31 Best Things to Do in Waterbury, VT (2023, by a Local)
There’s an abundance of fun things to do in Waterbury, VT so if you are looking for ideas to plan your itinerary during your visit to our quaint town, you are in the right place!
Having resided in the beautiful area of Waterbury, VT for a decade, I genuinely enjoy sharing recommendations and insights on the best experiences to be had here.
I can personally vouch for the undeniable charm of this town, as it consistently offers a plethora of fun opportunities for both visitors seeking a memorable vacation and residents who are lucky enough to call it home. Waterbury, Vermont is definitely also known as a foodie paradise!
In this blog post, you’ll find all the info you need to plan your visit! Whether you’re interested in exploring the great outdoors by hiking, biking, or swimming, sampling local cuisine, or browsing unique shops and galleries, Waterbury has something to offer.
This is a destination that won’t let you down. Situated between Burlington and Montpelier, the town of Waterbury VT serves as a hub for shopping, dining, and recreating and is the crucial junction that leads to other popular recreation centers in Stowe and the Mad River Valley.
In addition to its strategic location, Waterbury also boasts several must-see attractions that make it a destination worth visiting in its own right. So come and discover all that this picturesque town has to offer – you won’t be disappointed!
⭐️ Best Things to Do in Waterbury VT
With its stunning natural scenery, vibrant culture, and super friendly community, Waterbury is a place where you can truly make the most of every moment, no matter the season! It’s perfect for your next family vacation.
What’s even better? Scenic Vermont Route 100 runs through the town of Waterbury and is not only scenic but it’s also an important part of the area’s history and culture. Also, the Green Mountain Byway travels from Route 100 in Waterbury to Stowe.
This legendary road passes through the heart of Waterbury and provides access to many of the town’s popular attractions, linking the town to other areas such as Stowe and the Mad River Valley.
When pondering about Waterbury VT things to do this list is sure to help you plan your itinerary!
1. Vist the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory
Did someone say ICE CREAM? This is potentially the most well-known activity in Waterbury, VT, that draws crowds, and with good reason! It is one of the best places to take kids. Located right on Rt. 100 in a very convenient location this is a must-do during your visit.
Ben & Jerry’s even has dairy-free options now for those who need an alternative. On a hot day in the summertime, you will find quite a long line at the window for the scoop shop but it never seems to take too long to move through the line. Also, it is always 100% worth it!
Don’t miss checking out the Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard up the hill. It’s there you will find colorful headstones commemorating all the retired flavors. It’s a really fun detour.
The Factory Tour is worth doing! Visitors can watch a short video about the company’s history and values before being led by a knowledgeable guide through the factory’s viewing gallery, where they can see the ice cream being produced on the production line.
The tour is a great way for ice cream lovers and tourists to learn about the company’s mission and production process. There is always a taste of the sample of the day!
You also must have heard about one of Vermont’s favorite holidays. FREE CONE DAY! Sometime in early April each year Ben and Jerry’s offers up free single scoops around the world, and yes, at this location in Waterbury too!
WHERE IS IT? Ben and Jerry’s is located on the Waterbury-Stowe Rd (Rt 100)
2. Taste Cheese at the Cabot Farmer’s Store
Sometimes I pinch myself because I live somewhere that I can go and sample cheese whenever I feel like it! This store just happens to be near where I run errands so I am able to stop by often and buy cheese.
If you’re a cheese lover like me, a visit to the Cabot Store is a must. This is where you can find Cabot Creamery’s entire line of award-winning cheeses, as well as sample them for free.
From sharp cheddar and mild Colby to habanero and smoky bacon, there’s a cheese for everyone’s taste buds. Make sure you ask to sample the aged cheeses.
Plus, if you’re looking for a unique gift, the store offers a wide selection of cheese-related products, including cheese boards, cheese knives, and even gourmet groceries. Beer, wine, and cider can also be purchased here!
WHERE IS IT? Cabot Creamery is located on the Waterbury Stowe Road (Rt. 100)
3. Visit the Green Mountain Club
The Green Mountain Club, in Waterbury Center, is the oldest and largest hiking club in Vermont! Founded in 1910, they are dedicated to protecting and maintaining the Long Trail System, which is some of the best hiking in New England.
They offer detailed trip reports, trail descriptions, maps, and other resources to help hikers make informed decisions when planning their trips. Additionally, they provide camping advice, gear recommendations, and tips on how to make the most of your hiking experience.
The Green Mountain Club also holds regular events and workshops so be sure to check out their calendar!
WHERE IS IT? Green Mountain Club is located on the Waterbury-Stowe Rd. (Rt. 100)
4. Visit Cold Hollow Cider Mill for Cider and Cider Donuts
I am pretty sure I have sampled ALL the various cider donuts within a twenty-mile radius of my home and I can tell you with certainty that Cold Hollow cider donuts are the BEST.
