There's something about Burlington. Everyone you meet here seems young. And the whole place seems to throb with the energy that only the young can radiate. From the tattooed kids to the hip-hop performers to the artists to the free-thinking progressives, everyone and everything about Burlington pulsates. Why? Because the small town is home to more than 13,000 students who are enrolled at the University of Vermont. They give the place a truly spirited and youthful feel that will leave you breathless at times but always reenergized in the end.
The ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, with its interactive exhibits and aquatic creatures, will certainly entertain the young and the young at heart. While you're in the area, take a lovely stroll along the promenade at the Waterfront and arrange a boating trip to Lake Champlain with the Burlington Community Boathouse. Scuba divers can get limited permits to explore the six commercial wrecks that lie on the lake floor (if they're not worried about the legendary Lake Champlain monster). Equipment can be rented at the Waterfront Diving Center. Feel the vigor of youth by taking a hiking trip to Mount Philo with the kids. If you're up for a more challenging route, you can trek up Camel's Hump or Mount Mansfield, where a view of the Champlain Valley awaits you at the top. You can also take an exciting multiday paddling trip on the Lake Champlain Paddlers' Trail.
As in any college town, there's plenty of good, inexpensive food in Burlington. Pizza, seafood, steaks, noodles, sushi and Mexican are all in good supply. Many of the restaurants and eateries are located along Church Street. There are also many cafes and bistros in downtown Burlington. Or check out Main Street and College Street. For the most amazing cheeses, head for the Fresh Market on Pine Street.
Church Street Marketplace, four blocks of which are closed to all motorized traffic, has numerous stores and shops that offer a wide array of shopping choices. Malls in Burlington include the Burlington Town Center Mall and the University Mall. For clothing, bikes and ski gear and equipment, try out the North Star Cyclery on Main Street.