Orange City is a charming small town in Iowa that’s been identified as “where the small town American dream lives on” by The New Yorker and Country Living published a story in 2017 analyzing if Orange City was America’s happiest small town. The town joyfully embraces its Dutch roots.
If you’re planning a visit, here are a few things to do, and if you time it right, you can immerse yourself in Dutch traditions.
See the Tulip Festival
Held annually in May over the course of a long weekend, the Tulip Festival has performances by The Dutch Dozen, parades and a lot of shopping. Highlights include the Straatfeest, a parade of traditional costumes and dances, and Street Scrubbing, which is exactly what it sounded like.
The tradition comes from Holland when homeowners were required to not only care for their property but for the street in front of their property. Both occur parade-like, one after another along Central Street.
There’s a reason why this festival is one of the top 101 things to do in Iowa!
- Orange City Tulip Festival, citywide
The 18-hole Landsmeer Golf Course is a prairie-style course sprawling over 160 acres of rolling Iowa hills.
2. Landsmeer Golf Course, 902 Seventh St. NE, suite 1119, Orange City
Find the windmills
The best windmill photo opp is at the visitors center.
Windmill Park is a charming little garden with a water feature and, of course, a couple small windmills. There’s a playground, as well.
3. Windmill Park, 201-299 Arizona Ave. NW, Orange City
Try some Dutch food
Dutch Letters are a traditional, flaky pastry, and they’re found at the Dutch Bakery. They’re shaped like the letter S.
Little White Store is the place to go for poffertjes (they look like small, puffy pancakes).
4. Dutch Bakery, 221 Central Ave. NE, Orange City
5. Little White Store, 115 Central Ave. NW, Orange City
Take a quick tour
The free downtown Orange City walking tour is divided into two parts: Windmill Park and the city’s Centrum, where there are Dutch souvenir shops and boutiques. The famous tulips in Windmill Park are replaced by annuals when not in season.
6. Walking tour begins at the information kiosk at the southeast corner of Windmill Park, 201-299 Arizona Ave. NW, Orange City