Gazebo and Walking Path in the Arboretum

30+ Great Things to do in Burlington NC

Looking for Things to Do in Burlington NC?

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I recently spent time in Burlington, NC, and enjoyed my visit.  Burlington is located in both Alamance and Guilford counties in the Piedmont Region of North Carolina. Burlington was established in 1849, and with the help of the growing hosiery and textile industries, the town grew and set the foundation for what it is today. I’ll share later on how to can explore the history of this below.

With its growing number of fun shops, outdoor adventure opportunities, kids activities, and unique restaurants, Burlington is a hidden gem and should be on your list of places to explore!

Things to Do in Burlington NC

If you are interested in learning more about everything Burlington has to offer, then you’re in the right place. In the article below, I have all of Burlington’s best activities, shops, restaurants, places to stay, and more. 

1. Burlington City Park Amusement Area

Address: 1388 S Main St, Burlington, NC 27215

Burlington is loved for many reasons, but a big one is that it is a beautiful place to bring kids, as there are many family- and kid-friendly activities. Outside downtown Burlington sits the popular Burlington City Park Amusement Area, where people of all ages can play and have fun. 

The park features 75 acres of activities, including an old-fashioned carousel, a miniature train, boats on the pond, a playground, a splash pad, a greenway system, and sports courts/fields. The Burlington City Park Amusement Area is where the town comes together for spring/summer concert series and town festivals. 

Burlington City Park Amusement Area

2. Burlington Athletic Stadium to watch the Burlington Sock Puppets

Address: 1450 Graham St, Burlington, NC 27217

The Burlington Athletic Stadium is a 3,500-seat baseball stadium and home to the Burlington Sock Puppets. The Sock Puppets play in the Appalachian League, a collegiate summer baseball league part of Major League Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline.

This clean, family-friendly stadium is perfect for a summer evening ball game. So grab your binoculars, get ready for popcorn, and have a ball! 

Things to Do in Burlington NC include the Burlington Athletic Stadium to watch the Burlington Sock Puppets

3. Alamance Battleground State Historic Site

Address: 5803 NC-62, Burlington, NC 27215

If you want to observe some of Burlington’s history, the Alamance Battleground State Historic Site is a great place to go. This site commemorates the Battle of Alamance, as you enter the site, you will find a nice visitor center with museum relics and 40 acres to walk around. It’s a perfect quiet place to have a picnic and explore. 

4. Cedarock Park

Address: 4242 R Dean Coleman Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

Enjoy the peaceful area surrounding Burlington at Cedarrock Park, a 500-acre nature preserve located just outside Burlington. Ceddarock Park offers many things to enjoy, including a restored 19th-century farmstead with animals, disc golf, a playground, picnic shelters, and a stunning waterfall that falls over an old mill dam. 

5. Animal Park at the Conservators Center 

Address: 676 E Hughes Mill Rd, Burlington, NC 27217

Lions! Tigers! Bears! Oh my! Visit nature’s wildest animals at the Animal Park in Burlington. The non-profit zoological park has around 20 species of animals and over 80 animals to enjoy. The walk around the ten-acre park usually takes two hours and makes for the perfect afternoon outing. Ticket reservations are required to enter the park. Visit their website to learn more. 

6. Granddaddy’s Antique Mall

Address: 2316 Maple Ave, Burlington, NC 27215

If you love antiques and relics from the past, you will fall in love with Granddaddy’s Antique Mall! This is a two-acre shop with over 230 booths sharing their antique goods, and you can find just about anything you can think of as you browse the multiple floors. Set aside a couple of hours for a visit to Granddaddy’s Antique Mall because you’ll get sucked right in.

7. Lazer X – The Family Zone 

Address: 3356 S Church St A, Burlington, NC 27215

For unique, family fun for everyone of all ages, visit Lazer X- The Family Zone! Lazer X offers everything from space-age laser tags to “Mission Impossible” speed laser tags, game arcades, and food. 

