Are you looking for the perfect vacation to shake off your pandemic blues?
This outdoor-centric city has islands, bike paths, breweries, farmlands, and ski trails, covering every possibility of a perfect holiday for you. Also, Natural beauty is everywhere and adds to the city’s charm. The flourishing music, fine arts, and rich culture are also the reason for its growing popularity.
Vermont’s largest city, Burlington, is a vibrant and energetic place with innumerable places to visit and can make your stay worth remembering.
The Church Street Marketplace covers you if you’re looking for places to spend money. The Burlington Bike Path and its award-winning trails are the places to go if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush. If you want to relax and unwind, stroll along the Waterfront area and lose yourself in the stunning beauty of the lake.
So, without any further ado, let us hop into the article, relishing in the beauty of Burlington, Vermont.
1. Interesting facts
Before we dive in and explore the famous places to visit in Burlington, Vermont, let’s share some interesting facts about the city, which we are sure will strengthen your resolve to visit the place.
- Burlington has recently been accredited as the country’s most environmentally progressive city. It is the first city to source 100% of its energy from renewable sources.
- Every year, Burlington, Vermont, hosts the ‘Festival of Foods’ in honor of its old tradition of busking. It features street performers and artists along Church Street and City Hall Park.
- Ben and Jerry’s, the famous ice cream shop you would have heard of, was founded here. 1978 Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened this ice cream shop without prior experience. These childhood friends then set their names in stone in history by producing some of the best quality flavors of ice cream in the world.
- The University of Vermont was the first institution of higher learning to declare support for freedom of religion and to admit female students in 1871.
- The University’s abbreviation, UVM, does not stand for the University of Vermont as most believe, but rather, ‘Universitas Viridis Montis’ or ‘University of Green Mountains.’
- Another popular festival hosted by Burlington, Vermont, is the Dragons Boat Festival. Every summer, rowers compete in the Lake Champlain in longboats similar to the ancient boats of China, and all the event proceeds go to the local cancer charity center.
- Burlington, Vermont, hosted the first international hockey match of the world in 1886. It was between Montreal Crystals and the local Van Ness House hockey team.
Burlington, Vermont, will never bore you. This city has a lot to offer and is an amazing place to relax and spend time on vacation.
2. Famous places to visit in Burlington
Burlington, Vermont, is a vibrant city with a thriving art scene and culture. Mother Nature shines in her glory, and this Green Mountain city has countless options to explore and visit.
2.1. Lake Champlain
Covering most of the Vermont-New York state border and a small part of Canada, Lake Champlain was founded and named by Samuel De Champlain, a French explorer, in 1806. As soon as you enter downtown Burlington, you will see this stunning lake, leaving you spellbound.
There are many ways to enjoy the beauty of this lake. You can even go sightseeing at the beautiful islands surrounding the lake in the cruises and ferries running during the summer and fall.
The Spirit of Ethan Allen III is one of the most popular cruises, which, along with the spectacular views of the lake, also provides the narration of the history of the Revolutionary War and the role played by Lake Champlain.
Cruises on this historic lake are popular among locals and visitors, as it is one of the main transportation routes to Port Kent, New York.
There are options for lunch, dinner, and sometimes dance performances on the cruises to make your journey more exciting and fun. Apart from the cruises, you can also take a sailboat excursion with your experienced crew and enjoy the beautiful sunset from Burlington’s Lake Champlain.
2.2. Church Street Marketplace
Located in the heart of downtown, Church Street Marketplace is an open-air market and traffic-free street covering four blocks of Church Street, the main street of Vermont. It is an activity hub in Burlington, Vermont, with hundreds of restaurants, cafes, chain stores, local art galleries, and boutiques.
You can’t complete your visit to Burlington without visiting Church Street Marketplace and shopping for souvenirs. The outdoor pedestrian area also has free public Wi-Fi, so you can sit and enjoy the local performers or stroll the streets while updating your social media with photos of the special district you are visiting.
Apart from being a great place for shopping, Church Street Marketplace is a popular site for several festivals throughout the year. The headquarters of the historic Ben & Jerry’s is also located here.
Listed as one of the Great Public Spaces in America, Church Street Marketplace also contains some of the most beautiful public art, like the mural Everyone Loves a Parade! by Canadian muralist Pierre Hardy.
2.3. Shelburne Farms
Shelburne Farms is a non-profit education center with a mission to educate the youth about a sustainable future. It is located on the shores of Lake Champlain, and the estate stretches across 1400 acres. Visitors can explore the beautiful farmlands and woodlands or stroll along the lake’s shoreline.
