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Burlington has come a long way since its establishment as ‘the Town of Company Shops’ in 1893. What used to be exclusively offices and shops for the North Carolina Railroad Company is now one of North Carolina‘s most visit-worthy cities.
Burlington has all the thrills and sights that you must experience. Whether you’re a regular or just visiting, there’s always something new and exciting things to explore. Dive into downtown Burlington, hit up all the shopping malls, and explore the incredible hiking trails – this city has it all.
Alamance County is where it’s at – check out our complete guide below for the most incredible things to do in Burlington, North Carolina. You won’t believe how much charm this place has; its history will draw you in and fill your heart with unforgettable memories to last forever. Ready for an adventure? Let’s go!
- Things to Do in Burlington, North Carolina
- 1. Visit the Company Shops Depot
- 2. Attend a Show at the Paramount Theater
- 3. Enjoy a Family Day Out at City Park Amusement Area
- 4. Experience Nature at Lake Mackintosh Park & Marina
- 5. Dive Into History at the Alamance Battleground State Historic Site
- 6. Go on a Hiking Adventure at Haw River Trail
- 7. Discover the Glencoe Mill Village Historic District
- 8. Get Up Close with Animals at the Conservators Center
- 9. Explore Great Bend Park
- 10. Visit Alamance County Historical Museum
- Where to Stay in Burlington, North Carolina
- What are the best places to eat and drink in Burlington, NC?
- How can I get around Burlington, NC?
- What are the best day trip destinations around Burlington, NC?
- Most significant landmark – Alamance Battleground State Historic Site
- Best park – Lake Mackintosh Park & Marina
- Free activity – Alamance Battleground State Historic Site
- Activity for kids – Burlington City Park Amusement Area
- Activity for adults – Haw River Trail
- Best food – Carolina-style hot dogs
- Best nightlife – Paramount Theater
- Place to stay – Drury Inn & Suites Burlington
Things to Do in Burlington, North Carolina
Finding what to do in Burlington shouldn’t be stressful. As you explore the city or plan to, here are some excellent tips for your stay.
1. Visit the Company Shops Depot
Address: 268 E Front St, Burlington, NC 27215, United States
Take a time machine back to the 1800s as you explore Burlington, North Carolina’s Company Shops Depot. As one of the last reminders of railroad travel from days gone by, this site is like stepping into a history book.
Visit this iconic landmark to get a feel for life in mid-1800s Burlington. You can still see it today, though it relocated in 1978, allowing us to honor and remember the past.
Today, the Company Shops Depot is jumping with activity. Residents fill the space for group meetings – and the outdoor concerts and events bring it to life even more.
Not to mention, inside – the activity room has an incredible display of pictures that capture Burlington since 1893. In every decade, there have been notable residents and exciting events that make this town unique. It’s incredible how this wall captures them all in one spot.
Although you can’t usually snoop around the inside of the Depot, you can take a guided tour if you contact the right people. But feel free to wander outside and take in all this special place presents – gawk at the stunning amphitheater, enjoy some pretty flowers, and snap a few selfies with the world-famous red caboose.
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2. Attend a Show at the Paramount Theater
Address: 128 E Front St, Burlington, NC 27215, United States
Theater lovers – rejoice! The Paramount Theater is the place to be. Built in 1929 as the Grand Theater, this has been an epicenter of entertainment and culture for Burlington residents since then.
Sure, it had a short “closed” period in 1994 for some renovations. But don’t worry – it was reopened shortly after (in 1998) with upgraded features and more capacity – so there’s plenty of room to enjoy the show.
Now that Paramount is back and better than ever, you don’t want to miss out on all the fantastic performances and showings hosted here. Get ready for musicals, plays, concerts, classic movies – you name it. And if you’re not sure what’s coming up next at Paramount, no problem – swing by their box office during the afternoon on weekdays or one hour before any event and get ready to have a great time.
