Burlington (Vermont)

Church Street Marketplace

Burlington is the largest city in the American state of Vermont, with a population of over 40,000. Situated on Lake Champlain, it is the heart of a small urban area that acts as Vermont's vibrant and cosmopolitan center. Known for its ultra-liberal environment (for an American town at least) and free-thinking spirit, Burlington is both a college town and an important commercial city, while maintaining an intimate atmosphere. It is relatively well connected to Montreal, Quebec, Canada to the north, Plattsburgh, New York to the west.


Burlington is known outside of Vermont mostly as the place where Ben&Jerry's ice-cream originated. Political experts might also know that long time independent and self described "democratic socialist" Bernie Sanders started out as Mayor of Burlington before becoming Representative and later Senator for the state of Vermont. However, contrary to what you may think, this lovely town has a lot more to offer than Liberal politics and ice-cream.

Get in

By plane

By car

Interstate 89 lies just to the east of town. The town center is accessible via exit 14W, while the south end of town can be accessed Interstate 189 at exit 13. Interstate 89 continues north to the Canadian border at Highgate, and south to the New Hampshire border. It is a 6-hour drive from New York City, a 3.5 hour drive from Boston and a 1.5 hour drive from Montreal.

By bus

By train

The closest Amtrak station is in Essex Junction, about a 15-minute drive to the east. Amtrak provides daily service to Washington, D.C. via New York City. During the summer season, Amtrak's Adirondack stops at Port Kent, NY, where transfer can be made to the Burlington-Port Kent ferry (see ferry directions below). The Adirondack provides daily service between New York City and Montreal, Quebec, following the scenic shores of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.

By ferry

Lake Champlain Ferries operates seasonal ferry service from downtown Burlington to Port Kent, NY across Lake Champlain; this gives access to the Adirondacks area of New York state. This ferry is mainly a tourist attraction since it is actually faster to drive up to the Grand Isle-Plattsburgh ferry and then take the interstate to Port Kent than it is to use the Burlington-Port Kent ferry.

Get around

On foot

Downtown Burlington is one of the most walkable and beautiful small cities in New England, and you'd do well to get out of your car (parking in city and most private garages is free for the first 2 hours, and all day on Sundays) and soak it in.

By car

There are car rental offices at Burlington International Airport, including Hertz, Avis and Thrifty. Traffic is generally bad during the normal crunch half-hours (07:45 to 08:15 and 16:45 to 17:15). Williston Road to the east and Shelburne Road to the south are congested during those hours, and, unfortunately, unavoidable for the most part.

By bus

Burlington and the surrounding communities of Winooski, South Burlington, Shelburne, Colchester and Essex Junction are served by the Chittenden County Transportation Authority (CCTA) which operates public buses. Buses are generally clean, uncrowded and relatively cheap. The main terminal is in downtown Burlington at the intersection of Church St. and Cherry St.

By bicycle

Burlington is a bike-friendly city. There are various bike lanes around the downtown area, and thanks to slow traffic and often courteous drivers, getting around the greater Burlington area on bike is a breeze. In the summer extra bicycle parking is made available, and low bike related crime helps encourage everyone to get on their bikes. Bikes can be rented at Local Motion located on the waterfront or at some of the other bicycle shops around town.


Downtown Burlington is home to an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants, and is well known for its pedestrian Church Street Marketplace. Church Street is home to a multitude of performers ranging from violists to folk singers to hip-Hop dancers, and you don't have to pay a penny, although it doesn't hurt to leave a few dollars. Burlington is ideal for observing all sorts of individuals: Flower-child hippies, students, funky artists, tattooed hipsters, and preps mingle on the streets and can provide unparalleled entertainment.

Williams Hall


Burlington is renowned for its cultural amenities and strength in the arts, providing the opportunities typical of a much larger city. Outdoor activities include a 7.6 mile bike path that runs along the lake and now connects to the Colchester bike path. Mount Philo is a leisurely hike for beginners, especially with younger kids. Camel's Hump and Mount Mansfield offer more challenging terrain, but reward hikers with beautiful summit views of the Champlain Valley. All three mountains are within 1 hour driving distance of Burlington. Several alpine and cross-country ski resorts and backcountry ski trails are within an hour of Burlington—and you can Nordic ski in the city, as well, at Red Rocks Park and Burlington Country Club.


Burlington hosts several festivals and events throughout the year. This list changes every year but the following events staples of the community.




Being a large college town, Burlington is home to many cheap eateries. Due to the competition, most of them are pretty good.







Although the Burlington area is much wealthier and more populous than the rest of the state, there aren't many expensive restaurants in town. Most of Vermont's expensive restaurants are out in the countryside or up in the mountains. Most of their menus change frequently and prices within each menu can vary wildly so if you want to get carried away, go for it.

Best of the Suburbs

Burlington's suburbs are home to many good restaurants. A few of the most popular ones are listed here. For a more complete listing, check the article for each city.








Mexican and Tex-Mex



Bars and clubs



Go next

Routes through Burlington

Rouses Point Jct Winooski  N  E  South Burlington → Jct Montpelier
St. Albans Winooski  N  S  South Burlington Rutland

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, February 23, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.