Vermont, also known as the Green Mountain State, is a stunning part of America famous for its stunning landscapes, exciting cities, charming small towns, and rich history.
If you’ve always wanted to visit Vermont, you have to visit Burlington.
Burlington is the largest city in Vermont. Situated alongside the scenic Lake Champlain, this city has something for everyone.
An incredibly popular tourism hotspot, tourists are treated to a wide range of exciting things to do in Burlington.
Whether it be hiking in the Green Mountain range, exploring the vibrant city center, learning more about the area, or trying something completely new, Burlington has it all.
With so many awesome things to do, it can be easy to miss some of the best attractions. Today, we want to help you plan the best trip!
To help, we’ve put together a list of the best things to do in Burlington. If you’re trying to find the best things to do in the city, keep reading!
The first attraction on our list is Lake Champlain Waterfront. This is by far one of the most iconic places in Vermont, so you have to pay the lake a visit during your visit to Burlington.
Lake Champlain is the largest lake in the state. Burlington is lucky enough to have a large chunk of this lake bordering it for many miles.
As a result, locals and tourists enjoy spending time at the lake, taking in the views, and enjoying some of the various attractions found here.
Arguably the best thing to do at the lake is to take a walk around the waterfront. Here, you’ll find Waterfront Park, ECHO, Leahy Center For Lake Champlain, and daily boat trips.
If you want to see the most of what the lake offerrs, we highly recommend jumping on a boat trip. This will give you the best views of the lake and a great opportunity to spot some local wildlife.
Seeing as though we’ve told you to spend some time at Lake Champlain, it only seems right that we tell you a bit more about ECHO, Leahy Center For Lake Champlain. This center is a large science and nature museum.
A fantastic tourist attraction to visit with children, you have to leave a couple of hours spare to explore the center. An aquatic campus, the center aims to instill a lifelong love for nature and science into every guest that visits.
Most exhibits have a heavy focus on marine biology. As a result, you can expect to learn a lot more about Lake Champlain. The center also has an aquarium full of local marine life.
There’s even a cool Dinosaur Discoveries exhibition that your children will love.
Another popular outdoor space in Burlington is Oakledge Park.
Found towards the south end of the city, next to the shoreline of Lake Champlain, this park is a great place to come if you want to kick back, relax, and soak up the sun.
Popular with locals and tourists, this park is a charming picnic spot and a fabulous place to bring the children. The park has plenty of open green space, playgrounds, and sports facilities.
The park also has two beach areas. As a result, you can have the ultimate family park day here. You can play volleyball and tennis, hike the trails, light a BBQ, and enjoy a pleasant stroll along the lake.
What’s not to like?
Those of you looking for a more intense outdoor experience might want to visit Rock Point. Rock Point offers more than two miles of hiking trails in an area that covers more than 130 acres.
Well-maintained and fairly easy, the trails here lead walkers through conservation land that runs along the shores of Lake Champlain.
Offering some of the best views in the city, these trails are lined with a number of amazing viewpoints.
You can stop at these viewpoints to get those Insta-worthy shots. You should also walk a bit further and visit the chapel that can be found at Rock Point too.
Again, this location will offer impressive views and some of the best scenery the city has.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for something to do during the day or at night, Church Street Marketplace will have something you find fun.
Arguably the city’s most popular attraction, Church Street Marketplace is a cultural hub found right in the heart of Burlington.
A mecca for shopping and dining, this part of the city consists of four blocks.
Those blocks sit between Pearl and Main street. Vibrant, lively, and beautiful, the marketplace features thriving boutique shops, museums, spas, cart vendors, and a handful of historic landmarks.
In fact, the marketplace is so historic that it actually earned a spot on the National Historic Register.
Church Street Marketplace also has an enthralling nightlight, local breweries, and unique walking tours. How can you possibly run out of things to do?
The beer drinkers amongst us will be pleased to hear that Vermont is known for its thriving craft beer scene.
They’ll be even more thrilled to hear that the state has the highest number of breweries per capita in the whole of America.
Luckily for us, it so happens that a large proportion of the best Vermont breweries can be found in Burlington. Therefore, it would be rude not to sample a local craft beer.
There are several excellent breweries to choose from in Burlington. Some of the most famous include Zero Gravity Brewing, Switchback Brewing Company, and Magic Hat Brewing Company.
There’s even Citizen Cider for those of you that prefer to drink cider.
At almost every brewery in the city, you can tuck into a fresh beverage and a guided tour of the facilities.
If you love live performances, concerts, and theater productions, you have to visit the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. Burlington has a packed music and live performance schedule thanks to this center.
All year round, regular shows and performances are held in the 1,411-seater auditorium.