Pair them with a cup of hot cider on a cool fall day in Vermont and you will be in heaven. Cold Hollow offers freshly-made warm donuts at the counter and I recommend getting a few extra because you may gobble them up really fast!
In addition to their delicious donuts and cider, you can find endless VT-themed gifts, baked goods, and food treasures in the store. It is definitely somewhere you have to check out during your visit.
WHERE IS IT? Cold Hollow Cider Mill is located on the Waterbury-Stowe Rd. (Rt. 100)
Next door, across the parking lot, you can go to the Applecore Luncheonette and Brew for a perfect lunch and a refreshing hard cider in the tasting room! They offer a great sandwich and soup combo. Everything is homemade and delicious, including the bread!
5. Taste Chocolate at Lake Champlain Chocolates
Lake Champlain Chocolates is a Vermont-based chocolate company that makes delicious treats! The store is located off route 100 on the stretch of road heading toward Stowe. It is in the same location as the Cabot Cheese Annex.
The store offers a wide range of handcrafted chocolates, including truffles, chocolate bars, and seasonal specialties. All of the chocolates are made using high-quality, ethically-sourced ingredients, and are crafted in small batches by skilled chocolatiers.
In addition to chocolates, the Café also serves coffee, espresso, tea, and hot chocolate drinks. It’s also a lesser-known fact that they serve AMAZING ice cream here too. It’s dreamy, trust me. Yes, they have milkshakes too! Check out Danforth Pewter next door for gifts for loved ones.
WHERE IS IT? Lake Champlain Chocolates is located on the Waterbury-Stowe Rd.
6. Smuggler’s Notch Distillery
Smuggler’s Notch Distillery is a craft distillery that creates high-quality spirits using local ingredients and traditional techniques. The tasting room is also conveniently located in the same area as the Cabot Cheese Annex!
If you are not familiar with it, the name “Smuggler’s Notch” refers to a mountain pass in the Green Mountains of Vermont that was used by smugglers during Prohibition to transport illegal alcohol from Canada to the United States. Cool right?
Today, the distillery pays homage to this history by producing a range of spirits that are made from high-quality grains, including vodka, gin, rum, and rye.
One of the most popular products that I highly recommend trying is their Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. It is made by aging Vermont maple syrup in oak barrels that were previously used to age the distillery’s Bourbon. It’s SO delicious and rich!
If you are lucky they will be pouring samples of that golden delicious maple syrup when you visit!
The Smuggler’s Notch Distillery is open daily for tastings of its award-winning spirits. The tastings are not free but not pricey. You can purchase bottles of your favorite spirits and other merchandise as well!
WHERE IS IT? Smuggler’s Notch Distillery is located on the Waterbury-Stowe Rd.
7. Go to the Coffee Bar at Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea
Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea is the perfect spot for visitors who are looking for a delicious cup of coffee and a cool stop where you can view the roasting process through the large window!
You can’t miss it as it is a gorgeous large bright red building on the side of Route 100 heading toward Stowe.
Not only does this establishment offer a wide selection of premium coffees and teas, but they also serve up freshly made pastries and treats such as Red Poppy Cakery cupcakes and delicious muffins.
The baristas at Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea have mastered the art of coffee-making, creating unique flavors to delight customers. A local favorite is the maple latte! You can also purchase chai and matcha tea lattes.
In addition to their delectable drinks and food items, visitors can enjoy their patio and outdoor fire pit. It’s a great place to stop in between other activities for a nice break!
WHERE IS IT? Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea is located on the Waterbury-Stowe Rd.
8. Tour Historic Waterbury
The Waterbury Village Historic District has a long and interesting story. The earliest inhabitants of the land were Abenaki and much later settlers came from Waterbury, CT – naming the town Waterbury, VT.
This district offers visitors a glimpse into the town’s past, showcasing its beautiful architecture and fascinating stories. From the stunning Greek Revival-style buildings to the historic railroad station, there is something for everyone to discover in Waterbury.
The Great Vermont Flood of 1927 stands as the greatest natural disaster in Vermont’s history. In addition to the high water level markers found throughout the town, there are also several historic sites in Waterbury that showcase the town’s experience during the flood of 1927.
For example, the Waterbury Historical Society has an exhibit dedicated to the flood, featuring photographs and artifacts from that time. Some parts of the downtown Discover Waterbury tour can be covered on foot, while others would necessitate a mode of transportation such as a car, bicycle, or any other preferred means.
For a detailed historical tour map and driving directions CLICK HERE.
9. Go on a Self-Guided Public Art Tour
Waterbury is home to a large number of worthwhile public art pieces to check out! The most well-known piece is the Waterbury Special located at the downtown roundabout on the train trestle. Created by artist Phillip Godenschwager, it is lit up beautifully in the evening hours.
