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Why locals love living in South Burlington, Vermont

Updated: Jan 24




Hello and welcome to this convenient, expansive, and trending town called South Burlington! Join us as we discover why, according to Niche.com, it is the #1 town to live in in VT. It just happens to be my home, so I may be a bit biased.



Let’s get started with understanding the size and landscape of this area…


Map of South Burlington Neighborhoods to consider.
Map of South Burlington

Landscape of South Burlington


This town is 16.46 square miles, the largest by area in the state. To describe South Burlington, Vermont, it’s central to everything in Chittenden County. With Lake Champlain to the west and Mount Mansfield to the east, residents here are never short of options for outdoor activities.


Let me show you some of the places and spaces!


I’ve split South Burlington up into 3 areas to describe the landscape. Make sure you check out my South Burlington neighborhoods video to learn more about the communities here.



South Burlington North


Most notable location: 

Patrick Leahy International Airport. Although VT’s largest of only 2 airports, it is in the top 10 best small airports by US News (source).


Another hotspot is Dorset Street:

 home to University Mall, comprised of a variety of larger department stores like Kohls and Target, as well as local hobby shops like VT Gaming Academy and other craft stores.


Across the street is the Blue Mall: 

With After Midnight Jewelers, Snowflake Chocolates, Lee's Asian Market. To the right and left of the Blue Mall, you’ll find Barnes and Noble, Healthy Living, and Trader Joes.


Top restaurants in this area: 

The Guild or Windjammer for something fancier/steakhouse. For casual, there’s Hana, Bueno Sano, Al's French Fries, and local Dunkin and Starbucks.


A current showstopper of this part of town is Market Street: 

The new attempt at a downtown feel. This area is in growth mode with new-build housing and the hope for more retail stores. The new roadways and paths are in construction to link over to Healthy Living and through City Center Park.


A must-see on Market St is the South Burlington Library: 

The grand opening was in July 2021. Upon visiting, you’ll browse the hall with local art, check out the auditorium, and find hands-on technology spaces and meeting rooms. There is a separate children's space on the main level with young reader and adult book selections on the 2nd level. There are activities such as toddler story time, poetry group, or tech help by appointment, gaming night.


Schools in this area: 

Chamberlain and Marcotte Elementary, Frederick Tuttle Middle School, and the South Burlington Public High School, home of the wolves, serving just shy of 900 students grades 9-12.


South Burlington West


Most notable characteristic of this part of town is the offerings on Shelburne Road:

One of the largest, longest highways filled with a large mix of industrial, commercial, larger businesses, car dealerships, banks, retail shopping, restaurants, and more. This part of South Burlington feels like an extension of Burlington as it touches the south end downtown.


Some hot spots are:

  • My favorite restaurants: Paulines or Pulcinellas for a cozy date night, classic Olive Garden, Panera for lunch.

  • For home furniture findings: trend styles at Modern Furniture and classic at Ethan Allen.

  • Other retail shopping at: the Alpine Shop and women's wear fashion at Talbots.


Top outdoor space is Red Rocks Park: 

A 100-acre park open for use year-round - snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and a must for an easy hike taking down to Lake Champlain. The beach has a designated swimming area and restrooms, and there is a covered picnic area. If you plan to bring your dog, there is a leash law.


School in this area:

The two schools you'll find here are Orchard Elementary School and Rice Memorial HS with 369 students, about a third of the local public school.


South Burlington South and Sprawling


Most notable location here:

Spear St and Overlook Park: Views of Lake Champlain and stunning homes line this location. This area, once used to be large open farmland, has seen a dramatic amount of growth with new housing developments developed over the last 10 years.


Outdoor recreation:

You’ll find Wheeler Park, a nature park that is perfect for exploring and photography. Veterans Memorial Park where they host South Burlington Night Out has the dog park and Cairns Arena, which is an indoor ice skating rink with 2 sheets of ice - only 1 of its kind in VT, with a pro shop.

And don't forget Overlook Park setting the scene on Spear St with 1.7 acres of scenic views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, with access to a rec path and parking.


Restaurants:

A great lunch spot after grabbing from a local community market for daily essentials and great cider donuts is the Mill Market and Deli.


Schools in this area:

The school you’ll find here is The Schoolhouse, serving k-8th grade.


More recreation:

Locals also have the enjoyment of the VT National Country Club where you can golf, swim, play tennis, have indoor function space - beautiful I've been, kids corner, and a golf school for kids.


