Moving to a new city can be overwhelming, and with Burlington there are so many unique places to explore. To get you started, the Culture staff rounded up ten of our favorite spots.
Best Music Venue:
Radio Bean – This self-described “bohemian utopia” features live music from both local and touring bands, as well as the best hot cider around. It is situated next to its sister venues Light Club Lamp Shop, a cozy extension of Radio Bean’s artsy vibes, and ¡Duino! (Duende), an international street food restaurant. Radio Bean satisfies every Burly resident’s need for good music, good drinks and good company.
Best Coffee Shop:
Muddy Waters – The wood-paneled walls and hanging plants will make you feel like you’re sitting in a tree house when you visit this Main Street coffee shop. The raspberry hot chocolate is perfect for cold, blustery afternoons and the cookie jars at the counter are always full. If you look carefully, you’ll find notes written on scraps of paper folded, left in wall panels and picture frames by previous visitors. Bring a book along and settle in, you won’t want to leave anytime soon.
Phoenix Books – Every book-lover can find heaven in any one of Burlington’s local book shops, but Phoenix Books is particularly special. A business that thrives in a sometimes struggling business, they pride themselves on remaining as environmentally responsible as possible with their strategic store design and emphasis on sustainability literature. Among its diverse selections, Phoenix highlights local writers and has an entire section dedicated to autographed editions of books by authors who have visited the shop. Don’t forget to browse the books in the priced down “bargain basement” before you leave.
Burlington Bay Cafe – When the sun is out, there is no better place in Burlington to grab a maple creemee than Burlington Bay Cafe. Located at the intersection of College and Battery, seating ranges from a balcony overlooking Lake Champlain to a grassy hill leading down to Waterfront Park. Even in the dead of winter, the cafe is an excellent spot for a hot sandwich with fresh ingredients.
Henry’s Diner – Start your day right with over 10 different kinds of milkshakes, including chocolate mint, mocha and, of course, Vermont maple. in a corner booth with some loaded home fries if you’re in the mood for some comfort food. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit “healthier,” treat yourself to a spinach and cheddar omelet.
Waterfront Park – If you’re hanging around downtown, a classic spot to catch one of Burlington’s iconic sunsets is the Waterfront Park, near the Echo Center. Along with bike paths and a dog park, the Waterfront has access to the docks which provide a perfect sunset spectacle overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains.
Best Meal with Family:
American Flatbread – One of the best perks of having your family come to visit is escaping Grundle food for a day. Take your parents to American Flatbread on St. Paul Street for pizza that isn’t frozen. The first American Flatbread was built in 1990 on Lareau Farm in Waitsfield, VT Flatbread boasts an indoor wood-fired oven where all pizzas are baked to perfection. Every pizza is a taste of Vermont, made with local organic ingredients. Be sure to order the Cheese and Herb pizza. You won’t be disappointed.
Best Grab and Go:
City Market – The City Market hot bar is perfect for a warm meal or a make-your-own salad. There is almost always hot soup and vegan options. Serve yourself as little or as much as you’d like and pay by weight. For a quick snack, grab a scoop of chocolate covered pretzels, dried mangos or granola in the bulk section. Take it all to-go in in compostable containers.
Best Part of Burlington:
Church Street – One of the most iconic places known in Burlington, Church Street features an eclectic mix of stores, restaurants, cafes and hidden gems. Four blocks of spanning brick between Main Street and Pearl Street, Church Street has everything from Ben & Jerry’s to The Catamount Store and Outdoor Gear Exchange. With the occasional musician, kettle korn stand and plenty of community events, Church Street truly has something for everyone and is the perfect place to spend some free time.
Best Place to See Art:
Burlington City Arts Center – The BCA Center is a contemporary gallery space tucked between Church Street and City Hall Park. Stop in while taking a stroll — it’s always free! With three floors of exhibits, there is always something new to explore. The gallery space features both nationally recognized and local creators. The Vermont Metro Gallery is completely devoted to Vermont based artists. BCA also hosts a variety of classes in photography, painting, ceramics, printmaking and jewelry making at reasonable prices.