Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Montpelier, VT

  • Published 2023/03/06

Montpelier is Vermont’s capital city and is the smallest in the country.

The city dates back to 1818 as a village before it got incorporated in 1895 and gained its name from the eponymous city in southern France.

Montpelier is the state’s largest urban historic district and features various art spots.

The city also has a selection of places to enjoy different treats and drinks.

You can also check out some outdoor locations for fun recreational activities.

Here is a list of the 20 best things to do in Montpelier, VT:

Visit the Vermont State House

Vibrant tulips in front of Vermont State House

meunierd /

There is a selection of historical structures in Montpelier, and one of them is the Vermont State House.

The Vermont State House is a historical structure that has stood for about 160 years.

The statehouse is one of the oldest structures in the state.

It is also known as an architectural art piece of the state.

House of representatives chamber in Vermont State House

Nagel Photography /

The structure features a Greek Revival style and is open to the public for guided and self-guided tours.

Besides touring the structure, you can enjoy a meal at the cafeteria or stroll around the lawn and gardens.

You can also check out the gift shop, where you can find items like maple products and china pieces.

Unfortunately, the gift shop is only open from June to October.

Hall of inscriptions in Vermont State House

Nagel Photography /

Cycle along the Trails of the Central Vermont Path

The Central Vermont Path is a network trail that contains several paths you can trek through.

One of the paths you can cycle through in this trail network is the Montpelier Recreation Path.

You can find this path by going to the city’s downtown area and looking out for the Winooski River.

The recreational path consists of two paved trails that go west and east.

The west past is the longer of the two and stretches for a mile until Taylor Street.

If you’re looking to explore the city’s downtown area and the different areas, cycle along the various trails in the Central Vermont Path.

See Chocolate Made at the Rabble-Rouser Chocolate and Craft Company

Indulge your sweet tooth by visiting the Rabble-Rouser Chocolate and Craft Company.

The Rabble-Rouser Chocolate and Craft Company features chocolate products ranging from handcrafted confections to truffles.

Besides chocolate products, you can check out their granola products and merchandise.

When visiting the store, you can also enjoy a selection of coffee brews and fresh baked goods.

Chocolate lovers will want to check out this store.

Explore Hubbard Park

The Hubbard Park stone tower

mmlynch3 /

Among the different art and historical locations to explore in the city, Montpelier has a selection of outdoor spots where you can enjoy recreational activities.

Hubbard Park is one of the top parks in the city and features various facilities for different activities.

A plaque of Hubbard Park

Niranjan Arminius, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The park spans approximately 200 acres and is one of the first parks that opened in the city.

Some of the facilities available in this park include pavilions, nature trails, and picnic spaces.

A highlight of the park is the historic 54-foot high observation tower dating back to the 1910s to the 1930s.

The view from the top of Hubbard Park

TrueVermonter, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sample Fresh Maple Syrup at Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks

Montpelier has its share of local treats, and one of them is maple syrup.

You can find locally made maple syrup at the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks.

Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks is a family business running for eight generations and features several maple products and other food items.

A few maple items you can find at the farm include maple candy and maple-flavored kettle corn.

If you are interested in other items, you can get several sauces, jams, snacks, and even cheese.

Besides food items, you can check out apparel and books.

The farm also provides motorcoach tours and hosts events throughout the year.

Drink Beer at the Three Penny Taproom

Grab a beer at the Three Penny Taproom.

Located on Main Street, the Three Penny Taproom features a list of different beers you can try.

The beers available in this pub range from canned to bottled, which you can pair with different meals.

Besides beers, meals, and snacks, the taproom offers a selection of other blends you can enjoy.

If you prefer wine, there is a selection of red and white wines, plus cocktails.

You can also enjoy more complex blends like vodka and tequila, among other alcoholic beverages.

If you want to indulge in some drinks, you need to check out Three Penny Taproom.

Check Out the North Branch Nature Center Programs

If you are interested in the nature sights in the city, visit the North Branch Nature Center.

The North Branch Nature Center is a 28-acre preserve that features various greenery and wildlife.

You can find the center at Elm Street and check out the various programs available.

Some of the programs available at the center include encountering wildlife and learning about local fauna.

The center also offers several classes and outings you can join, plus different festivals.

For anyone that loves nature, this is an ideal spot to visit.

Watch a Performance at the Lost Nation Theater

Exterior of montpelier city hall housing the Lost Nation Theater

Felix Lipov /

One of the many places you can enjoy art in the city is the Lost Nation Theater.

