16 Best Things to Do in Burlington, Vermont
Burlington is a vibrant city located on the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont. Best things to do in Burlington, VT include unique attractions like ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center, Ethan Allen Homestead and the Fleming Museum of Art. Enjoy scenic views from a lakefront park, go on a culinary adventure or sign up for a brewery tour. Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/Fotolia
» ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center
Lake Champlain is vast, magnificent, and mysterious, and the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center has a goal of unveiling its mysteries. It hopes to share its knowledge of the lake and its inhabitants with Vermont visitors and residents and to protect the lake’s fragile ecosystems. The center, one of the top Burlington attractions, is a 36,000 square foot facility with over 100 interactive exhibits and exciting science education programs.
The Center is home to more than 70 species of fish, invertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles. There is even an exhibition of the legendary creature called Champ, a mysterious twenty-foot serpent that is supposedly living in the lake. The Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Lake Champlain is a 2.2-acre environmental campus located on the Burlington Waterfront.
Photo: ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center
»The Fleming Museum of Art
Since the day it was opened in 1931, The Fleming Museum of Art was considered a place where people of all ages could gain practical knowledge. This vibrant museum of art and anthropology is located at the University of Vermont, and its collection contains more than 25,000 art and artifacts from the dawn of the civilization to present times from almost all continents.
The Fleming Museum of Art is one of the best things to do in Burlington, Vermont for art lovers. It offers visitors a unique interpretation of the world’s cultural heritage and history through its permanent collection, and it also boasts visiting exhibitions and numerous education programs for children and adults. If you are wondering what to see in Burlington, the Fleming Museum of Art is a great place to visit for art lovers. The museum offers free movies, workshops, and lectures every Saturday, and it has a popular traveling exhibit for schools.
Contact: 61 Colchester Ave, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-656-0750
Photo: The Fleming Museum of Art
»Church Street Marketplace
There is always something happening in downtown Burlington. The entire area between Church, Pearl, and Main Streets is closed for traffic. The Church Street Marketplace is a delightful mix of historic buildings, great shops, various kinds of food, street entertainers, bookstores, and a lot of music.
It is the heart of Burlington, bustling with youth from the local University, tourists, and locals who are enjoying the city together, regardless of the weather. If you are wondering what to do in Burlington VT today, this is a great place to start exploring.
No snowstorm ever kept the Market empty.
Contact: 2 Church St, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-863-1648
»Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, VT
If there is a performing art event happening in Burlington, it is probably happening at the Flynn. The Flynn Center is quite literally a home for the performing arts in the area. It houses the Vermont Stage Company, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the UVM Lane Series, the Vermont Youth Orchestra, the Lyric Theatre, and many smaller local and visiting groups.
Everything necessary for a successful performance is there, including a 1,411-seat auditorium, a 180-seat delightful cabaret space, a gallery with constantly changing exhibits from local artists, and two studios for education activities. You can also see the Burlington annual Jazz Festival, visiting Broadway shows, or take a dance course at Flynn.
Contact: 153 Main Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-863-5966
Photo: Jaroslav Machacek/Fotolia
» Burlington Edible History Tour
There was a time not so long ago when we learned primarily through stories that were often told around the dining table. The Burlington Edible History Tour brings back the old story-telling tradition to teach visitors about the town when it was just a village.
It also allows them to visit some great restaurants where farm-to-table is not just a philosophy, but a beloved tradition passed down throughout Burlington’s history. The tours run three times a week for a few hours and include an easy two-mile walk through the town, which you take while listening to the very knowledgeable local guides tell stories and anecdotes. 802-238-8828
Photo: Don Landwehrle/Fotolia
»Burlington Brew Tours
What do you get when you combine a beer geek and a friendly personality? You get Chad Brodsky and his Burlington Brew Tours. Burlington residents like Chad are very proud of their craft brews, and sharing that love with the unenlightened masses is one of their main pleasures in life.
There are three kinds of tours, each of which will take you to three or four local craft breweries, serve you great lunch, introduce you to some extraordinary beer makers, and let you taste on average 15 different beers. Even if you are a life-long wine drinker, you will enjoy going behind the scenes, between the barrels, and inside of the breweries’ own little tasting pubs.
