things to do in Burlington vt things to do in Burlington vt

26 Incredible Things To Do In Burlington VT

Burlington, Vermont is the largest and most vibrant city in the state, but it is far from large, located on Lake Champlain’s eastern shore and the skyline of the Adirondack mountains on the opposite shore in New York.

Burlington, not far from Canada’s southern border, surrounded by the Green Mountain range, and rich in vibrancy, is the ideal place to visit for a day of epic fun with friends and family.

You can be in sprawling fields and farmland just 10 minutes from downtown Burlington, and Green Mountain ridges are easily accessible for hiking and skiing.

There are numerous art museums, historic sites, a thriving market, and plenty of entertainment options in the city. The city is encircled by breathtaking natural scenery, including mountain resorts, beaches, state parks, and other recreational opportunities historic buildings, and miles of bike and walking paths.

The city also has a plethora of breweries, restaurants, and shops, each with its own distinct local flavor. If you are thinking of visiting Burlington then there is a handy list of top tourist attractions in Burlington, you’ll have no trouble finding things to do in Burlington VT.

27 Wonderful Things to do in Burlington VT

1. Church Street Marketplace

Things to do in Burlington vt
Photo By Michelle_Maria on Pixabay Copyright 2022

Burlington is home to a large number of artists and high-quality craftspeople, the works of whom can be found in the city’s galleries and surrounding towns’ numerous galleries and studios.

The Church Street Marketplace, located in the heart of Burlington, Vermont, is without a doubt one of the city’s most popular attractions. It is a pedestrian-friendly shopping and dining destination of Burlington’s attractions.

This place is loaded with plenty of streets branching off of its cafes, bookstores, and other businesses. In the summer, these businesses overflow into the streets and also customers can relax in the beautiful outdoor areas.

Frog Hollow Craft Center, one of the many shops that open onto Church Street, is known for its selection of the finest works by Vermont artisans.

Church Street also has some of the best restaurants in the city of Burlington, Vermont.

2. Lake Champlain Waterfront

Gorgeous Lake Champlain runs north-south through Vermont and New York, with a small portion of its northern end in Canada.

There are numerous activities to enjoy in and near Lake Champlain in Burlington, but the best way to get there and enjoy the views is to walk along the waterfront.

Things to do in Burlington vt
Photo By Michelle_Maria on Pixabay Copyright 2022

Burlington Lake Champion Waterfront Park is located near the end of College Street and stretches north past Pearl Street. It’s a short walk from Church Street and the other parts of downtown.

3. Lake Champlain Chocolates

Lake Champlain chocolates are made in Vermont and come in a variety of Vermont flavors such as Maple Crunch, Evergreen Mint, and Honey Caramel. There is a large variety of truffles, chocolate clusters, chocolate bars, and even hot chocolate.

Several stores, including Church Street and the South End, are located throughout Burlington, so you should have no trouble getting your hands on these sweet treats!

4. Lake Champlain Islands

The Lake Champlain Islands are popular summer vacation destinations with beaches, campgrounds, and state parks. They are connected to the mainland to the north of Burlington as well as to one another by causeways and bridges.

Numerous bays created by the islands’ erratic coastline are popular spots for kayaking. On Isle La Motte, where Fort St. Anne once stood, St. Anne’s Shrine is located.

The island also boasts a statue of Samuel de Champlain marking the location where he is said to have landed in 1609.

Living in the Lake Champlain Islands | Vermont Real Estate | Moving to Vermont | Grand Isle County

5. Shelburne Museum

The Shelburne Museum combines history, art, and more on sprawling, beautiful grounds. Located on nearly 50 acres around Lake Champlain, the museum has nearly 40 exhibition buildings.

This large, open-air museum on the outskirts of Burlington gathers original buildings from various eras of Vermont’s past into a campus that doesn’t pretend to be a real village.

It depicts all of the homes, barns, and stores with antique furnishings and typical rural activities of the day.

6. Burlington Bike Path

The eight-mile Burlington Bike winding path for recreation along Lake Champlain’s shores, six different waterfront parks are linked. The path can be found on the Burlington waterfront or further south at Oakledge Park, where it begins.

Cycling enthusiasts may want to go even further on the Island Line Trail, which connects the Burlington Bike Path with several miles of additional trail, and it will take you right in the middle of the lake’s Champlain Islands.

