Are you searching for things to do in Burlington, Vermont? If yes, then you have stumbled upon the right travel guide! Burlington has a vast array of activities to participate in. So, whether you have a preference for outdoor or indoor options, or a mix of both, there is stuff to do for everyone. We have rounded up a few exciting experiences that you can add to your itinerary. To demonstrate, let’s proceed with our 37 best things to do in (and near) Burlington!
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Things To Do In Burlington, Vermont: Quick Facts
- The city of Burlington is Vermont’s largest city.
- Warmer months in Burington are from the end of May to mid-September.
- Burlington is a college town but has a multi-generational population.
- South Burlington was named the sixth-best place in the country to raise a family.
Things To Do In Burlington, Vermont: Travel Tip
Vermont is a state that experiences all 4 seasons; therefore, note that activities may vary based on the time of year.
37 Best Things To Do In Burlington Vermont
1. Cruise on Lake Champlain in Burlington Vermont
We had tons of memorable experiences while in Burlington. At the top of our list was a sunset cruise across Lake Champlain, courtesy of Whistling Man Schooner Co. It is without a doubt, one of the best places to see in Burlington. No words can aptly describe the experience, but we’ll use EXHILARATING for now. It was hands down our favorite sailing adventure to date!
Fun Fact: Lake Champlain is part of Vermont, New York in the US, and Quebec in Canada.
Additional Cruise Options
Cruise Lake Champlain and surround yourself with the beauty of the Champlain Valley aboard The Spirit of Ethan Allen Cruise. Cruise options include the following: a scenic narrated cruise, lunch on the lake, champagne on Lake Champlain, and a sunset cruise. Note that both indoor and outdoor cruise seating is available.
2. Hike the Burlington, Vermont Rock Point Trails
Rock Point —a 130-acre sanctuary in the heart of Burlington —has 2 miles of accessible walking and hiking trails. It is without a doubt a great place to experience some of the best things that Burlington has to offer.
We jumped at the opportunity to appreciate Burlington while on higher ground. We took in the sights and sounds of nature in its unadulterated state. Ours was a true appreciation of all the spectacular sites as we hiked to the scenic vista. Finally, our reward was the BREATHTAKING view of Lake Champlain within close sight, and the Adindoracks from afar. How could we not fall deeper in love with Burlington after this?
Tip: If you have time, take a short walk to the chapel within Rock Point.
3. Take a Rock Climbing Class
Learn how to rock climb safely with Petra Cliffs. They offer year-round rock and mountain climbing classes.
4. Enjoy a Burlington, Vermont Wine Tasting Experience
A visit to Burlington is incomplete without wine tasting! To that end, the first stop on our list was Shelburne Vineyard. It is known for crafting high-quality Vermont-grown wine. They implement strategic sustainable farming practices to grow their grapes, so you know your wine will be top-notch.
Shelburne Vineyard offers wine tasting flights, wine by the glass or bottle, together with delicious local cheese and charcuterie boards. At the end of your wine tasting session, you can buy bottles of Shelburne Wine to take home with you.
5. Wine and Dine at a Burlington, Vermont Wine Bar
Enjoy wine and tasty pairings at Dedalus. You can choose wine by style, country, region, or variety. All the wines are made by small growers and cooperatives, often producing parcels of wine less than 1K cases. Bottles of wine are also available for purchase at the on-site wine shop.
6. Explore Burlington, Vermont Local Breweries
For all lovers of beer, you will be pleased to learn that Burlington has tons of local breweries. The following are a few options to consider:
7. Go on a Sip of Burlington Brew Tour
Sign up for the Sip of Burlington Brew Tour and taste your way through Vermont’s world-class beers. Additionally, on this Burlington brew tour, you can enjoy a beer-focused meal at a local restaurant.
Get an insider’s perspective on the thriving craft beer scene then meet the owners and brewers behind Burlington’s most iconic pours. In summary, you will visit Burlington’s breweries worry-free with transportation, taste up to 15 locally produced beers and share the experience with a fun group of fellow beer lovers.
