Best Things To Do In Burlington

Updated at : 03 Apr, 2024

The Church Street Marketplace? It’s a must-visit, with its multitude of shops, cafés, and occasional street performances. And if you’re into craft beer, you’re in for a delight. Burlington’s breweries are top-notch, each offering its unique spin on classic and innovative beverages.

In this guide, I’ve broken down the finest of Burlington, VT. Whether you’re here for a weekend or planning an extended stay, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained and returning back for more. To help you make the most out of your next excursion, here are my top 12 things to see and do in Burlington.

Best Places to Visit in Burlington

Ready to plunge into all the trendiest things to do in Burlington? As indicated above, there’s something for everyone at this charming vacation destination in Vermont. So keep reading to discover all these unique Burlington sites to visit.

Are you seeking to explore the vibrant arts scene, appreciate farm-to-table dining, and savor locally crafted beverages? Or would you prefer to go hiking, cycling, and do water activities on Lake Champlain? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Burlington can accommodate your demands. Here’s all the finest attractions in Burlington that you should know about.

1. Church Street Marketplace

The center of Burlington’s downtown, Church Street Marketplace is more than just a retail destination. It’s a vibrant pedestrian zone crowded with stores, restaurants, eateries, and street performers. Whether you’re searching for a unique Vermont-made souvenir, desiring a local dish, or simply keen on people-watching, this marketplace has got you covered.

Among the finest things to do in Burlington, spending an afternoon here is a must. The four-block area is lined with historic structures, each hosting a blend of local boutiques and national retailers. Foodies will appreciate the diverse culinary options, from farm-to-table restaurants to fast refreshment kiosks. And if you’re visiting during the milder months, the outdoor terraces are ideal for savoring a meal or drink. You can imbibe in the city’s vibrant atmosphere while you dine.

2. Waterfront Park

Vancouver Waterfront Park -The City of Vancouver, WA

Located on the shores of Lake Champlain, Waterfront Park is a center of activity in Burlington. It’s a favored location for both locals and visitors, offering a variety of recreational opportunities and events throughout the year. The park’s expansive verdant spaces are ideal for picnicking, while the well-maintained paths are popular for jogging and leisurely strolls.

One of the highlights here is the Burlington Bike Path. It’s a scenic route that offers breathtaking views of the Adirondacks and the lake. Rent a bike or take a leisurely walk, and you’ll understand why it’s a top attraction in the city. If you’re more into maritime activities, there are options for kayaking and paddleboarding, with rentals available nearby.

3. ECHO Leahy Center

Situated close to Waterfront Park, the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain is a captivating destination for visitors of all ages. This innovative science and nature museum explores deep into the ecology, culture, and history of the Lake Champlain Basin. With over 100 interactive exhibits, it offers hands-on learning experiences that captivate both kids and adults.

From aquariums displaying native species to exhibits on the geological formation of the region, there’s a wealth of information to assimilate. The institute also emphasizes the importance of conservation. It educates visitors on the measures being taken to preserve the lake’s ecosystem and how they can contribute.

4. Burlington Bike Path

Stretching for over eight miles along the city’s waterfront, the Burlington Bike Path is a favorite among locals and tourists equally. Originally constructed on abandoned railway tracks, this paved path offers a pleasant ride. It affords panoramic vistas of Lake Champlain and the distant Adirondack Mountains.

Starting from Oakledge Park in the south, the path extends to the Winooski River in the north. It takes motorcyclists through various parks, coastlines, and natural reserves. Along the journey, there are plenty of locations to halt. You can take a photo of the scenic vistas or snag a nibble from one of the seasonal sustenance vendors.

5. Shelburne Museum

Located just a short journey from downtown Burlington, the Shelburne Museum is an extensive complex. It offers a thorough dive into American art, design, and history. Spread across 45 acres, the museum comprises 39 distinct structures, including historic homes, stables, and galleries, each harboring a distinctive collection.

From folk art and impressionist paintings to vintage carriages and a steamboat, the museum’s exhibits are diverse and extensive. The Ticonderoga, a 220-foot steamboat, is one of the museum’s outstanding attractions. Anchored on dry land, this National Historic Landmark offers a glimpse into the maritime history of Lake Champlain.

6. Magic Hat Brewing Company

Magic Hat Brewing Company is shifting all production to Genesee Brewing  Company | RochesterFirst

Dive into the realm of craft beer at the Magic Hat Brewing Company, one of Burlington’s pioneering breweries. Located a bit south of the city center, this brewery has been stretching the boundaries of beer-making since its inception in the ’90s. It has garnered a reputation for its unusual flavors and eccentric approach to fermentation.

Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the Artifactory, the brewery’s on-site production facility. Here, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the fermentation process, from the selection of ingredients to the final bottling. The tour is both informative and interactive, with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and learn from the knowledgeable staff.

7. Fleming Museum of Art

When contemplating Burlington things to do, the Fleming Museum of Art often leads the list for art enthusiasts and history aficionados. Located on the University of Vermont campus, this museum features an impressive collection. It has over 25,000 objects from numerous cultures and time periods.

The museum’s exhibits encompass the globe, from ancient Egyptian antiquities and Asian ceramics to African tribal masks and European paintings. Each gallery offers a unique voyage through time and space, allowing visitors to investigate the artistic manifestations of diverse civilizations.

8. Battery Park

Overlooking Lake Champlain, Battery Park is a historic green space that offers both relaxation and an insight into Burlington’s past. The park takes its moniker from the military batteries that were once stationed here during the War of 1812. A visit will reveal remnants of this bygone era, including ancient cannons.

Today, the park is a favored location for many. Its elevated position offers panoramic views of the lake and the Adirondack Mountains beyond. The park is an excellent location for an unhurried saunter, a picnic, or simply resting on a bench and observing the world go by.

9. Burlington Farmers’ Market

Burlington Farmers Market moves to Pine Street - what you need to know

A pillar in the community since the early 1980s, the Burlington Farmers’ Market is a vibrant gathering place. It showcases the finest of Vermont’s local produce and artisanal products. Held every Saturday, rain or shine, the market transforms City Hall Park into a vibrant hive of activity.

Stroll through the market, and you’ll be greeted with a diverse array of stalls. They offer everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to handcrafted crafts and delectable cuisines. Local farmers proudly display their organic produce, while artisans showcase their crafts, from pottery to handwoven textiles.

10. North Beach Park

Just a short journey from downtown Burlington, North Beach Park offers a revitalizing retreat with its sandy shores and clear waters. As Lake Champlain’s premier urban shoreline, it’s a popular location. Both residents and visitors throng here to experience a day of sun and relaxation.

Among the finest things to do in Burlington, taking a plunge in the lake at North Beach is a favorite. The park features well-maintained facilities, including lifeguard services, restrooms, and a refreshment bar dishing up summer favorites. For those who prefer remaining active, there are volleyball courts and kayak rentals available, ensuring a fun-filled day for everyone.