»What to Do in Burlington, VT: Burlington Farmers' Market
Every Saturday morning, hundreds of people descend on City Hall Park for some fabulous treats, because Saturday is the day of the Burlington Farmers' Market. During the colder season, the whole crew moves to the indoor space on Saint Paul Street.
The Market is the best place to meet Vermont farmers, cheese makers, bread bakers, artists, and artisans. Try their products, talk to them about their lives, and learn about the Vermont lifestyle from the source. Don’t forget to load up on homemade brownies, cookies, pickles, cider, maple syrup, and other fun items. You also have the chance to try rich ethnic food from diverse places such as Nepal, Jamaica, Mexico, China, Morocco, and Tibet. If you are looking for date ideas in Burlington, the farmers' market is a great spot.
Contact: PO Box 4117, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-310-5172
More ideas: 25 Best Weekend Getaways from New York City.
Photo: Chuck Place/Fotolia
»Hen of the Wood, Burlington, Vermont
Hen of the Wood is romantic, and elegant, and its two roaring fireplaces make the place feel warm and inviting. Wood stacked along the walls reminds you that you are in Vermont where the winters are long and fire is not for decoration only. The restaurant’s leather seats are luxurious and comfortable and the ceiling beams add a charming rustic touch.
You can watch the drama unfold in the open kitchen and observe the staff move around as though they are participating in a grand ballet. The menu is simple, short, and tempting, and it changes daily. All ingredients come from the local suppliers in the Champlain Valley or Green Mountain.
Meat is the king at Hen of the Wood, and it is always succulent and perfectly cooked by the expert kitchen staff. Try Rabbit Loin wrapped in ham with apples, kohlrabi, and fresh cream. The wine list is spectacular and the beer has been carefully selected.
Contact: 55 Cherry Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-540-0534
Photo: Hen of the Wood
»Vermont points of interest: North Beach Park
From May through Labor Day, you can go swimming on a small but lovely sandy North Beach on Lake Champlain, located just off a bike path near the high school. You can also rent a canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or bike. There is a patch of grass with a few barbecues if you are an enthusiastic cook and a fully stocked snack bar if you prefer having someone else do the cooking.
You can also take advantage of a well-organized campground next door if you decide to spend the night, a worthwhile experience on clear nights when the stars are particularly spectacular. If you are looking for things to do in Burlington with the whole family, visit this unique park. The beach has a lifeguard during the summer, and while it is closed in the winter, you can still come by and make a snowman or have a snowball fight. More Vermont vacation ideas
More New England getaways: 21 Best Weekend Getaways from Boston.
»Pizzeria Verita, Burlington, Vermont
You know that you are going to eat a great pizza as soon as you walk through the doors of Pizzeria Verita and see the pizza oven in the middle of the room. It is a magnificent 6,000-pound masterpiece imported from Italy, too beautiful to put in the back of the restaurant.
It makes pizzas in 90 seconds, and they come out perfectly every time, bursting with flavors, the way real Neapolitan pizza should. The restaurant, located in downtown Burlington a block from City Hall, is spacious and beautifully decorated, and an entire wall behind the bar is lined with some very fine wines. Even the stacks of wood look like sculptures.
You can try many delicious Italian dishes from the menu, but pizzas are the hottest items on the menu. Pizzeria Verita even makes its own mozzarella every day.
Contact: 156 St. Paul Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-489-5644
Photo: Pizzeria Verita
»Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington, VT
Visiting Ethan Allen Homestead will let you get close to the spirit of the most popular folk hero of Vermont. Ethan was a backwoodsman-turned-statesman, a flamboyant and unusually well read character for the time. He played an important role in the history of Vermont, which was then called the New Hampshire Grants. At the time, the territory served as the northern frontier of the restless New England colonies.
Visiting Ethan Allen’s homestead and looking at the artifacts from the time during which he lived in the house paints a vivid picture of the rough living, cramped quarters, and turbulent times typical of the country’s history. The Homestead frequently organizes special events such as the Harvest Festival and the Celebration of Family and A Tribute to Nature.