Other noteworthy public art pieces are:
- Chrome Eagle, located on Route 100 North, created by Martin McGowan.
- Sunflower Mural, located at Sunflower Natural Foods. Painted by local artist Dorothy Langevin.
- Flock of Birds, located at Rusty Parker Memorial Park. Created by Vermont artist Tyler Vendituoli.
- Glacial Graze, located on the State Complex lawn. Designed by Sarah Sherman and fabricated by Dominic Ranieri and Gregory Wright.
- Inside the Light in the Dark, located by the Public Safety & Forensics Lab at the State Complex. An abstract installation by Dan Gottsegen.
- Triptych, located at Stowe Street Cafe and created by Torrey Carroll Smith.
- Phoenix Rising, located in the alley across the street from Axel’s Gallery & Frame Shop. Created in 2021 for the ten year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene.
10. Shop for Local Treasures at Green Mountain Dry Goods
Local proprietor, Jamie Mcveigh, opened her store in 2021 with a burst of freshness and loads of support for local artisans and products made in the area. Definitely stop here for some fabulous gifts for yourself and your family and friends!
You’ll find fine jewelry, tasty food items, beeswax candles, patches, maple products, clothing, hats, cute holiday decor, and so much more. The store is absolutely filled to the brim with quality products. You won’t walk out the door with a treasure.
WHERE IS IT? Green Mountain Dry Goods is located across from Ben and Jerry’s on Route 100.
11. Ice Skating at The Ice Center
The local ice skating rink isn’t just for hockey teams and players to use! The Ice Center has public use hours several times a week. This is a fun thing to do in Waterbury, especially if you have kids. It’s the perfect activity to get some extra energy out!
Visiting on a hot and humid week and needing a break from the weather? Check out their schedule on their website and plan to enjoy an hour on the ice cooling off. There are ice skate rentals available and a small pro shop as well.
WHERE IS IT? The Ice Center is located on River Road with access from Rt. 2 near the Winooski River. It is near the Perry Hill Trailhead.
🚶🏽Best Things to Do in Downtown Waterbury, VT
Everything in downtown Waterbury is walkable as it is basically just two large blocks. Find a parking space and stroll around enjoying lunch, some shopping, and perhaps some spirits!
12. Visit a Craft Brewery
The Waterbury area has an abundance of great beer to sample! The newest brewery in our area is Freak Folk Biergarten. They have an amazing selection of beer including a Bavarian-style helles lager, a pale ale, two IPAs, and a smoked Baltic porter.
Freak Folk Bier started brewing in 2018 in Burlington, Vermont but did not have a public space until 2022 when they opened their taproom in Waterbury.
The taproom serves small dishes of food such as marinated olives, spiced cashews, and a Vermont cheese-and-charcuterie plate. The menu items reflect the eclectic, yet comforting atmosphere of Freak Folk’s taproom.
In addition, consider a visit to The Reservoir Restaurant & Taproom to sample some of their own nano brewery creations. Big Tree Brewing was founded in 2012 by Mark Frier, and it continues to be a local favorite.
WHERE IS IT? Freak Folk Brewery is located on Stowe Street across from Bridge Street.
13. Visit Jeremy Ayers Pottery
Jeremy Ayers has been a mainstay in the arts community here in Vermont for many years. You can enjoy a visit to his studio and showroom downtown in a renovated 1870 Carriage Barn located directly behind Prohibition Pig at 18 Elm Street.
Jeremy creates stunning functional pottery. Whether you’re looking for a unique centerpiece for your dinner table, a new set of mugs, a saltbox, or a unique serving bowl, he is sure to have something perfect for you.
With a welcoming environment and beautiful creations, it’s easy to see why Jeremy Ayer’s Art Studio is one of the most popular destinations for local creatives and aspiring artists.
WHERE IS IT? Jeremy Ayer’s Studio is located at 18 Elm St behind Prohibition Pig
14. Visit the Waterbury Farmer’s Market
This is a must-do, especially if you have kids! The Waterbury Farmer’s Market is seasonal and takes place between late May and early September, every Thursday from 4-7 pm. Unless there is a big storm, this market happens rain or shine at Rusty Parker Memorial Park!
The market has a diverse array of local vendors who offer an extensive selection of delicious high-quality goods, such as fresh local-grown produce, meat, hot prepared foods, arts and crafts, wellness products, and more. It’s the perfect place to stroll, munch, and browse!
In addition, at 6 pm every market will be followed by the Concert in the Park, featuring live music. See the below description.
WHERE IS IT? The market takes place at Rusty Memorial Park near the train station.
15. Attend Concerts in the Park
Concerts in the Park is a free summer series that takes place in Waterbury every Thursday evening, 6-8:30 pm from June to August at Rusty Parker Memorial Park.
