Things To Do In Burlington - Vermont's Favorite City
As far as American cities go – and even New England cities – Burlington in Vermont is small. At 40,000 you could consider it a large town, and it has that feel, and people like it that way.
Located on the northeastern shore of Lake Champlain, it is surrounded by mountains – Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east and New York’s Adirondack’s to the west. The sunsets can be spectacular, and it achieves consistent top honors as one of America’s most livable cites. While Montpelier is Vermont’s capital city, Burlington is its commercial hub and largest city.
Once a flourishing lumber port it is now known for its rural beauty, colleges, history, culture, and commerce and shopping. And of course, once the winter releases its grip, it provides plentiful outdoor and recreational activities on what the locals dub as the Sixth Great Lake – Lake Champlain.
Here we’ll explore seven attractions in the city and area and invite you to find your own reasons to spend time in this oasis of the north.
ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center:
The Lake Champlain basin has undergone many geological and ecological changes in its history. The ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science center has the scoop, and presents it in a way that entertaining and informative for the whole family.
Children can discover all about science in open-play scenarios in the Champ Lane exhibit and experience in the Before the Basin exhibit the events that shaped the region from a place where whales once swam to where cows now roam. The Land of Opportunity exhibit focus on the relationship between people and nature. Explore a life-sized recreation of The General Butler in the Into The Lake exhibit, and try out the augmented reality watershed shaper and take a virtual tour of the 120 mile lake shore.
More about: echovermont.org
TA Reviews: Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center
Lake Champlain Chocolates:
Lake Champlain chocolates are famous across the nation but made in only one place – on the shores of Lake Champlain in Burlington.
Conceived to create extraordinary truffles with the finest Vermont natural ingredients for wholesale markets, individuals soon discovered the factory and wanted to purchase them directly. Today the factory employs around 100 and has a full compliment of confection.
Free tours (and tasting) are offered weekdays between 10 am and 2 pm.
More about: lakechamplainchocolates.com
Church Street Marketplace:
The Church Street Marketplace is Burlington’s open-air mall, and despite the harsh winters it remains open for most of the year. The pedestrian-only marketplace provides the city with one of the most unique destinations in the state. Located close to the waterfront in the downtown area it’s a shoppers – and diners – delight. In addition to specialty retailers you’ll find plenty of street cart vendors – this is how Vermont Teddy Bears got its start – along with over two dozen cafés and restaurants and food vendors to keep your energy going.
The Marketplace is also host to more than 150 street entertainers each year, ranging from singers, musicians, jugglers and magicians.
More about: churchstmarketplace.com
TA Reviews: Church Street Marketplace
Green Mountain Railroad:
The Green Mountain Railroad runs trips out of its three locations in Vermont – Burlington, White River Junction and Bellows Falls. Special trips include diner and entertainment trains, and of course fall foliage rail rides. The rides offer a relaxing way to experience the valley countryside surrounding Burlington. Green Mountain Railroad took over the trains and tourist schedule in 1984 after it looked like excursion train service for visitors to Vermont would be abandoned altogether.
More about: rails-vt.com
TA Reviews: Green Mountain Rail Road
Ethan Allen Homestead:
Ethan Allen moved to Vermont two years before his death in 1787 where he farmed on his 1400-acre estate. Ethan Allen died in the very house called his homestead today at the age of 52 after a trip across the ice to one of the islands on the Lake to feed his livestock. Allen is best remembered as a hero to the American cause, a constant harassment to the British, and is considered one of the founders of Vermont. The museum is open and offers tours May through October between 10am-4pm most days. The Homestead provides an interesting slice of life of 18th Century Vermont along with an intimate look into one of America’s most controversial characters.
More about: ethanallenhomestead.org
TA Reviews: Ethan Allen Homestead
Robert Hull Fleming Museum:
The Robert Hull Fleming Museum is located on the campus of the University of Vermont in Burlington and the formation of the current structure came in 1929 when the niece of former Vermont student Robert Hull Fleming donated a large sum to be used in memory of her uncle. Today the museum includes a comprehensive collection 25,000 artifacts of art and anthropology from many different cultures including ancient Egypt, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Both permanent and special exhibits are presented by the museum each year. The museum is open to coincide with the University terms and so in July and August it is closed along with school recesses.
More about: flemingmuseum.org
TA Reviews: Robert Hull Fleming Museum
Lake Champlain Cruise:
Lake Champlain is a popular recreational destination for many locals and visitors. Formed thousands of years ago by a glacial plug, it has provided its many inhabitants with travel, commerce, food and now outdoor adventure.
The lake is the largest in America after the five Great Lakes.
Cruising on the lake is a popular pastime and the company operates out of Burlington offering tours of the lake.
The Spirit of Ethan Allen III operates out of the Burlington Boathouse on College Street. This is a 363 passenger cruise ship and is advertised as Vermont’s largest floating restaurant and cruise ship, and there are certainly many food options onboard. Among the many offerings is a 90 minute narrated scenic tour, weddings, brunch, lunch and dinner. Also, there’s an interactive murder mystery weekly. The ship operates from May until October.
More about: soea.com
TA Review: Spirit of Ethan Allen cruise