During our Lake Champlain vacation, we took a day trip to Burlington, VT! If you’re staying in Plattsburgh, NY like we did, it’s only a little over an hour drive (including the ferry ride across the lake), so it’s an easy day trip. There’s lots to see and do in the city, but if you’re just doing a short trip, here are 8 things you can do in one day in Burlington, VT!
One Day in Burlington, VT
Visit the Ethan Allen homestead
Ethan Allen fought in the Revolutionary War, and you can visit his homestead right outside Burlington. He was instrumental in helping Vermont become an independent state from New York and known for helping recapture Fort Ticonderoga. Allen built his homestead in 1787 after the war ended to become a farmer, but he died a few years after the house was built.
We didn’t take a tour because we had our husky Annika, but the windows of the house are open for you to look into all the rooms and you can tour the pretty garden.
You can also walk around the land, which I highly recommend. The homestead is on the Winooski River, and the views are beautiful! The land is dog friendly, and we walked around for about an hour taking in the sights.
Grab some food at Shelburne Farms
Also right outside Burlington is Shelburne Farms where you can walk around and buy some delicious food!
The walking trail is not dog friendly so we didn’t go for a stroll, but we did pick up some local food. We got maple syrup, cheese, ice cream, and some produce, and everything was soooo good.
And right in the same area is Shelburne Museum! It was temporarily closed, but it’s an outdoor museum with gardens, historic architecture, and art exhibitions.
See the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet
Ok, this one is pretty random! When I was looking up things to do in one day in Burlington, VT, a few websites mentioned the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet. I like seeing random things (like the Mustard Museum in Wisconsin!), so we stopped to see it.
It was built in 2002 by a local artist, and it’s basically just filing cabinets stacked on top of each other. It wasn’t the most exciting thing to see and they were working on it while we were there, but it’s only a 5 minute visit so might as well stop by and see it!
Get chocolate (and ice cream) at Lake Champlain Chocolates
If you like chocolate, you need to visit Lake Champlain Chocolates! There are a few locations (including one in downtown Burlington), and at the flagship store, you can go on a factory tour and taste samples. Who doesn’t love chocolate samples?
We loaded up on chocolate for ourselves and for gifts, and we also got some ice cream cones, which were also delicious!
Walk around downtown Burlington
Speaking of downtown Burlington, you need to visit and walk around! Church Street is a walking street with lots of shops and restaurants, including Ben and Jerry’s and Lake Champlain Chocolates. If you walk around past Church Street, you can see some murals and beautiful historic architecture around the city.
Relax on Lake Champlain
Right along downtown Burlington is Lake Champlain! There’s a park area by the docks, so you can walk around and relax by the lake for beautiful views. There are also some stacks of rocks along the lake, and I couldn’t find what they’re there for but still cool to see. If you want to see more of the lake, there are some cruise options to go around the lake.
We didn’t get a chance to go, but the Skinny Pancake is right near the waterfront and came highly recommended if you’re interested in getting some crepes!
Get some coffee
Burlington has some great coffee shops and roasteries if you need a caffeine boost! We got some coffee at Speeder and Earl’s, and I loved how fun and retro it is. You can also buy coffee beans or grounds for a Vermont souvenir!
Visit a brewery
Along with coffee shops, Burlington also has a lot of great breweries. It actually took us a lot of time and research to pick one to visit! We’re big fans of Magic Hat so we wanted to go there, but the brewery has been closed for a while. We settled on Zero Gravity because their beer and food sounded good, and they had outdoor seating so we could bring Annika.
Everything we had was delicious, and we also bought some cans of beer to bring home with us!
Those are my top recommendations for things to do in Burlington, VT! We enjoyed visiting and would love to go back for a longer stay. If you’re staying in Burlington for longer, New England with Love has some great recommendations for other things to do, and I also recommend taking a day trip to Plattsburgh, NY!