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Burlington (Vermont)

Travel Guide North America USA Northeastern United States New England Vermont Burlington

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Introduction

Burlington is the largest city in Vermont, although Montpelier is the state capital. It is located right on Lake Champlain, across from the Adirondacks of New York. The University of Vermont, the largest university in the state, is located on the hill in Burlington, while the commercial area is down towards the waterfront.

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Surrounding Subburbs

  • Burlington
  • Colchester
  • Essex
  • Essex Junction
  • South Burlington
  • Winooski

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Sights and Activities

Most activities surround the Church Street area downtown, a major pedestrian street filled with local shops, restaurants and bars. This is also the nightlife area of the city. Major festivals (the Marathon, and Brew Fest take place on Waterfront Park, a few blocks below church street towards the lake).

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Events and Festivals

  • February - Winter Fest
  • May - Key Bank Vermont City Marathon
  • June - Discover Jazz Festival
  • July - Vermont Brew Fest, Sidewalk Sale on Church Street
  • August - Festival of Fools (Theater Events), Dragon Boat Races
  • October - Vermont Film Festival, Haunted Forest (Halloween)
  • November - Church Street Christmas Lighting Ceremony
  • December - First Night (New Years Celebration)

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Weather

Summers last from June to September and are nice and warm, between 25 °C and 30 °C during the day and between 15 °C and 20 °C at night. Winters last from December to March with average daytime temperatures mostly around zero or slightly above. Nights are well below zero during this time. Precipitation is quite evenly distributed throughout the year, with sometimes very heavy snowfall in winter. During summer, heavy showers can occur, especially after periods of hot weather.

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Getting There

By Plane

Burlington International Airport (BTV) which, despite the name doesn't attract international flights year round. Domestic destinations include Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia and Washington. It hosts United, JetBlue, Delta and US Airways flights everyday. It also has added flights by Porter (from Toronto, Canada only) for the ski/snowboard season depending on demand.

By Train

The Amtrak Vermonter travels from Washington DC, through major cities including Philadelphia, New York and Boston, goes up north towards Vermont, stopping en route in Burlington, and ending near the Canadian border.

By Car

Burlington is close to Interstate I-89 (coming from New Hampshire or Massachusetts). Leave the Interstate at exit 14E or 14W. Route 7 comes up from the south along the New York border, with many state crossovers south of Lake Champlain.

By Bus

Greyhound Lines serve Burlington.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

Chittenden County Transportation Authority (CCTA) provides a public bus service in and around the city.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Quick Facts

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Population
36,889
Area
40.1 sq. km
Time Zone
UTC -5
Area Code
1-802

Contributors

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Burlington (Vermont) Travel Helpers

This is version 23. Last edited at 18:53 on Jul 11, 13 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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