city it is today.

One of the standout exhibits is the Dutch Galleries, showcasing paintings, Delftware, and furniture from the Netherlands. It’s a deep dive into the cultural ties that bind Holland to its European namesake. For those compiling a list of Holland things to do, the museum’s immersive experience is a must.

After exploring the exhibits, take a moment to relax in the museum’s cozy café. Sip on a cup of coffee and reflect on the rich tapestry of stories you’ve just witnessed. The Holland Museum isn’t just a visit; it’s a journey through time.

Delve into the past and present at the Holland Museum – a must-visit among the best things to do in Holland, MI.
Delve into the past and present at the Holland Museum – a must-visit among the best things to do in Holland, MI.

9. Kollen Park & Heinz Waterfront Walkway

Kollen Park & Heinz Waterfront Walkway is where the city’s heartbeat meets the serene embrace of nature. For those seeking coolest activities in Holland, this park and walkway combo offers a delightful blend of recreation and relaxation.

Start your adventure at Kollen Park, a green oasis with picturesque views of Lake Macatawa. Families flock here for picnics, while fitness enthusiasts find the jogging paths irresistible. The playground, with its modern equipment, is a haven for kids, making it one of the top places in Holland for family outings.

From the park, the Heinz Waterfront Walkway beckons. This scenic trail stretches along the water, offering unparalleled views of boats gliding by and the distant city skyline. As you stroll, benches along the way invite you to sit, relax, and soak in the beauty around.

For those wondering where to go in Holland for a romantic evening, the walkway at sunset is pure magic. The golden hues reflecting off the water create a mesmerizing backdrop.

In essence, Kollen Park & Heinz Waterfront Walkway is a testament to Holland’s commitment to offering spaces that celebrate both nature and community.

Serene vistas and leisurely walks await at Kollen Park & Heinz Waterfront Walkway.
Serene vistas and leisurely walks await at Kollen Park & Heinz Waterfront Walkway.

10. Outdoor Discovery Center

For nature enthusiasts and families alike, the Outdoor Discovery Center is a haven of exploration and learning. It’s one of those unique places in Holland where the wonders of the natural world come alive, right before your eyes.

Spanning over 150 acres, this center is a mosaic of habitats, from forests and wetlands to prairies and ponds. As you wander the trails, you might spot deer grazing, birds chirping overhead, or even a turtle basking in the sun. Every visit feels like a new adventure, making it a top pick for things to do in Holland.

Interactive exhibits and live animal displays further enrich the experience. Whether you’re keen on learning about Michigan’s native species or simply want to enjoy the tranquility of nature, this place has it all.

For families, the center’s educational programs are a hit. Kids get to engage in hands-on activities, fostering a love for nature from a young age. It’s not just a visit; it’s an immersive experience that leaves you with a deeper appreciation for the world around us.

In a nutshell, the Outdoor Discovery Center is where nature’s magic unfolds in its purest form.

Nature and adventure await at Holland's Outdoor Discovery Center. Explore wildlife and outdoor fun in MI.
Nature and adventure await at Holland’s Outdoor Discovery Center. Explore wildlife and outdoor fun in MI.

11. Felt Mansion

Steeped in history and surrounded by natural beauty, the Felt Mansion is a testament to Holland’s rich past and architectural prowess. If you’re wondering where to visit in Holland for a blend of history, culture, and scenic beauty, this mansion is a top contender.

Built in the 1920s, the mansion stands as a grand reminder of the opulence of the era. Its intricate woodwork, expansive rooms, and elegant furnishings transport visitors to a bygone era. Guided tours offer a deep dive into the mansion’s history, revealing tales of its original owner, Dorr Felt, and the legacy he left behind.

Beyond its walls, the mansion is surrounded by lush gardens and dense woodlands. It’s the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll or a quiet moment of reflection. For those compiling a list of coolest activities in Holland, attending one of the mansion’s seasonal events or concerts is a must.

In essence, the Felt Mansion is more than just a historical site. It’s a place where stories of the past come alive, offering visitors a unique glimpse into Holland’s storied history.

Stepping back in time at Felt Mansion: a glimpse into grandeur and history
Stepping back in time at Felt Mansion: a glimpse into grandeur and history.