The event brings to life the town’s park with a fun and lively atmosphere. After the local farmers’ market closes for the day, visitors can enjoy an eclectic array of music performed by talented local and regional performers.
Concerts feature genres such as folk, blues, and jazz. With family-friendly performances and casual activities from locals like hula hooping and more, this weekly event is sure to delight everyone who attends. Grab a blanket, some chairs, and a picnic, and come hang out!
WHERE IS IT? The concert takes place at Rusty Memorial Park near the train station.
16. Shop for Wine at The Wine Vault
This wine shop is a total GEM for wine lovers in the heart of Waterbury and should not be overlooked! Anastasia, the owner, knows every single one of the wines on the shelf. She can give you the perfect recommendations based on your budget.
The store sells an abundance of small-batch and great-tasting biodynamic, organic, and natural wines. They take pride in the quality and taste of the wines they sell!
My husband and I love to stop in and buy a custom case of wine that is chock full of unique and delicious wines we can enjoy throughout the next few months. There is something really special about going into The Vault and having such a personalized shopping experience.
You can also shop for port, cigars, and chocolate here. Put this store on your list and head back home with an armful or a case of unique wines from all over the world!
WHERE IS IT? The Wine Vault is located on Elm Street in Downtown Waterbury
17. Shop and Dine at Stowe Street Cafe
Local proprietor, Nicole Grenier, opened Stowe Street Cafe in 2015 and filled a huge gap in Downtown Waterbury! This space welcomes all into a delicious coffee shop and cafe in a colorful space filled with artisan creations such as jewelry, candles, and textiles, alongside air plants, and more.
From huge breakfast sandwiches served on homemade biscuits and giant cinnamon buns to soups and scrumptious salads topped with crispy kale and chickpeas, Stowe Street is not a space to pass on by.
Venture through the cafe to Bridgeside Books to browse after you enjoy a fresh cup of coffee or a Mexican hot chocolate. They also offer frozen meals to bake at home such as macaroni and cheese or pot pies. Everything is homemade and very tasty!
WHERE IS IT? Stowe Street Cafe is located on Bridge Street in Downtown Waterbury
18. Go for a Spa Treatment
BAHV Spa is right on Main Street in Waterbury and offers a variety of spa services. You can opt for massages, facials, body treatments, and nail services. They focus on using natural and organic products, and the services are designed to promote relaxation and wellness.
The owner, Danielle Savard, is a licensed aesthetician with a deep connection to herbal medicine and natural products.
When they first opened I went to their grand opening and received a courtesy “facial” on my hands. Let me tell you, I don’t remember my hands feeling so soft, ever! Their products smell amazing and work wonders.
So treat yourself in between a hike and dinner with a visit to BAHV! You are on vacation right? They also offer spa packages for special occasions and events, such as bridal parties and birthdays. The spa has such a cozy and tranquil atmosphere so you can fully unwind and rejuvenate.
WHERE IS IT? BAHV Spa is located on Main Street in Downtown Waterbury
🌲 Best Things to Do Outdoors in Waterbury, VT
This area is one large playground. Many people flock only to downtown Waterbury and the popular attractions in Waterbury Center (Cabot Cheese, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, etc) but the surrounding area has an abundance of opportunities to play outdoors in a drop-dead gorgeous location!
19. Visit Camel’s Hump State Park and Go for a Hike
The views don’t get much better than this, do they? If you are ready for a vigorous hike plan to hike up Camel’s Hump with your family. Bring plenty of day hike snacks and water!
There are several trailheads for Camel’s Hump but I recommend driving up Camel’s Hump Rd off of River Rd. The Monroe Trail trailhead is accessed at the top of the parking area.
From there, the hike to the summit of Camel’s Hump is approximately 3.1 miles each way, for a total round-trip distance of 6.2 miles. This hike is a challenging, strenuous hike that typically takes hikers between 4-6 hours to complete, depending on their level of fitness and pace.
Want an extended experience at Camel’s Hump? There are designated areas that are allowed for camping at Camel’s Hump, including shelters, lodges, and the Hump Brook Tenting Area. The Green Mountain Club (GMC) supervises the shelters and lodges from May to October.
WHERE IS IT? The base of Camels Hump Rd is located off of River Rd just outside of Waterbury
20. Go on a History Hike
Drive to Little River State Park, check out the extremely beautiful walk out to the historic Waterbury Dam building, and then go for a history walk on the Dalley Loop Trail!
The settlement of the Little River began in 1790 with the arrival of George Kenyon. Over the next 130 years, the Little River Valley was a very active farming settlement. The Dalley Loop Trail guides you through a historical trek with interpretive signs.