8. Go on a Burlington Bar Crawl Trivia & History Tour
Brews and Clues is an adult scavenger hunt that’s part Pub Crawl, part History Tour, and also part Trivia game. Tours are a mix of trivia, adventure, and beer. Participants can choose a location and invite friends to follow the clues, explore the city, and enjoy a few drinks.
9. Try Out Liquor Tasting
10. Check out Local Coffee Shops
Coffee lovers unite! There is no shortage of unique coffee shops in Burlington. The following are specialty coffee roasteries, coffee shops, and tasting bars that you can check out.
- Speeder & Earl’s Coffee
- Onyx Tonics Specialty Coffee
- Kru Coffee
- The Cosmic Grind Coffee Shop
- Tight Squeeze Coffee Shop
11. Bike along the Burlington Bike Path
Burlington is blessed with tons of bike paths and trails, many of which line the shores of Lake Champlain. Note that you can map your route here. We stuck to a paved path and cycled our way around the Burlington greenway.
Bike rentals are available at the following locations:
12. Relax at Local Burlington, Vermont State Parks
Waterfront Park has bike trails, walking trails, as well as places to stop and take in sights of Lake Champlain. Fun things to do here include the following: walking, cycling, or picnicking in the park’s gardens and colorful flower beds. During the summer Waterfront Park also hosts concerts and cultural events.
Additionally, take in scenic views and watch the sunset at South Burlington’s Overlook Park. Enjoy a picnic at North Beach Park. Take photos at the 40 feet stone Ethan Allen Tower at Ethan Allen Park. Finally, relax at Battery Park.
13. Visit ECHO Lake Aquarium, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain is located on Lake Champlain’s waterfront. It is an innovative science center and nature museum featuring marine life and more than 100 interactive exhibits.
14. Roam Burlington, Vermont on a Scavenger Hunt
The Burlington Scavenger Hunt: Burlington Beauty will take you to Burlington’s best landmarks, with natural beauty at every turn! Walk to all the best landmarks and hidden gems, answer trivia questions, as well as solve challenges.
15. Go on a Burlington Segway Tour
Explore more of Burlington on a one or two-hour Segway tour. You will be able to witness breathtaking views of the Adirondack Mountains twelve miles across Lake Champlain.
Note that the historical narrative, delivered by radio as you roll along, will take you from the birth of Burlington in 1783 to the present day.
16. Tour the University of Vermont campus
The University of Vermont is one of the oldest universities in the United States. As far as historic buildings go, it has stunning architecture unlike any other!
Explore the college street grounds and admire the beautiful old buildings that are over a century old. Additionally, you can tour the famous art museum- Fleming Museum of Art and the Royall Tyler Theater while on campus.
17. Catch a Show at Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts is a renowned, world-class performing arts center that hosts concerts and shows.
18. Check Out the Burlington,Vermont Earth Clock
Located at Oakledge Park and Beach, the Burlington Earth Clock is a 43-foot-wide sundial made of slabs of granite from local quarries. When you position yourself in the middle of the clock, the slabs in front of you represent where the sun sets during equinoxes and solstices.
19. Check Out The World’s Tallest Flying Cabinet
The World’s Tallest Flying Cabinet is made up of 38 drawers and makes for a great photo op. It’s unquestionably one of the most unique things to do in Burlington, Vermont!
20. Shop at Burlington Farmers Market
Set up in the central City Hall Park, the summer Burlington Farmers Market is open seasonally. Note that the market is only available on Saturday mornings, from May to October.
Almost everything for sale is homegrown/produced by Vermont farmers. In addition to fresh local food and local produce, you can also find cheeses, maple syrup, baked goods, and crafts.
21. Explore Church Street Marketplace
Church Street Marketplace is Burlington’s main street. It is set over four blocks of cobblestone streets in downtown Burlington. The marketplace is closed off to car traffic and is lined with a wide variety of shopping and also an assortment of dining experiences.
Expect to see street performers, specialty stores and so much more! Note that all the Church Street sights are within a walking distance of each other. Exploring this space is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Burlington, Vermont.
