Looking for the best things to do in Burlington Vermont? We got you covered! Sitting on the shores of Lake Champlain is one of the most beautiful places to visit in New England. Burlington VT may be considered a city, but is full of amazing outdoor adventures and activities. As soon as you step foot on Church Street you’ll love the small-town feel and vibe of the Green Mountains.
20 Best Things to do in Burlington Vermont
1. Explore Church Street
Church Street is the center of life and home to some of the best things to do in Burlington Vermont. Here you’ll find unique shops, tasty restaurants, live music, and plenty of interesting characters.
It honestly be hard to visit without spending a couple hours here. There’s no better way to start your time in Burlington than to take a walk down Church Street!
2. Go to Ben and Jerry’s
While exploring Church Street you have to visit the world-famous ice cream shop! First opening at a gas station in 1978 on nearby College Street, this now Vermont landmark quickly caught on around the United States.
These days you can find Ben and Jerry’s in over 35 countries around the world! One of the most fun things to do in Burlington Vermont is to grab a cone on Church Street and see where it all started.
3. Stroll the Burlington Vermont Waterfront
Just a short walk away from Church Street is the gorgeous Lake Champlain. While many of the best Burlington Vermont activities are done on the lake, simply strolling along the Burlington waterfront is fun in itself!
The paved path along the water is the perfect place to walk and get some exercise. The views out over the lake will even give you a glimpse of the Adirondack mountains of New York.
4. Hit the Burlington VT Beaches
There are so many fun things to do in Burlington Vermont, and in the summertime that means a trip to the beach! You may not think lakes have nice beaches, but that will change once you have a swim in Lake Champlain. Below we break down the 5 most popular beaches in Burlington from North to South.
Starr Farm Beach: The furthest to the north and accessible from the bike path. A small collection of different beaches and never crowded.
Leddy Beach: Leddy is a beautiful beach just steps from Burlington’s North End. You’ll also find a grass picnic area, tennis courts, and even an ice rink!
North Beach: The most popular of the Burlington beaches especially with students from University of Vermont. Expect North Beach to be packed on a hot summer day with plenty of partying.
Texaco Beach: The only dog beach and one of our favorite in Burlington VT! An afternoon at Texaco is a must with your furry friends.
Blanchard Beach: Located right next to Oakledge Park, this beach is a great place to hang out South of downtown Burlington. In the summer there is a spot with stand-up paddleboards available for rent.
5. Enjoy Water Sports at Burlington Surf Club
Speaking of paddleboarding, you can get all that and more at the Burlington Surf Club. For just $20 you can have use of kayaks, canoes, sailboats, windsurfing, and paddleboards for the entire day.
The surf club is within walking distance from downtown and they even offer lessons and tours! If you live in Burlington we would also recommend looking into the yearly pass.
6. Ride the Burlington VT Greenway
The Burlington Greenway is a paved bike and walking path that stretches 8 miles along Lake Champlain. It goes by downtown, along the beaches, and through the forest. The official start of the Greenway is just south of Oakledge Park and goes all the way to the Winooski River.
You can even continue on all the way to Grand Isle if you’d like. Riding the path on a bicycle is easily one of the best things to do in Burlington VT, and honestly all of New England.
7. Cruise on the Spirit of Ethan Allen
Another great way to get out on the water is by taking the Spirit of Ethan Allen ferry. Yet, you should know this isn’t your average boat cruise!
The Spirit of Ethan Allen offers trips ranging from narrated historic tours to dinner cruises, music, and comedy shows. So whatever you’re looking for in a cruise on Lake Champlain, you’re sure to find it with the Spirit of Ethan Allen.
8. Sample Local & International Foods
When searching for what to do in Burlington Vermont you’ve surely thought of the local foods. I mean who would really come without sampling maple syrup, cheese, and other VT goodies??
Still, what you may not know is how many great options Burlington has for international food. The diverse community has everything from Mexican tacos to Chinese dumplings, and more. Below you’ll find some of our favorite international restaurants in Burlington.
- Hong’s Dumplings
- Taco Gordo
- Istanbul Kebab House
- Skinny Pancake
- Leunig’s Bistro
- Pho Hong
9. Stop Into the Saturday Farmer’s Market
Every Saturday on Pine Street you’ll find one of the best things to do in Burlington Vermont! The Farmer’s Market puts artisan crafts, food stands, and trinkets on full display.
From spring to fall, you can find some of the best local products from all around Vermont at the Farmer’s Market. Definitely make a point to go if you’re in Burlington VT on a Saturday from 9am to 2pm.
10. Drink at a Craft Beer Brewery
Burlington is known for its great craft breweries and there’s no shortage of them around the state! You can find breweries all across town, some even within walking distance of each other.
