SoloFriendly Burlington, VT
Why Burlington? If you live east of the Mississippi and are looking for an easy getaway to kickstart your solo travel experiences, I can’t think of a better place than Burlington. It’s beautiful, it’s safer than most cities, and it’s just the right size for getting around easily. I have lived here for 22 years and have gone out alone a LOT. So I feel very well qualified to speak to Burlington’s solo-friendly qualities.
Because Burlington is a college town, there are a fair number of coffee shops and bars and there is a surprisingly good selection of ethnic restaurants. There are a wide variety of activities that can be enjoyed by anyone–including solos. Trust me when I say, Burlington won’t intimidate a newbie solo traveler nearly as much as say, New York City. For our purposes, I’ll be focusing on activities, restaurants, etc. that I think solos can enjoy.
Best times to visit: May through the end of December (Church Street is especially beautiful when decorated for Christmas). Avoid mud season (March and April). Only come here January through March if you have a perverse love of subzero temperatures. Everyone wants to visit Vermont in the fall, when the foliage brightens the landscape, but you’ll be competing for lodging with hundreds of other “leaf peepers”, so book well in advance. And if you plan to visit in May, be aware that there are several area colleges graduating students at that time, and lodging establishments are highly booked on those weekends. I think summer is the best time to visit–the weather is about as perfect as it ever gets in Vermont, and there so many activities to enjoy–including some fun festivals.
Getting Here and Getting Around: Burlington is a pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly city and has a decent public transportation system (CCTA). We also have lots of taxis, though flagging one down could be time-intensive; it’s better to call for one. You can get here by car, by train (the Amtrak Vermonter, stopping in Essex, VT), by plane (Burlington International Airport), by bus (Vermont Transit), and by ferry (Lake Champlain Transportation). If you fly in and want to rent a car, there are car rental companies located at the airport, and Thrifty, located less than a mile from the airport (they also have an airport shuttle). I highly recommend this particular Thrifty outlet; they have treated me very well over the years. (Before I bought my car, I rented from them on a regular basis. )
Click on the links below for my recommendations for solo-friendly activities, restaurants, lodging and nightlife in Burlington, VT.