Vacation In Burlington Vt – Taking a break from your normal life and spending time in a different place can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. While there are a lot of options for places that you could visit, if you’ve never been to Burlington Vt, now is the time to start planning your trip there. The best part is it isn’t too far away, which means you can easily get back before work on Monday.
Visiting Burlington, Vermont is a wonderful choice for any vacation. With its breathtaking scenery, unique history and exciting culture, you are sure to enjoy your stay.
When planning your vacation, it is important to consider a variety of factors including geographic location, entertainment options, and even meal preferences. Choosing the right destination can play a significant role in the overall enjoyment of your getaway. That’s why we’re going to break down some of the best cities to visit in Vermont.
Burlington is a city in Chittenden County, Vermont. It is the largest city in the state of Vermont, and the 45th-largest city in the United States. As of 2018, its population was 42,694 according to the United States Census Bureau. Burlington is the county seat of Chittenden County, and home to the University of Vermont (UVM) and Champlain College.
The Green Mountain State makes a great year-round destination for outdoor recreation and scenic drives, with plenty of things to do for people of all ages. Vermont’s quaint towns and small neighborhoods are great places to explore on foot or by bike.
Vacation In Burlington Vt
Vermont’s largest city – and only city of any size – lies in a beautiful location on a hillside overlooking Lake Champlain and the skyline of the Adirondack mountains, on the opposite shore in New York.
The thriving downtown reaches right to the shore, but its main shopping district is a few streets above on Church Street. There is almost always something happening in this broad, car-free space lined by shops and restaurants. Crowning the hill is the stately campus of the University of Vermont, which gives Burlington a young, hip vibe.
Don’t expect a big city, but do expect to find a high concentration of arts and cultural attractions, as well as plenty of active options for tourists to enjoy. Burlington has a large population of artists and high-quality craftspeople, whose works you’ll see in the many galleries and studios throughout the city and surrounding towns.
The Flynn Theater is a magnet for top national and international performers and music, and Burlington is home to the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, as well as music and theater groups at the university.
You’ll have no trouble finding things to do here with our handy list of top tourist attractions in Burlington.
See also: Where to Stay in Burlington
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.
1. Church Street Marketplace
Although it’s only four blocks long, Burlington’s Church Street packs plenty of action into its short length. The traffic-free street is wide enough to accommodate large gatherings of people for the many festivals and events throughout the year, as well as providing plenty of space for cafés and restaurants to spill onto the pavement, creating the air of an Italian piazza.
Overlooking the street from the upper end is the church it’s named for, the First Unitarian Universalist Church. Notice the granite line in the brick pavement, with stones engraved with cities around the world that lie close to the same longitudinal line.
Among the many shops that open onto Church Street is Frog Hollow Craft Center, known for its selection of the finest works of Vermont craftspeople. Permanent public art works include a life-sized statue of local jazz artist Big Joe Burrell; a sleek metal Fish Fountain; and a mural, Everyone Loves a Parade! by Canadian muralist Pierre Hardy.
Listed as a National Register Historic District, Church Street has also been named one of the Great Public Spaces in America.
Address: Church Street, Burlington, Vermont
Official site: www.churchstmarketplace.com
2. Lake Champlain Cruises
Lake Champlain stretches in a north-south line between Vermont and New York, with a small portion of the northern end in Canada. Its width varies from less than half a mile to 12 miles, and most of its waters are in Vermont. Spirit of Ethan Allen III offers sightseeing cruises on Lake Champlain with a narration on the Revolutionary War and other periods of the lake’s history.
Lake Champlain’s largest cruise ship, at 140 feet long, it can carry 363 passengers, and along with several daily sightseeing cruises in season, it offers lunch and dinner cruises, even occasional dance cruises.
Other boat excursions from Burlington’s downtown docks include daily sailing cruises and longer private charters on classic Friendship Sloops.
Ferries cross several times daily in the summer and fall, between Burlington and Port Kent, NY, offering beautiful views of the mountains and lake. The ferry crossing takes about an hour.