Operating since 1977, the theater holds a hundred shows a year and presents a range of performances.

The theater first opened in Bristol, Vermont, before moving to a base in the Montpelier City Hall Auditorium Arts Center in 1989.

Whether it’s concerts, dances, or plays, there is plenty for you to view in this theater.

Besides various performances, the theater offers camps and classes for aspiring artists.

You can also check out different events held by the theater during the year.

Try the Wines at North Branch Vineyards

The North Branch Vineyards is where to go to sample local wine.

The North Branch Vineyards is a small winery running since 2007.

The winery features a selection of wines made from locally grown grapes and offers wine shipments.

If you want to try their wines, there are open hours you can visit from April to December.

You’ll need to book an appointment from January to March.

Browse the T.W. Wood Gallery & Arts Center

If you’re a fan of the arts, check out the T.W. Wood Gallery & Arts Center on Barre Street.

The T.W. Wood Gallery & Arts Center is an art center and museum of American art that dates back to 1895 when it officially opened as the Wood Gallery of Arts.

In 1985, the center gained its current name; then, in 2012, after many transfers, the center settled on its current address.

You can find the art center and museum housed in a former convent and elementary school, with the former at the front and the latter at the back.

Some of the pieces you can find in the collection include seven hundred artworks from Thomas Waterman Wood and a selection of his items such as diaries and papers.

The gallery features a contemporary art section that tends to change selections of historical pieces you can peruse.

By visiting the T.W. Wood Gallery & Arts Center, you can enjoy a vast combination of history and art.

Browse the Crafts at the Artisans Hand Gallery

You can find plenty of things to shop for in the city, and one of them is craft items at the Artisans Hand Gallery.

The Artisans Hand Gallery is a crafts center that has operated since 1978.

The center mainly features contemporary pieces that range from jewelry to ceramics and glassworks.

If you are interested in buying any of the pieces in the center, you can shop online or contact the staff to book a shopping session.

Tour the Vermont Historical Society Museum

Exterior of Vermont Historical Society Museum

Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Vermont Historical Society Museum is where to go to check out historical pieces in the city.

As one of the many places showing local history, the museum offers different exhibits on topics ranging from historical structures to local stories.

Steps leading to Vermont Historical Society Museum's entrance

Richard Semik /

In addition to the exhibits, the museum features a gift shop where you can get items like gifts, books, and toys.

You can find the museum by going to Main Street and looking out for the Pavilion Building.

Check out the Inn at Montpelier

The Inn at Montpelier is one of the many historical places to see in the city, and you can find it by heading to Main Street.

The inn officially opened in 1988, but its history dates back to around 1807 as a residential structure.

The historical site comprises two buildings and has 19 rooms available.

In addition to this, the inn features a full-service restaurant that provides meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus offers meals to meet different dietary restrictions.

The inn is also an open venue for different events.

Get Tea or Wine at the North Branch Cafe

The North Branch Cafe is a cafe that features a variety of teas and wines.

You can find this cafe around State Street and enjoy a selection of dishes and desserts to pair with your tea or wine.

A few teas you can enjoy at this cafe include floral teas and spiced teas.

As for the wine selection, you can sample a list of red, white, or sparkling options.

If you’re a fan of wine, tea, or both, you’ll want to check out the North Branch Cafe.

Enjoy a Meal and Sweets at the Wayside Restaurant, Bakery, and Creamery

The Wayside Restaurant, Bakery, and Creamery is a historical eatery that features a selection of sweet and savory dishes.

The eatery first opened in 1918 as a roadside eatery, which added a bakery and creamery in later years.

On the bakery side of the eatery, you can dig into a selection of pies and doughnuts.

As for the creamery section, you can choose from different classic and fun flavors and enjoy them as a sundae or milkshake.

The dishes at this restaurant range from sandwiches to pasta and classic breakfast options.

If you want to enjoy a hearty meal and indulge your sweet tooth, visit the Wayside Restaurant, Bakery, and Creamery.

Buy Sweet Gifts To Bring Home at Bragg Farm Sugar House & Gift

You can’t leave Montpelier without bringing something home as a memento or souvenir.

If you’re tired of the generic t-shirts and keychains, head over to Bragg Farm Sugar House & Gift and buy something sweet instead.

If you’re a fan of maple syrup, a visit to this family-owned gift shop is an absolute must.

