Resident and Fellow Life in Burlington, Vermont

If you didn’t already know Burlington by its reputation, it may seem like just a small, out of the way city fairly close to the Canadian border. A closer look reveals a vibrant cosmopolitan center of 42,000 people that ranked #24 on the top 100 best places to live.

Facts about Burlington
  • Burlington is known as a healthy city, within a healthy state: lower obesity rates than the national average, more people with health insurance, fewer smokers, and extremely low pollution (livability.com).
  • Its population holds more than double the national percentage of bachelor’s and postgrad degrees; altogether, 51% of the population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher (livability.com).
  • According to the Corporation for National Community Service, >33% of the city’s residents volunteer, well above the national average of 25%.
  • Burlington ranks well above the national average for number of people in fields like science, technology, business, finance, law, healthcare, arts, and culture.
  • Chittenden County has also hosted a large number of refugees since 1989 – more than 7,000, which is the equivalent of four percent of the county’s current population.
Church Street Marketplace
The pride and joy of downtown Burlington, this four-block-long, open-air pedestrian mall draws 3 million people a year. Music, street performers, public art, great food vendors and eateries, and outstanding shopping fill the brick-paved streets. Grab a cup of coffee, find a seat under an inviting umbrella and enjoy great people-watching (livability.com)

Burlington Farmer's Market
Since 1980, the Burlington Summer Farmers’ Market has been held every Saturday from late spring through autumn in downtown Burlington. More than 90 stands overflow with seasonal produce, flowers, artisan wares, prepared foods, and more. People gather to wander around, chat with growers and friends, and fill their baskets with some of the best food money can buy (burlingtonfarmersmarket.com)

Food
If hearing the phrase "Burlington cuisine" conjures up thoughts of sprouted grains and hemp seeds, you’re not entirely off-course. Groovy natural food co-ops and funky coffee shops fill this scenic Vermont city (which was also home to the first Ben & Jerry’s). That said, the food scene here extends far beyond hippie fare from the ’70s, with menus ranging from Middle Eastern and modern Chinese to classic Italian and French. And don’t let the college town reputation fool you, Vermonters of all ages take their food seriously, with Burlington restaurants championing friendly refinement over pretension (timeout.com)

The Arts
Vermont’s natural beauty and relaxed culture foster the perfect environment for the arts to flourish.  As the birthplace of Phish and Grace Potter, Vermont’s music scene has influence that belies its size. Several successful record labels call Vermont home, and local artists get further exposure through independent local radio and music festivals—the nationally heralded Discover Jazz and Grand Point North festivals in Burlington are two of the largest. Big Heavy World, a Burlington-based nonprofit, provides coordination and resources to foster up-and-coming musicians.

Intimate performances are at the heart of Vermont’s music scene, with diverse, community-based musicianship heard at local cafés, bars, and town greens throughout the state. It’s the standard to hear music being played by Vermonters, for Vermonters.

Equally robust, visual and performance arts including live theater, gallery events, and revolving museum exhibits can be found in every corner of Vermont. Historic sites, agricultural fairs, and other more traditional means of cultural immersion pop up in valley communities, mountain villages, and in our small cities year round.

In Vermont, the arts and history are everywhere.

Festivals
Vermont’s hills and valleys rock with festivals all summer long. From arts and music festivals to those celebrating particular passions like blueberries, vintage cars, yoga, clean energy, and maritime history, you can celebrate your passion or find a new one.

Performing Arts
Vermont takes the stage. From Broadway-direct theater and internationally acclaimed musicians to circus arts and festivals galore, there’s a show for every interest.

Gallaries
At last count there were almost as many art galleries in Vermont as there are towns! Galleries feature a range of mediums: painting, prints, photography, sculpture, and assemblages. The Vermont State Craft Center Galleries offer the best of ceramics, fiber, glass, metal, and wood. Discover what inspires Vermont artists and artisans and you’ll likely be inspired yourself.

Museums
Vermont’s museums offer up unexpected delights and wonders. From paintings by European and American masters, to folk art and contemporary sculpture, you’ll experience art, history, and science in a new light.

Historic Sites
The small state of Vermont boasts a rich historical heritage that is well preserved in an exceptional collection of historic sites stretching the length and width of the state. Ranging from prehistoric settlements, to pivotal Revolutionary War sites, to the homesteads of U.S. Presidents, Vermont’s State Historic Sites chronicle the development of a state, its people, and the nation around it.

Fairs
Every fair, like every Vermont community, has its own traditions. While each fair has a particular flavor, you will find a mix of farm, food, and fun at animal events, along the midway, or in front of a stage for a concert featuring national headliners.


Family Fun
For your troop of toddlers or platoon of preteens, there are inspiring activities and hospitable establishments in the Lake Champlain area that welcome families big and small with open arms. These kid-tested, parent-approved recommendations will help you see all the variety and splendor that Vermont has to offer. 

The ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain on the waterfront is a first-stop for families in Burlington. Through 100 interactive exhibits, the scientific education center encourages visitors to explore, learn about, and engage in opportunities for stewardship. Daily events include live animal presentations, naturalist talks, a hands-on engineering program, and more. For a trip back in time, the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum is the only surviving residence of state founder Ethan Allen in Vermont. A tour of the historic site overlooking the Winooski River offers a glimpse of life in the 18th Century as well as the skills and daily tasks required for survival on the frontier.

When it’s time to play, drive out to Smugglers’ Notch – rated the #1 Family Resort in the Northeast by FamilyFun Magazine – for a host of activities including the Mountainside Water Playground (open through September 21), inflatable obstacle courses, tennis, disc golf, biking, and so much more. If bad weather pushes you indoors, head to Petra Cliffs where you can climb, boulder and test out your strength with the indoor ropes course. Younger children will be thrilled with a visit to Vermont Teddy Bear where they can tour the production factory, visit the Bear Hospital, and even leave with a personalized, new friend.

Taking your kids out to eat is a cinch at any number of the family-friendly restaurants in our area. Start off with breakfast at Henry’s Diner, a unique slice of Americana that has been serving up eats in the classic downtown setting since 1925. Grab a quick but healthy lunch featuring locally-sourced ingredients at B. Good where you will also find kid-sized kale smoothies and milkshakes. At dinner time, visit American Flatbread for handmade pizzas prepared with the finest natural ingredients – request a table within view of the fiery hearth to keep young ones entertained.