Only have 24 hours in Burlington, Vermont? Here’s how to make it count. With endless options for things to do, there’s something for everyone to love.
A vibrant city with prime access to the great outdoors, Burlington boasts the best of both worlds. The bustling downtown offers local shops, farm-to-table dining, and some of the best people watching. Just beyond the city, the perfect outdoor playground awaits. Its crown jewels are the surrounding Green Mountains, the looming Adirondack Mountains, and the shimmering waters of Lake Champlain.
If you’re planning a quick getaway, discover my favorite essential things to do with 24 hours in eclectic Burlington, Vermont.
Start your day off right at The Skinny Pancake.
Steps from the Burlington waterfront, The Skinny Pancake serves up creative crêpes and delectable brunch with a focus on fresh, local ingredients. Craving something sweet? Try the Hot Apple Crumble with warm, spiced VT apple compote and homemade granola topped with whipped cream. In the mood for something savory? Don’t miss The Garfield, which pays homage to the cartoon cat’s favorite meal: lasagna! Although busy on the weekend, the line to order at the counter moves quickly and seating turns over often.
Go for a bike ride along the Colchester Causeway.
Burlington is an extremely bike-friendly city. Bike lanes crisscross downtown and numerous dormant rail lines have been transformed into four-season recreation trails. Rent a cruiser from Local Motion, conveniently located beside the Island Line Trail. Follow Burlington’s waterfront and head out along Colchester Causeway three miles into the middle of Lake Champlain. Here, you’ll catch spectacular 360 degree views of the water and rolling mountains. Riding out and back to the “the Cut,” a 200-foot gap in the causeway, is about 20 miles and takes just over 2 hours. If you’re feeling more ambitious, try the Triple Ferry Loop, a 40-mile circuit that offers the best of both land and water. Be sure to stop along the way for a creemee, Vermont’s delectable take on soft serve.
Take in the sights at the Church Street Marketplace.
A lively open-air mall in the heart of Burlington’s downtown district, Church Street Marketplace is the city’s social hub and home to more than a hundred shops and restaurants. Pop into Vermont Flannel Company to get locally outfitted, grab a snack at a Maudite Poutine Cart, indulge your sweet tooth at Lake Champlain Chocolates, and don’t miss Ben & Jerry’s. Burlington is its birthplace after all! Spend the afternoon at one of the many open-air cafes and restaurants, the perfect perch for people-watching. Home to an eclectic mix of college students and families, artists, and scholars, eclectic Burlington offers some of the best.
Nowhere is the emphasis on local more evident than Burlington. On Saturdays, stop by the Farmer’s Market at City Hall Park to pick up fresh cheese, organic produce, and unique gifts by local artisans.
Tour breweries and cideries.
It may not come as a surprise that Vermont has more craft breweries per capita than any other state. Tour the best of Burlington, starting with Switchback Brewery in the South End. Nearby at Citizen Cider, sample unique flavors like the Companion, a limited batch sour cherry cider, or try a cider cocktail, like the Pearse (pronounced pear-say) with elderflower, pear juice, and Brosé. Finally, make your way to Foam Brewers along the waterfront. Grab a snack at one of the food trucks and enjoy the laid-back vibe on either of the two outdoor beer gardens.
While in Vermont, be sure to pop into grocery stores to hunt for Alchemist’s elusive Heady Topper (or make a side trip out to its brewery near Stowe). One of the highest-rated beers with a cult-like following, its limited production is only available in Vermont and sells out within minutes of hitting shelves.
End the day with a sunset cruise on Lake Champlain.
Burlington offers some of the best sunsets, and there’s no better way to enjoy it than from the water. Catch a two and a half hour evening cruise aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen. Enjoy stunning views of the sun setting over the lake while sipping on delicious cocktails (the Tequila Sunset is a must-have). It’s an unforgettable way to toast to your well-spent day in Burlington!
The possibilities are endless—what are some of your top things to do in Burlington, VT?