8. Paramount Theater 

Address: 128 East Front Street, Burlington, NC 27215

A great way to get to know a place is to visit its performing arts center and watch locals put on plays, concerts, and dances. The Paramount Theater is a lovely, small-town public performing art theater that puts on various shows all year long, and you can watch as people of all ages act in amazing plays, musicals, and dances.

9. Southeast Cinemas Alamance Crossing Stadium 16

Address: 1090 Piper Ln, Burlington, NC 27215

It’s time for a movie day! Southwest Cinemas is the perfect, classic movie theater featuring all the current top-rated movie hits. They have a great selection of snacks, candy, and drinks and offer lovely matinee specials. 

10. What’s All The Rage

Address: 2398 Corporation Pkwy C, Burlington, NC 27215

What’s All The Rage is a family-friendly axe-throwing center offering ninja stars, knives, and throwing cards. There is a little something for everyone. Call ahead to book your session. 

11. Textile Heritage Museum

Address: 2406 Glencoe St, Burlington, NC 27217

To explore more of Burlington’s past and revel in Alamance County’s history, visit the Textile Heritage Museum. This non-profit museum is located in the former Glencoe Textile Mill and features relics, artifacts, clothing, instruments, and more. Its mission is to preserve and interpret the early years of America’s Southern textile heritage. 

Textile Heritage Museum
Glencoe Mills Community

12. Arboretum at Willowbrook Park

Address: 408 E Willowbrook Dr, Burlington, NC 27215

Take a relaxing break from your busy vacation at the Arboretum at Willowbrook Park. The beautiful park has 17 acres and a lovely paved walking path covering the entire park. Along the path, you can experience abundant floral displays, wetland gardens, a creek, and more. The park also has picnic shelters and a “treehouse” playground that the kids will love.  

Gazebo and Walking Path in the Arboretum

13. Historic Walking Tour 

Address: 139 S Fisher St, Burlington, NC 27215

Are you interested in learning more about Burlington’s history? This historic walking tour is the perfect way to dive right into Burlington’s history by following the streets and getting a first-hand feel of how Burlington came to be. The tour begins at Front Street Methodist Church and follows a one-block radius around downtown Burlington, taking visitors to historic houses and landmarks. 

14. The Valley Golf Course

Address: 1005 Indian Valley Dr, Burlington, NC 27217

Situated right against the beautiful Haw River, The Valley Golf Course provides supreme golfing in a gorgeous, relaxing setting. This 18-hole course also offers golf lessons, a driving range, practice areas, and a gift shop. 

15. Putt-Putt Fun Center

Address: 1340 N Church St, Burlington, NC 27217

Putt-Putt Fun Center is a veteran-owned amusement center that provides fun for everyone in the family. Visitors can enjoy entertaining games of mini golf, arcade games, batting cages, and even laser tag. The center also has concessions and a small cafe. 

16. Great Bend Park

Address: 350 Greenwood Dr, Burlington, NC 27217

Great Bend Park is a gorgeous 30-acre wooded park nestled along the Haw River. The park has many excellent features, lots of lovely wooded trails, fishing opportunities, and picnic spots. It is also the best place to see the magnificent Glencoe Dam right up close. If your kids are up for a little woods walk, it is a great place to bring the family. Dogs are also welcome. 

Great Bend Park at Glencoe Sign
Glencoe Dam Waterfall

17. Haw River Trail/ Haw River Paddle Trail

Address: Access through Great Bend Park | 350 Greenwood Dr, Burlington, NC 27217

The Haw River Trail is a twenty-mile hiking trail that you can access from Great Bend Park. It’s an easy trail and a wonderful way to experience much of the nature that surrounds Burlington, NC. 

The famous Haw River Paddle Trail starts in Great Bend Park. This 40-mile river trail is perfect for canoeing or kayaking and provides a serene river experience. It is suitable for beginner or expert paddlers.  

18. Burlington Springwood Park

Address: 1450 Springwood Church Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

Some of Burlington’s best public athletic fields are at Burlington Springwood Park, an almost 80-acre park open year-round. This clean and safe park provides entertainment, such as sports fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, a walking track, and many places to run around. Dogs are welcome.

