How to spend Valentine’s Day in Burlington

Culture Staff

Love is in the air. Burlington might not be known as the city of love, but despite the cold and the snow, it can still be the perfect place to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Whether you are with your partner or with your friends, you can enjoy your time together without breaking the bank. After your last class on Thursday, grab your mittens and head downtown. Take a walk or a ride on the city bus and explore all the romance Burlington has to offer. Here’s how the Culture staff suggests you spend the day.

Eat it: Restaurant recommendations

Anna Kolosky

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, going to a great restaurant is one of the best ways to woo your boo.

If you’re looking for somewhere fancy, Sweetwater’s is a casual but upscale restaurant on Church Street that serves a variety of American favorites like nachos for $11 and burgers for $14 to $17.

Further down Church Street is Leunig’s Bistro, a French bar and restaurant that offers live music and classic French cuisine. Choose an entree and a soup for $20 total every day from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

For Italian fare, Pascolo Ristorante is a rustic but classy restaurant on Church Street that boasts a number of dishes from wood-fired pizza to upscale pasta dishes. Try the fresh tortellini for $16.

Or, head to Gaku Ramen, a trendy option that focuses on Japanese dishes like ramen noodle soups and rice bowls for under $20.

Zabby and Elf’s Stone Soup, located on College Street, is another great choice for an affordable date.

This Jewish restaurant is super cozy and has a number of veggie-heavy options like vegan clubs and salads, along with a hot bar priced by the pound. Their homemade soups and breads are not to be missed.

Skinny Pancake is another great stop for a date night. Take a walk to the waterfront location, or drop by its spot in Living / Learning. You can listen to live music while you share a $9 Lovemaker crepe with your love or your friends.


Drink it: Lake Champlain hot chocolate

Marjorie McWilliams

It’s Valentine’s Day and you’re craving a sweet treat, either to share or enjoy for just yourself. Lake Champlain Chocolates, located on Church Street, has the warm chocolatey fix you’ve been dreaming about.

In addition to hot chocolate, Lake Champlain Chocolates serves drinking chocolate, which is similar, but delightfully different.

While hot chocolate is typically powder-based, this drinking chocolate is made with blocks of chocolate that the staff will melt right in front of you.

You can stray from the basics with the options of Old World, Peppermint, Guatemalan, Tanzanian or Dominican Republic Drinking Chocolate. The latter three refer to the country from which the chocolate is sourced, giving it an exciting twist from your average bag of Swiss Miss.

On top of this rich, chocolatey goodness you can also choose to add whipped cream, a homemade marshmallow or both.

Lake Champlain Chocolates prides itself on being quintessentially Vermont, making it the perfect treat to consume in wintry weather.


Do it: Ice Skating

Bridget Higdon

Ice skating, a classic couples activity seen in romantic comedies and postcards, is the perfect way to combine some exercise and social interaction.

The Leddy Park Ice Arena hosts daily open skating hours from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Either walk along the Burlington bike path, or take a 10-minute drive to the rink. Show your student ID and pay only $3 for ice time and rentals.

Burlington also has a number of outdoor skating rinks located in the city’s public parks. Lace up your skates at Lakeside, Battery, Calahan, Roosevelt or Starr Farm parks. Some rinks offer free skates to borrow and others offer skating under the lights and the stars.


Shop it: Church Street

Cyrus Oswald

Expensive restaurants, gifts and flowers can get boring on Valentine’s Day. In an effort to find relief from the norm, here are just a few cheap Church Street ideas that might spice your special day up.

In Garcia’s Tobacco Shop, you can purchase old cigar boxes, ranging from $3 to $5, which are perfect for gifts or dorm room ambiance and storage.

At Lake Champlain Chocolates, samples are normally out on the counter, no purchase necessary. This is a great way to get all of the Valentine’s Day flavor with none of the investment.

If that isn’t sweet enough , in most coffee shops a cup of whipped cream is, in my experience, free or practically so. City Market also boasts a great bulk section to stock up on non-pariels and chocolate-covered pretzels, priced by the pound.

Finally, if you decide to drive downtown this Valentine’s week, Feb. 12 to 17, make sure you put the code LOVE in the parking meter to shave $3 off your fee.


See it: World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet

Jack Eccleston

If you’re looking for the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet, you’ll find it in Burlington on Flynn Avenue.

Impress your date by explaining that this obscure office obelisk is made up of 11 separate cabinets and 38 individual drawers, according to a December 2015 Seven Days article.

In the improbable event that this fact alone fails to blow their mind, be sure to mention that Burlington’s own Bren Alvarez originally erected the tower in 2002 as a satirical comment on the layers of bureaucracy delaying the construction of the Southern Connector project, a bypass to downtown from Pine Street originally proposed in 1965.

After your visit, be sure to grab a local craft beer from Switchback Brewing Co., also located on Flynn Avenue. Founded in 2002, the brewery boasts a lineup of 20 beers.


Watch it: Movie and TV Recommendations

Nicky Morris and Jean MacBride

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than to watch the Australian reality show “Back with the Ex.” Currently trending on Netflix, this addictive dose of television combines four pairs of exes that reconnect to see if their relationship is worth a second chance.

Living up to the expectations of its genre, this dating show is filled with dramatic outbursts, romantic declarations and enough awkward moments to make you stop sending those sad drunk texts to your ex at 3 a.m.

Let the binge-watching commence.

“Back with the Ex” consists of seven episodes around 45 minutes each.

The couples are given three weeks to go on dates and travel to romantic destinations. They then decide if they want to live happily ever after or part ways.

This show is perfect to watch with your friends or a partner, making you melt at the sweet moments, but may also convince you to block your ex on social media, if you haven’t already.

Order pizza from Piesanos or Nachos from Moes with the Door Dash app and turn on “Derry Girls” on Netflix, “Bobs Burgers” on Hulu and “The Handmaids Tale” on Amazon.

Remember, the only drama is on your screen and you can fast forward through any gag worthy snogging sessions faster than you can say I do.


Listen to it: Light Club Lamp Shop

Allie O’Connor

Looking for something a little more casual for Valentine’s Day? Consider venturing down to Radio Bean and Light Club Lamp Shop where live music plays all night and $10 bottles of wine are sold, making for a relaxing yet romantic evening.

Tucked away on North Winooski Avenue, both LCLS and Radio Bean feature a collection of coffees, ciders, cocktails and beers, and are staples in the Burly music scene.

In LCLS, you can catch musical acts Tractor Beam, Randall Pierce Trio, as well as the shop’s Weekly Jazz Jam Session. In Radio Bean, Isaac French, pop/rock singer-songwriter Peter Wise and the bluesy/folk group John Abair & his Good Pals will be performing.

7 p.m. LCLS Tractor Beam

7 p.m. Peter Wise

LCLS: $10 Wine Bottles until the case is gone!

8:30 p.m. *LCLS Randal Pierce Trio

8:30 p.m. Isaac French of Nina’s Brew

10:30 p.m. John Abair & his Good Pals

10:30 p.m. LCLS Light Club Jazz Sessions & Showcase