8 Things to Do in One Day in Burlington, VT



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

8 Things to Do in 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.

Ethan Allen red house in Burlington

Kitchen inside Ethan Allen home

Bedroom with spinning wheel in Ethan Allen home

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.

Bright purple zinnia

Purple and pink wildflowers

Field of dark purple and orange zinnias

Field of green grass and trees at the Ethan Allen farm

River with green trees on the riverbank

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.

Walking trail through the grass at Shelburne Farms

Shelburne Farms food stand with a tent

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!

World's tallest filing cabinet in Burlington

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!

Lake Champlain Chocolates factory

Lake Champlain Chocolates store

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.

Colorful mural of women hiking in Burlington, VT

Ben and Jerry's store in Burlington, VT

Church Street with stores and people walking in Burlington, VT

Red brick city hall building with clock tower in Burlington, VT

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!

Stacks of rocks along Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT

Blue sailboat on Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT

Boats moored at a dock on Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT

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!

Speeder and Earl's coffee shop in Burlington. VT

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!

Fried chicken sandwich and French fries and beer at Zero Gravity brewery

Chili dogs at Zero Gravity brewery

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!

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Blog, North America, Photography, Travel, USA, Vermont

  1. Venaugh says:

    So many great things to do in one day! Once there’s ice cream and chocolate, it’s always a good place to be. Hope your doggie enjoy all that farmland.

  2. Lynda says:

    Burlington looks like a lovely place to visit in the Spring or Summer. I would love to check out Ethan Allen’s home.

  3. Alicia says:

    What a cute little town! I love small towns like these, especially when they’re on the water! And the filing cabinet is both odd and a great, artistic way to recycle!

  4. Jan says:

    Great blog post! I have visited the beautiful Shelburne Farms years ago and taken a ride on a trolley to the main barn, viewing green pastures dotted with cows. It’s a great day out watching the cheese making process too. Your blog has brought back my memories and I want to visit this part of Vermont again. 🙂

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