15 Best Things to Do in Burlington, NJ

Burlington, NJ
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The City of Burlington in New Jersey is a destination rich in history and heritage, with more than 40 historic sites.

The city traces its roots to 1677, when the Quakers established a settlement along the Delaware River.

The area went by “Bridlington” and served as West Jersey's capital until the early 18th century.

It was the birthplace and home to several notable figures in American history, including renowned novelist James Fennimore Cooper and President Ulysses S. Grant’s family.

Many old institutions, along with budding arts and culture establishments, still stand in the city today.

Restaurants and various antique shops line downtown, offering a convenient way of touring the city.

Take a peek into one of the nation’s historical treasure troves by checking out the best things to do in Burlington, New Jersey.

See the Burlington-Bristol Bridge at Sunset

View of Burlington-Bristol Bridge during sunset
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Enjoy the brilliant sunset along the Burlington-Bristol Bridge and Delaware River.

The bridge opened in 1931, connecting Burlington City to Bristol, Pennsylvania.

The truss bridge extends more than 2,000 feet across the Delaware River, with a vertical lift span that allows vessels to pass underneath.

Cars passing by Burlington-Bristol Bridge
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A great spot to see the bridge is on Pearl Boulevard along the shores of the Delaware River.

Capture a photo of the bridge against the setting sun for a beautiful souvenir of your Burlington trip.

Aerial view of Burlington-Bristol Bridge
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See the Grant House

Take a stroll along Wood Street and see the historic Grant house.

Between the brick houses, you will find this quaint cream stucco house.

President Ulysses S. Grant’s family lived there during the last days of the Civil War.

The historical marker at the house reads that General Ulysses S. Grant visited this house on the night of President Lincoln’s assassination.

Historical accounts say that Grant and his wife were supposed to be at Ford’s Theater that night, but he declined Lincoln’s invitation.

Instead, he visited their children at the Grant House.

People believe this decision saved his life.

Explore the Historic Burlington Antiques and Art Emporium

Spend an afternoon browsing the shelves and racks of antiques and collectibles.

The Historic Burlington Antique and Art Emporium is inside a beautifully restored brick and wooden-truss building.

Exploring this vast shop is like going back in time.

The 14,000 square feet of space contains several furniture, art pieces, clothes, and exciting items from more than 60 antiques and collectibles dealers.

Some of the items even date back to the 18th century!

This vast collection made the space a favorite among film production designers and other customers.

The Historic Burlington Antiques and Art Emporium also holds auctions and seasonal shows.

Stroll along the Riverfront Promenade

Take in scenic views of the Delaware River as you stroll along the Riverfront Promenade.

The mile-long Riverfront Promenade serves as the venue for various events and activities in the city.

Catch a concert and enjoy the food trucks.

You can even visit the farmers’ market, which features a variety of specialty foods and artisan crafts from local producers.

Otherwise, go on a chill bike ride and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Spending time at the Riverfront Promenade along Pearl Boulevard is a beautiful way to experience Burlington’s local scene.

Visit the Hutchinson-Revell House

When you visit one of New Jersey’s oldest residences, you get a glimpse of Burlington's historical past.

The Hutchinson-Revell House, known only as the Revell House, has stood in Burlington since 1685.

According to stories, Benjamin Franklin once stopped by this house, where an old woman gave him gingerbread.

This anecdote caused people to call it the “gingerbread house.”

Initially built along the waterfront, the Revell House served as the office of Thomas Revell, who held various public positions.

In 1966, the city moved the building to its current site along Wood Street to give way to developments along Pearl Boulevard.

Spend a Chill Afternoon at Lo Fi Books, Records & Coffee

A fantastic place to explore awaits vinyl enthusiasts and book collectors at High Street, Burlington.

Spend an afternoon digging up crates and enjoying the atmosphere at Lo Fi Books, Records & Coffee.

Browse their collection of used books, and you might be even score a tremendous out-of-print edition.

The shop’s inventory updates quickly as new items get in and sell daily.

From first-edition novels to rare records, you’ll never know what exciting surprise you can get your hands on at this shop.

If you’re looking for a specific item, you could also contact them to see if they have it in their selection.

Try their pour-over coffee and complete your experience at Lo Fi Books, Records & Coffee.

Celebrate the Wood Street Fair

Experience a fun celebration of Burlington’s heritage at the Wood Street Fair.

This festive event spotlights the works of more than a hundred local craftsmen and artisans.

Browse the booths lining Wood Street and the waterfront for ceramics, jewelry, wooden pieces, artworks, and other crafts.

Score unique antique pieces and collectibles.

Of course, the Wood Street Fair would be incomplete without great food, lively music, and inspiring art.

The Colonial Burlington Foundation organizes this event, attracting more than 20,000 visitors yearly.

Enjoy Craft Beer at Third State Brewing

Check out Third State Brewing’s tap list to experience great flavor and award-winning beer.

This craft microbrewery opened in 2015 and has an inviting atmosphere ideal for ending a day of exploration and sightseeing.

They have outdoor seating, so you can enjoy your favorite Third State Brew while taking in the sights and sounds of downtown Burlington.

They also sell their beer in four-packs so that you can enjoy some back home.

You can find Third State Brewing near the Burlington Towne Centre station along High Street.

