Perks of Living Near Downtown Holland

I didn’t choose Hope exclusively because of its downtown atmosphere, but having a campus so closely integrated into the beautiful Holland community has been a huge perk of my college experience. This summer, I’m continuing to live and work on campus. Watching one of my favorite cities bloom and buzz in the summer heat has been so much fun. There are countless positives of living on a campus so close to downtown– today we’ll just touch on my top three.

1. Coffee and Food!

Most of the time I head downtown, I’m either picking up food or going to sit at one of my favorite coffee shops. Food-wise, there’s plenty of pubs or sports bars (New Holland and Hopcat, for example) that many enjoy. Personally, my favorite downtown restaurant is Mizu Sushi. Before college, I didn’t like sushi but I’ve since become a big fan of picking up Mizu. It’s pretty cheap, and it’s a quick walk away from campus.

eating Mizu downtown with a friend!

Coffee-wise, Lemonjello’s and 205 are the main coffee shops downtown right now– with another one, Foxtail, set to open later this summer. They have different aesthetics but both are great places to get work done, chat with a friend, or sit with a good book (which I’ve been doing a lot of this summer!).

2. Running or Walking

If I’m not getting coffee downtown, I’m probably running. I started going on daily runs downtown this past semester, and it’s a habit I’ve kept up through the summer. I’m currently training for a half marathon. Running downtown and in the streets close to campus are among my favorite locations. Scenic routes like Window on the Waterfront are less than a mile away from campus, so I will run with a route that passes through campus, our historic downtown buildings, and then head to the waterfront. In the dead of winter, I was able to keep running downtown because the heated sidewalks melted the ice and slush, making it a lot safer.

a picture from one of my runs at Window on the Waterfront

Going on a walk downtown is something I also love doing, whether I’m listening to a podcast or walking with a friend. Window-shopping, taking a coffee to go, or heading to the farmer’s market are some of my favorite ways to spend time outside.

3. Community Location

Being close to downtown lets college students without cars walk to places like church (Pillar, for example) and the Herrick District Library. Hope is separate from downtown, and yet as a Hope student I feel welcome and able to access the community. I regularly walk the half mile from my cottage to the city’s library that sits downtown. This summer especially, I’ve already read 5 or 6 books I got there. Last year, a friend and I rollerbladed from our dorm over to the library. Exploring downtown and feeling a part of something bigger has been a huge and lovely part of my Hope experience.

a BeReal from one of my (very successful) downtown library trips this summer

Our Hope campus is beautiful and inviting, but a Hope experience is bigger than that. Exploring and embracing downtown is one way to really make the most of time living in Holland. Three of my favorite perks living near downtown have been trying new coffee shops and restaurants, having great places to run or walk, and being a part of a bigger community.

Published by Audrey Wells

Class of 2026 Hometown: Portage, MI Majors: Communications & Spanish Minor: Social Witness Ministry & Global Health

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