Things to do in Burlington vt
Photo By Michelle_Maria on Pixabay Copyright 2022

7. Burlington Farmer’s Market

A trip to a Vermont farmer’s market is a must when you are decided to go for Burlington activities.

Every Saturday morning, hundreds of people flock to City Hall Park for some delectable treats, as Saturday is Burlington Farmers’ Market day.

Burlington Farmers Market is a community as well as a tourist destination. The market is a great place to get fresh local produce, meet local farmers, and learn about Vermont agriculture.

Since 1980, this Market is one of the best places to visit in Burlington, Vermont. During the winter, the entire crew relocates to Saint Paul Street indoor space.

8. ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

The ECHO Leahy Center is a popular family attraction in Burlington. ECHO is a science and nature museum that provides hands-on learning opportunities.

This is located on the lake’s shore and features the area’s natural history as well as Lake Champlain’s historical heritage.

By exploring the depths of the lake and showcasing 15 frog species from six continents, permanent exhibits, many of which are interactive, appeal to people of all ages and investigate the geology of the Champlain Basin and the people who have lived there throughout history.

From its deck, the award-winning “green” building provides panoramic views of the Lake and Adirondack Mountains. The Lake Champlain Navy Memorial is located next to ECHO.

Kids can see themselves on television at the Be a Watershed Weather Reporter studio, as well as a hands-on discovery center for young children.

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

9. Burlington City Arts Center

The Burlington City Arts Center strives to make the arts accessible and available to everyone, regardless of economic or social status.

One of the first activities organized by the center was the Battery Park Free Concert Series, which is still extremely popular today.

The center promotes meaningful art experiences by encouraging the general public to challenge and interact with the various works.

10. Frog Hall Craft Center

In Church Street, Marketplace’s Frog Hollow Craft Center gallery views the latest creations of Vermont’s top creatives.

Since it first opened, the Center has organized numerous arts and crafts courses and classes while collaborating with more than 500 artists and artisans.

The Center’s most recent endeavor involves packing some of the artwork into a borrowed 1969 Airstream that has been transformed into a mobile gallery and touring the state.

11. Robert Hull Fleming Museum of Art

Things to do in Burlington vt
Photo By Michelle_Maria on Pixabay Copyright 2022

The Fleming Museum of Art was thought to be a place for art lovers where people of all ages could learn practical skills.

This vibrant art and anthropology museum is situated on the campus of the University of Vermont. It is an excellent destination to add to your itinerary if you want to learn about history, art, and the world around you.

More than 20,000 objects from collections of American, African, European, Ancient Egyptian, and Middle Eastern art, as well as work by Vermont local artists, are on display.

Its permanent collection provides visitors with a unique interpretation of the world’s cultural heritage and history, and it also hosts visiting exhibitions and numerous education programs for children and adults.

12. Vermont Comedy Club

Vermont Comedy Club is a fantastic place to unwind and have a fun evening brimming with communicable laughter.

Vermont Comedy Club has its own cafe called “Happy Place” which is a restaurant that serves tasty bites all night. While watching the show, snacks, sweet treats, coffeehouse-style java drinks, and more are available.

Comedy Club offers comedy, and sketch classes for both children and adults, making it a memorable experience for both family and friends.

If you’re not into comedy, head down the street to the Flynn Center, which hosts everything from touring theater productions to symphonies.

Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, VT: 2014 PTV Award Winner

The Flynn Center was established in 1930 and has been giving Vermonters access to the best-performing arts for almost a century.

This historic theatre has something for everyone, with performances ranging from Broadway shows to live music, stand-up comedy, and dance productions.

It is home to the Vermont Stage Company, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the UVM Lane Series, the Vermont Youth Orchestra, the Lyric Theatre, and a variety of smaller local and visiting organizations.

13. Burlington Surf Club

Burlington Surf Club is a great place to spend your summer with kids, family, and friends if you’re looking to have fun on the water. It is tucked away on the shores of stunning Lake Champlain’s white sandy beaches.

The best place to spend the summer in Vermont is this lakeside resort. In addition to the club’s stunning surroundings and ideal location, there are many convenient amenities that are open to the general public.

A daily activity schedule, locker storage, changing areas, fitness classes, and a tonne more are just a few of the fantastic amenities.

