7 Things To Do Inside in Vermont
Discover Indoor Winter Experiences
Winter’s joy can be found indoors as well as out. Whether you want to get your heart pumping by dropping straight down a waterslide or scaling a rock wall, or return to a classic and cozy favorite like reading a book by the fireplace, here’s your inside guide to things to do in Vermont this winter.
1. Visit a Natural History Museum
Vermont museums offer hands-on fun for the whole family and an opportunity to learn about the state’s natural history and conservation efforts. More than 150 scientific exhibits await at Norwich’s Montshire Museum of Science, which uses interactive displays to teach kids about weather, astronomy, energy, and more. Trails wrap around the museum, which also holds outdoor igloo-building days during the winter. Explore natural history at the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury, a Victorian-era collection of taxidermy and curiosities dating back to the 19th century, also home to the state’s only public planetarium. Sit back in comfort and warmth to immerse yourself in celestial beauty, observing and learning about the constellations visible in Vermont. In Burlington, the Echo Leahy Center for Lake Champlain houses a small aquarium, sensory-friendly experiences, including exhibits on the natural history of Lake Champlain. In Quechee, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science is home to a wide range of rehabilitated raptors, wild predator birds that serve as ambassadors for their species. See them up close, explore the Forest Canopy Walk, which takes visitors to the tops of the trees where eagles nest, soak in silence and birdsong in the songbird aviary, and explore 2.5 miles of trails connecting to nearby Quechee State Park. Take in the history of snow sports in Vermont at Stowe’s Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, showcasing the sport’s history from fashion to gear design. In Manchester, explore American history at Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home, built in 1906 by Robert and Mary Lincoln, son of Pres. Abraham Lincoln. The grounds include an original Pullman trail car and a working goat dairy.
From maple sugar spa treatments to craft beverages made with Vermont-grown fruit, self-care and wellness is part of Vermont culture year-round, and it usually comes with a stunning mountain view. Enjoy a Vermont spa experience at Topnotch Resort, the Woodstock Inn, and Castle Hill Resort, to name a few. Sauna company SAVU offers the chance to experience a private sauna, alone or with a group, in minimalist wooden huts at remote locations statewide. Vermont Salt Cave in Montgomery offers relaxing and destressing halotherapy experiences for respiratory and anti-inflammatory health and wellness. Find balance and calm at yoga studios statewide (hot yoga sounds particularly enticing during the winter!). Vermont’s farm-to-table dining culture nourishes the body and soul. Local foods treat your palate to substantial fare that’s Green Mountain from the ground up, like world-class cheese, maple syrup, a great natural sweetener and source of antioxidants, and craft cider made with Vermont-grown heirloom apples. Immersing yourself in books by Vermont authors, putting together a puzzle of a classic Vermont covered bridge, or baking with Vermont ingredients keeps the focus on holistic wellness this winter season.
3. Active Family Fun
Vermont is home to two family-friendly indoor waterparks. Jay Peak’s Pump House Waterpark features a big river with rapids, a surfing experience, hot tubs, and four waterslides, including one that drops straight down for the ultimate adrenaline rush. In St. Albans, the Hard’ack Recreation Area pool is open year-round, with slides and water features for kids. Escape rooms such as Escape Room 60 in Williston, the Great Escape Room in Burlington, and Stratton Escape Room offer unique challenges, including one on Vermont history, for families or other groups to solve puzzles and work together to beat the clock. Two bounce houses, bumper cars, and an indoor play structure in Rutland at Fortress of Fun delight kids. At Smugglers Notch Resort, consistently voted No. 1 resort for families in America, discover a 26,000-square-foot playground with fun for kids and adults, including laser tag, an arcade, a climbing wall, warrior courses, and more. Kids can move around and play creatively at Monkey Do, Williston’s indoor playground, complete with arts and crafts options. Manchester’s Pastime Pinball is home to more than 60 vintage and new pinball machines – spend hours playing and enjoying the on-site restaurant with craft beers and local offerings. See how high your family can bounce at Get Air Trampoline Park in Williston.
4. Get Hands-On
Taking a class can be an immersive way to spend time indoors honing a new skillset during the winter months. Little River Hot Glass Studio in Stowe offers lessons in shaping and sculpting hot glass, and you’ll get to take your glass piece home with you. Watch experienced glassblowers at work at Simon Pearce in Woodstock. Pottery lessons at Woodstock’s Farmhouse Pottery or Colchester’s Mudcraft can be an inspiring way to learn more about how clay becomes a bowl, a vase, a mug, or more. Introductory and advanced classes at Norwich’s King Arthur Baking meet bakers where they’re at, from kids taking their first steps in the kitchen to home bakers wanting to level up their game. At The Essex Resort, build kitchen fundamentals with a knife skills class, take your baking to the next level, or get hands-on instruction in creating a curated dinner experience. Go behind the scenes with an award-winning bartender and learn about spirits and craft cocktail making, from classic American whiskey cocktails to rum drinks and custom workshops, at the Little House of Cocktails in Rutland. Paint-and-sip experiences throughout Vermont give you a chance to set your creativity free on canvas under the helpful eye of experienced instructors. Taking a class in improv or sketch comedy at Burlington’s Vermont Comedy Club will have your group laughing all evening.
5. Entertainment and Nightlife
Vermont’s historic theatres and stages elevate the experience of seeing a play, concert, or talk. Rutland’s 1913 Paramount Theatre, Burlington’s 1930 Flynn Theatre, the historic Vergennes Opera House, and the Northern Stage in White River Junction are just a few stages that draw crowds with stunning architecture and design. In Brattleboro, the Old Stone Church is now a live music venue, from intimate folk gatherings to rambunctious metal shows and anything in between. In Burlington, take in improv, open mics, and evenings with local and nationally known comedians at Vermont Comedy Club, or head to Nectar’s or Higher Ground for live music. Killington's largest nightclub, The Pickle Barrel rocks with live music and dancing, and many other ski resorts list events on site throughout the weekends, too. In Brattleboro, the Vermont Jazz Center curates live performances and education. Take in a movie, along with a heaping helping of local food and donuts, at Waitsfield’s Big Picture Theatre, or, if you’re in the Northeast Kingdom, check out a live dance or music performance or a film screening at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury or Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro. Enjoy an evening playing in the extensive arcade at Burlington’s The Archives.
6. Indoor Recreation
Indoor activities can get your heart pounding, too! Indoor ice skating rinks offer a chance to enjoy the ice regardless of the weather, and most offer equipment rentals, too. Throw axes at wood targets and channel your inner lumberjack at BurlyAxe Throwing in Burlington. Indoor climbing gyms offer an adrenaline rush and a chance to safely hone your rock climbing skills. In Waterbury, Parro’s Gun Shop is home to Vermont’s only indoor range, featuring 10 lanes, allowing shooters to practice year-round in a safe, controlled environment. Beginners will appreciate the opportunity to rent firearms and be instructed in safe use. Many towns are also home to bowling alleys, like Colchester’s Spare Time Entertainment, also home to an arcade and laser tag, or Bennington Lanes, which also offers indoor golf. Rutland’s Stonehedge Indoor Golf and Gonzo’s HD Sports in Burlington offer indoor golf simulation, too. Hone your tennis game at indoor courts in Rutland, Middlebury, Stratton or more locations throughout the state.
7. Food and Beverage Experiences
Vermont is home to more breweries per capita than any other state in the nation, and its small-batch wine scene, made with local cold-hardy grapes, is turning heads too. Combine that with cider made with heirloom apples, cheese awarded on a global scale, land-crafted spirits, and the most pure maple syrup produced in the nation and you’ve got a serious food destination. Tour the Ben and Jerry’s factory and sample their swirly, chunky ice cream, sample Vermont-made cheese at Cabot Farmer’s Store in Waterbury, tour the state on the chocolate trail, visit a winery for a tasting, or participate in a guided brewery tour that takes the driving out of your hands so you can safely savor the experience. Vermont is also home to America’s most awarded gin; sample Barr Hill at Caledonia Spirits in Montpelier. Chefs at local restaurants use what’s in season to craft menus that offer a sense of place; if you’ve been outside all day, a little après is in order at a Vermont eatery.