Sitting on the eastern shore of the historic Lake Champlain and nestled in the majestic Green Mountains, Burlington, VT is nothing short of a breathtaking scene. The city is where country vibe and city vibe meet—it’s equal parts crunchy hippie and cultural hipster—making it a fun, unique, natural and interesting way to spend a few days.
Take the relaxing route and enjoy the spectacular scenery on the Spirit of Ethan Allen boat cruise around the lake. The cruise is an hour and a half long guided tour on the water covering the history of Lake Champlain, the city and its inhabitants as well as a prime location for sightings of “Champ,” the local lake monster. Stroll around the Shelburne Museum, about seven miles south of the city center, known as one of the nation’s most diverse and unconventional museums of art, design and Americana. Located on 45 acres of land, there are 39 historic exhibition buildings, many of which are historically significant. The Shelburne is home to masterpieces by Impressionists Monet, Cassatt, Manet and Degas as well as more than four hundred 18th to 20th century artifacts.
If you want to explore the more adventuresome side of Burlington, the city also offers copious physically challenging activities such as biking on Burlington’s charming 20 mile bike path around the shore of Lake Champlain. The Burlington bike path offers dozens of rest spots at beaches and scenic points to help you catch your breath on the way. Don’t have your own bike? That’s okay, there are plenty of bike shops right in town such as Local Motion and the Skirack where inexpensive bike rentals are available.
The historic Church Street Marketplace is an unavoidable must-see. It is the happening spot, featuring the majority of the city’s restaurants, shops, bars and events. Street performers are never sparse on Church Street and neither is its lively vibe. One of the best restaurants not located on Church Street (but it does have a vending cart there) is the Skinny Pancake, a local crêpery located on the waterfront with outdoor patio seating.
Church Street Marketplace (802) 863-1648 churchstmarketplace.com
Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center (802) 864-1848 echovermont.org
The Essex Culinary Resort and Spa (802) 878-1100 vtculinaryresort.com
Higher Ground (802) 652-0777 highergroundmusic.com
Local Motion (802) 652-2453 localmotion.org
Northern Lights Adventure Center (802) 316-3300 northernlightsvt.com/nlri/
Shelburne Museum (802) 985-3346 shelburnemuseum.org
The Ski Rack (802) 658-3313 skirack.com
Spirit of Ethan Allen (802) 862-8300 soea.com