12. Nelis’ Dutch Village

Step into Nelis’ Dutch Village, and you’re instantly transported to the Netherlands, right in the heart of Michigan. It’s one of those best places in Holland where culture, entertainment, and history meld seamlessly.

From traditional Dutch architecture to the enchanting canals, every corner of this village tells a story, providing a rich array of things to do in Holland. As you wander through, you’ll encounter wooden shoe carving demonstrations, folk dancing, and even a petting zoo for the little ones. This delightful mix of education and fun makes it one of the top Holland attractions for families, ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy while exploring the charming village.

But what truly sets the village apart is its commitment to authenticity. The staff, dressed in traditional Dutch attire, offer insights into the customs, traditions, and way of life of the Dutch people. For those pondering what to do in Holland, attending one of the village’s themed events or festivals is a must.

In a nutshell, Nelis’ Dutch Village is more than just a tourist spot. It’s a cultural immersion, offering visitors a chance to experience the Netherlands without ever leaving Michigan.

Experience a charming journey to the Netherlands at Nelis' Dutch Village – a standout attraction among the best things to do in Holland, MI.
Experience a charming journey to the Netherlands at Nelis’ Dutch Village – a standout attraction among the best things to do in Holland, MI.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Places to VIsit Holland

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Holland? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Holland:

When is the best time to visit Holland?

Spring is a popular time, especially during the Tulip Time Festival in May. However, summer offers pleasant weather and numerous outdoor activities.

How to spend a day in Holland Michigan?

Spending a day in Holland, Michigan, can be a delightful experience, given the city’s rich Dutch heritage, natural beauty, and myriad attractions. Here’s a suggested itinerary to make the most of your day:

Morning:

  1. Breakfast in Downtown Holland: Start your day with breakfast at one of the local eateries. Many places offer traditional breakfasts as well as Dutch-inspired pastries.
  2. Visit Windmill Island Gardens: Explore the beautiful gardens, take a tour of “De Zwaan” – the authentic Dutch windmill, and enjoy the carousel and other Dutch-themed attractions.
  3. Stroll Downtown: Wander through the charming streets of downtown Holland. The area is lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and historic buildings. Don’t forget to check out the murals and sculptures scattered throughout.

Afternoon:

  1. Lunch: Opt for a local restaurant or café in downtown Holland. The city offers a range of options, from traditional American to Dutch-inspired menus.
  2. Dutch Village: Spend the early afternoon exploring the Dutch Village theme park. Here, you’ll experience 19th-century Netherlands with its architecture, wooden shoe-making demonstrations, and traditional Dutch dance performances.
  3. Holland State Park: Head over to Holland State Park for some relaxation and natural beauty. The park, located on Lake Michigan, is perfect for a swim, a short hike, or just lounging on the sandy beach. Don’t forget to snap a photo with the iconic Big Red Lighthouse!

Evening:

  1. Dinner: Return to downtown Holland and choose from one of its many restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for fine dining, casual eats, or international cuisine, there’s something for everyone.
  2. Brewery or Evening Entertainment: Holland is home to several breweries, like New Holland Brewing Company, where you can sample local craft beers. Alternatively, you might find a concert, theater performance, or other evening events happening in town.
  3. Stroll Along the Waterfront: Conclude your day with a peaceful evening walk along the waterfront, enjoying the sunset over the lake.

Is Holland family-friendly?

Absolutely! With attractions like Nelis’ Dutch Village and various parks, there’s something for every member of the family.

How many days should I spend in Holland?

A weekend trip can cover the highlights, but staying 3-5 days allows a deeper exploration of all the cool destinations in Holland.

A memorable adventure in Holland, where vibrant tulips, rich heritage, and lakeside beauty await your exploration.
A memorable adventure in Holland, where vibrant tulips, rich heritage, and lakeside beauty await your exploration.

Are there good dining options in Holland?

Yes, Holland boasts a variety of restaurants offering everything from traditional Dutch delicacies to international cuisines.

What is there to do in Holland Michigan with kids?

