Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri
The early spring didn't kill these: Holland's main attraction

Going Dutch

There’s flower power to spare in Holland, Michigan this weekend with more than six million tulips in bloom for the annual Tulip Time Festival. But the event, which started May 5 and runs through May 12, is about more than colorful landscaping. Highlights:

  • For an overview of all things floral, cultural, and historic in Holland, take a 75-minute walking tour led by a costumed docent through the town’s historic district, city parks, and downtown area. Tours leave every half hour starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 12. (And while you’re waiting, check out the Art & Craft show in the park, where more than 200 juried exhibitors will purvey handmade jewelry, clothing, sculpture, and paintings.) Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children five through 12; buy them at the Tulip City Tours booth on the northeast corner of Centennial Park at 10th Street and Central Avenue.
  • Also on Saturday, catch the annual Muziekparade, surely one of the largest and most spectacular parades to happen annually in Michigan. More than 250,000 people are expected to line the two-mile route of floats, massive balloons, costumed dancers, and equestrian units. The marching starts at 2 p.m.; arrive early for pre-parade bands, which will perform at 12:30 p.m. Bleacher seat tickets are $5.
  • Post-parade, hit the Dutch Marktplaats spread out over the Holland Civic Center. You can get authentic wooden shoes, listen to presentations by tulip Master Gardeners, and take in all manner of other Dutch foods, crafts, and dance performances. If you’d rather drink than shop, make for the Bier Tuin where from 2 to 10 p.m. you can imbibe locally brewed beer and wine.

GO Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan, May 5 through 12. 800-822-2770, tuliptime.com

Where to stay: As the Midwest’s first eco-friendly, LEED-certified hotel, the CityFlats Hotel (61 E. 7th St., 616-796-2100, cityflatshotel.com) offers luxury and sustainability—hypo-allergenic bamboo linens, countertops made with recycled glass and concrete, and low-flow plumbing fixtures; rooms are $199 to $239 per night. Bonnie’s Parsonage 1908 Bed & Breakfast (6 E. 24th St., 616-396-1316) has three guest rooms and award-winning gardens, and serves a full breakfast in the formal dining room; rooms are $115 to $130 per night.

Where to eat: The AlpenRose Restaurant & Café (4 E. 8th St., 616-393-2111, alpenroserestaurant.com) offers hearty Austrian and German fare (multiple kinds of schnitzel!), as well as an extensive menu of fish, steak, and poultry. 84 East Food and Spirits (84 E. 8th St., 616-396-8484, 84east.com) is known for its baked spaghetti pie and provides a substantial pasta/pizza menu that includes a many gluten-free entrées and appetizers.


Photograph: Courtesy of the Holland Visitors’ Bureau