The trail is moderately difficult and is 3.5 miles long. It starts 3/4 mile north of the Little River park office on the road towards campground Area B. You will find parking on the right and the trailhead on your left.
The trail itself is an old town road that gradually ascends uphill. You will find information along the hike worth reading. It’s a great educational hike for those interested in the past of this area. On the loop, you will pass old farms, a cemetery, and the location of the schoolhouse.
WHERE IS IT? The history hike at Little River State Park is located down Little River Rd.
21. Swim and Paddle in the Waterbury Reservoir
Mingle amongst the locals on a gorgeous sunny Vermont summer day at Waterbury Center State Park. The water at the Waterbury Reservoir is perfect for swimming. You can also kayak, go fishing, or even rent a boat to explore the lake!
BOAT RENTALS are via the Umiak Outdoor Outfitters Outpost on the waterfront. No reservations are taken as the boats are first come first serve.
There is not a dry sandy beach here so bring some chairs and a blanket to sit on in the grassy area. Parents of toddlers especially love this location for swimming and playing as the water tends to be low. The exception is if it has rained a lot recently.
With breathtaking views and plenty of options for activities, you can have a relaxing day with your family. In addition to offering excellent swimming, the State Park has charcoal grills, picnic tables, nature trails, and even remote boat-access campsites.
You can access the reservoir in the fall too, opting for a memorable paddle surrounded by changing leaves! There is also a convenient boat launch or two located on the reservoir.
WHERE IS IT? The reservoir is located down Reservoir Rd off of Rt 100 in Waterbury Center.
22. Fly Fishing in the Winooski River
Fly fishing the Winooski River in Waterbury is a very popular activity here! Most days when driving across the bridge on Winooski street you can view people casting their lines in various locations on the river.
This can also be a great experience for anglers of all skill levels who want to try fishing somewhere new. The Winooski River is definitely known for its excellent trout fishing opportunities.
It is home to brown, rainbow, and brook trout, with brown trout being the most abundant species. The best time to fish for these trout is typically in the spring and fall when the water temperatures are cooler and the fish are more active.
There are several access points to the Winooski River in Waterbury, but typically people park in the area near the bridge on Winooski Street and walk down to the river. Be sure to purchase your fishing license beforehand.
WHERE IS IT? Fishing access can be found off of Winooski St in Waterbury, near River Rd.
23. Hike Hunger Mountain
Hunger Mountain is one of my favorite day hikes in the area! Both Hunger Mountain and Mount Abe take the cake for me during the fall season in Vermont supplying epic views of the autumn colors.
The trail is a popular 4.4-mile out and back with an elevation gain of 2,296 feet. The trailhead is located at the Hunger Mountain trailhead parking lot off Route 100 and offers stunning views of the surrounding Green Mountains.
This hike is considered moderate to difficult, with definite steep sections and rocky terrain, but the views from the summit make it all worth it. At the top, hikers are rewarded with gorgeous panoramic views of the Green Mountains
The trail is well-marked and well-maintained, making it a great option for those looking for a challenging yet rewarding hike in the area. Snowshoeing in the winter is popular on this trail as well!
WHERE IS IT? The trailhead is located off of Sweet Road in Waterbury Center.
24. Rent a Bike and Explore
Bicycle Express, located a few blocks from the main area of downtown Waterbury, at the intersection of Rt. 2 and Rt. 100 rents out bikes. They have fat bikes, mountain bikes, and gravel bikes available!
You can experience winter on wheels in Vermont with the thrilling activity of fat biking. They can be ridden on the same world-class trails that are available in the summer, providing riders with a unique way to explore the terrain.
WHERE IS IT? Right in Waterbury at the intersection of Rt. 2 and Rt. 100
25. Experience the Thrill of Mountain Biking the Perry Hill Trails
Perry Hill’s reputation for steep descents and challenging climbs is well-deserved. Some even say that the best downhill mountain bike trail in all of Vermont can be found here. But don’t take their word for it, come and see for yourself!
They are maintained by the Waterbury Area Trails Alliance (WATA). WATA is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing, maintaining, and promoting a network of trails in and around Waterbury.
The trails offer a variety of terrain and difficulty levels for mountain bikers and hikers, ranging from smooth and flowy singletrack to technical and rocky sections.
They wind through the woods, over streams, and up and down the hills. Everything is well-marked with signs and maps at major trail intersections, making it easy to navigate the network.
The Perry Hill Trails are open year-round! To access the trails, park at Waterbury’s Ice Center and Dog Park, then make your way 100 yards down the road to the trailhead.
WHERE IS IT? The trailhead is located on River Road in Waterbury behind the Irving Gas Station.
☀️ Seasonal Things to Do in Waterbury, VT
This is a section dedicated to activities in Waterbury, Vermont that can only be done at a certain time of year. Planning your trip around them is worth it if any of them sound interesting to you!