Contact: 1 Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-865-4556
Photo: Ethan Allen Homestead
»What to Do in Burlington: Frog Hollow Craft Center
For the last 40 years, visitors have been going through the Frog Hollow Craft Center gallery in the Church Street Marketplace to see what the most talented Vermont artists and artisans have been doing. This lovely gallery serves as a venue in which artists can show their latest creations and earn some money, while visitors can take home a unique piece of Vermont. The ever changing exhibits range from paintings, prints, and glass to caricatures, pottery, metalwork, and photographs.
From the day it opened, the Center has been working with more than 500 artists and artisans and organizing numerous arts and crafts courses and classes. The Center’s latest project is putting some of the art in the borrowed 1969 Airstream turned traveling gallery and sending it on a tour of the state.
Contact: 85 Church Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-863-6458
Photo: Frog Hollow Craft Center
»American Flatbread, Burlington, VT
For a university town, having a great pizza place is essential. American Flatbread is a very popular, welcoming place packed with individuals who appreciate great pizza that has been baked in the enormous earthen oven loaded with fragrant burning wood. Just watching the fire makes the place cozy and warm. All toppings are organic and mount watering, and there are some really imaginative combinations of ingredients.
Burlington Heart partners with local farmers and artisans such as Cob Hill Cheese from Heartland and Diggers’ Mirth Collective, organic vegetable growers from Burlington. No wonder the salads are superb and astoundingly fresh. Wash it all down with some excellent Zero Gravity brews on tap.
Contact: 115 St. Paul St., Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-861-2999
More day trip and weekend ideas: 16 Best Things to Do in Providence, Rhode Island.
Photo: American Flatbread
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»What to Do in Burlington, VT: Burlington City Arts Center
Established in 1981 and located in the former firehouse, Burlington City Arts Center has a goal of making arts accessible and available to all, regardless of economic or social status. It is not surprising, therefore, that one of the first activities the center organized was the Battery Park Free Concert Series, which is still incredibly popular to this day. Today, the center is the home and heart of Vermont’s contemporary art.
The center encourages meaningful experiences with art, inspiring the general public to challenge and engage with the various works. The center has a significant contemporary art collection and a studio for the artist-in-residence. It organizes frequent contemporary art events such as concerts, movie screenings, and theatre performances.
Contact: 135 Church Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-865-7166
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»Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vermont
You will smell this establishment from mile away, and you will inevitably follow your nose to a bright, modern production room from where you can observe all the action through the viewing glass from comfortable seats. Listen to a fascinating explanation on the process of making chocolate, the company’s fair trade program, and the establishment’s commitment to working with local producers whenever possible. As you listen to the lecture, you will see their signature truffles, almond butter crunch, and gooey caramels roll out.
The presentation lasts about half an hour, and by that time, you will feel that you simply must get your hands on some samples. Fortunately, you can engage in a chocolate tasting and four-chocolate comparison course and free chocolate bar making classes, ensuring that you will get your fill of chocolate. The tour is not for children under 7, as the chocolate is quite rich.
Contact: 750 Pine Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 800-465-5909
More vacation ideas: 22 Most Fascinating Gardens on the East Coast.
Photo: Lake Champlain Chocolates
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16 Best Things to Do in Burlington, Vermont
- ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Photo: ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center
- The Fleming Museum of Art, Photo: The Fleming Museum of Art
- Church Street Marketplace, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, VT, Photo: Courtesy of Jaroslav Machacek - Fotolia.com
- Burlington Edible History Tour, Photo: Courtesy of Don Landwehrle - Fotolia.com
- Burlington Brew Tours, Photo: Courtesy of doncon402 - Fotolia.com
- What to Do in Burlington, VT: Burlington Farmers' Market, Photo: Courtesy of Chuck Place - Fotolia.com
- Hen of the Wood, Burlington, Vermont, Photo: Hen of the Wood
- Vermont points of interest: North Beach Park, Photo: Courtesy of alpegor - Fotolia.com
- Pizzeria Verita, Burlington, Vermont, Photo: Pizzeria Verita
- Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington, VT, Photo: Ethan Allen Homestead
- What to Do in Burlington: Frog Hollow Craft Center, Photo: Frog Hollow Craft Center
- American Flatbread, Burlington, VT, Photo: American Flatbread
- What to Do in Burlington, VT: Burlington City Arts Center, Photo: Courtesy of Arlenta - Fotolia.com
- Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vermont, Photo: Lake Champlain Chocolates
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
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