Burlington is Vermont’s largest city by population and is located south of the Canada-United States border on the shores of Lake Champlain. The Queen City is home to grazing cows and dazzlingly white ski trails. Maple syrup is found in every corner store and 19th-century covered bridges dot the landscape.
But that is only one side of Burlington. Inside this energetic city, visitors can find award-winning brew pubs, trendy restaurants, and boutiques for one-of-a kind-shopping.
Seven major neighborhoods or areas make up Burlington. On the shores of Lake Champlain are the Waterfront and Downtown-Church Street districts. The New North End sits to the north of downtown and in the center of the city is the Old North End.
The Old East End combines the University of Vermont and expansive green reserves. While the South End immediately south of downtown is the revived creative arts district. Also in the South End are several breweries, brew pubs, and distilleries.
The historic Hill Section is bordered by the University of Vermont and the Burlington Country Club.
A couple of hours away, the Adirondack Mountains provide a majestic and scenic background that can be viewed from many Burlington hotels.
Best Areas to Stay in Burlington
- Best area for first-timers/tourists – Downtown
- Best area for budget travelers – Old East End
- Best area for luxury travelers – Downtown
- Best area for safety – The Hill – University of Vermont
- Best area for families – New North End
- Best area for food – Church Street
- Best area for nightlife – South End
Where to Stay in Burlington, Vermont
1. New North End
A contemporary area with a suburban feel, New North End sits just north of Downtown Burlington with shores on both Burlington Bay and Appletree Bay. The New North End is a popular, young area with an entrepreneurial spirit. Family-owned businesses provide essential services for Burlington residents and guests.
The area is bordered to the north by the Winooski River. The Ethan Allen Museum is a fascinating landmark in the area. And there are numerous parks with shore access and urban green spaces in this part of the city. Leddy Park, Leddy Beach North Trail, and the Gordon H. Paquette Ice Arena are just a few of the activities in the area.
A bit further south is North Beach Park which sits directly on Lake Champlain. North Beach Park is an iconic spot for Burlingtoners and includes sandy beaches, a children’s playground, lake activities, and camping at North Beach Campground.
There are even a couple of dog parks ensuring the family pup is not left out of the fun. Here are some of the best places to check out in the New North End:
- Sea Caves at Arthur Park
- Ethan Allen Museum
- Bagel Cafe & Deli
- Leddy Park
- Gordon H. Paquette Ice Arena
No matter where you stay in Burlington, the New North End is easily accessible. But if you want to be in the area, here are some great options:
See Related: Best Things to Do in Burlington, NC [Top Attractions]
2. Old East End
The Old East End is the birthplace of Burlington. The city began in 1772 when Ira Allen saw the area’s potential. The oldest road in town started as a Canadian trade route, now known as Colchester Avenue, linking the area to Lake Champlain.
Homes are older as this has been a mainstay in the city. But transportation is easy and the drive to Downtown Burlington takes roughly 10 minutes. Today, the area is a peaceful neighborhood of service-based businesses, bordered by East Avenue and the Winooski River.
Centennial Woods and Park share a majority of the area with the University of Vermont. The University’s soccer and baseball fields, where the Lake Monsters play, are in the East End, as are some fantastic green spaces for photography and easy hiking.
Near the East End are some of the best hotels in Burlington. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels are some of the pet-friendly hotels in Burlington. They offer comfortable accommodations, with a complimentary continental breakfast at an affordable average nightly price.
If you are looking for a modern hotel with a convenient location, Delta Hotels by Marriott is one of the best Burlington hotels. It is close to the city center and offers guests notable amenities. It also provides an indoor pool and fitness room.
Here are some of the best things to do in the Old East End:
- Salmon Hole
- Ethan Allen Statue
- Pingala Cafe & Eatery, Chace Mill
- Centennial Woods
- Schmanska Park
If you are wondering where to stay in the Old East End, here are a few of our top recommendations:
3. Old North End
The Old North End is the melting pot of Burlington. It is known to the locals as O.N.E. and was founded in the early 1800s. It is bordered by Manhattan Drive to the north and Prospect and Pearl Streets to the east and south.