26. Camp at Little River State Park
Little River State Park is a campground state park on the Waterbury Reservoir. It is located down Little River Rd, off of Rt. 2, and past the Waterbury Reservoir Dam.
The park offers great family camping facilities to visitors who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. It has 81 tent/RV sites and 20 lean-to sites, which are available for reservation from late May until mid-October.
The campsites are situated in a nice wooded area and offer a range of amenities, including picnic tables, fire rings, and access to drinking water and restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers. RV sites have electrical hookups, and some have water and sewer hookups.
Access to swimming is available from the campground which gives you a chance to enjoy sunset swimming. Pets are welcome in the campground, but they must be kept on a leash and under control at all times!
Reservations are strongly recommended, especially during peak season, as the campground tends to fill up quickly. Remember to plan your camping food and pack the right gear for this trip!
WHERE IS IT? Little River State Park is down Little River Road off of Rt. 2
27. Check out the Waterbury Flea Market
Do you love a good yard sale or tag sale or live for thrifting? Then you have to squeeze in a visit to the flea market that takes place every Saturday and Sunday in the summer months in Farr Field. Loads of tables are set up at the flea market offering unique and unexpected treasures.
This is a great spot to get a feeling for the local culture of this simple Central Vermont town! Hit it up after breakfast or brunch and stroll around for a bit, chatting with locals and enjoying a nice sunny summer morning with beautiful views of the mountains.
WHERE IS IT? The market is at Farr Field located on Rt. 2 as you are heading north out of town.
28. Come for the River of Light Lantern Parade
The River of Light Lantern Parade has become a cherished tradition in Waterbury! This is what to do in Waterbury Vermont if you visit near the holidays. It is organized by the community and typically takes place on a Saturday evening at the beginning of December.
It is our favorite community event of the year! People from all over the state and beyond come to join in the fun and enjoy celebrating the start of the holiday season.
The parade involves participants carrying handmade lanterns of all shapes and sizes and walking through the town’s streets, creating a magical and mesmerizing atmosphere. Children from local schools work together to create lanterns for the parade as well!
This is an experience that brings people together and celebrates the community’s spirit. The parade starts at dusk at the elementary school and it travels to Dascomb “Dac” Rowe Field.
The end of the parade is usually accompanied by live music, fire performances, food vendors, a large bonfire, and other activities.
29. Come for the Waterbury Arts Fest
Downtown Waterbury comes alive in mid-July with local arts festivities! The streets are packed with local artist vendors and it’s such an inspiring time to visit. There is face painting, food, and other creative demonstrations.
The festival showcases the work of local and regional artists and craftspeople and includes a wide range of artistic mediums, including paintings, photography, jewelry, pottery, and textiles.
For families, the Waterbury Arts Fest is the perfect place to bring children of all ages! It is set up at 5 Pilgrim Park, on the lawn behind the Train Station. The festival is a popular event for both locals and tourists and it offers a chance to experience the vibrant arts scene in Vermont.
WHERE IS IT? The arts festival is located at 5 Pilgrim Park behind the train station.
30. Not Quite Independence Day Parade
The Not Quite Independence Day Parade is an annual event that takes place in Waterbury, Vermont, typically on the last Saturday in June before the 4th of July. The parade is hosted by the Waterbury Rotary Club and features a variety of colorful floats, costumes, and performances.
My kids love to go to this parade and the whole town enjoys this tradition. There’s no guarantee but there are typically fun things handed or thrown out in the crowd. Past items have been candy, Green Mountain Coffee pods, Ben and Jerry’s single-serve cups, and more!
There’s a Green Mountain Mile run, food, and beer concessions, and later in the evening, there are fireworks out in Farr Field. Truly, this is a great time to come hang in Waterbury and enjoy a full day of celebrations before you head back home for your own town’s 4th of July festivities.
WHERE IS IT? The parade takes place downtown. Find a place to sit and just enjoy!
31. Come for the Vermont Antique and Classic Car Meet
This car show is one of the largest and oldest in New England! It’s a really fun event to watch because there are such a wide variety of cars. The show takes place in mid-August every year.
It is a free event that is open to the public, and it typically features a wide variety of vintage and classic cars from a range of different eras as well as military tanks and trucks. Visitors can admire the cars on display and chat with the owners.
In addition to the car show, the classic car meet often includes live music, food vendors, and other activities for the whole family to enjoy. The event usually starts in downtown Waterbury, with the antique car parade driving along Main Street, ending at Farr Field where the remaining activities take place.
WHERE IS IT? The classic car meet ends at Farr Field but the cars ride down Main Street on their way to the field.
📝 One Day Itinerary for Waterbury, VT
8:30am – Start your day with a delicious breakfast at Maxie’s. This popular restaurant is known for its hearty breakfast dishes and excellent coffee.