Burlington Springwood Park Sign

19. Graham Historical Museum

Address: 135 W Elm St, Graham, NC 27253

Graham is a small town less than a ten-minute drive from Burlington. The town has more fun things to explore, and an exciting history museum offers insight into the history of Alamance County. The museum is in a 1914 firehouse with interesting artifacts, relics, photographs, and more.

Graham Historical Museum in a 1914 firehouse

20. Shallow Ford Natural Area

Address: 1955 Gerringer Mill Rd, Burlington, NC 27244

If you are a beginner hiker or just looking to explore woods easily and peacefully, the Shallow Ford Natural Area is the perfect place to go. This 190-acre wooded area has five miles of lovely hiking trails, connections to the Haw River Paddle Trail, lots of native flora and fauna, and gorgeous views. It is a fantastic place to escape with the family and dogs. 

Shallow Ford Natural Area Sign
Shallow Ford Natural Area creek

21. Minro Acres Alpaca Farm

Address: 2465 Carolina Rd, Burlington, NC 27217

Minro Acres Alpaca Farm is a beautiful place to hang out with actual alpacas, feed the animals, and enjoy farm life. It is a fantastic place to spend the afternoon with the family. The store offers alpaca fiber-made products, gifts, and farm-fresh eggs. Reservations are required to visit the farm. 

22. Lake Mackintosh Marina

Address: 2704 Huffman Mill Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

Welcome to Lake Mackintosh, a beautiful 1150-acre lake in and around Burlington, NC. Lake Mackintosh invites guests to enjoy various lake activities, such as swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, fishing, and relaxing. 

The marina is where you can launch your paddle boats or just sit and enjoy the shores. All boat activities are seasonal on Lake Mackintosh, and there are all kinds of rentals at the marina. Fees apply to using the boat launch or fishing in the lake. 

Lake Mackintosh Marina with kayaks and boats on the shore

23. Painted Grape

Address: 3400 S Church St, Burlington, NC 27215

The Painted Grape is Burlington’s premier pick-and-paint or sip-and-paint pottery studio, offering fun for people of all ages! Walk-in studio hours are on Tuesdays and Sundays when you and your family can pick your pottery, hang out, and paint. Beer and wine are available for purchase for those over 21. Reservations can be made by phone. 

24. Holly Hill Mall 

Address: 309 Huffman Mill Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

Holy Hill Mall is a nice local mall with over 30 stores, including your favorite designer stores, restaurants, and more. Here are a few stores you can check out. 

  • Bouncin Around – A thrilling kids entertainment center for ages 0-10. They have bounce houses, slides, and play areas and offer drinks, burgers, and pizza.
  • Studio 1 – A 100-seat performing arts theater. 
  • Sweet B Cookies – A delicious cookie shop with all flavors of cookies baked fresh daily. 
  • Cheesecake Creations – A gourmet cheesecake store with more cheesecake flavors than you can imagine. Pick up slices to go or get whole cakes. 
  • Americana Cafe – An American-style diner chain opened by Hollywood makeup artist Dean Jones. The cafe highlights American-style diner foods while celebrating American cinema.  

25. Explore Shops Downtown 

Burlington’s charming downtown area covers around four city blocks. There are over 70 shops, restaurants, museums, art studios, and more to see and explore. Visiting the downtown area gives visitors a great idea of the welcoming atmosphere Burlington has. Here are some great shops to see in downtown Burlington. 

✅ Owl & Rabbit Gallery
Address: 410 S Spring St, Burlington, NC 27215

A whimsical gallery that hosts local artists who make all kinds of art, from pottery to paintings, photographs, jewelry, and more. 

✅ Main Street Vinyl, LLC
Address: 321 S Main St, Burlington, NC 27215

A hip, brick record store with a stunning selection of new and used vinyl at reasonable prices. 

✅ Wayne’s Attic
Address: 247 E Front St, Burlington, NC 27215

Wayne’s Attic is a quirky antique store filled floor-to-ceiling with fun and exciting items. 

✅ Persnickety Books
Address: 347 S Main St, Burlington, NC 27215

A bookstore lover’s dream, Persnickety Books has three floors filled with over 100,000 different books that range in all kinds of different genres. You can easily spend hours getting lost amongst the pages in this store.