Holland, Michigan, is a family-friendly destination with a variety of attractions and activities that are sure to entertain children of all ages. Here are some suggestions for things to do with kids in Holland:

  1. Windmill Island Gardens: Kids will enjoy exploring the gardens, watching the antique Dutch carousel, and touring “De Zwaan,” the only authentic working Dutch windmill in the U.S.
  2. Dutch Village: A theme park that allows families to step back in time to a traditional Dutch setting. With petting zoos, playgrounds, Dutch dance performances, and even wooden shoe-making demonstrations, there’s plenty to keep kids entertained.
  3. Holland State Park: Spend a day at the beach! The park offers a broad sandy beach on Lake Michigan, perfect for swimming, sandcastle building, or simply enjoying the outdoors.
  4. Tunnel Park: This park has a unique tunnel through a dune, leading to a sandy beach. There’s also a playground, dune climb, and picnic areas.
  5. DeGraaf Nature Center: This center offers trails, a visitor’s center with interactive displays, and a variety of animals and plants for kids to learn about.
  6. Outdoor Discovery Center: An expansive nature preserve with walking trails, bird watching, and an array of animals. It’s an ideal place for kids to explore and learn about nature.
  7. Critter Barn: A hands-on educational farm where children can interact with a variety of animals, watch demonstrations, and participate in seasonal farm activities.
  8. BAM! Entertainment Center: For rainy days or when you need a break from outdoor activities, this center offers bowling, laser tag, an arcade, and more.

Is it easy to get around Holland?

Holland is quite navigable, with most attractions in close proximity. A car is recommended, but biking is also a popular option, especially in warmer months.

Is Holland worth visiting?

Absolutely! Holland offers a unique blend of Dutch heritage, scenic landscapes, and vibrant festivals, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking both culture and natural beauty. Here are some reasons why Holland stands out as a travel destination:

  1. Tulip Time Festival: Holland is famously known for its Tulip Time Festival held in May. This event celebrates the town’s Dutch heritage with parades, Dutch dance performances, art fairs, and thousands of blooming tulips throughout the city.
  2. Windmill Island Gardens: This island boasts a 250-year-old working Dutch windmill named “De Zwaan” (The Swan). It’s the only authentic, operational Dutch windmill in the United States. The island is also adorned with beautiful gardens, canals, and a carousel.
  3. Dutch Village: Another nod to the town’s Dutch heritage, this theme park offers visitors a glimpse into 19th-century Netherlands with old-world architecture, wooden shoe-making demonstrations, and traditional Dutch dance performances.
  4. Holland State Park: Located on Lake Michigan, this park is popular for its sandy beaches, beautiful sunsets, and the iconic Big Red Lighthouse.
  5. Downtown Holland: The vibrant downtown area offers a mix of boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants. In the winter, heated sidewalks make it comfortable for visitors to shop and explore, even during snowy conditions.
  6. Breweries and Distilleries: For those interested in craft beverages, Holland is home to several breweries and distilleries, including the well-known New Holland Brewing Company.
  7. Cultural Events: Beyond the Tulip Festival, Holland hosts various cultural events and festivals year-round, including art fairs, concerts, and theater performances.
  8. Historic Architecture: The city is filled with historic buildings, churches, and homes that reflect its Dutch origins and Midwest American history.
  9. Warm Midwestern Hospitality: The residents of Holland are known for their friendliness and hospitality, making visitors feel welcome and at home.

What is Holland known for?

Holland is renowned for its Dutch heritage, prominently showcased during the annual Tulip Time Festival, and its picturesque landscapes, including Lake Michigan beaches and lush parks. The city also boasts historic windmills, traditional Dutch architecture, and a rich cultural scene.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Holland

Holland, Michigan, is a tapestry of rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty. From its Dutch roots to its scenic parks and lakes, it offers a unique blend of relaxation and adventure. Whether you’re looking to delve into the past at a historic mansion, soak up the sun at a pristine beach, or simply wander through tulip-filled gardens, Holland has it all. It’s a destination that beckons with promises of unforgettable memories. So, if you’re pondering where to go in Holland, just remember: every corner has a story, and every moment is an invitation to discover something new. Pack your bags, set your spirit free, and let Holland’s charm sweep you off your feet.

Best Things to Do in Holland, MI.
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