Every year, right around the first weekend in March, my wife and I go away to one of our favorite spots in all of New England: Burlington, Vermont.

This is probably the fourth year in a row that we have gone up during this time, and it really dawned on me during this trip. This place is probably my favorite staycation/downtown experience in all of New England.

Burlington, Vermont, USA at Church Street Marketplace.
Getty Images

I will preface my reasoning by saying that this is for visits only. I do not think I could live in Burly full-time. In fact, for a lifetime/to live somewhere, I think Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has the absolute best downtown.

BUT for a weekend away, Burlington, VT, is hands down the best downtown area for a staycation.

To start, the views. Burlington is right on Lake Champlain. Lake Champlain is the biggest lake in New England by a landslide. To put it into perspective, Lake Winnipesaukee is 71 square miles, Lake Champlain is 440 square miles.

As you walk down Church Street (I'll get to that), you see the gorgeous backdrop of the lake and the Adirondack Mountains.

Burlington has a phenomenal layout. The main street in downtown Burlington is Church Street. Unlike downtowns such as Portsmouth, Newburyport, Dover, etc., Burlington's downtown road (Church Street) is pedestrian-only.

I think this is the BEST thing for a downtown. Separate cars and people. Let people walk their dogs, babies, and drunk friends without worrying about cars.

The selection of things to do in downtown Burlington, VT, is incredible too. They have some of the best breweries and cideries in New England. They have escape rooms, a barcade, speakeasies, gorgeous walking paths, and endless restaurant selections.

There is also amazing shopping in Burlington. I am anti-shopping, but am typically happy to pop into a few stores in Burly. Some of my favorite sweatshirts, t-shirts, and brands are from downtown stores in Burlington.

In my opinion, there is more to do in Burlington than in Newburyport, MA, for example.

Again, if I had to live somewhere full-time, it would certainly be Portsmouth. That said, for a weekend away with friends for food, drinks, and fun, Burlington crushes it every year.

We have gone annually and will likely continue our tradition until we get bored, which hasn't happened yet!

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