When winter finally gives way to spring, one of the season’s most recognizable harbingers is the tulip. And while Amsterdam might be the first place that comes to mind when you think of tulips, there are plenty of places in the United States (especially those with Dutch ancestry) where you can tiptoe through them to your heart’s content.
Tulipmania, San Francisco, CA – February
This event occurs in February, so technically it’s during the winter, but since California is always warm, we can’t hold it at fault. Every year, San Francisco’s attraction-laden (and sea-lion-laden) Pier 39 transforms into a floral wonderland with over 39,000 colorful blooms on display. You can also learn gardening tips and facts through a free guided tour, or opt for a self-guided one instead.
Tulip Time, Holland, MI – May
With a name like “Holland,” it’s a given that this Michigan town has Dutch roots, and its inhabitants have been celebrating them since 1929. More than four million tulips are visible throughout the city, among them the historic Tulip Lanes to the beautifully manicured gardens (and Dutch carousel) of Windmill Island, which you can tour on a trolley with a traditionally dressed guide.
Tulip Time features three parades complete with marching bands, floats, and Dutch dancers, as well as many special events and performances. And if you really want to experience Dutch life, make sure to visit Nelis’ Dutch Village, a replica of life from the 1800s (complete with canals), that also includes a giant wooden-shoe slide and a 1940s Dutch Ferris wheel.
Tulip Time, Topeka, KS – April
Every April the town of Topeka is overrun with tulips, with over 100,000 blooms on display in various destinations in the city. From the scenic outdoor recreation area at Lake Shawnee to the Ensley Botanical Gardens, from historic Prairie Town to recently revitalized downtown Topeka, you’ll always be able to stop and smell the flowers.
Albany Tulip Festival, Albany, NY – May
We wouldn’t want the East coast to feel let out of all the floral fun. Every spring 100,000 tulip buds burst into bloom just in time for the festivities. The volunteer-run festival also features the tradition of the Tulip Queen Coronation, the Tulip Queen and Court Luncheon, and the Royal Tulip Ball. If you head over to the website, you can nominate your choice for Tulip Queen to be crowned Saturday afternoon.
Tulip Festival, Orange City, IA – May
The Tulip Festival in Orange City began in 1936 as a small celebration of the village’s Dutch heritage. Now, every third weekend in May, thousands of visitors trek from all over to world to “discover the Dutch” by way of music and dancing by children and adults in Dutch costumes, authentic Dutch food, and a dozen replica windmills. The festival also features two daily parades, nightly musical theater, a carnival midway–and yes, thousands and thousands of tulips.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Mount Vernon, WA – April
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival © dplett/Bigstock Photo
In the Pacific Northwest, they take their tulips seriously. This month-long celebration, designed to showcase the agriculture of the picturesque Skagit Valley features millions of blooms scattered throughout, as well as various events and activities all made possible by over a thousand hours of volunteered time.