The center is home to multiple performance groups. This includes the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Stage Company, the Vermont Youth Orchestra, and the Lyric Theatre.
The diversity of the shows on offer is magnificent. You can expect anything from classic ballet and violin to Broadway productions and a Gospel choir to be performing here.
A lot of the shows focus on local culture too, giving visitors the chance to learn more about Vermont.
The next thing to do on our list is to visit the Fleming Museum of Art.
Based at the University of Vermont, this art museum is up there with the best museums in the state. Sitting in the heart of Burlington, it has an incredible 30,000 artifacts to take a look at.
As a result of its large collection, this museum has the vastest museum collection in Vermont. There are extraordinary rotating exhibitions to observe and incredible permanent exhibits that you have to see.
You’ll leave the museum feeling inspired. Since it opened in 1931, the Fleming Museum of Art has been famous all over the world for housing work from some of the biggest artists.
This includes work from Rockwell, Rembrandt, and Picasso.
Visiting the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum is up there with the best things you can do if you want to learn about Burlington and its rich history. This is also a great place to come if you want to learn more about Vermont.
Built-in 1787, the homestead used to belong to Ethan Allen. Allen was a Revolutionary War hero from the area. Today, his house has been turned into a historic site and a museum.
Keeping most of its original style and decor, the homestead prides itself on teaching locals and tourists alike the history of the area and the life of Ethan Allen.
It offers a fantastic insight into the impact the Revolutionary War had on Vermont and its civilians.
Another Burlington museum that will transport you back in time is the Shelburne Museum.
One of the most interesting tourist attractions in the city, the Shelburne Museum is actually the largest art and history museum in northern New England.
Encompassing 45 acres of Burlington land, the museum is home to a whopping 25 historic landmarks and buildings. The most famous is the General Store and the round barn. That’s not all the museum has on offer though!
The Shelburne Museum is also home to a wide range of historical artifacts. The interesting collection of artifacts includes horse-drawn carriages, toys, firearms, an old carousel, and a large steamboat.
In addition to all this, the museum also has a wide variety of unique exhibits.
Burlington is blessed with a long cycle path that connects the city’s awesome park system. If you’re looking for one of the best free things to do in Burlington, this could be it.
Cycling the Burlington bike path is also a great way to get your daily exercise in.
Also known as the Burlington Greenway, this bike path is 7.6 miles long.
It weaves through various parks and circles around Lake Champlain. Despite being primarily designed for bike riding, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with running the path too.
In fact, you’ll more than likely encounter other runners, skaters, and power walkers along the way.
Running from the Winooski River’s northern end to the south end of Burlington, the bike path is complete with stunning views and local wildlife.
Keep an eye out for the Green Mountains, Oakledge Park, and of course, Lake Champlain.
Not many people realize it, but Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream was actually started in Vermont.
Therefore, if you’re going to take in local cultures and explore Vermont’s history, you have to try a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream during your Burlington vacation.
Famous for its versatile flavors, Ben & Jerry’s is a national treasure, so the fact the brand started in Burlington only makes the city more special.
You can pop into the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream parlor on Church street if you want to pick up a fresh treat.
Visiting the ice cream parlor on Church street isn’t all you can do though. Ben & Jerry’s also has a factory in Vermont. If you have time, you could leave Burlington and take a tour of the factory.
One of the coolest things to do in Burlington is to have a good laugh at Vermont Comedy Club. If you’ve never been to a comedy club before you’re seriously missing out.
Nothing beats watching comedy live. The feeling of despair when the comedian picks you out from the crowd is both terrifying and hilarious. Vermont Comedy Club is guaranteed to fill your evening with fun and laughter.
The club has a roaster of diverse comedians that put on shows every week. Alongside the adult shows, the comedy club also has kids’ comedy shows, improv sessions, and sketch classes.
This makes the club more unique as it is a place the whole family can enjoy.
There’s a chance you’ve tried a wine-tasting session before, but we doubt very much that you’ve ever tried a liquor-tasting session. If you haven’t, you definitely should during your trip to Burlington.
Based at Church Street Marketplace, Vermont has a popular local liquor distillery called Mad River Distillers. This brand is famous in the state for producing a wide range of delicious and
high-quality spirits. This includes various flavors of whiskey, bourbon, and rum.
If you’re in Burlington, you can stop by and buy a bottle of liquor from the brand’s store. Better still though, you can take part in a tasting class.
During this class, you’ll learn more about the process and have the opportunity to try several different local spirits.
One of the most enjoyable, exciting, and thrilling ways to explore Burlington is by taking part in one of the city’s famous scavenger hunts. If you’re traveling to Burlington with family and friends, this attraction is perfect.