You don’t even have to wait until showtime, as you can make reservations right now. If you’re up for something romantic and unique to do in Burlington, why not treat your partner to a classic movie or play at the Paramount Theater?
3. Enjoy a Family Day Out at City Park Amusement Area
Address: 1388 S Main St, Burlington, NC 27215, United States
Ready to go for some amusement rides? Pack up the family and head to beautiful Burlington’s City Park. Exploring this marvelous 75-acre adventure hub will leave you itching for more.
Plus, it’s no wonder why they call it a ‘flagship park’— it’s been lovingly maintained by the Recreation & Parks Department, so you bet the city park offers plenty of fun activities that everyone in the fam can enjoy.
As its beautiful main attraction, you can find the fully-restored and historical Dentzel Carousel. It was declared a National Historic Landmark, and although some of the old trains were replaced with new ones in ’78 and ’79, that doesn’t detract from its charm. Thousands of visitors come each year to take a spin on its gorgeous horses and revel in the nostalgia it brings – you won’t want to miss out.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. It’s chock-full of summertime fun. Incredible concerts? Check! Exciting baseball and softball tournaments? You bet.
Something for the kids to do while you take a load off your feet? Yeah, it’s got that too! The expansive playground will keep the little ones entertained for hours – exploring, sliding & climbing – while you sit back and relax in beautiful nature.
See Related: Things to Do in Fayetteville, North Carolina
4. Experience Nature at Lake Mackintosh Park & Marina
Address: 2704 Huffman Mill Rd, Burlington, NC 27215, United States
Head over to Lake Mackintosh Park & Marina, the dreamy spot for nature lovers off Huffman Mill Road in Burlington. This place has been around since 1993 and is just teeming with stunning sights, and you guessed it – an expansive lake that serves as the city’s primary water reservoir. There’s nothing like being surrounded by raw outdoorsy vibes!
Spanning 1,150 incredible acres with an impressive shoreline stretching 61 miles, Lake Mackintosh is the place to be if you want a wonderful outdoor experience. The Greater Alamance and Little Alamance creeks help keep the lake packed with living things, making it the perfect spot for fishing enthusiasts to test their skills – cast your line and feel that thrill when you pull in your catch.
Lake Mackintosh Park & Marina is more than just a spot for fishing. With activities like kayaking, canoeing, and john boating, you could discover hidden coves and view the stunning scenery at your speed. Plus, it’s the perfect outdoor meal spot with picnic sites scattered throughout – grab some goodies to munch on while spending quality time with the fam bam.
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5. Dive Into History at the Alamance Battleground State Historic Site
Address: 5803 NC-62, Burlington, NC 27215, United States
Step into a new world and get ready to be wowed by the incredible history of the American Revolution at the Alamance Battleground in Burlington. This sacred site is an honoring reminder of an epic battle that changed the entire course of history. Take this fantastic journey, and you’ll feel like you’ve returned in time – it’s guaranteed to give you chills.
Dive into history and come to the Alamance Battleground Museum. So much awaits you – exciting artifacts, brilliant documents, and fascinating exhibits that will transport you back in time.
You can also explore interactive displays – they’ll get your heart pumping with a vivid experience of the events before the battle. Plus, don’t miss out on joining one of their guided tours with experienced interpreters who can bring those stories from long ago alive.
Before wrapping up your incredible experience, make sure to take a saunter through their gift shop. It’s overflowing with fantastic keepsakes and treats ranging from historical books to marvelous mementos. Take home something special that honors the legacy of Alamance Battleground – because then you’ll still have a piece of this magical history even after your visit.
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6. Go on a Hiking Adventure at Haw River Trail
Address: Haw River Trail, Burlington, NC 27217, United States
Pack your bags for a heart-pumping adventure through the vivid natural beauty of Burlington. What’s that? It’s the Haw River Trail – a wild 70-mile trail of epic proportions. Get ready to make some memories as you hike this scenic path by the river; see diverse landscapes and take in those jaw-dropping views.