Characteristics of Population and Households

  • There are 8,783 households

  • Population: just over 20,600 people (2022)

  • Median household income: $90,410

  • Average rent estimate: I’m seeing $1800-2000 for a 2 bed, 1 bath

  • Average median sales price for SF as of end 2023: $632,450, $340,000 for a condo/townhome


For more information, you can go to these websites:


For Industry and Occupations - I found these graphs to be super interesting and might assist you if you're looking for a job to understand the working landscape and needs of the job community.



Chart depicting percentages of occupations in South Burlington Vermont
Occupations in South Burlington, Vermont

Chart depicting percentages of industry in South Burlington Vermont
Industry in South Burlington, Vermont

Events in the South Burlington community

  • SoBu Nights Out is a must for local music, food trucks, and fun activities.

  • Illuminate - bringing community and local artisans for a night of warm mittens and shopping treasures.

  • Energy Fair - A day of fun, food, prizes & sustainable energy.



You’ll see in my next video that South Burlington is in my top 5 towns in Vermont, to live in and according to fortune, it’s actually #21 place to live with families!




And according to Niche, #1 in Vermont



More reason's locals love living in South Burlington, Vermont:


QUOTES from South Burlington residents


I’ve lived in South Burlington for 15 out of the 19 years I’ve been on this earth other and I honestly love it despite having experienced cities and towns in multiple other states. It’s a small town there isn’t a whole lot around here but it’s a great place to grow up I would say, it’s very green as well trees are everywhere. There’s no shortage of hiking paths and scenic routes throughout the mountains of the state which is something I’ve grown to really admire, you can’t get that in most any other state and here in Vermont it’s literally everywhere. The town has definitely been modernized but in such a way that Mother Nature compliments it and I really admire that, the only complaint I would have is the amount of potholes in our roads. Other than that if you enjoy small town life, a friendly community, and nature I would say South Burlington is the town for you!


Direct “ from quora

On the Shelburne side you have access to every amenity you’d need — fast food (with drive-throughs!), a number of larger supermarkets and a handful of chain restaurants. Getting downtown is anywhere from 5–10 minutes away. Shelburne Road is right there and you can easily jump on it and head south to get to Middlebury, Rutland or jump on 22a to go to New York.
The other side of town is a little more dense, though. We have all the same amenities as the other side, albeit fewer fast food restaurants (and no drive-throughs!) and lesser grocery stores — I still drive across town to use the ones on the Shelburne side. But, the thing is how easy it is to get to everything I need. The house we bought is in a little neighborhood by the airport. It’s set off from Williston road so we don’t have to hear the constant traffic of the main road through that part of town. The thing is, in a two minute drive, everything is there! Gas, beer, liquor… 5 minutes you’re at UVM, in 10 minute you’re downtown and parked. Ubers are plentiful and if you didn’t want to drive, they have you covered. There’s also a few more local and higher-end restaurants on this side, too. I never turn away a good steak from the Guild Tavern or the Windjammer.
If you’re into that kind of thing, there’s also the mall over here, and there’s a big push to build South Burlington’s town center and “downtown” in this area.
So ultimately, what I like the most about South Burlington is that you’re far enough away from things to not feel like you’re in the middle of the city, but you’re close enough that if you want to be, it’s only minutes away.


A quote from a neighbor- Heidi SipesLamb

Sara Kilroy, very much! Well, Pre-covid that is. Lots of people have pools, firepits, basketball hoops... kids run in little gangs like 1985. It's perfection. Ice cream truck parties are a favorite!

The orchards neighborhood is awesome! Tons of kids, close to the elementary school and really convenient for EVERYTHING! Laurel Hill is really nice too and in the same area - there’s a pathway that connects the two neighborhoods making it an easy walk/ bike ride to Szymanski park. We’ve been here 6 years and love it. Block parties in the summer, neighbors always willing to help...a really nice community! Let me know if you have any questions.


 As South Burlington continues to evolve and grow, its housing market remains a dynamic and ever-changing aspect of the city's development. The commitment to diverse housing options, sustainability, and community-driven planning ensures that South Burlington remains an attractive and welcoming place to call home, reflecting the values and aspirations of the vibrant Vermont community.


I hope you’ll check out my other video on the neighborhoods in South Burlington that can give you a sense of housing, parks and schools in this community.





If you have a question about South Burlington, any neighborhoods, restaurants or what time to even plan for the airport, let me know I’m here and happy to help!



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