10:00am – Head to Waterbury Center State Park to either rent a kayak or walk the 1/2 mile nature trail. If you choose to rent a kayak, you can paddle on the peaceful waters of Waterbury Reservoir.
12:00pm – Head over to Prohibition Pig for lunch. This popular mainstay restaurant serves up delicious BBQ and craft beer in a fun and lively atmosphere.
1:00pm – Visit Stowe Street Café for a delicious caffeine fix and browse Bridge Street Books next door. Explore the historic downtown area of Waterbury. Check out the local shops and art galleries, and take a walk around the beautiful town common.
3:00pm – Drive to Ben & Jerry’s. Take a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s Factory and learn about the history of the company and how their ice cream is made. You’ll also get to sample some of their delicious flavors.
4:00pm – Visit the Cold Hollow Cider Mill and amazing gift shop. Enjoy a delicious hot or cold cider. You can also buy their homemade cider donuts to snack on or bring back home! They are the BEST!
6:30pm – End your day with a delicious dinner at Hen of the Wood, a farm-to-table restaurant that specializes in locally sourced ingredients. Please make reservations well in advance!
🚘 Ideas for Things to Do Near Waterbury VT
There are endless things to do near Waterbury, VT. The area is packed with fun things to do from town to town and Waterbury is central to so many popular places! Here is a list of great towns to explore that are within 30 minutes of Waterbury.
- Richmond, VT – Check out the Old Round Church, have lunch at The Big Spruce, or in the winter enjoy skiing at the coolest little ski area: Cochran’s!
- Huntington, VT – Go to Audubon Vermont, enjoy the trails, and visit the Birds of Vermont Museum
- Burlington, VT – Head to Church Street for shopping, enjoy the beautiful waterfront and views of New York state, have a picnic there, and get a creemee at Little Gordo Creemee Stand.
- Bolton, VT – Bolton Valley is an amazing place for hiking, mountain biking, and disc golf in the summer, not to mention epic skiing in the winter. There are sweet winter cabins available to reserve as well.
- Stowe, VT – Beyond top-notch skiing at Stowe Mountain Resort, driving the auto toll road or riding the gondola is super fun! The hiking trails in Stowe are phenomenal – for an easier trail system check out Weisnner Woods. Don’t forget the Stowe Bike Path! There are so many things to do in Stowe.
- Montpelier, VT – There’s no shortage of things to do in Montpelier. Check out Hubbard Park’s trails and the stone observation tower. There are several delicious places to have lunch in Montpelier but I recommend either Three Penny Taproom, Skinny Pancake, or Pho Capital. Don’t forget to view the capitol building!
- Jericho, VT – Head to the Snowflake Bentley Museum and then enjoy lunch at Jericho Café & Tavern
- Mad River Valley (Waitsfield, Warren) – Head to Bridge Street for some shopping, check out the covered bridge, enjoy the Mad River, and go to Canteen Creemee or Mad Taco for lunch.
🍴 Waterbury, VT Restaurants
Here is a list of all the places I recommend eating at when visiting! There is definitely no shortage of amazing food or restaurants in Waterbury.
- Prohibition Pig – Located on Main St. The most popular restaurant for lunch and dinner.
- Hen of the Wood – Located in its new location on Main Street. Exceptional dinner, make reservations!
- Blackback Pub – Located on Main St. Serves an eclectic menu and has a great beer list.
- Stowe Street Cafe – Best fresh salads and baked goods in town. Located on Bridge St.
- Azatlan – Hidden gem located on Foundry St. Exceptional Mexican food, lunch only T-F.
- Hender’s Bake Shop – Delicious baked goods. Located on the corner of Winooski St.
- Zenbarn – Located on Guptil Rd. Excellent food, outdoor seating, and live music
- The Reservoir Restaurant and Tap – Located right in the center of town. Extensive beer list.
- Applecore Luncheonette and Brew – Great lunch spot near Cold Hollow Cider Mill.
- Maxie’s – Located off of the roundabout right in downtown Waterbury. Great breakfast!
- KC Bagels – Located right on Stowe Street. Delicious bagels, breakfast sandwiches, soups.
- Jimmz Pizza – Located on Rt. 100 on the way to Stowe. Friendly staff and delicious pizza.
- Stone’s Throw Pizza & Wine – Unique Pizza toppings. Located on Stowe Street, downtown.
🌎 Map of Waterbury VT Things to Do
Here is my map of Waterbury VT activities so you can easily find the location of all of the things you are interested in doing on your vacation!