Address: Burlington Boat House, College Street, Burlington, Vermont
Official site: http://soea.com
3. ECHO Leahy Center
The ECHO Leahy Center, at the shore of the lake, features the natural history of the area, as well as the historical heritage of the Lake Champlain area. Permanent exhibits, many of them interactive, appeal to all ages as they explore the depths of the lake, showcase 15 frog species from six continents (including the world’s most poisonous frog), and explore the geology of the Champlain Basin and the people who have lived in the region throughout history.
Kids can see themselves on TV at the Be a Watershed Weather Reporter studio, and young children have a hands-on discovery center all their own. The ECHO Leahy Center is one of the favorite things to do for families in Burlington.
The award-winning “green” building offers panoramic views of the Lake and Adirondack Mountains from its deck. Next to ECHO is the Lake Champlain Navy Memorial.
Address: 1 College Street, Burlington, Vermont
Official site: www.echovermont.org
4. Waterfront Park and Burlington Bike Path
A wide green swath of park with a bike path and promenade borders the lake shore, stretching some distance to the north and south of the town landing at the bottom of College Street. Near the docks, look for Vermont’s only All-America Display Garden, where the newest varieties of flowering ornamental plants bloom all summer.
Waterfront Park is popular for running, cycling, walking, picnicking, and for frequent festivals throughout the summer and fall.
Above the shore, Battery Park lies at the top of Battery Street, marking the site of the battery built there in 1812. From this position, U.S. artillery fought British ships on Lake Champlain in August of 1813.
5. Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
Much of Burlington’s packed music and performance calendar is thanks to the Flynn Center’s 1,411-seat auditorium. The Flynn is home to the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Youth Orchestra, the Vermont Stage Company, the Lyric Theatre, and the UVM Lane Series.
The variety is astonishing, and any season might bring programs as diverse as a Gospel choir, violinist Itzhak Perlman, Celtic Women, a classical ballet, a Broadway touring production of Hairspray, Bonnie Raitt, Al Franken, pre-Broadway musicals, a cirque acrobat troupe from Quebec, and Afro-pop superstar Angélique Kidjo.
Along with the Art Deco auditorium, a 180-seat cabaret space hosts more intimate performances. A gallery showcases the work of local artists.
Address: 153 Main Street, Burlington, Vermont
Official site: https://www.flynnvt.org/
6. South End Arts District
A former industrial zone along the lakeshore south of the center has morphed into one of Burlington’s liveliest art and dining scenes, filled with galleries, art spaces, and events. Your first stop should be the S.P.A.C.E Gallery, an art collective on Pine Street, where dozens of artists work and display their paintings, drawings, prints, collages, sculpture, photography, silver and stone jewelry, ceramics, and art in all media.
The S.P.A.C.E. Gallery holds monthly exhibits, with opening receptions during First Friday Art Walks, another feature of the South End Arts District. In September, and throughout the fall, the South End Art Hop in Space showcases more than 50 Vermont artists, providing the public a chance to purchase affordable works in all mediums directly from the artists. Look also for ArtsRiot, a music and restaurant hub in a converted warehouse.
Address: Pine Street, Burlington, Vermont
Official site: https://spacegalleryvt.com/
7. Shelburne Museum
On the outskirts of Burlington, this large, open-air museum gathers original buildings from different eras of Vermont’s past into a campus that doesn’t pretend to be a real village, but shows each house, barn, and shop with period furnishings and the activities of rural life in its time.
The 39 historic buildings, even the historic lake steamer SS Ticonderoga – hauled here by rail and restored, are either furnished or used as display settings for some exceptional collections of decorative arts, paintings, folk art, and Americana.
The grounds include a railroad depot; private car and locomotive; covered bridge; jail; print shop; apothecary; schoolhouse; country store; meeting house; lighthouse; and a round barn, one of the few to survive in New England.
The two-room log Settlers’ House shows Vermont life in the 1790s, with an open hearth fireplace, furnishings, and a vegetable garden. The reproduction barn houses demonstrations of early crafts and cooking.
Particularly outstanding among the collections are rare hatboxes, quilts, hooked rugs, costumes, decoys, tin and woodenware, 18th-century English furniture, and paintings. The latter represent not just American artists, but include the French Impressionists and even Rembrandt.