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What is it like to live in Winooski, Vermont?

Welcome to Winooski, my hometown. This is a thriving urban oasis. Winooski, Vermont is also known as the Brooklyn of Burlington because it's a small city with a big heart. If you're considering moving here, I hope this will shed some light on what life is like in this 1-square-mile town. I grew up here, so I'll be sure to give you my firsthand experience.

brick building in winooski vermont
Winooski Block

We will review four key takeaways, including the history of the town, demographics and how many languages are spoken, details on its futuristic mindset including what they once wanted to surround the one-square-mile town in, where locals gather including nature hotspots, and some real estate facts and demographics.

This small town is actually among the top 15 towns for population in the state of Vermont, with just over 8,300 people. Its median household income is just over $69,000. Winooski is a bit of a melting pot, from the original Abenaki settlers to several immigrants, including my French Canadian ancestors who found their way here years ago. Now, this vibrant town beats with the rhythms of over 30 languages. With this culture comes food, festivities, and even its own song, "Winooski My Town," that celebrates the heritage of its residents.

picutre of the Champlain Mill in Winooski Vermont, blue skies, and trees.
Champlain Mill

Winooski is also known as the Onion City, and many of its residents worked in the local mills, which today are the most well-known. These include the Chase Mill, mostly mixed-use and commercial studio space, the Champlain Mill with office space and a restaurant, and the Woolen Mill with housing. These buildings were known to be some of the largest textile buildings in the state of Vermont. My first apartment was actually right down off the downtown in the Millyard Condos. I love the walkability.

Along with the mills that produced jobs, the Winooski River and hydroplant, rebuilt around the 1980s, provided power to its residents and surrounding towns. This innovative spirit once sparked a visionary idea to enclose the city with a glass dome. Although it remains an idea, it symbolizes the city's bold approach to reimagining urban living. Instead, what has swirled around the town center is the new roundabout completed in 2005. It is situated in front of the Winooski Block, a building with housing, retail stores, bars, and restaurants. This takes you either uphill Main Street, East Allen, or towards Burlington up Colchester Ave to the crest, where you will find the major medical center in Vermont. The center of this area now hosts Rotary Park, where many events are held. I remember this being a major four-way intersection and sitting at this light for up to 15 minutes due to backup at rush hour, waiting to head up to pick up my dad at UVM after work. Other developments continue to adorn the main streets with new housing high rises, a renovation of its main public school including a health center and a dentist inside, and an update to the local favorite, the Winooski Pool, where we're filming here today. These are all spaces that lead us into the next section of local gathering spots.

Oversized red sneakers hanging off brick building in downtown Winooski
Sneakers Bistro

Whether you're an outdoor adventurer who loves fishing and trail walking or a connoisseur of craft beer and local cuisine, Winooski has something special for you. Events like the Waking Windows Music Festival and Art Walk in Winooski bring the community together to celebrate creativity and talent. The city boasts a diverse dining scene with restaurants that offer a wide array of cuisine from Vietnamese to Ethiopian, Mexican to classic American. Some favorites include Tiny Thai, Papa Frank's, or Sneakers Bistro. There's also a new restaurant I plan to check out called Vermont Curry and Cocktails. Popular scenic trails are the Gilbrook Reservoir and the Casavant Nature Trail.

The Champlain Mill, now host to mostly service-based businesses, still hosts one of my ultimate favorite restaurants that locals also love, Waterworks. You can dine over the falls, a definite splendid evening affair. I would highly recommend the Cascade Winds drink made with local Dobra tea and ginger.

We cannot forget Landry Park, which is behind me. This is an amazing location. We've got the remodeled pool right here. The park hosts summer and winter activities, including playgrounds, ball fields, tennis courts, a basketball court, a skate park, and one of the best winter sliding hills.

Have I mentioned that Winooski is a 1-square-mile town? That being said, it's a close-knit community on common postage stamp lots. I grew up on a 0.08-acre lot. It's hard to break it down into sections. Thus, Mallets Bay Ave kind of is a delineator between the hill or east section versus the west we call the flats.

Downtown Winooski, brick buildings, trees, green grass, cars, and blue skies.
Winooski Downtown

Whether you're looking for a charming downtown apartment, a cozy riverside condo, or a single-family home with character, Winooski has options to suit various lifestyles. The average price of a 3-bed, 2-bath home is around $425,000 to $475,000. Winooski has one public elementary, middle, and high school for its residents. Another school option is Saint Francis, a Catholic elementary and middle school. Winooski's iconic Saint Francis Church is a landmark.

For groceries, most locals visit Shaw's up Main Street as it crosses over to Colchester, as well as bulk shopping at Costco. Public transportation includes local bus stops throughout town, as well as bike and car options. The ability to get anywhere in 5 minutes always astounded me, whether I was going to a friend's house, walking on the train tracks, driving to Shelburne Road, hopping on the interstate to go to my job, or heading to my sister's house in Grand Isle. Okay, that took 9 minutes. I grew up city, and something about that kind of really shaped my desire to go fast, get there quick, and thrive to help others do the same.

black door with window on brick building with decorative elements.
Intricate doors in the Winooski Block

As we've seen today, Winooski isn't just a place to live; it's a place to belong. With its 1-square-mile town at the center of Chittenden County, bordering Essex, Colchester, Burlington, and South Burlington, it's a strategic base for exploring the best of Vermont. Winooski's open arms and pioneering spirit represent the very best of Vermont community.

Join us next time as we explore another Chittenden County, Vermont town with its own unique, charming character. Where will we discover next? Stay tuned.


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