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, stay at a great hotel, have a romantic dinner, plan a romantic wedding, go on a culinary adventure on your weekend getaway.

1. ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center
© 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.

2. The Fleming Museum of Art

The Fleming Museum of Art
© 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.

61 Colchester Ave, Burlington, VT, Phone: 802-656-0750

3. Church Street Marketplace

Church Street Marketplace
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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.

131 Church St, Burlington, VT 05401, Phone: 802-863-1648

4. Flynn Center for the Performing Arts

Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
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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.

153 Main Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-863-5966

5. Burlington Edible History Tour, Burlington, Vermont

Burlington Edible History Tour, Burlington, Vermont
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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

6. Burlington Brew Tours, Burlington, Vermont

Burlington Brew Tours, Burlington, Vermont
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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.

7. Burlington Farmers' Market

Burlington Farmers' Market
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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.

Pine St, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-310-5172

More ideas: 25 Best Weekend Getaways from New York City.

8. Hen of the Wood

Hen of the Wood
© Hen of the Wood

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.

55 Cherry Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-540-0534

9. North Beach Park

North Beach Park
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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

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10. Pizzeria Verita

Pizzeria Verita
© Pizzeria Verita

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.

156 St. Paul Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-489-5644

11. Ethan Allen Homestead

Ethan Allen Homestead
© Ethan Allen Homestead

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.

1 Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-865-4556

12. Frog Hollow Craft Center

Frog Hollow Craft Center
© 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.

85 Church Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-863-6458

13. American Flatbread, Burlington, VT

American Flatbread, Burlington, VT
© American Flatbread

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.

115 St. Paul St., Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-861-2999

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14. Burlington City Arts Center, Burlington, Vermont

Burlington City Arts Center, Burlington, Vermont
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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.

135 Church Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 802-865-7166

15. Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vermont

Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington, Vermont
© Lake Champlain Chocolates

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.

750 Pine Street, Burlington, Vermont, Phone: 800-465-5909

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16. Queen City Brewery

Queen City Brewery
© Queen City Brewery

Located in a carefully renovated warehouse in the heart of Burlington’s historic South End, the Queen City Brewery offers an ever-changing selection of prime craft beers. Having travelled to Europe several times in search of the most enjoyable beers in the world, the owners of Queen City Brewery have a fondness for traditionally-styled beers which is reflected in their list of brews. At any given time you will find examples of popular American beers as well as a good representation of European styles like lagers, ales and Scottish stout on tap. You are invited to come and find your personal favorite at their comfortable Tap Room.

Queen City Brewery, 703-B Pine Street, Burlington, VT 05401, 802-540-0280

17. Battery Park

Battery Park
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Burlington’s 14-acre Battery Park is a historically important park located on an elevated point which overlooks the popular Waterfront Park. Originally built as a military camp during the war of 1812, Battery Park gunners successfully defended the site against an attack by British forces in 1813. Today most visitors come to the park to enjoy the solitude and the beautiful views over Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. You will find a promenade, children’s playground and a band shell which hosts regular outdoor concerts in summer. You can also admire commemorative sculptures and art pieces as well as a memorial fountain.

Battery Park, 1 North Ave, Burlington, VT 05401

18. Green Mountain Railroad

Green Mountain Railroad
© Green Mountain Railroad Passenger Services

Undoubtedly one of the best and most relaxing ways to take in the superlative natural beauty of the Burlington area is to hop aboard one of the city’s Green Mountain scenic railroad tours. The railroad operates a selection of excursion train rides that are suitable for visitors of all ages. During the summer months you can enjoy a 3-hr scenic journey between Burlington and Middlebury while enjoying a delicious 3-course lunch in the historic dining car. Other special-occasion tours are offered on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Independence Day, which features a brilliant fire-works display. During the rest of the year the trains can be booked for special occasions, weddings and celebrations.

Green Mountain Railroad, 1 Main Street, Burlington, VT 05401, 800 707 3530

19. Petra Cliffs Climbing Center

Petra Cliffs Climbing Center
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Petra Cliffs in an indoor climbing center where you can literally learn the ropes before setting off to enjoy outdoor rock climbing. The center offers facilities for (almost) all ages and is the ideal place to get to know and love the sport of rock climbing. There are climbing wall for all abilities and a high-ropes course. If you have never tried climbing before you will start off by learning the basics of bouldering. Once you gain confidence on the bouldering courses you will be ready to take on the more advanced climbing walls using a harness and autobelay device to ensure your safety.

Petra Cliffs Climbing Center, 106 Briggs Street, Burlington, VT 05401, 802 657 3872

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