The lake can also take a wagon tour to scout this vast expanse of nature in Burlington, Vermont. The unique campus teaching offered here makes learning more fun and real. Shelburne Farms also hosts many educational workshops about sustainable agriculture and forestry.
Shelburne farms contained many historic buildings and were designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2001. It also has many inns, restaurants, and a Children’s Farmyard to make it a perfect day trip to the farms.
2.4. Shelburne Museum
Shelburne Museum is located on the outskirts of Burlington and next to its namesake, Shelburne Farms. From paintings, arts, and furniture to decorative art, it has approximately 150,000 pieces from all the eras of Vermont’s past.
Shelburne Museum has thirty-nine historic buildings, including a sawmill, school, and railway station. This open-air museum displays New England’s fascinating history and is a paradise for history buffs.
The museum is shaped like a horseshoe and was constructed to display a 500-foot-long handmade circus parade. The round barn is used for special exhibits.
The legendary Ticonderoga steamship was hailed over here and later restored for the public. Shelburne Museum gives a unique experience of America’s art, history, and design.
There are entry charges for all adults except children under five, whose entry is free. These are Burlington’s main attractions that are a must-go for all tourists visiting the town for the first time.
2.5. Waterfront Park
Another way to enjoy the scenic views of Lake Champlain is by going for a stroll in Burlington’s Waterfront Park. This wide green expanse of a park is within walking distance from Church Street and downtown and covers the shores of Lake Champlain. Adinrock Mountains frames the park from behind.
Along with the gorgeous views, Waterfront Park has a bike path and is popular for outdoor recreational activities like running, cycling, or boat trips. If you are looking for ways to relax, you can go for a walk or a picnic. There are cafes and ice cream stands within walking distance at your disposal.
Waterfront Park is a popular site for summer festivals, concerts, and cultural events. It is also the location of ECHO Leahy Center, which is home to the aquatic life of Lake Champlain. Here, the visitors learn more about the history of Lake Champlain, enjoy a panoramic view of the waterbody, and watch educational films with its on-site camera.
Waterfront Park is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing day with your family. It is Burlington’s best attraction and should be part of the itinerary of all the tourists visiting the city.
2.6. University of Vermont
Sprawled across the hilltop area of Burlington, Vt, is the University of Vermont, one of the state’s oldest and most prestigious institutions. It was the fifth educational institution of higher education established in New England. The University is surrounded by beautiful old buildings like Old Mill, William Hall, and Billings Memorial Library.
You can also see the Fleming Museum of Art during your visit here. This museum contains some of the most diverse collections of paintings, decorative arts, and cultural artifacts like the African masks, the Egyptian mummy in its coffin, and art pieces of some of the most notable artists across the centuries.
Another one of the main attractions of the University of Vermont is the Royall Tyler Theatre. Throughout the year, the students of the University perform plays by Shakespeare, or there are even student-directed one-act plays. You can catch one of the shows if you are interested in theatre and literature.
2.7. Lake Champlain Islands
While Vermont is usually associated with the large mountains framing the back of the state, Lake Champlain Islands also catch the attention of many visitors. You can plan a day trip to the islands, as many summer recreational activities are available to make your stay full of excitement and fun.
Lake Champlain Islands includes Great Isle, the largest island of the Lake. Lake is also known as South Hero Island, Isle La Motte, North Hero, and the Alburg Peninsula among the locals. They have beaches, campgrounds, and state parks.
If you are not scared of the waters, you can also go kayaking or paddleboarding in the lake. Lake Champlain’s islands are interconnected by bridges, causeways, and roads leading to north Burlington. They are famous for their apple orchards and have the longest blooming season in the state.
Isle La Motte is home to the oldest coral reefs and has a small museum explaining this amazing natural phenomenon.
There is something for everyone at the Lake Champlain Islands of Burlington, Vermont. These islands have covered you, from families to lovers seeking a romantic gateway, so check them out during your stay in the city.
8. Burlington’s Farmer’s Market
When in Burlington, Vt, you cannot miss the Famer Market.
Set up every year from May to October, this market is located in City Hall Park downtown. Popular among tourists and locals alike, Burlington’s Farmer Market is full of shops and stalls organized by over 90 vendors.
In a state that defines going local in the most literal sense, you can shop the freshest seasonal produce, flowers, craft products, and baked goods. This Burlington market is dog-friendly, so you can sit on the benches and enjoy the warm atmosphere. It is one of the best places to buy souvenirs for friends and relatives.
Burlington’s Farmers Market is not just any shopping area that happens every Saturday. It is the coming together of the communities of Vermont to sell and produce ethnic varieties of food.
In addition to shopping, you can also stroll along the area, listen to street performers singing live music, or eat at a restaurant. It is an excellent way to taste local life in Vermont.
