Burlington: New England’s Hottest Cultural Destination
Sandwiched between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, Burlington is home to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Phish, gorgeous land and foliage, some of the best skiing in New England and an abundance of maple syrup. The entire Lake Champlain region provides the perfect backdrop for taking in the beauty of the changing seasons, the working landscape and the concerts, festivals, art and culture described below.
Concerts and Festivals
Ben and Jerry’s Concerts on the Green is an iconic summer concert series that has been taking place outside at Shelburne Farms – one of the most beautiful locations to watch a show in all of New England – for the last 17 years. It’s Ben & Jerry’s way of bringing their favorite bands to their home state.
The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival is a 10-day celebration of live music all over the city of Burlington. Now in its 35th year, the festival hosts free live music on four stages in downtown Burlington, along with nightly showcases in restaurants and venues all around town.
Art and Theatre
Art is such a huge part of the culture in Burlington that Art Map Burlington provides a monthly index of venues displaying artists’ work throughout town. The South End Arts District remains the pulse of Burlington’s beating art scene, melding art exhibits, music, performance, comedy, sculpture and more. They produce Art Hop every year, a beloved three-day celebration of the arts, where over 600 artists at 100 locations throughout the district participate in the three-day art party.
Festival of Fools features the best international street performers from around the globe for a three-day curated festival of street theatre celebrating circus arts, music and comedy. In accordance with the Burlington City Arts’ mission to make the arts accessible to all Burlingtonians and visitors, the festival is appropriate for all age groups and accessible and free to the public, and has been for the last 11 years.
Burlington City Arts Center (BCA) features three floors of contemporary artwork in permanent gallery spaces, and one floor highlighting a rotating roster of Vermont-based artists. For over 30 years, the BCA has served the cultural and artistic needs of the Greater Burlington area, running a range of arts programs throughout the entire city.
The Fleming Museum, a treasured cultural mecca in Burlington for the last 80 years, resides on the campus of the University of Vermont. Opened in 1931, the museum boasts Vermont’s most comprehensive collection of art and anthropological artifacts, along with year-round programming for people of all ages.
The Church Street Marketplace is an open-air mall featuring both mainstream stores like Gap and Patagonia and local favorites like Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington Records and the Vermont Flannel Company. The marketplace features historical architecture and boasts a town square vibe.
The University Mall in South Burlington is Vermont’s largest enclosed shopping mall, featuring over 70 shops and dining establishments. In addition to shopping and eating, University Mall encourages people of all ages to “walk the mall” by doing laps around the inside perimeter. They also welcome non-profits to set up a booth on select Saturdays to promote awareness for their organizations.
Erin Bombard from the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce sums up Burlington best, “Winter is great for skiers in Vermont, and summer is great for the outdoor enthusiast, families, craft beer appreciators, shopaholics, music fanatics – and with all that is going on downtown, you can always get a glimpse of the Adirondack mountains surrounding Lake Champlain. It's truly something special.”