Burlington, Vermont has been my home for nearly 10 years. I came for college and never left—a pretty typical story for residents of this city. It was the mountains that drew me here, but I don’t think I would’ve stayed for quite so long without the lake. Beyond being picturesque, Burlington’s charm stems from its collective spirit. Seasonality is embraced here, whether in the chosen outdoor activity or in the menu offerings.
People here understand that certain things are inevitable. Summer will be short but impossibly green, winter will be long and at times grueling. But these conditions make it so Burlington-ites let no sunny day go to waste. It is a place you can be yourself creatively, (check out my side hustle brennapaulsen.com) and carve out your niche. For its size, Burlington boasts some great restaurants hyper focused on locally sourcing everything from kombucha to bathroom soap. Here’s a slice of a few of my favorite Burlington spots.
Myer’s is a Montreal-style bagel institution which thankfully found its way to Burlington. The place is gritty and authentic, and all the bagels are honey boiled and wood fired in the Montreal tradition. Trust me, get at least a half dozen Montreal spice bagels.
377 Pine St, Burlington, VT
Monarch & the Milkweed
Arguably the prettiest restaurant in Burlington, Monarch & the Milkweed was also the first to have a hip neon sign (at least I think they were). They serve breakfast all day and are open late so you can eat waffles whenever you please. I mostly come for the waffles but other favorites include the grilled cheese & tomato soup, Negroni poppers, and the CBD truffles (fun fact: on Jan 22nd VT became the first state to legalize pot through the legislature).
111 St Paul St, Burlington, VT
Full disclosure: I use to serve at El Cortijo, so I’m for sure biased, but I haven’t worked there in over 5 years, and they still treat me like just left. I eat in this 50’s diner-turned-taco shop at least once a week, and I have a few go to’s: the ceviche, the queso fundido, the camote taco and the smothered burritos. All the margs are delicious, but don’t sleep on the passionfruit.
189 Bank St, Burlington, VT
Light Club Lamp Shop
Light Club Lamp Shop is a quirky joint. They actually have lamps for sale and every time I’m there with friends we always pick out which lamp is our spirit lamp. I often wonder if anyone has ever bought a lamp while sober. In addition to the lamps they also have the incredible DJ Taka spinning disco on the weekends.
12 N Winooski Ave, Burlington, VT
With killer views of the Adirondacks across the lake in New York, a revitalized bike path, the Andy A_Dog Williams Skatepark (named after the local dj/skate legend A_Dog), the community sailing center, and the dog friendly Texaco beach, the Burlington waterfront is where it’s at. No matter the time of year, you’re pretty much blowing it if you don’t catch at least one sunset here.
20 Lake St, Burlington, VT