Who says you can’t experience a taste of Europe from the midwest? Located 2.5 hours from Chicago in Holland, Michigan, this springtime festival makes for a memorable getaway and change of scenery.
Table of Contents
Location: 35mn from Grand Rapids, 2.5 hours east of Chicago, 3 hours 45 mn from Indianapolis
How many days: 1-2 days. Easily doable as a day trip, or take your time and grab a hotel for the night.
Parking: Street parking and parking lots are free. Arrive early (no later than 10:00am) and plan to walk instead of drive to different spots around town. We scored a parking lot space easily in the morning. Then we tried to drive 4 minutes across town at 12:00.. and were held up in non-moving traffic for 30 minutes.
If driving from Chicago, you will need to pay $10 at the sky toll both entering and exiting Indiana. Make reservations in advance if you plan to eat at a restaurant in downtown Holland (we were stuck with a 3 hour wait, so decided to switch over a town).
All those beautiful pictures you see of a Windmill over a field of tulips? Yup, that’s at Windmill Island. We had a 30 minute line to enter at 1:00pm but I imagine earlier morning hours would make a considerable difference.
There is a $10 entrance fee. Windmill Island also features small shops, basic carnival food items, and a merry go round for extra cost. Windmill Island welcomes visitors year-round but Tulip bloom is seasonal.
The $7 entrance fee is worth it! We were able to learn about Scandinavian culture and Scandinavian influence in Michigan. It was fun learning about the process of making traditional wooden shoes from John who has been presenting this art for almost 30 years. The market is open only during the 2 weeks the festival runs. Purchase tickets online in advance.
Nelis’ Dutch Village
From local mom and pop shops, the sweetest cafes, and a twist of antique shopping, spend a bit of your trip wandering around this charming town. Advance reservations are required in order to get into any restaurants during the festival unless you are content with a 3 hour wait!
That’s that! We hope you enjoy your future trip to Holland, Michigan, or that we have been able to inspire some wanderlust. If you have visited and have additional tips, feel free to comment below!