14. Petra Cliffs Climbing Center

Petra Cliffs is an indoor climbing center located just a few miles from downtown Burlington where you can literally learn the ropes before venturing out to enjoy outdoor rock climbing.

Petra Cliffs Climbing Center assists visitors in honing their mountain climbing skills through climbing exercises, mountain education lessons, and experience-based instruction.

Petra Cliffs Mission

There is a climbing wall for all skill levels as well as a high-ropes course. If you have never climbed before, you will begin by learning the fundamentals of bouldering.

The center offers a First Time Climbers program that is ideal for children and beginners.

The center also has an epic Mountaineering School, which offers nature-based programming, mountaineering programs, an avalanche program, specialty courses, and another nuanced programming.

15. Ethan Allen Homestead Museum

The Ethan Allen Homestead Museum is located next to a nearly 300-acre public park along the Winooski River with walking/biking paths, beautiful gardens, and a public picnic shelter.

The museum tells the story of Ethan Allen, his family, and the homestead workers, as well as the story of his era.

16. South End Arts District

A former industrial zone along the lakeshore south of the center has been transformed into one of Burlington’s most vibrant art and dining scenes, with galleries, art spaces, and events.

The S.P.A.C.E. Gallery hosts monthly exhibits, with opening receptions held during the South End Arts District’s First Friday Art Walks.

The South End Art Hop in S.P.A.C.E. showcases more than 50 Vermont artists in September and throughout the fall, giving the public the opportunity to purchase affordable works in all mediums directly from the artists.

17. Stowe and Smuggler’s Notch

Stowe and Smuggler's Notch
By steveheap from DepositPhotos

Our reputation for skiing and snowboarding is undeniable. There are numerous mountain options available to you from Burlington. Ski resorts are always at the top of the list of Burlington, Vermont winter activities. Bolton Valley is one of the closest, but Stowe and Smuggler’s Notch are well-liked destinations a little further away.

Driving to Stowe from Burlington is simple. Route 100, dubbed “The Skiers Highway” due to the number of ski resorts it connects as it passes through the state, can be reached by taking Interstate 89 south to Waterbury. Since Stowe was one of the original ski resorts in the country, skiers continue during the winter, its inns and lodges are occupied.

There are numerous locations to explore here all throughout the year, and there is a lovely path for biking and walking up and through the valley. Arts Center Helen Day showcases Vermont artists, and shoppers and art enthusiasts can browse galleries to admire the creations of Vermont artists and craftspeople.

Smugglers Notch is a narrow pass located high on the shoulder of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. In the winter, the road closes because snowplows are unable to pass through the boulders that force it to curve and squeeze between them.

The massive boulders that are scattered throughout the pass are the result of Cliffs of 1000 feet that are below the road. From Jeffersonville, take Route 108 past Smugglers Notch Ski Area and into the notch. To get there, take Route 15 through Jericho.

18. Shelburne Farms

Shelburne Farms

Shelburne Farms was a model horse farm and agricultural innovation leader. The farm is located in Shelburne, a small town near Burlington. Walking trails surround Shelburne Farms, allowing for an unhurried ramble, but the farm’s heart serves as the site to get knowledge about farm life.

Introduction to maple sugaring, using native plants, bird conservation, medicinal plants, herbal teas, and a gardener’s tour of the Formal Gardens are among the programs available to both children and adults. A Children’s Farmyard and 10 miles of walking trails are available.

19. Burlington Edible History Tour

The Burlington Edible History Tour revives the old story-telling tradition, teaching visitors about the town when it was still a village.

It also allows them to visit some fantastic restaurants where farm-to-table is more than just a philosophy, but a cherished tradition passed down through Burlington’s history.

20. Oakledge Park

Oakledge Park
By Juliedeshaies from DepositPhotos

Oakledge Park, located on the shores of Lake Champlain, is an excellent place to engage in outdoor activities. There are even a couple of large shelters available for rent if you have a larger group and want to celebrate an occasion, such as a birthday party or reunion.

Oakledge Park features a fantastic playground, picnic areas, an accessible treehouse, and even a bike path. This lakefront park has two public beaches, so bring your bathing suit if you want to jump in the lake for a swim!