One of the best things about a diverse community is the food. And the Old North End does not disappoint. Global cuisine in the ONE ranges from Nepalese cuisine to an African artisanal market. A good way to start the morning is with a quick stop at the famous Nunyuns Bakery and Cafe.
Although the Old North End is one of the first neighborhoods, it still provides eclectic shops and one-of-a-kind attractions. The history of the neighborhood is kept alive through its ghosts.
And a tour of Elmwood Elementary School may bring out a few of Burlington’s earliest residents, including a few revolutionary war soldiers that still roam the halls. The area is also home to the (mini) Burlington Museum of Natural History. This quirky landmark began as a teenage prank and has grown into a must-see project.
Here are the top things to do in the Old North End:
- Elmwood Elementary Ghost Tour
- (Mini) Burlington Museum of Natural History
- The Shopping Bag
- Pomeroy Park
- ONE Arts Center
No matter where you stay in the Old North End, you have easy access to everything the city has to offer. Here are some great accommodations:
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Middlebury, Vermont
4. South End
The South End, located just south of the downtown area, was once the central manufacturing district of the region. It should not be confused with South Burlington, a separate city to the east and home to the area’s airport.
Over the years, the South End area has evolved and is now known as the South End Arts District. The eclectic mix of lofts and warehouse businesses has flourished into the hub of arts and culture in the city.
An entrepreneurial mecca, it houses yoga, music studios, and art galleries. Because of the range of art galleries and creator lofts, it is the perfect venue for the South End Art Hop, an annual celebration of art and creative style, and Truck Stop, a free, outdoor weekly venue with music, artists, and food vendors.
The South End is also home to Lake Champlain Chocolates and the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet – quirky urban sculpture at its finest! With several beautiful parks, numerous breweries and taprooms, and a skate park, this is a great area to stay and still be close to downtown. Here are some of the best things to do in the South End:
- World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet
- Soapbox Arts
- Handy’s Lunch
- Oakledge Park
- Petra Cliffs Climbing Center
The South End is a great choice for arts and entertainment and a quick drive to downtown Burlington. Here are some of the best accommodations in the South End:
Burlington’s waterfront is a thriving part of the city, home to numerous parks, landmarks, and museums. The Waterfront area runs along a 900-foot stretch of Burlington Bay shoreline. It faces west toward New York State. The North, South, and Breakwater Lighthouses protect the bay harbor.
An iconic boardwalk meanders through Waterfront Park, passing by a historical marker signifying the First International Ice Hockey Game which was played in Burlington in 1886. Additionally, the boardwalk passes by ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, a hands-on learning experience outlining the history and ecology of Lake Champlain. Both the science center and its museum sit on the shores of Lake Champlain.
Battery Park is also a part of the Waterfront area. South of the park is the Ferry Dock Marina for the harbor ferry, which gives tour rides to Burlington Bay.
The Island-Line Trail for hiking and biking passes directly through the Waterfront area connecting the north and south ends of Burlington. The Waterfront area also is home to Burlington Fishing Pier, a bring-your-own-tackle pier for bass, perch, and trout fishing.
Along the Waterfront are several mid-range and modern hotels conveniently located between the Waterfront and downtown Burlington. The Hotel Vermont is considered one of the best hotels in the area offering premier accommodations with spectacular lake views.
Guests have access to complimentary bicycle rentals and daily yoga classes. There is also an on-site restaurant and business center. For a more modest hotel, visitors choose the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain.
These are the best things to do in the Waterfront area:
- Monument to Champ the Lake Monster
- Lake Champlain Navy Memorial
- Hen of the Wood
- Battery Park
- ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
No matter where you stay in the Waterfront area, you have made a good choice. These are our recommendations of the best places to stay in the area:
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Bennington, Vermont
6. Church Street – Downtown
Church Street Marketplace is the heart of the city. A part of downtown Burlington and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Church Street Historic District, is an outdoor pedestrian mall with something for everyone.