2.9. Island Line Rail Trail
One of Burlington, Vermont’s top attractions is the Island Line Rail Trail. It runs 23 kilometers from Oakledge Park to Grand Isle, passing through Burlington Waterfront Park. Consisting of Burlington Bike Path, Colchester Park, and Allen Point Access Area, it is an amazingly picturesque place in Burlington, Vt.
The trail is usually used by joggers, bikers, and walkers, enjoying the breathtaking view as they participate in these outdoor activities. The beautiful shimmering lake, lighthouses, beaches, and spectacular sunset should be the travelers’ things to do in Vermont list.
The Island Line Rail Trail was inducted into the Hall of Fame’s national trails in 2010. Stop by this trail, participate in recreational activities, and explore Burlington’s scenic beauty.
2.10. Green Mountain Audubon Center
Approximately 19 miles southeast of downtown, Green Mountain Audubon Center, located in Burlington, Vermont, is a paradise for nature lovers. The center is operated by Audubon Vermont and is surrounded by the Green Mountains.
Throughout the year, there are many seasonal activities and areas to visit. You can check out this place to feel more connected to nature and spend a few hours in its warmth.
Access to the ground is free, and the center has some of the most diverse wildlife populations. It is also the ideal place for bird sightings. You can also take a short hike here and enjoy what nature offers. The trails are open daily, and dogs can enter the Audubon Center.
3. Exciting things to do in Burlington
There are endless places you can go to in the city, but when you are in Burlington, Vermont, you would not want to miss out on the exciting experiences that the place offers.
Burlington Vt offers a lively and vibrant atmosphere in all seasons, from bustling downtown to many shops in the marketing district.
Some of the few things that you must check off your list are-
3.1 Go Beer-tasting
It is rumored that Burlington, Vermont, is where Americans turned to craft beer. The city offers some of the best breweries in New England for you to visit and taste. Foam Brewers, situated just a few steps from the waterfront park, is the only brewery to sell blended beers and offers a heterogeneous mix of beers.
Zero Gravity, another brewery located in Burlington, Vermont, sells some of the best quality beer under the guidance of brewmaster Paul Sayer. This brewery also has a restaurant that provides fine dining options and beer tasting.
3.2 Ski during winter
Though the ideal months to visit Burlington are from May to October, winter in Burlington is also quite magical, especially during Christmas. If you enjoy skiing, then the city will not disappoint. The place is quite famous for its skiing and snowboarding activities. There are also many options in terms of the mountains that you want.
This affordable ski resort is the best place to plan your ski trip with your family. Bolton Valley, half an hour from downtown, includes three terrain parks and is a local favorite.
One of the best things about Bolton Valley is that, apart from skiing, it also offers other winter recreational activities like night skiing, a Nordic center, and a sports center.
3.3 Eat at Ben and Jerry’s
In Burlington, Vermont, you can’t miss the opportunity to buy a scoop from the original Ben & Jerry’s.
Located on Church Street, the iconic Vermont-based is known for its quality ice cream and the creative flavors that will make you want more.
You can also visit the shop’s original location, which has now turned into a parking lot, but a plaque addresses its location.
3.4 Explore the South end
South End is the hidden gem of Burlington. Once a flat industrial area, this place is now one of the cool parts of the city. The south end is now a transformed art hub with restaurants, art galleries, and breweries.
South End’s top attractions are the world’s tallest file cabinet and the Burlington earth clock.
ArtsRiot is also highly recommendable. A destination for art lovers and food enthusiasts. This part of the town is the site for events like Friday Night Truck Stop, where all the food trucks gather together weekly. The live music scene and food trucks create a fun and lively atmosphere for you to relish and enjoy.
3.5 Take the Edible History Tour
For all the foodies, this tour is for your taking!
Burlington has a rich culinary past. It includes south Burlington, a trip to a college town, the city council, and old Burlington High School, among others. You can also take one guided food tour to experience Vermont’s great cuisine and stop at different shops.
You are definitely in for a foodgasm as each restaurant has something unique to offer, leaving you drooling at the sight of that delicious food. You might even get a gift like a lake Champlain chocolates.
The beautiful thing about guided tours is the bonus of interesting stories told by local guides. It operates three times a week and is a two-mile walk in the town, all the while visiting each restaurant that makes farm-to-table food a reality.
Burlington has so much to offer and has the potential to make your vacation full of adventures and excitement; as soon you get out of Burlington International Airport, you will get bombarded with Burlington City Arts, Burlington Country Club, and, most importantly, great food.
One visit is not enough to cover all that is Burlington, Vt, and once here, you will leave with a promise to return.