With its gorgeous lakeside setting, supremely walkable downtown and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, Burlington looks more like an overgrown New England village than a major metropolis. But think again! This dynamic university town of 43,000 is Vermont’s biggest city and cultural capital – a perfect embodiment of the state’s “small is beautiful” aesthetic.
Start your exploration on pedestrianized Church Street, where four blocks of shops and eateries (including Ben & Jerry’s, naturally!) frame the city’s iconic white-steepled brick church. From here it’s an easy stroll to glittering Lake Champlain, home to a 12-mile lakefront recreation path, bike and kayak rentals and the family-friendly ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center.
Between the lake and Church Street, a multitude of restaurants features produce sourced from Vermont’s organic farms, while the University of Vermont’s large student population fuels a buzzing café, bar and music scene. The city is especially lively during its annual jazz and craft brew festivals. For skiers, the slopes of Smugglers Notch, Stowe and Sugarbush are only an hour’s drive away.