21. Battery Park

A wonderful place to spend an afternoon with family and friends is Battery Park. The park, which was founded in 1870, offers visitors expansive views of Lake Champlain and the nearby Adirondack Mountains.

The 14-acre Battery Park in Burlington is a historically significant park situated on a bluff that overlooks the well-liked Waterfront Park. Battery Park gunners successfully repelled a British attack on the location in 1813 after it had been constructed as a military camp during the War of 1812.

Wonderful features like a promenade, a bandshell, and historical monuments can be found in the park. When exploring Battery Park in the winter, be sure to take advantage of the park’s ice skating rink, which is ideal for creating lifelong memories.

The park is the ideal location for a morning stroll, an afternoon excursion, or an evening concert and is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

This Place in History: Burlington's Battery Park

22. North Beach Park

North Beach is not only the largest beach in Burlington, but it is also the best beach for water activities. It has a plethora of wonderful amenities to make your visit more enjoyable.

Picnic tables, restrooms, a playground, access to a 9-mile bike path, kayak and standup paddleboard rentals, and much more are available.

There is even a campground with full hookups that can accommodate RVs and tents for those who want to stay at the beach for an extended period of time.

23. Green Mountain Railroad

Getting on board one of the Burlington area’s Green Mountain Scenic Railroad Tours is unquestionably one of the best and most relaxing ways to experience the region’s exceptional natural beauty. Visitors to Vermont can take a special train ride on the Green Mountain Railroad.

We run a range of train excursions that leave Burlington, including our delectable Champlain Valley Dinner Train and unique Murder Mystery events.

In the summer, you can take the historic dining car on a three-hour scenic trip between Burlington and Middlebury while indulging in a sumptuous three-course lunch.

24. Hiking Trails

5 Top-Rated Hiking Trails in Vermont | US Hike Guide

There are many fantastic hikes in Vermont, so there are plenty of options if you want to go hiking close to Burlington, Vermont.

One of the best and most well-known hikes close to Burlington, especially for seasoned hikers, is Camel’s Hump.

Mt. Philo is a short hike that rewards you with a view of the lake. This hike can be found in Charlotte, Vermont, which is located 30 minutes south of Burlington.

Right in the heart of South Burlington is Red Rocks, another one of the most well-liked hikes. Located in a peaceful forest, this three-mile hike provides breathtaking views of Lake Champlain.

25. Hen of the Wood

It is the place to go if you want a truly authentic dining experience in Vermont. This Burlington restaurant is devoted to using locally sourced, farm-to-table ingredients, much like its sister establishment in Waterbury.

Hen of the Wood
Captured from Hen of the Wood

It is entirely possible to spend the afternoon exploring these stunning natural areas and then take in their bounty while dining at Hen of the Wood.

Best of all, the menu changes frequently because only local, in-season ingredients are used. However, the ambiance and service never change.

Everything that touches your lips is produced in close collaboration with a solid network of growers, ranchers, bakers, and other talented locals.

26. Queen City Brewery

Vermont’s craft brews are well-known. It so happens that many of those superb Vermont breweries are located in Burlington.

The Switchback Brewing Company, Zero Gravity Brewing, and the Magic Hat Brewing Company are a few of the most well-known breweries in Burlington, Vermont.

Queen City Brewery
Captured from Queen City Brewery

The Queen City Brewery, housed in a tastefully renovated warehouse in the center of Burlington’s historic South End, offers a constantly-changing selection of premium craft beer.

The list of beers at Queen City Brewery reflects the owners’ preference for traditional-styled brews.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How many days do you need in Burlington VT?

You must give the city at least 3 days to fully enjoy it! However, feel free to spend some more time in this lovely place.

2. How long drive from NYC to Burlington?

The drive from NYC to Burlington is around 6 hours.

3. Can you get around Burlington VT without a car?

Yes, you can! There are various cab options such as Lyft and Green Cab VT. There is also nearly 100% sidewalk coverage.

Wrapping up

Burlington has it all, from popular museums to impressive dining, comedy clubs walking tours, and so many other fascinating things.

The seasons of summer, winter, and spring all offer a wealth of extraordinary experiences. There is truly something for everyone in this city, from the historic places to the breathtaking lake views, nightlife, shopping, and artsy community.

Also, check out, Best Time to Visit Florida.

Last Updated on February 24, 2023 by Ananya Sreen