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Burlington

Perched on the shores of Lake Champlain, Vermont's largest city would be considered tiny in most other states, but its relatively diminutive size is one of Burlington's charms. With the University of Vermont (UVM) swelling the city by 13,000 students and contributing to its vibrant cultural and social life, Burlington has a spirited, youthful vibe and more ethnic diversity than anywhere else in Vermont.

Burlington's walkable downtown, bike paths, farmers market, fabulous food co-op, and proximity to nature earn it accolades as one of America's greenest and most livable cities. The city's ongoing Great Streets Initiative (www.greatstreetsbtv.com) aims to sustain that momentum, with wider sidewalks, enhanced green spaces and reduced pollution.

Burlington makes an attractive base for exploring the rest of northwestern Vermont. Two of Vermont's crown jewels, Shelburne Farms and the Shelburne Museum, lie just 15 minutes south, while Stowe and the Green Mountains are within an hour's drive.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Burlington.