Are you looking for things to do in Burlington, Vermont? If so, hopefully this list will give you plenty of ideas and inspiration!
If you’re planning a trip to Burlington in Vermont soon, you might be looking for inspiration for things to do in Burlington! Hopefully this list will give you plenty of inspiration!
Though Burlington is Vermont’s biggest city, it’s got a quaint feel that’s incredibly welcoming to visitors. With a youthful vibe that’s reflected in many of its attractions, Burlington is the perfect place for a spirited getaway, and there are plenty of things to do in Burlington. Located amongst the Adirondack mountains, Burlington offers not only great views and stunning lakes, but shopping, art, and museums.
So, whether you’re a Vermont local that’s not yet ventured out to Burlington or a tourist that’s looking for some awesome things to do in the area, we’ve got you covered. On our list of 15 things to do in Burlington, Vermont, we’re hoping to uncover some unique activities that the whole family are sure to enjoy.
Though you shouldn’t expect a totally bustling city, this place is packed with things to do, so don’t underestimate it! So here are my top things to do in Burlington…
Take a boat trip
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a trip out onto the water. With the Adirondack mountains in the distance and Lake Champlain’s waters within easy reach of the city center, you should absolutely look to head out on the water here.
If you can, try and get a spot aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allan. Offering themed trips from May through October, it’s certain to be one of the best things to do in Vermont for couples and families.
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
If you’re a fan of the performing arts, then be sure to check out the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. If there’s some artistic event happening in the area, it’s probably going to be happening here.
With a 1,411-seat auditorium, a cabaret space and an art gallery, there’s so much art here that’s it’s almost busting through the walls. Whether you’re a fan of Broadway or jazz, you’re sure to catch something you’ll love year-round.
Shopping and Dining at Church Street Marketplace
If you’re after a lively atmosphere, then look no further than Church Street Marketplace. Home to over 150 shops and restaurants, there’s no better place to hunker down and get your shopping done.
If you’re an ice-cream fan, be sure to stop at Burlington’s Ben & Jerry’s store. Though you may already know this, Ben & Jerry’s was born in Burlington, so it would be rude not to at least sample the goods!
Watch some awesome glassblowing
Glassblowing is an activity that will never cease to be mesmerising. So, if observing molten glass is your thing, be sure to stop by the AO Glass factory in the arts district.
With modern artisans on show creating truly beautiful pieces, you’ll find yourself spending longer than you expect just watching these experts at work.
If you love science, then be sure to hit up ECHO. A multifaceted science center and aquarium that aims to educate visitors about the ecology of Burlington’s Lake Champlain, it’s home to more than 70 live animal species. With a 3D theater and great exhibits, it’s one of the best things to do in Burlington for families that have inquisitive kids.
Robert Fleming Museum of Art
The Robert Fleming Museum of Art is a cultural treasure that has been prized by locals and visitors for over 80 years. Located on the campus of the University of Vermont, this museum has been hailed as a “practical place of learning – a vibrant, ongoing educational institution for both children and adults”.
Housing the area’s most comprehensive collection art and anthropological artifacts, it’s a testament to American culture and certainly one of the best things to do in Burlington.
If you’re looking to visit some amazing stately homes, then be sure to check out The Hill. Known as the spot where Burlington’s richest leaders built their stately homes, it’s a stunning area where tourists can visit some of the most well-maintained residences in the state.
Though you may find yourself green with envy, some of these homes are truly sights to behold.
Ethan Allen Homestead
A visit to Ethan Allen Homestead is the perfect thing to do in Burlington, Vermont for history buffs that are looking for an insight into the Revolutionary War.
During the Revolutionary War, Ethan Allen became something of a hometown hero due to his defences against New York’s attempts to claim, and his home has been finely restored to allow visitors and locals to remember him.
Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory
If you’re looking to get your chocolate fix, then look no further than Lake Champlain’s Chocolate Factory. A real-life Wonka wannabe, this place lets guests taste samples, take guided tours and witness how fine chocolate is created.
Make sure you pop into the gift shop at the end of your visit for some unique chocolatey goodness!
Shelburne Museum is one of the nation’s most diverse museums, and it lies in Burlington and is certainly one of the best things to do in the area if you’ve got space in your itinerary. With 39 exhibition buildings that house paintings, folk art, quilts and more, it’s a fantastic tribute to New England’s history that shouldn’t be missed.
Held every Saturday since 1980 from spring through autumn, the Summer Farmers’ Market is one of the best things to do in Burlington, Vermont.
With over 90 vendors selling produce, flowers, crafts and more at this amazing market, it’s the perfect place to grab some gorgeous goods and live like a local.
Head out to Burlington Breakwater
Next on my list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont, it’s Burlington Breakwater.
I love Burlington Breakwater as a local photography hotspot – as there’s always something beautiful to snap a photo of here, and the sunsets always seem to be so gorgeous here! The station was established in 1857 so this little piece of Burlington has it’s own interesting history to discover too!
