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Burlington, VT Travel Guide

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Best Things To Do in Burlington, VT

Whatever your interest — historic, outdoorsy, cultural or family-friendly fun — Burlington's got you covered. Sift through the impressive collection of Americana at the nearby Shelburne Museum, or tour the former home of Ethan Allen, one of Vermont's most iconic residents. Explore the Waterfront's interactive ECHO Aquarium and stretch of prime picnic green. Catch a performance at the Flynn Center or along the Church Street Marketplace; Burlington's street performers are a very talented group. 

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Burlington, VT

From weathervanes, quilts and American art to transplanted 1950s era homes, a railroad station and a fully outfitted steamboat, the Shelburne Museum really does have a little of everything on display. Nearly 40 buildings, filled with various exhibits, span the museum's 45 acres. There's even a respectable collection of impressionist paintings, featuring the works of Degas, Cassatt, Manet and Monet.
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Museums Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
Shelburne Museum
From weathervanes, quilts and American art to transplanted 1950s era homes, a railroad station and a fully outfitted steamboat, the Shelburne Museum really does have a little of everything on display. Nearly 40 buildings, filled with various exhibits, span the museum's 45 acres. There's even a respectable collection of impressionist paintings, featuring the works of Degas, Cassatt, Manet and Monet.
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#2

#2 in Burlington, VT

Free
As one of Burlington's top-rated factory tours, the Magic Hat Brewing Company is a must-see (for anyone 21 and older that is). The Victorian-Gothic circus-themed decor and seriously unconventional atmosphere sets it apart as one of the most eclectic breweries around. Be sure to secure a designated driver; there's a fully stocked bar waiting for you at the end of your visit, complete with limitless, free tastings of the featured beers on tap. Recent visitors rave about the informative tour, ample samples and friendly bartenders at this Burlington staple.
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Wineries/Breweries Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Magic Hat Brewing Company
As one of Burlington's top-rated factory tours, the Magic Hat Brewing Company is a must-see (for anyone 21 and older that is). The Victorian-Gothic circus-themed decor and seriously unconventional atmosphere sets it apart as one of the most eclectic breweries around. Be sure to secure a designated driver; there's a fully stocked bar waiting for you at the end of your visit, complete with limitless, free tastings of the featured beers on tap. Recent visitors rave about the informative tour, ample samples and friendly bartenders at this Burlington staple.
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#3

#3 in Burlington, VT

Free
Church Street Marketplace is the place to be in Burlington: a car-free walkway buzzing with the town's offbeat vibe. Explore the hip shops along the stretch, or take a seat at one of the many open-air cafes and watch the funky street performers nearby.
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Entertainment and Nightlife Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Church Street Marketplace
Church Street Marketplace is the place to be in Burlington: a car-free walkway buzzing with the town's offbeat vibe. Explore the hip shops along the stretch, or take a seat at one of the many open-air cafes and watch the funky street performers nearby.
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#4

#4 in Burlington, VT

When you're in the mood for a show, look no further than the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. Reopened in the 1980s, the Flynn serves as the cultural pulse of Burlington, showcasing everything from a live ballet performance one night to a mariachi band the next. Visitors appreciate the venue, complete with its old-fashioned marquee and art deco interior.
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Entertainment and Nightlife Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
When you're in the mood for a show, look no further than the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. Reopened in the 1980s, the Flynn serves as the cultural pulse of Burlington, showcasing everything from a live ballet performance one night to a mariachi band the next. Visitors appreciate the venue, complete with its old-fashioned marquee and art deco interior.
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#5

#5 in Burlington, VT

Free
Right off of the city's Main Street, the Waterfront neighborhood is a lovely place to spend the afternoon with the kids or your sweetheart. Explore the local ecosystem at the ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center, take a ride on Burlington's scenic bike path or lay out a picnic spread in Waterfront Park. If you do decide to grab a bite by Lake Champlain's Waterfront, bring your own goodies: the food stalls are a bit limited when it comes to dining options.  
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Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Waterfront
Right off of the city's Main Street, the Waterfront neighborhood is a lovely place to spend the afternoon with the kids or your sweetheart. Explore the local ecosystem at the ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center, take a ride on Burlington's scenic bike path or lay out a picnic spread in Waterfront Park. If you do decide to grab a bite by Lake Champlain's Waterfront, bring your own goodies: the food stalls are a bit limited when it comes to dining options.  
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#6

#6 in Burlington, VT

As the former home to one of Vermont's more eccentric founding fathers, the Ethan Allen Homestead is a must visit for any history buff. This 1787 farmhouse, located along the Winooski River, displays artifacts narrating Allen's command of the ragtag Revolutionary War militia, the Green Mountain Boys. But it's also a great example of what life was like during that time period, and the grounds have miles upon miles of trails fit for your exploration.
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Historic Homes/Mansions Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Ethan Allen Homestead
As the former home to one of Vermont's more eccentric founding fathers, the Ethan Allen Homestead is a must visit for any history buff. This 1787 farmhouse, located along the Winooski River, displays artifacts narrating Allen's command of the ragtag Revolutionary War militia, the Green Mountain Boys. But it's also a great example of what life was like during that time period, and the grounds have miles upon miles of trails fit for your exploration.
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#7

#7 in Burlington, VT

Nestled in the heart of the bustling Waterfront neighborhood, the ECHO makes an attractive pit stop for lots of young families. Its marine-focused children's museum is full of hands-on exhibits like the saltwater petting tank and ever-popular FrogWorld. Visitors note that the aquarium is much smaller than expected but still worth visiting if you have kids.
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Zoos and Aquariums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
ECHO Lake Aquarium & Science Center
Nestled in the heart of the bustling Waterfront neighborhood, the ECHO makes an attractive pit stop for lots of young families. Its marine-focused children's museum is full of hands-on exhibits like the saltwater petting tank and ever-popular FrogWorld. Visitors note that the aquarium is much smaller than expected but still worth visiting if you have kids.
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#8

#8 in Burlington, VT

Free
Located approximately 19 miles southeast of downtown Burlington, the Green Mountain Audubon Center is a must-see for birding enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The 255 acres have varied habitats full of diverse wildlife populations, which can be discovered via 5 miles of nature trails. (First-time visitors should stop by the Education Barn on Sherman Hollow Road to grab a map).
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Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Green Mountain Audubon Center
Located approximately 19 miles southeast of downtown Burlington, the Green Mountain Audubon Center is a must-see for birding enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The 255 acres have varied habitats full of diverse wildlife populations, which can be discovered via 5 miles of nature trails. (First-time visitors should stop by the Education Barn on Sherman Hollow Road to grab a map).
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