Done over two hours, a scavenger hunt in Burlington will lead you on a 1.33-mile journey around the city. As a team, you’ll have to solve puzzles, explore historical landmarks, and complete challenges.
Together, you and your team will compete to finish in the top spot for the city.
Not only is the hunt great fun, but it also gives you a great opportunity to learn more about the city, see the most famous landmarks, and do something together.
The Burlington scavenger hunt has 7 different stops.
The Burlington Earth Clock is a unique tourist attraction that can be found in Oakledge Park. Found near the shoreline, this interesting structure is well worth visiting.
In terms of what you can expect, this fascinating attraction is a unique granite sundial. The rocks used to make the sundial have been sourced from a local quarry. Impressively, this sundial is 43 feet wide.
The cool thing about the sundial is what happens when you stand in the center.
When you stand in the center, the granite slabs show you where the sun will set during solstices and equinoxes. Those of you with a keen interest in astronomy will love this site.
Since 1980, the Burlington Farmers Market has been one of the best things to do in the city.
Open every Saturday at Pine Street between late spring and fall, the farmer’s market sees farmers from all over Vermont come together to sell their fresh produce and locally sourced products.
This local tradition is great. It is a great way for the community to come together and sample some of Vermont’s best homemade foods.
As far as tourists are concerned, it is a fun attraction that will show you more of the city and its community.
Of course, it’s also somewhere you can go to buy fresh produce and sample local delicacies.
Some of the foods you can expect to find here include fresh fruits, baked goods, homemade beverages, and fresh lemonade.
Burlington is also famous for some rather bizarre tourist attractions too. Probably the most famous is the world’s tallest filing cabinet.
You won’t find it on too many Vermont brochures or tourist board websites, but Vermont is home to the world’s tallest filing cabinet. Found in Burlington, this quirky attraction is something you have to see for yourself.
Although it sounds pretty crazy, the filing cabinet is actually very cool. Holding the official Guinness World Record for being the tallest filing cabinet in the world, this funky monument is 38 drawers high.
That might not sound a lot but it is almost 40 feet tall. This is a great photo opportunity so don’t miss it.
North Beach is Burlington’s biggest beach. During the summer, this is a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
Like most white sand beaches, it is a good place to kick back and relax, have fun with family, and take a refreshing dip in the sea.
However, North Beach also has a number of water sports rental companies.
As a result, you can try your luck at various sports including kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding. If you’ve never tried paddle boarding before, you should definitely try it here.
The conditions are perfect for beginners, giving you the chance to have a great time. As if this experience alone wasn’t enough, the scenic view of Burlington waterfront will top things off.
If you’re someone that enjoys trying different types of chocolate, you can satisfy your sweet tooth at Lake Champlain Chocolates.
Lake Champlain Chocolates is a local chocolate company that produces the most amazing chocolate using fresh, local ingredients.
A producer of luxury gourmet chocolates, you can find Lake Champlain Chocolates’ flagship store on Pine Street.
Not only can you choose from a wide range of delicious chocolates here, but you can also learn about how it is made.
During their visit, tourists are encouraged to watch the factory tour video. There is also an interactive StoryWalk that goes into more detail.
If you want to buy some local chocolate and learn how it’s made, you have to stop here.
The penultimate place on our list of Burlington things to do is Mount Philo State Park. This park is up there with the very best outdoor places you can visit in the city.
Therefore, you should leave enough time to explore as much of the park as possible.
Exploring the entire park might be a bit difficult because it covers 240 acres of rich Vermont landscape.
Offering unparalleled views of Lake Champlain, the Adirondack Mountains, and the Green Mountains, Mount Philo State Park has lots of things to do.
Aside from taking in the picturesque views, there are various adventure activities you can indulge in. These include hiking, biking, running, swimming, and wildlife observation.
It’s also good to know that Mount Philo State Park has camping facilities and permits dogs.
The final thing to do on this list is tour the Vermont Teddy Bear Company Factory. Vermont’s teddy bear factory is arguably the best in America.
The company also happens to be the largest producer of hand-crafted, personalized teddy bears.
If you find yourself traveling with a child, visiting the factory could be a fun way to show them how their favorite toys are made. It’s also a good chance to treat them to their very own customizable teddy bear.
At the factory, you’ll be shown how the bears are made and what materials are used before being told more about the factory’s history. To finish off, you’ll have the chance to buy your own teddy bear.
That concludes our list of things to do in Burlington, Vermont. Our list has shown you 22 fun things you can do in Burlington on vacation.
The things and places we have shown you are the spots in Burlington you really don’t want to miss.
Now you’ve made your way through this list, you should be able to plan a fun-filled action-packed trip to Burlington.
We made sure we included something for everyone on our list so you shouldn’t find it hard to pick out something you enjoy.
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