The Ultimate Guide to Winter in Burlington, Vermont

Whether you’d rather bundle up or hunker down, we’ve got the best Vermont winter activities for you!

Snow boots? Check. Winter coat? Check. Hat and gloves? Check and check. Now that you’re all set for your trip to Champlain College for the Winter Open House or a Campus Tour and Information Session, you can start planning the rest of your weekend. Are you a skier or snowboarder? Is a sled more your speed? No matter your ride, Vermont is ready for you. And if watching the snow fall from inside a cozy restaurant or bookstore sounds more appealing to you, we’ve got you covered.

Amazing things happen when Champlain students combine their passions for filmmaking and riding the slopes. Photo by Peter Cirilli ’16 // Cirilli Photo

Bundle up, get your hygge on, and check out our top things to do this winter in Burlington, Vermont!

Explore Vermont in Winter

Winters in Vermont are no joke, but that’s no reason to stay inside all season. Beat cabin fever by throwing on your warmest gear and heading out to explore all the adventures Vermont has to offer, even in the coldest months.

For fans of The Sound of Music, why not pay a visit to the Von Trapp family at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe? They offer snowshoeing and cross country skiing expeditions for a brand new perspective on the Green Mountains. On the way back to Burlington, stop by the Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea Co. to warm up, and stock up on unique Vermont souvenirs at the Cabot Cheese Farmer’s Store and try some free samples of local cheeses while you’re at it..

Champlain College students take full advantage of the Sugarbush Ski Resort thanks to the $30 season pass and organized transportation. Photo by Ryan Bent ’08 // Ryan Bent Photography

Want to hit the slopes during your weekend in Vermont? Sugarbush Ski Resort is only 45 minutes away from the Champlain College campus, making it a perfect getaway. Did you know Champlain students can ski and snowboard at Sugarbush for only $30 a season? Other notable ski mountains in the area include Jay Peak, Stowe Mountain Resort, Bolton Valley, and Smugglers’ Notch.

Maybe skiing is not your winter sport of choice. We get it. For those of us who can’t resist the charm of ice skating and sledding, there are options right here in Burlington. There are multiple ice rinks around town, but Callahan Park is easy to get to and beautiful. The outdoor community rink is free to use, and there are skates, hockey sticks and pucks available at the warming hut for students to borrow for the afternoon, free of charge. As for sledding, look no further than Champlain’s Finney Quad. Grab a friend and a sled, and enjoy the ride.

Finally, you cannot come to Vermont without tasting some maple syrup. Although sugaring season is in the spring, it is still well worth your time to take a short drive out of Burlington to learn more about Vermont’s famous maple syrup. Palmer’s Sugarhouse in Shelburne, VT offers by-appointment tours of their family farm throughout the off season. You might even get a taste of a special Vermont snack: sugar on snow. Simply drizzle maple syrup on snow and devour nature’s own snow cone.

We love our local farms here in Vermont! While you’re in Burlington, make sure to get a taste of all our farm-to-table food. Photo by Logan Hall-Potvin ’19 // Hall-Potvin Photography

Find Cozy Places to Stay Warm

Of course, some days are just too cold, even for the most dedicated skiers and riders. On those frosty occasions, there are still many things to do. The Champlain Valley Expo hosts events throughout the year, from bingo nights to renaissance faires to the Champlain College commencement ceremony. On the same weekend as our Winter Open House, the WOKO Gigantic Indoor Flea Market will be welcoming hundreds of shoppers looking for deals on antiques, clothes, and crafts. Why not try and find a Vermont antique to bring home from your incredible weekend in the Green Mountain State?

And it wouldn’t be a visit to Burlington without catching a show at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts or the Vermont Comedy Club. The arts are a huge part of the culture in Burlington, and we love to support local artists and performers.

The Vermont Comedy Club is the place to go if you’re looking for an evening of great entertainment. Photo by Logan Hall-Potvin ’19 // Hall-Potvin Photography

Discover the Taste of Vermont

Vermont is known for the farm-to-table movement, and Burlington in particular is proud to support local farms to source their ingredients. Before you head out for your day of winter fun, fuel up at the Hotel Vermont for a locally sourced brunch, featuring eggs from Maple Wind Farm and pastries from Barrio Bakery in the Old North End of Burlington. You might even catch a fire pit blazing on their back patio.

After a long day of college tours, ski trips, and snowshoeing adventures in the mountains, Lake Champlain Chocolates is the perfect pit stop. Grab a delicious hot chocolate (don’t forget your reusable cup!) and stroll down Church Street to admire the 100,000 lights—including Burlington’s famous giant holiday tree. For a longer, sit-down meal, look no further than the Farmhouse Tap & Grill on Bank Street in downtown Burlington. With cheeses from the Champlain Valley, vegetables from Pitchfork Farms, and Vermont Heritage pork, their menu offers you a taste of Vermont like you’ve never had before. While waiting for your table, head down to the Farmhouse basement to play some board games beside a cozy fire.

Pick up a hot chocolate and enjoy the lights on Church Street all winter long. Photo by Logan Hall-Potvin ’19 // Hall-Potvin Photography

If you want to bring home local Vermont food and produce, the Burlington Winter Farmers’ Market is the place for you. Held every other Saturday from November to April at the University of Vermont’s Davis Center, the market hosts over 30 local vendors and farmers. Fill up on winter veggies, local meats, and fresh prepared foods, as well as arts and crafts.

Winter Wonderland

Come join us for the Champlain College Winter Open House to experience the winter wonderland for yourself! Photo by Peter Cirilli ’16 // Cirilli Photo

Vermont winters are all part of the experience of coming to live and study in Vermont. Luckily, we’ve gotten good at staying warm and finding fun during the coldest months of the year. So when you come to Burlington for the Winter Open House on February 15, make sure to get out there and experience the amazing adventures Vermont has to offer all year round! Can’t make it on February 15? Book a Campus Tour and Information Session to see what we’re all about.

Read more about our Winter Open House here.

More Places
Building Community at the Champlain College Art Gallery
A Filmmaking Student’s Guide to Burlington, Vermont
Blast From the Past: Champlain’s First-Year Victorian-Era Res Halls