Swing by and try an assortment of IPA’s, Stouts, and other blends, each with their own distinct taste. Vermont does so many things well, and beer is definitely one of them.
- Zero Gravity
- Queen City
- Magic Hat
- Foam Brewers
11. Learn at ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
ECHO is an interactive science and nature museum right on the waterfront of Burlington. It features different exhibits and over 2,000 fish and reptiles are on display at the aquarium! The Echo Center is one of the best things to do in Burlington Vermont for families and children.
12. Catch a Show at Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
The Flynn is a legendary theatre in the heart of downtown. Burlington is known for its fantastic art scene and the Flynn is at the center of it all!
First opening in 1930, the theatre has been attracting visitors for almost 100 years. If you’re visiting while there is a play going on definitely grab some tickets.
13. Hunt for Burlington Vermont Street Art
Everywhere you go in Burlington you’ll experience amazing art. Yet, you don’t have to go to a museum to see it! All around town the walls are covered in colorful murals, mostly done by local artists.
Keep your eyes opened especially in area surrounding Church Street Marketplace. Of course, if you have time you could also check out the the Fleming Museum of Art. Just know that there is plenty to see in and around town.
14. Take in the Views at Battery Park
High on the hill above Lake Champlain sits beautiful Battery Park. This small grassy area has a special history and also amazing views of the Adirondack Mountains.
Monuments inside the park pay tribute to both the military and Native Americans. It also plays host to a series of concerts, which are one of the most fun things to do in Burlington Vermont in the summer!
15. See the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet
Okay… We know what you’re thinking. Who cares about the world’s tallest filing cabinet?! Well, this rusty piece of architecture is 38 drawers high and has been standing here since 2002.
When we first got there we were expecting to see a giant pile of debris, but they were actually stacked straight to the sky. We wouldn’t call this a must-see by any means. However, if you’re in the area between Pine and Foster Street stop in for a unique experience.
16. Eat Lake Champlain Chocolates
Ready for something sweet? Lake Champlain Chocolates are known for having some of the best in New England. There are multiple locations in Burlington, but you can find a storefront right on Church Street.
17. Day Trip to Shelburne Museum
Just a short drive from Burlington is one of the greatest museums in Vermont! The Shelburne Museum combines New England’s history with amazing architecture from the past.
Some of our favorite exhibits were the stagecoaches, the Colchester Reef Lighthouse, and the Ticonderoga Steamboat. Yes, you heard that right! They have an actual steamboat from the early 20th century on site.
Shelburne farms is just next door and one of the best places for a walk in nature.
18. Go For a Hike Around Burlington VT
There are plenty of incredible hikes around Burlington to enjoy. They range from all-day hikes to short one-hour climbs up Mount Philo. What makes Burlington such a great place to visit is the outdoor activities in the surrounding areas.
Take advantage and hit one of the many hikes or walking trails around the lake. The two most challenging would be Mount Mansfield or Camels Hump. For an easier hike check out Mount Philo which is only a 20-minute drive from Burlington.
19. Night Out in Downtown Burlington Vermont
Once all your daytime Burlington Vermont activities are through, it’s time to go out for a night on the town! After the sun goes down is one of the most fun times to be in Burlington. Aside from the epic brewery scene, there are a number of fun cocktail bars and cafes to enjoy.
Red Square is a lively spot for dancing, but you’ll find other low-key bars like the Whiskey Room and the Gryphon for a change of pace. Also, Manhattan Pizza & Pub is the perfect place for a pint and late night slice.
20. Visit the New North End
This revitalized area of Burlington features delicious restaurants and a unique art scene. It’s come a long way in the last 10 years and has seen an influx of college students and young adults.
It also has access to the bike path and the beaches just outside of downtown. Be sure not to leave the North End out when looking for the best things to do in Burlington Vermont.
Have any questions on this article or want to share your own favorite things to do in Burlington VT? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where to Stay in Burlington Vermont
Fun Vacation – Hotel Vermont Burlington – This rustic yet modern hotel is in the heart of downtown Burlington. Enjoy a stay close to Church Street, Lake Champlain, and all the great Vermont outdoor activities.
Lake View – Courtyard Burlington Harbor – This gorgeous Marriot is located perfectly on Cherry Street in between downtown and the lake. Take in the views of Lake Champlain, eat at the onsite restaurant, and relax by the pool during summer.
Great Location – Hilton Garden Inn Burlington Downtown – Spacious rooms and close to all the best things to do in Burlington Vermont. Also, amazing lake and mountain views!
Suites – Green Mountain Suites Hotel – Green Mountain Suites is a relaxing boutique inn situated just outside the city. Experience the Vermont country life while still being just a few minutes drive from downtown, and all the great Burlington Vt activities.
For more places to stay in Burlington VT you can explore the latest prices here!
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