✅ The Glass Angel
Address: 224 E Front St, Burlington, NC 27215

A friendly stained glass studio and gift shop. They have great souvenirs, charming gifts, and art by local artists. 

Coffee Shops in Burlington NC

✅ The Blend & Co.
Address: 127 E Front St, Burlington, NC 27215

Serving a fantastic variety of craft coffee and espresso, The Blend & Co has been a downtown Burlington delight since 2014. They also serve light breakfast bites, smoothies, and smoothie bowls. 

✅ Converge Coffee Roasters
Address: Correct Time Plaza, 3336 S Church St, Burlington, NC 27215

A locally owned coffee shop that roasts all their own coffee and provides all your favorite caffeinated beverages, plus light breakfasts, smoothies, pastries, and more.

✅ Salvation Coffee Co.
Address: 3321 S Church St, Burlington, NC 27215

Salvation Coffee Co. is a small-batch coffee roaster and veteran-owned coffee shop with a warm atmosphere and delicious drinks. They also serve small bites and pastries and have an excellent apparel line. 

✅The Daily Grind
Address: 3171 Garden Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

A fun, colorful coffee shop with local roasted coffee, delicious pastries, and more. 

Drinks and Restaurants in Burlington NC

✅ Zack’s Hot Dogs
Address: 201 W Davis St, Burlington, NC 27215

Zack’s Hot Dogs is one of the oldest restaurants in Burlignton’s history. Established in 1928, the shop is a lunch and dinner staple in the city and offers the best hot dogs and burgers. 

✅ Old Fogies
Address: 714 E Davis St #5924, Burlington, NC 27215

A classic, old-timey, diner-style restaurant serving traditional Southern American foods. 

✅ Danny’s Cafe
Address: 110 W Front St, Burlington, NC 27215

Visit Danny’s Cafe for breakfast, lunch, and Friday dinner for great homestyle cooking in a classic diner atmosphere. 

✅ Smitty’s Homemade Ice Cream
Address: 107 E Front St, Burlington, NC 27215

A community-based, homemade ice cream shop serving Burlington since 2002. They have many seasonal ice cream flavors, sundaes, shakes, and more. 

✅ Tanner’s Wine Bar
Address: 102 E Front St, Burlington, NC 27215

Tanner’s Wine Bar offers elegance with many local and foreign wines, beautifully crafted homemade desserts, housemade cocktails, delicious entrees, and charcuterie boards. They also hold intimate, acoustic live music shows.

✅ Ni Armor’s Hawaiian & Polynesian BBQ
Address: 268 E Front St, Burlington, NC 27215

A popular, humble joint, serving authentically fresh island flavors and Polynesian barbecue.

✅ Paul’s Pastry Shop NC
Address: 720 S Church St, Burlington, NC 27215

Everyone needs a good pastry shop, and Paul’s Pastry Shop is everything you could imagine. It is just a little slice of heaven with all kinds of mouthwatering pastries, donuts, pies, cakes, and more. They are open until 2 p.m. or when they sell out, Tuesdays through Saturdays. 

✅ Pano’s Cafe
Address: 1218 S Church St, Burlington, NC 27215

Pano’s Cafe is a favorite Burlington breakfast, lunch, and dinner diner.

✅ La Fiesta Restaurante Mexicano
Address: 1824 S Church St, Burlington, NC 27215

Voted the number one Mexican restaurant in the area, La Fiesta serves a fabulous menu of authentic Tex-Mex dishes in a cozy, colorful space.

✅ Hursey’s Bar-B-Q
Address: 1834 S Church St, Burlington, NC 27215

Hursey’s Bar-B-Q is an “old-fashioned” style barbecue chain restaurant with a vast menu, many options, meal combos, and more. It’s an excellent place for the whole family to enjoy.

✅ Mykonos Grill
Address: 2253 S Church St, Burlington, NC 27215

A good spot for a quick, Mediterranean-inspired sandwich or meal. They have lovely lunch and dinner options.  

