Chittenden County is in Northwest Vermont. It is by far the state's most populous county, being home to roughly 25% of its residents. Half of the 10 most populous municipalities in Vermont are in Chittenden County, including the top 4.
- Urban Core — The urban core is comprised of the cities of Burlington, Winooski, and South Burlington. This is the most densely populated part of Vermont. Most of the attractions are located in Burlington, but there are some good restaurants in South Burlington and Winooski. South Burlington is mostly nondescript sprawl right now, but Winooski has a pleasant and growing city center.
- Inner Ring Suburbs — The towns of Colchester, Essex, Williston, and Shelburne are predominantly bedroom communities for Burlington. The village at the center of Shelburne is picturesque and is home to the renowned Shelburne Museum.
- Rural Areas — The rest of the county is predominantly rural with some scattered villages. It is a suburb of Burlington since most residents commute there for work, but it is not densely populated. The terrain changes from farmland to rolling hills to mountains the farther you get from Lake Champlain.
- 1 Burlington : the county seat and largest city
- 2 Colchester : Vermont's fourth largest municipality.
- 3 Essex Junction : Railroad-oriented village at the center of Vermont's largest town
- 4 Hinesburg
- 5 Jericho : Small town with quaint villages, and a gateway to the mountains of Underhill and Bolton
- 6 Richmond : Small riverside town known regionally as a dining destination
- 7 Shelburne : Small town home to the Shelburne Museum.
- 8 South Burlington : Vermont's second largest city
- 9 Williston : Rapidly growing suburban town home to one of Vermont's largest shopping areas.
- 10 Winooski : Quirky city just north of Burlington home to a large African and Himalayan immigrant community.
Chittenden County is the only part of Vermont that could really be considered urban. People from out of state may be surprised that it does not fit the bucolic rural image they hold of Vermont. Don't be surprised if you encounter a traffic jam or two. The area is definitely worth a visit, especially Burlington. However, Chittenden County is considerably different from the rest of the state. Some Vermonters don't really consider it to be part of Vermont. If you have time, be sure to explore the rest of the state.
Chittenden County is served by I-89, U.S. 7, and U.S. 2. It is about 2 hours from Montreal and 3 hours from Albany and Boston
There is an Amtrak station in Essex Junction.
- Burlington International Airport (BTV IATA), Airport Drive, +1 802 863-1889. Flights arrive daily via several carriers from as far away as Chicago and Orlando. Travelers from farther afield will have to make a connection in a larger city. There are non-stop flights to Burlington Airport from the following cities (some cities may be seasonal or only offer service certain days of the week): Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington. Several car rental companies are located at the airport and taxis will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go. There is also CCTA bus service to downtown Burlington.
If you have strong legs, you may want to do this as the scenery is quite pleasant. There are many bike paths, and motorists are usually pretty accommodating. There are a lot of hills.
By public transportationEdit
CCTA has pretty good coverage of the urban parts of the county. Most bus routes run every half hour with some running every 15 minutes at peak times. You can get to some of the outlying towns using commuter service or CCTA's Link service, but they only run during morning and evening rush hours and could leave you stranded somewhere if you miss the last bus.
Possible, but be prepared to pay through the nose if you want to go anywhere outside of Burlington.
This is the easiest way to see the rural parts of the county. Traffic in Burlington and its immediate suburbs can be bad at times, but people from major cities won't find it too bad.
Most indoor attractions are located in the urban and suburban areas, however rural Chittenden County is full of scenic views of mountains, fields, forests, and Lake Champlain.
- Birds of Vermont Museum, 900 Sherman Hollow Road, Huntington, ☏ +1 802 434-2167.
- Bolton Valley Resort, 4302 Bolton Valley Access Road, Bolton Valley, ☏ +1 802 434-3444. It's one of the smaller ski resorts in Vermont, but it is the closest to Burlington. There are six lifts and more than 70 trails.
- Mount Philo State Park:, 5425 Mt Philo Rd, Charlotte, ☏ +1 802 425-2390. Hike or drive to the top of Mt. Philo for views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks.
- Underhill State Park You can hike Mt. Mansfield from trails that begin in the park.
Urban and suburban Chittenden County draw large numbers of Canadian shoppers looking to take advantage of lower prices and taxes. Everything from boutiques and farmers markets to shopping malls and big box stores can be found here. The largest shopping areas are Downtown Burlington, the University Mall in South Burlington, and Taft's Corners in Williston.
- The Old Brick Store, 290 Ferry Rd, Charlotte, ☏ +1 802 425-2421. Market that also offers coffee, pastries, and sandwiches.
- Fireside Flatbread, 4302 Bolton Access Rd, Bolton Valley, ☏ +1 802-434-6820. Above the Base Lodge at Bolton Valley Resort.
- James Moore Tavern, 4302 Bolton Access Rd, Bolton Valley, ☏ +1 802 434-682.
- Poorhouse Pies, 419 VT-15, Underhill, ☏ +1 802-503-2254. A pie shop, sold and expanded in 2021.
- Charlotte Village Winery, 3968 Greenbush Road, Charlotte, ☏ +1 802 425-4599. 11AM-5PM. Small winery specializing in fruit wines
- Black Bear Inn:, 4010 Bolton Valley Access Road, Bolton Valley, toll-free: +1-800-395-6335.
- Sleepy Hollow Inn, 1805 Sherman Hollow Road, Huntington, ☏ +1 802 434-2283.
- The Inn at Charlotte, 32 State Park Rd., Charlotte, toll-free: +1-800-425-2934. Modern B&B.
- Mt. Philo Inn & Suites, 27 Inn Rd., Charlotte, ☏ +1 802 425-3335. Small inn with extended stay amenities like a full kitchen.
Even though it's more urban than the rest of Vermont, Chittenden County has very low crime. Winter weather is the biggest safety issue a traveler is likely to encounter. The eastern part of the county near the mountains can have very different weather conditions than in Burlington. It could be overcast in Burlington while parts of Jericho and Underhill could be experiencing blizzard conditions.