🛌 Waterbury VT Hotels and Places to Stay
There are several great hotels and places to stay in Waterbury, VT. Here are some options:
- Best Western Plus Waterbury-Stowe: This hotel offers comfortable rooms, free breakfast, an indoor pool, and a fitness center. It is located near popular attractions like Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory and Cold Hollow Cider Mill.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Mariott Waterbury Stowe: This is the newest hotel in the area. It is one of two hotels in Waterbury with an indoor pool. The Fairfield Inn also has spacious rooms, free breakfast, and a fitness center. It is located near popular local attractions and destinations as well, in addition to local breweries and restaurants.
- The Old Stagecoach Inn: This historic downtown inn offers cozy rooms, a complimentary breakfast, and a charming atmosphere. It is located in the heart of Waterbury and within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Plus, it is home to my favorite intimate bar in Waterbury!
- Grunberg Haus Inn & Cabins This super charming inn and hip cabin complex is located in Duxbury, just a short drive from Waterbury’s downtown area. The property features comfortable rooms in the main house, as well as private cabins that are perfect for families or groups. Both a continental breakfast and a hot breakfast are available for guests.
💡 FAQS: Visiting Waterbury, VT
You may have questions beyond simply wondering what to do in Waterbury VT! Well, I have some answers for you. Read on to find answers to those curiosities.
Are Waterbury Center and Waterbury the same?
The answer is yes and no! Waterbury Center and Waterbury are two distinct places located in Vermont, but they are located very close to each other and have a shared history.
Waterbury Center is a village within the city of Waterbury, VT. However, Waterbury Center is a 10-minute drive from downtown Waterbury so their actual locations are not exactly the same.
Is Waterbury VT Worth Visiting?
Yes, the towns of Waterbury VT, Waterbury Center, and the surrounding area of Central Vermont are definitely worth visiting. Once you read through this list you will realize it is easy to spend more than a weekend in Waterbury!
The area is foodie heaven, has endless outdoor activities, tons of local products available, and incredible mountain views! Plan your next family vacation here and no one will be disappointed.
Is Waterbury VT walkable?
Downtown Waterbury VT is absolutely walkable! Everything in the downtown area can be reached in less than a 10-minute walk from your central parking location.
Once you venture into Waterbury Center attractions you will need a vehicle to access everything. For instance, you will need to drive to Ben and Jerry’s or Lake Champlain Chocolates.
Are there any covered bridges in Waterbury, VT?
While there are no covered bridges in Waterbury there are a few in the nearby towns of Stowe and Waitsfield. Both towns are a 20-minute scenic drive from Waterbury and Waterbury Center.
Emily’s Bridge (or Gold Brook Covered Bridge) in Stowe is said to be haunted by the ghost of Emily, a young woman who is said to have taken her own life on the bridge many years ago.
Also, constructed in 1833, the Waitsfield Covered Bridge, on Bridge Street, is the oldest operating covered bridge in Vermont! This historic structure continues to delight visitors today.
Given their picturesque beauty and historical significance, these bridges make great trips for sightseeing and photography!
What is there to do in Waterbury VT in the winter?
Waterbury offers a large number of activities that can be enjoyed in the wintertime! Most everything on the list in this blog post can be enjoyed in the winter with the exception of the obvious things like swimming, fly fishing, summer festivities, and the flea market. There are also snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails in the area.
Which place can people tour in Waterbury Vermont?
Ben and Jerry’s has a super fun factory tour available for the public that is definitely worth doing! You can enjoy watching the ice cream-making process, get a free sample of the flavor of the day, and watch an educational movie on the history of the business and more.
What are some free cheap things to do in Waterbury Center VT?
Hiking at Camel’s Hump or Hunger Mountain is a free activity! In addition to hiking, free activities in Waterbury include seasonal activities (concert in the park, lantern parade), sampling cheese at Cabot, cycling at Perry Hill, and visiting the Green Mountain Club.
Cheap activities include visiting state parks, fly fishing, and camping.
What is it like to visit Waterbury Vermont in the fall?
Waterbury, Vermont is a beautiful destination to visit in the fall. This small town is located in the heart of the Green Mountains and the surrounding area is full of colorful foliage, scenic drives, and outdoor activities.
Waterbury is also home to many local farms, which offer fresh apples, pumpkins, and other autumnal produce for visitors to enjoy.
✔️ The Wrap-Up: Things to Do in Waterbury Vermont
In conclusion, Waterbury, Vermont, is a fantastic destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty and small-town charm of New England!
Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, local food & drinks, or simply relaxing in a beautiful setting at one of the state parks, Waterbury has something for everyone.
From the iconic Ben & Jerry’s Factory that’s earned locals’ hearts and national attention to the stunning hikes in the Green Mountains, visitors to Waterbury will find plenty to see and do.
So if you’re planning a Vermont vacation, be sure to add Waterbury to your itinerary. With its beautiful scenery, friendly locals, and unique attractions, it’s no wonder that Waterbury has become a favorite destination for travelers from around the world.