Gyro from Mykonos Grill

✅ Harbor Inn Seafood Restaurant
Address: 2408 S Church St, Burlington, NC 27215

A casual, family restaurant with a great seafood, chowder, fried fish, and more menu. 

✅ Angelina Cafe
Address: 220 Huffman Mill Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

Angelina Cafe is the cutest breakfast, brunch, and dinner spot. It serves handmade foods, pastries, and drinks. All meals are made with the finest quality local ingredients, and they serve delicious housemade cocktails. Reservations are recommended for weekend brunch.

✅ Prego’s Trattoria
Address: 422 Huffman Mill Rd Suite 122, Burlington, NC 27215

Prego’s Trattoria is a lovely example of fine, authentic Italian dining. The family-made restaurant uses all traditional recipes, fresh pasta, and local wines to provide the best experience. Reservations are recommended on weekends.

✅ Village Grill
Address: 580 Huffman Mill Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

The Village Grill is a fun, tropical-style bar and restaurant. The Key-West-themed eatery provides an excellent selection of small plates, lunch entrees, and drinks. 

✅ Grill584
Address: 710 Huffman Mill Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

In a casual, elegant atmosphere, Grill584 is a quiet steakhouse with delicious meals and housemade cocktails. 

✅ Mellow Mushroom
Address: 767 Huffman Mill Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

The Mellow Mushroom is a fantastic pizza chain with one of its locations in Burlington. The artsy, colorful restaurant is an excellent place for the family to enjoy a large selection of pizzas, or you can build your own! They also have side dishes, calzones, and more. 

✅ Pupuseria Y Taqueria Las Delicias
Address: 945 E Webb Ave, Burlington, NC 27217

A fabulous authentic Mexican restaurant known for having the best tacos in town. 

✅ The Old Sharkey’s Grill
Address: 203 S Anthony St, Burlington, NC 27215

The Old Sharkey’s Grill is a friendly, small-town diner that provides lovely home-cooked meals at great prices. 

✅ Smokehouse at Steve’s
Address: 331 W Harden St, Graham, NC 27253

Smokehouse at Steve’s is a family-favorite Burlington restaurant focusing on delicious barbecue, smoked meats, and classic Southern sides.

✅ NC Jelly Donuts
Address: 3260 S Church St, Burlington, NC 27215

Who doesn’t love a good jelly donut? NC Jelly Donuts has the perfect, soft jelly donuts you’ve been dreaming about. They’re the perfect treat that you can’t say no to.

✅ Dixon’s Jamaican Taste
Address: 3356 S Church St A, Burlington, NC 27215

For bold island flavors, savory meats, and traditional Jamaican dishes, you should visit Dixon’s Jamaican Taste, Burlington’s authentic Jamaican restaurant. They also have a food truck that can be found in downtown Burlington and at most events. 

✅ The Lounge
Address: 960 Plantation Dr, Burlington, NC 27215

A laid-back bar and grill with exciting cocktail mixes, yummy food, and an inviting atmosphere. They are only open Thursday-Saturday each week and are a great place to find live music.

✅ Burlington Beer Works
Address: 103 E Front St, Burlington, NC 27215

Burlington Beer Works is Burlington, NC’s craft beer brewery, where the beer is brewed on-site and served right to you. The hip warehouse-style atmosphere provides the perfect setting to enjoy time with family and friends. Since they also have a full restaurant, they have teamed with local farms to provide the freshest, yummiest ingredients for each meal. 

Things to Do near Burlington NC

If you want to get out of Burlington for the afternoon and explore some of the area’s treasures, here are some beautiful places to visit.

✅ Guilford Mackintosh Park
Address: 1345 NC-61, Whitsett, NC 27377

Guilford Mackintosh Park is a beautiful park on the shores of Lake Mackintosh. It is a great place to spend a warm summer day as the park has complete lake access, so you can take out a paddleboat, kayak, or canoe or just go for a swim! Other activities at Guilford Mackintosh Park include picnic areas, a playground, walking trails, biking trails, sand volleyball, and fishing areas. 