Cruise around Burlington Island

Aerial view of Burlington Island
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If you’re looking for a unique Burlington experience, join a boat cruise tour around Burlington Island.

Sitting on the Delaware River, the uninhabited island is rich in history.

In the early 17th century, the first European settlers in New Jersey made a home on this island.

In the 1900s, the island became a recreational site with an amusement park.

However, a fire destroyed the park in the 1920s.

The boat tours around Burlington Island offer stunning views of the Delaware River, the city, and natural habitats on the island.

You can also paddle around the island if you’re more adventurous.

If you enjoy birding, the tour offers an excellent opportunity to see resident and migratory birds.

Visit the Herman T. Costello Lyceum Hall Center for the Arts

Discover more of Burlington’s creative scene at the city’s art center.

The Herman T. Costello Lyceum Hall Center for the Arts is an excellent destination for a day of art appreciation.

Its gallery features art exhibits showcasing photography, paintings, and crafts.

Catch a musical performance or a theater production.

The Lyceum Hall Center for the Arts also offers various visual and performing arts workshops and classes.

Constructed in 1839, the Lyceum Hall is a cultural center and theater that had also served as Burlington’s old city hall.

In 2007, they renamed this historic building to Herman T. Costello Lyceum in honor of the late New Jersey leader.

Dine and Shop at High Street

After a day of sightseeing, explore the dining options and retail stores along High Street.

Whether you want a big satisfying meal or local flavor, you can try plenty of restaurants and shops on High Street.

Try one of the Italian restaurants for pizza or go for classic American burgers.

Don’t forget to leave room for dessert.

Get that ice cream to satisfy your summer craving.

The dining spots at High Street are also near other shops, so you could pop in the stores for a souvenir to bring home.

Otherwise, you can window-shop and admire the quaint shops.

Admire the Library Company of Burlington

See one of the oldest libraries in the country at West Union Street.

The Library Company of Burlington traces its history to 1757.

In 1758, the library published its catalog of books, the first in the country to do so.

Admire the library’s beautiful Greek Revival brownstone building on West Union Street, built in 1864.

The library features gallery space for Burlington artifacts and other historical items, with volumes dating back to the 16th century.

The Library Company of Burlington is also New Jersey’s oldest library.

Explore Historic Structures like the James Fenimore Cooper House

If you’re still looking to increase your miles, take a walk and see some more of Burlington’s historic structures.

On High Street, see the house of Captain James Lawrence, famous for his dying words, “Don’t give up the ship!”

These famous words are now the city’s motto.

Check out the James Fenimore Cooper House, writer of The Last of the Mohicans, who was also born there.

See also the charming Burlington Pharmacy building, which has served the city and nearby communities since 1854.

Visiting places like the James Fenimore Cooper House is a great way to dive deeper into Burlington’s past.

Grab Breakfast at Amy’s Omelette House

Start the day at Amy’s Omelette House for a fantastic made-to-order breakfast.

This New Jersey restaurant serves home-cooked meals in delightfully huge servings.

Choose from tens of varieties of their sweet pancakes.

How do you like your eggs?

Just let their friendly staff know.

Otherwise, try one of the more than 200 omelets on their menu.

Amy’s Omelette House has that old-school diner vibe to brighten up your morning.

Breakfast at Amy’s is an excellent start to power up for a day of exploring Burlington.

Relax at Kennedy Park

Take a break from sightseeing and enjoy the green spaces at Kennedy Park.

Kennedy Park is the largest among the city’s parks, home to JFK Lake with an extension in Melville.

The central park features a picnic pavilion and play area for kids.

If you’d like to walk around, the extension park has walking paths around the lake.

Enjoy the lush green ambiance of the park with your kids or friends.

There are also basketball and bocce ball courts.

The Kennedy Park stretches from Wood Street to Chelton Avenue.

Other Things to Do Nearby

You can visit several natural attractions and outdoor activities in the county from Burlington.

Check out some of these spots near the city you shouldn’t miss.

Explore Rancocas State Park

Are you looking for an outdoor adventure after sightseeing in the city?

Explore nature and wildlife at the Rancocas State Park in Hainesport, New Jersey, 20 minutes from Burlington.

This park features 14 easy-to-hike trails in forest and meadows in the uplands.

You can also fish on the banks of the Rancocas Creek within the park.

Rancocas State Park’s diverse landscape nurtures many wildlife species, such as great horned owls, white-tailed deer, and red fox.

Enjoy Nature at Amico Island Park

Lovely river vistas await you at Amico Island Park, a peninsula in Riverside, New Jersey, 15 minutes from Burlington.

Enjoy the park’s picturesque scenery, rustic setting, and serene atmosphere.

The park is an excellent site for bird watching.

See great blue herons, hawks, and eagles.

Enjoy fishing on the Delaware River or the Amico pond.

Amico Island Park also offers views of the confluence of the Delaware River and Rancocas Creek.

Final Thoughts

Burlington City is a destination that American history buffs and art enthusiasts will find worth visiting and discovering.

With historic streets lined with 18th and 19th homes and buildings, great dining spots, and quaint shops just around the corner, Burlington City has some of the best activities and attractions in New Jersey.

Explore this historic and vibrant city on your next vacation.

Book your trip today and discover the best things to do in Burlington, New Jersey!