It is home to countless boutiques, restaurants, and venues. Because of the numerous historic buildings in the area, Church Street Marketplace is carefully and well-maintained. The tree-lined walkways and square are the center for community-supported festivals, lectures, Artists in the Alley, and street vendors.
The annual Festival of Fools, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, and the Santa Run, all take place here. The community square is the perfect place to watch street performances or sip gourmet coffee. Parking is available in city garages and through the ParkMobile app.
Church Street is one of the best areas to stay in Burlington. The budget Hilton Garden Inn Burlington Downtown is great for families or solo travelers. The inn is less than a mile from the University of Vermont. It has modern amenities and complimentary Wi-Fi.
A few blocks away, with singular views of Lake Champlain, is the Courtyard Burlington Harbor. This mid-range hotel provides excellently appointed guest rooms, with a private bathroom, on-site amenities, and a fitness center, and is less than a mile from Burlington Tower Center.
Here are the best things to do in the Church Street area:
- Giant Pit
- Burlington City Arts
- Leunig’s Bistro & Cafe
- City Hall Park
- Burlington Paint & Sip
There are excellent chain hotels in the Church Street area, making the choice of where to stay an easy one. If you are staying in the Church Street or Downtown area, you have several great options:
See Related: Best Things to Do in Stowe, Vermont
7. The Hill-University of Vermont
The Hill Section slightly southeast of downtown Burlington is a historic area with tree-lined streets. Located south of Main Street between South Prospect and South Union Streets, the area is a quiet, upscale neighborhood with easy transportation throughout the city.
The Hill also has several chic bed and breakfast locations for a more Vermont-style stay. The Hill is home to the Burlington Country Club and the picturesque University of Vermont. On the university campus sits the Williams Hall, housing the university’s art and anthropology departments, and caretakers of the exquisite collection of the Francis Colburn Art Gallery.
Surrounding the University of Vermont area are excellent hotels to fit every budget. Comfort Inn & Suites offers comfortable rooms at an affordable rate. In the mid-range, the Green Mountain Suites Hotel offers guests free Wi-Fi access, an indoor swimming pool, and a hot tub.
If you are looking for a truly beautiful Burlington hotel, the Essex Resort is a short nine miles from downtown Burlington and six from The Hill-University of Vermont area. The Essex Resort is considered Vermont’s culinary resort and perfect for your relaxing Vermont vacation.
It offers a golf course and indoor pools, and a complimentary shuttle service to Burlington International Airport is available to all guests. And if you are looking for rooms with a more New England flare, the B&B Lang House on Main or the Willard Street Inn is just a few minutes from Champlain College.
Here are the best things to do in The Hill-University of Vermont area:
- Fleming Museum of Art
- The Spot
- Redstone Pines
- Hickory Golf Workshop
Staying near The Hill-University of Vermont area offers numerous options for restaurants and hotels. Here are our best choices of places to stay in the area:
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Montpelier, Vermont
Where is a good place to stay in Burlington near the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum?
The Ethan Allen Homestead Museum is located in New North End Burlington near Ethan Allen Park. One of the closest hotels to the historic landmark is on the waterfront – the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain. This hotel overlooks Lake Champlain and is within walking distance of shops, restaurants, ECHO, Leahy Center, and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.
What is the best area to stay in Burlington?
Burlington, Vermont measures roughly 15 square miles, so it’s relatively easy to find a hotel or rental with easy access to the city’s activities. But if you’re looking for a great area that’s walkable to everything that is urban Burlington, then staying downtown is your best bet.
What is Burlington known for?
Burlington sits on Lake Champlain and is well known as the home of Champy, the supposed prehistoric lake monster that lives in the lake. There is even a market at the entrance to Burlington Bay in Champy’s honor.