Burlington, Vermont is full of things to do and places to see every day of the week. Restaurants have daily specials, Church Street Marketplace is always bustling with shoppers, street performers, and food trucks, and beautiful sunny, blue sky can be seen on most days all summer long. With so much going on, everyone who visits is bound to find something to do here. The weekends are when the city really comes alive, though, as visitors from all walks of life join the resident community and enjoy everything that Burlington has to offer. For those looking to make the most of their time here in the Queen City, we have put together a “(Satur)Day in the Life” itinerary to help you plan your trip.
Breakfast: For those early risers who are looking for a relaxing sit-down breakfast on Saturday morning, there are places like Magnolia Bistro, serving local and organic breakfast delicacies right off of Church Street, or The Skinny Pancake, featuring delicious, locally sourced crepe dishes with waterfront views. If you’re looking for a quick morning bite instead, check out August First on Main Street for one of their granola bowls or pick from their assortment of homemade bakery items. Another local favorite is Myer’s Bagels, serving delectable Montreal-style bagels with your choice of “schmear”. Then, after fueling up, consider heading to the Burlington Segway Tours office on Pine Street for a morning hour-long tour of Burlington to get a nice overview of all that the city has to offer.
Church Street Marketplace: By around 10:00 AM, Church Street is up and running. Spend some time strolling down the street, stopping at some upscale, local women’s clothing stores like ECCO and Jess Boutique, to name a few. The Burlington Town Center Mall is located on Church Street as well and is full of all kinds of local and national brand name clothing stores, hair and nail salons, and gift stores. If you love the outdoors, be sure to check out the Outdoor Gear Exchange to find something cool and useful to take with you on your next outdoor excursion. And of course, don’t forget to pick up some local chocolate from Lake Champlain Chocolates to bring home with you to share (or keep for yourself)!
Lunch: You will be ready to eat at lunch time after walking by the restaurant-fronts on Church Street as they start firing up the kitchens and the aroma of fresh food comes pouring out of the doors. With so many choices in downtown Burlington and on the waterfront, you will find a lunch spot to curb your cravings. If you’re in the mood for pizza, check out American Flatbread just off of Church Street. All of their flatbread pizzas are made with local ingredients and then cooked to perfection in their wood-fired oven. Be sure to take a look at the specials menu and don’t forget to see what local micro-brews are on tap at the bar! If you’re looking for seafood with a lake view, head down to the Shanty on the Shore and enjoy a fresh crab cake sandwich or some fried clam strips. Or if you’re looking for gourmet French food, you won’t regret going to Leunig’s Bistro & Cafe. Leunig’s boasts an extensive menu with options ranging from pan seared tuna to duck poutine to pulled pork sandwiches, so you will be sure to find something delectable to fill you up.
Activities: While Burlington has shops and restaurants to keep you busy for hours, it is also full of activities of all kinds. If you’re in the mood to hang out and relax in the sun, Leddy Beach may be the place for you. With beautiful sand and clean lake water, it is the perfect place to lay down a towel and enjoy a book or take a dip on a warm day. If you are looking for some indoor relaxation, stop by Switchback Brewing Company for a brewery tour or sit at the bar and enjoy one of Vermont’s finest craft beers. For those looking for some more active fun, Oakledge Park is a beautiful place to play Frisbee, swim in Lake Champlain, or even rent paddleboards from Paddlesurf Champlain, located right on the bike path just steps from Oakledge Beach. If you’re into boating, check out the Community Sailing Center on the waterfront. They have affordable sailboat, kayak, and canoe rentals for those looking to spend an afternoon exploring the Burlington waterfront by boat. If you’re a craft beer connoisseur, Burlington Brew Tours may just be the thing for you. The Brew Tours bus brings you to some of the best breweries Burlington has to offer for a safe, beer-filled afternoon. Want to get a piece of local Vermont? Be sure to stop by the Burlington Farmers Market. The Burlington Farmers Market provides a welcoming venue for visitors and locals alike to shop directly from Vermont farmers and artisans in the city’s historic downtown.
Dinner: While all of the food in Burlington is incredible, dinner time is when the options are endless and restaurants fill with people. Bluebird Barbecue is a local favorite, offering the most classic barbecue meals like ribs, pulled pork, and burgers. If you are looking for a farm-to-table dining experience, you may be interested in stopping by Hen of the Wood or The Farmhouse Tap & Grill. Hen of the Wood has a daily-changing menu, determined by what local meats and produce they get each morning. This unique menu style keeps options new and exciting and the food is always fresh and delicious. The Farmhouse features a raw bar, a rich burger list, a diverse assortment of other dinner plate meals, and all kinds of beers, wines, and spirits along with a beer garden for warm days and a “parlor” for all other times of year. Pizzas-lovers will be happy to know about Pizzeria Verita, located just off of Church Street. The wood-fired, Neapolitan-inspired pizzas are perfectly paired with a specialty cocktail or craft beer straight from the bar. And of course, don’t forget to stop by Burlington Bay for a famous maple-black raspberry swirl creemee on your way down to the waterfront to see the breathtaking views of the sunset over Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks!
Nightlife: You will be tired by now, but you will not be able to resist all that Burlington has to offer once the sun goes down. If you’re looking for a bar scene, check out Ri Ra Irish Pub or the Other Place, two of Burlington’s many bars and favorite hang-out spots. Nectar’s is also a great place to check out, for there is always some sort of fun activity or concert being held there. For those looking for a quiet setting, head over to Dobra Tea, a cozy hang out spot with a full, organic tea menu. The dim lighting and floor seating creates a unique ambiance to enjoy a pot of delicious tea.
Getting Around: Burlington is an incredible place filled with countless places to eat, shops to peruse, and things to do. And what makes it all even better is that everything is just a short walk or bike ride away! All of these destinations are connected by pedestrian- and bike-friendly streets and the incredible Burlington Bike Path. In need of a bike? No problem! Local Motion offers bike rentals right off of the bike path. Don’t bike or want to walk? You can be touring Burlington on segways with the Burlington Segway Tours. But of course, if you prefer to drive, everything is car-accessible.
Written By: Sarah Mantz, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce