Welcome to picturesque Montpelier, the smallest state capital in the country, by population, and the only capital without a McDonald’s (and proud of it!). But what it lacks in fast food, Montpelier makes up for with some great restaurants, friendly bars and access to outdoor activities. And its central location makes it a good base to explore the state, with nearby options for skiing, hiking, boating or checking out other Vermont towns.
Set along the banks of the Winooski River, Montpelier is easily explored by bike or by foot. No visit to the capital would be complete without a visit to the Vermont State House — a mid-1800s gold-domed building that’s been carefully restored and features some of the state’ s most important art. From the state building you can walk to the center of Montpelier to check out some of the city’s stores, restaurants and bars.
For breakfast, hit the always popular crepe-specialist Skinny Pancake, or on weekends head to Kismet for a farm-to-table brunch. For lunch or dinner (or just a drink), stop by the Three Penny Taproom, a friendly bar with a great beer selection and yummy food. If you’re in the mood for Mexican, check out Mad Taco or deMena’s, the latter of which has a great outdoor second-story deck.
On nice days, head to the deli at the Hunger Mountain co-op, grab a sandwich and some snacks, and find a good spot for a picnic. A great option is to head over to nearby Hubbard Park, which has a tower located on its highest point providing awesome views of the city and surrounding countryside, miles of walking trails, and is very dog friendly if you have Fido in tow.
For an evening activity, head to the Savoy Theater to catch an indie movie in a funky building, and enjoy some organic popcorn with a Vermont craft beer. Or for something slightly more high-brow, get tickets to a show at the Lost Nation Theater, which stages both classical and modern plays and musicals.