✅ Children’s Museum of Alamance County
Address: 217 S Main St, Graham, NC 27253

The Children’s Museum of Alamance County is an inexpensive, wonderful place for children ages 0-12. It offers fun, hands-on learning experiences and games. Kids can enjoy the science center, building zones, arts and crafts, climbing, a play cafe, and much more.

Children's Museum of Alamance County

✅ Greensboro Science Center
Address: 4301 Lawndale Dr, Greensboro, NC 27455

The Greensboro Science Center is a great place for people of all ages to learn about and experience the wonders of science. The family-focused museum has thrilling hands-on science exhibits, an aquarium, and a zoological park. 

Greensboro Science Center

✅ Miriam P. Brenner Children’s Museum
Address: 220 N Church St, Greensboro, NC 27401

Located in Greensboro, the Miriam P. Brenner Children’s Museum is another fabulous museum with fun activities geared toward children aged 0-10. There is a beautiful tot area for the younger kids and many other areas that include hands-on learning experiences for the older kids. The museum’s highlight is the half-acre outdoor garden with a 30-foot-tall climbing rope tower. 

Greensboro Children's Museum

Annual Events in Burlington NC 

Let’s look at the fun events that bring the Burlington community together! 

✅ 4th Friday’s | May- September 

Every fourth Friday from May through September, downtown Burlington turns into a festive street fair with various vendors, food trucks, local beer/wine vendors, music, games, and more. If you know much about Burlington, you know it is a very music-centered community, so there is lots of live music at these events, including small, local bands on every corner. 

✅ Burlington Carousel Festival | May 4-5, 2024

The Burlington Carousel Festival is one of the year’s most anticipated events, and you surely don’t want to miss it. The weekend-long event started in the early 1900s and continues to be a family-fun event that the entire community enjoys. The festival takes place at City Park and includes all kinds of vendors, games, live music, kids’ areas, food trucks, beer and wine vendors, and lots more.

✅ Burlington Christmas Parade | November 23, 2024

The Burlington Christmas Parade is quite the show that takes over the streets of downtown Burlington on November 23, 2024, at 10 a.m. The parade includes floats, dancers, bands, antique cars, horses, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and much more. Front Street and Main Street are some of the best streets to view the parade, though the parade winds down all the streets in downtown Burlington so that you can get a good view from just about anywhere.

✅ Maple Ridge Lights | December 1-30
Address: 1112 Maple Ridge Dr, Burlington, NC 27217

This simple residential house in Burlington transforms into a magical light display every year during December to put everyone in the holiday spirit. The house owner decorates the house and yard with animatronics, colorful lights, light shows, and more set to a playlist. Vibrant Christmas songs will play (the owner puts the times and dates on Facebook) so you can listen to your favorite song while witnessing the show. This is a truly unique experience that the whole family will enjoy.

​​Where To Stay in Burlington NC

📍Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Burlington (Elon), NC – The Country Inn & Suites is always a great, inexpensive option that will provide a clean, safe, and comfortable stay for you and the family. Located just outside of town, the hotel is perfect for those looking to get away for the weekend and explore the area. Amenities include family rooms, continental breakfast, a fitness center, and 24-hour room service. 

📍Drury Inn & Suites BurlingtonDrury Inn & Suites is a clean, comfortable hotel that can easily be found off the highway. This is a great option if you want something a little nicer but still affordable! Guests enjoy the continental breakfast, one complimentary dinner meal (with two free drinks), an outdoor swimming pool, pet-friendly rooms, a fitness center, and family rooms. 

📍Beautiful Home Walking Distance to Elon University  – Only ten minutes outside Burlington is Elon, a family-friendly college town with even more exciting things to do. This beautiful home would be the perfect hub to travel between the two areas, seeing and experiencing even more. The large colonial-style home has been remodeled to suit every guest’s comfort. There are three bedrooms, sleeping up to eight guests, a fully furnished kitchen, dining room, living room, and two and a half bathrooms. 

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide puts Burlington on your map and inspires you for your next adventure. With its convenient location just off I-40 between Greensboro and Raleigh, it’s a great place to get out and explore.  Add it to your list next time you are in the area.

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