The Bragg family has been producing quality maple syrup for eight generations—their longevity and dedication to their business are the reason why Bragg Farm Sugar House & Gift has been a staple shop of the Montpelier community for decades.

You can take a quick tour of and learn how maple syrup is made and sample some of their delicious products.

The gift shop sells these coveted maple syrups as souvenirs.

In addition, there are other Vermont-made products that you can buy, including jams, artisan crafts, honey, and much more.

Watch a Movie or a Live Performance at the Capitol Theater

Exterior of the Capitol Theater

Vinckie, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Who said theaters are out of trend?

The theater and cultural arts scene is alive and well in Montpelier, and the premier place to experience this is at the Capitol Theater.

Located in downtown Montpelier, the Capitol Theater is a 1,800-seat theater that serves as a historic entertainment center in the city.

Built in 1926, the theater has stood the test of time through key restoration to maintain its pristine qualities.

Today, the theater remains a staple of Montpelier’s cultural landscape and offers a variety of events for residents and visitors alike.

The theater hosts a number of live performances every year, including other cultural activities for the visitors and locals to enjoy.

The theater has also evolved, becoming a full-fledged movie theater that showcases some of the present blockbuster hits.

The theater features advanced equipment, including a 35mm film projector, digital projection system, and surround sound.

The Capitol Theater also serves craft beer, locally sourced popcorn, and more.

Take Instagrammable Photos at Coburn Covered Bridge

Exterior of Coburn Covered Bridge

Bram Reusen /

It’s not every day you get to see a covered bridge—unless you’re in Montpelier.

Built in 1851, the Coburn Covered Bridge is the oldest surviving covered bridge in Vermont, and it’s also one of the most picturesque spots in the area.

The covered bridge crosses the Winooski River, providing amazing views of the area near and far.

Visitors can take a leisurely stroll across the bridge and enjoy the scenic views of the river and surrounding forest.

The bridge is also a popular spot for taking pictures—it looks especially stunning during the fall when the orange leaves contrast against the brown-painted wood of the bridge.

Trail leading to Coburn Covered Bridge

Bram Reusen /

Shop for Fresh Products at Capital City Farmers Market

There’s nothing like heading down to the local farmers market to pick up fresh produce and artisanal products.

If you want that experience in Montpelier, the Capital City Farmers Market is the perfect spot.

The Capital City Farmers Market is a vibrant outdoor market that takes place every Saturday.

The market perfectly showcases locally-made products, with various vendors selling fresh produce, crafts, baked goods, jams, and many more.

You can also sample these locally made products—the vendors sell Vermont specialties such as fresh cheeses, milk, pickles, and beautiful flowers.

The market is also a great place to meet and strike a deal with local farmers—you can also learn more about the agricultural traditions of Montpelier and Green Mountain State as a whole.

Other Things to Do Nearby

View Nature and the Stars at the Vermont Granite Museum

Exterior of Vermont Granite Museum

Stripus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While there are plenty of spots to explore in Montpelier, there are several other nearby locations to visit in the Arizona area.

One such place is the Vermont Granite Museum in Barre.

Interior of Vermont Granite Museum

Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is less than 20 minutes away from Montpelier and features history and pieces relating to granite and the granite industry.

The museum is one place to check out nearby for anyone interested in art and history.

A vintage car on Vermont Granite Museum's grounds

Artaxerxes, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Drink Cider at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill

Exterior of Cold Hollow Cider Mill

jenlo8 /

If you head southwest of Montpelier and go to Waterbury-Stowe Road in Waterbury Center, you’ll find Cold Hollow Cider Mill.

The Cold Hollow Cider Mill is a cider mill that doubles as a shop and restaurant with various treats for you to try.

Besides apples and ciders, the mill features a selection of maple syrup products, jams, and baked goods.

Apple cider donuts in Cold Hollow Cider Mill

jenlo8 /

With their restaurant section, you can enjoy a selection of breakfast and lunch dishes.

You can also observe the mill’s production process during your visit.

If you want to get treats and souvenirs while exploring the state, this is one stop to check out.

Cider press on Cold Hollow Cider Mill's grounds

jenlo8 /

Final Thoughts

Montpelier is a city with its share of attractions involving art and history.

From old galleries to long-standing historical structures, you can enjoy plenty of activities.

If you love nature, you’ll find many locations to immerse in local greenery and recreational activities like hiking.

You can also look out for hidden gems with treats for you to sample, such as maple products, chocolates, and wines.

If you visit Montpelier, you’ll find no shortage of options to enjoy.

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