Every time I visited Vermont, when I was younger, for some reason, we always bypassed Burlington. No idea what the reasoning behind it was. But regardless, I finally made it, and with my family. So it was an extra bonus for me to share it with them. So we spend 48h in this city and here you have the best things to do in Burlington, Vermont.
Burlington is a tiny city of around 25,000 inhabitants. It is also home to one of the oldest universities in the US – University of Vermont. Almost everything there is to do is right off of Main St and Church Street Marketplace.
If you are staying anywhere off of these streets, you won’t need to go much further.
Main Street also brings you directly to Lake Champlain and the waterfront area, which is also teeming with restaurants, cafes and a great boardwalk.
It’s easy to get around Burlington simply by walking. From the University of Vermont to the waterfront is about two miles with shops, restaurants, cafes, and plenty of places to stop and enjoy small parks and benches.
Burlington is said to be #2 for best bike city in the US, with Portland Oregon being #1. Since I haven’t been to Portland I can’t say if that is true. However, I have been to many other cities in the US that say they are biker-friendly and nothing compares to Burlington.
Not only are there tons of bike routes and complete respect for bikers. The actual bike road takes you all the way to Canada. Since you can’t really do 48 hours to Canada and back, you can enjoy the causeway going to the islands that are on the other side of Lake Champlain.
Things To Do in Burlington, Vermont (in 48 hours)
Lodging – when you first arrive, settle into your hotel room and get acquainted with the area. It is highly recommended to stay right on Main Street or Church Street area. This way you won’t need to have a car to get around.
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn right on Main Street
The first day should simply be to enjoy the city and the waterfront. There is always something going on to keep you busy.
get out and start walking. Church Street is designed just for that. It’s a pedestrian mall like area. But there are also great little parks to sit in and enjoy the fresh air.
Lake Champlain is absolutely gorgeous. You can either take in the view or enjoy sipping drinks at one of the numerous restaurants.
The second day should be a leisure breakfast at any of the delicious restaurants and cafes.
This should be the majority of your day. You can rent a bike and get on the bike route going towards the islands.
The route to the bike ferry which will help you cross Lake Champlain over to the Islands is about 10 miles in each direction. Once you get to the other side, head over to Allenholm Farms where they have fresh and local food for lunch. It’s a perfect place to take a long break. They also have a petting farm and the best maple creamies (soft ice cream) you can taste.
This whole ride, depending on your level and speed can take anywhere between 3-5 hours. By the time you are back to your hotel it’s time for dinner.
Here’s our full bike rental tour of Burlington
Fun Facts About Burlington
- It dates back to 1798 when Joseph Brant received a grant of 3,450 acres from the Crown.
- It became a city in January 1974.
- The city of Burlington is Vermont’s largest city.
- In 1978 the ice cream enterprise Ben & Jerry’s was founded in Burlington in a renovated gas station.
- In the late Seventies, several blocks of the main business district were converted to a pedestrian mall it is now called Church Street Marketplace.
- In 2007, the city was named one of the top four “places to watch” in the United States by the American Association of Retired Persons.
- It is located between mountains and next to Lake Champlain.
- Spring and summer are the best time to visit due to the amount of festivals and outdoor activities available.
- More than 200 housing units in the King Street Neighborhood Historic District have been rehabilitated in recent years.
- At the top of the hill is the University Green Historic District, the home of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College. It was founded in 1791 and was the nation’s first state AC and one of its oldest medical schools.