22. Grab Ice Cream at Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop
Enjoy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the city where its story began. Located at the famous Church Street Marketplace, the downtown Burlington Ben & Jerry’s location is an ode to the origins of the ice cream company.
Grabbing ice cream at Ben& Jerry’s was unquestionably one of our favorite things to do in Burlington!
23. Experience the Arts at Burlington City Arts Center (BCA)
Burlington has a thriving arts scene by local artists. Burlington City Arts Center has an art gallery dedicated to showcasing contemporary art as well as providing art-based education and experiences.
24. Get your laugh on at the Burlington Vermont Comedy Club
Catch a comedy show at the Vermont Comedy Club. Note that it is known nationally as one of the best in the country, attracting top comedy talent.
25. Explore the Burlington, Vermont Island Line Trail
Start your journey at Oakledge Park, and explore the 13.4-mile Island Line Rail Trail. You can bike, inline skate, or just walk along the trail. Take Local Motion’s Island Line Bike Ferry to cross “the Cut”, a 200-foot gap in the causeway and then continue on your way.
Additionally, you can take the bike ferry to the nearby South Hero and then bike at Grand Isle state park.
26. Go Paddle Boarding at North Beach
North Beach is the largest beach in Burlington. During the summer months, you can rent kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. Other amenities include (but are not limited to) BBQ grills, bike path accessibility, and a full campground. North Beach offers great views of the Burlington waterfront.
Fun fact: Note that North Beach is the only beach in Burlington that has active lifeguards in summer.
27. Indulge your sweet tooth
Indulge your sweet tooth at Lake Champlain Chocolates where they source especially fresh, local ingredients to create gourmet specialty chocolates.
28. Explore Shelburne Museum and Shelburne Farms
29. Visit Ethan Allen Homestead Museum
Ethan Allen was a notable Vermont icon. To that end, book a tour of the Ethan Allen Homestead, which is a national historical landmark.
30. Enjoy Live Music in Burlington, Vermont
31. Tour the Vermont Teddy Bear Company Factory
Vermont Teddy Bear Company is the largest producer and seller of hand-crafted, customizable teddy bears. Consider purchasing your own personalized teddy bear after touring the factory.
32. Appreciate a Burlington Fine Dining Experience
Host your special events, special occasions, or just-because get-togethers at Bistro de Margot. It is one of Burlington’s most notable fine dining restaurants.
Similarly, check out our detailed Burlington, Vermont Travel Guide for more restaurant recommendations.
33. Attend a Block Party
34. Tour Historic Buildings
Without a doubt, Burlington is a city that’s rich in history. Explore the Pearl Street Historic District, which runs from Clark Street through Pearl Street onto Willard Street.
Fun fact: the Hilton Garden Inn Burlington downtown hotel was formerly the historic Armory Building.
35. Tour the South End Arts District
36. Take a Day Trip To Nearby Destinations
Explore more of Vermont by taking a day trip. Specifically, travel from Burlington to the Green Mountains or Stowe Mountain Resort. Find car rental deals here.
37. Relax at Burlington, Vermont Beaches
38. Embark on a Smart Phone- Guided Walking Tour
Learn insider stories and facts about Burlington on a smartphone-guided walking tour of the city’s local sights as well as tourist attractions.
Best Things To Do In Burlington Vermont Conclusion
Burlington Vermont is a fun place that is definitely worth visiting. It is without a doubt the perfect place to enjoy the northern New England outdoors, Vermont’s rich history, and more. To that end, you can experience Burlington as a local and/or stick to the tourist attractions. The possibilities are limitless!
For us, summer was the best time to visit Burlington Vermont, since we are cold weather averse. However, we have heard that winter in Burlington is equally spectacular. We will definitely consider a future winter getaway to Burlington, as we had a great time overall during our summer trip.
In summation, it is our hope that this travel guide will help you identify activities that you will find exciting to engage in while in Burlington. With this in mind, be sure to explore, live in the moment, rinse and repeat. Burlington, Vermont is well worth the experience!
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For more detailed Burlington, Vermont content, check out our Ultimate Burlington, Vermont Travel Guide here.
Now, go forth and explore!