Next on my list of 15 things to do in Burlington, Vermont is apple-picking. Though it may seem strange, Vermont’s apple growers actively invite visitors to enjoy the fall harvest by picking the best produce to take away. One of the best apple-picking spots in the area is Shelburne Orchards near the shores of Lake Champlain.
With most orchards also providing great cider and snacks, there’s a great afternoon on offer for all!
Hit the slopes!
Next on my list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont, it’s skiing! With mountains like Sugarbush, Smuggler’s Notch, Mad River Glen, and Stowe all closeby and within an easy driving distance, hitting the slopes when you’re in Burlington, Vermont is completely possible!
It can be a nice break from the city, or a nice change of pace, if you plan on staying for more than a few day! This is definitely a great addition to this list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont – especially for winter visitors!
Try out a snowmobile
So if you’re heading up the slopes… You need to have a go on a snow mobile! Snowmobile Vermont has four different locations, but their Stowe location is the closest to Burlington, so that’s the one you’re likely to opt for if stopping in Burlington, Vermont.
A snowmobile is a little bit like a jet-ski but on snow (instead of in water). It’s a lot of fun, a bit adrenaline-fuelled, and you can do tours and instructor led sessions too! It’s such a fun idea for things to do in Burlington, Vermont.
Frog Hollow Craft Center
If the Flynn Center wasn’t enough art for you, then be sure to head down to the Frog Hollow Craft Center. A place that’s set up to showcase what local artists are up to, it’s a great venue for visitors to take home a piece of the city. For craft-types, this is a great option for things to do in Burlington, Vermont.
With purchasable exhibits that change constantly, visitors and locals can help contribute to local artists by supporting their exposure. With art and craft courses that look to improve the skills of artists and guests alike, it’s a unique spot that had to make it onto our list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont.
Check out the marina / waterside
Next on my list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont – it’s the marina! In the summertime, there’s nowhere nicer to sit and read a book, or sit with a little picnic. The little marina and waterside in Burlington is a favourite amongst locals, and it’s no surprise – look at those views!
Have a spa day
If you fancy a bit of a relaxation session, then this next suggestion on my list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont is going to tick your boxes! There are several lovely spas in Burlington, so it’s worth having a look around and seeing what kind of treatments you’d like, and what your budget is.
A spa day is always a lovely way to spend a vacation day, especially in colder climates as it’s a chance to escape the cold and fully relax!
Try some local food
OK, I couldn’t write a list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont, without mentioning the food and drink scene! There are so many amazing places to enjoy a good meal in Burlington, so make sure you try and tick off some of these great restaurants!
If you’re anything like me, you love making time for good food during your time away!
- Affordable and delicious: Skinny Pancake
- Breakfast and Brunch: Leunig’s Bistro & Cafe, & Penny Cluse
- Coffee shops: Muddy Waters, Speeder & Earl’s, & Dobra Tea
- Dinner (my top choice): American Flatbread
- Fine dining (posh): Bistro De Margot
- Diner food (laid back): Henry’s Dining
- Summer food (eating outdoors): Farmhouse Grill
Do a beer crawl
If you’re into your craft beer (and beer in general) you might enjoy a beer crawl around Burlington, Vermont. There are lots of great drinking establishments in Burlington, so making your way through some of the well known and local favourites is a great way to spend the evening.
Here are some great choices:
- Switchback Brewing Co
- Foam Brewers
- Citizen Cider
- Zero Gravity
If you’ve got the time, Magic Hat offers free guided tours of its 175,000-barrel facility which is said to be one of the best things to do in Burlington, Vermont.
Hike up Camel’s Hump
Next up on my list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont – it’s Camel’s Hump. Camel’s Hump can be seen from most places in Burlington, so hiking it had to make my list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont. It’s quite a challenging hike (so make sure you’re prepped and researched, and have the right gear!).
Check out Higher Ground
For some great live music, head down to Higher Ground. One of the best things to do in Burlington, Vermont for music-lovers, this place frequently hosts local talent.
Though most shows are suitable for all ages, it’s worth checking out the current giggers to ensure that you won’t meet face kid-unfriendly surprises during a set.
In the spring, summer and sutumn, there are plenty of hikes and trails to enjoy just outside of Burlington – perfect for people who love the great outdoors. I recommend checking out this page on the local tourism website – which gives you loads of ideas.
Burlington Vermont Ice Cream Shop
You can’t visit Burlington without checking out the Burlington Vermont Ice Cream Shop… It’s just how it is! It’s a chance to try Ben and Jerry’s close to how the original founders intended – in the way the first scoops were served up by Ben and Jerry in 1978!
Watch the sunset
And finally, on my list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont… Sometimes you just need to finish the day in the most relaxing way possible, and (fortunately for you) Burlington does that in style. Some of the best sunsets in Canada can be seen from Burlington, Vermont.
So of course, watching the sunset together had to make my list of things to do in Burlington.
Hopefully this list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont has been useful!
I’m hoping it’s given you plenty of ideas for things to do in Burlington, Vermont during your trip! It really is a gorgeous part of the world, so finding the perfect things to do in Burlington, Vermont shouldn’t be too difficult!