The Haw River Trail is no ordinary hiking trail – it’s part of something much grander. Over half of the stretch links up with the incredible Mountains-to-Sea Trail, starting from Clingman’s Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and ending in Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks – unreal! This gives hikers from across the country a chance to marvel at and embrace the astounding beauty of Haw River.
In Alamance County alone, you can explore over 20 miles of the Haw River Trail that is open to the public – perfect for all those nature lovers and adventure-seekers. You don’t just get a chance to go on a hike; you can connect with nature however you want.
Navigate your hiking adventure with ease using the Land Trail Overview map. Jam-packed with details of the route and sights to see, this invaluable guide is here to make planning your exploration a breeze so you can get the most out of your time spent in this gorgeous outdoor haven.
See Related: Hiking Trails in the United States
7. Discover the Glencoe Mill Village Historic District
Address: Glencoe Mill Village Historic District, Glencoe, Alamance County, North Carolina
Step into the past by checking out Glencoe Mill Village. It’s one of the best-preserved 19th-century textile mill villages in the southeastern United States, and it’s waiting for you to explore its rich industrial history. When you experience this time capsule, you’ll get an up-close look at how vital the textile industry was in shaping the community.
Glencoe has made it to the National Register of Historic Places, recognizing its historical significance. If you visit Glencoe right now, you can explore a place with incredible architectural, cultural, and even historical value.
Not only that but there’s numerous stuff to see – like the fabulous mill production facilities and Textile Heritage Museum. Plus, check out all those charmingly restored houses for a special treat.
Step into nature and soak up the sights of Glencoe. With countless recreational opportunities, you can hike, canoe, kayak – even catch a fish or two – all while surrounded by the stunningly beautiful landscape. Picnic spots dot this area along the Haw River, too – so why not spend the day exploring here?
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8. Get Up Close with Animals at the Conservators Center
Address: 676 E Hughes Mill Rd, Burlington, NC 27217, USA
Get ready for an incredible adventure at the Animal Park Conservators Center. Unbelievably, this spectacular zoological park covers 18 hectares of land – that’s huge!
Your family will capture special moments together and learn something new. This is a can’t-miss experience for people of all ages.
Coming to the Animal Park at the Conservators Center will be like taking a fun-filled field trip. With an experienced guide alongside you, walk around a three-quarter-mile path and have yourself a blast exploring all sorts of natural habitats, learning about each species, and getting up close with these furry friends.
Prepare for a memorable encounter as you tour incredible and fascinating animals. With majestic lions and tigers to playful lemurs and curious servals, you’ll see every creature up close while learning all about their unique behaviors, characteristics, and quirks.
Plus, the knowledgeable guides will be with you chilling out with these fantastic creatures telling stories along the way – so it’s not just fun but truly informative too!
Every Saturday and Sunday, the Conservators Center throws open its Animal Park doors to visitors. Bring the whole pack for a Public Tour Adventure – perfect for meeting amazing animals. Or, if you’d prefer something more up-close-and-personal, you can arrange a private tour and prepare for a memorable adventure with these furry pals.
9. Explore Great Bend Park
Address: 350 Greenwood Dr, Burlington, NC 27217, USA
Come to Great Bend Park in Burlington; you won’t believe your eyes! This remarkable place is an open secret just waiting to be discovered. It has 20 acres of lush woods and a mile of stunning Haw River frontage.
Enjoy the sights while taking a saunter on one of many walking trails that go through the area. When you need a break from the grind of daily life, this is the spot for some peaceful nature therapy with mountain views out of this world.
Put the workweek routine on hold, and come to Great Bend Park for some weekend fun. It has a lush five-acre island – perfect for picnics, sunbathing, or just enjoying nature – and wooded acres of stunning fall foliage.
When is the best time to visit? Come check it out in late October or November and prepare for an Instagram-worthy autumn experience like no other. Explore all that Great Bend Park presents because relaxation should always be part of your weekend plan.
See Related: Best National Parks in the USA to Visit
10. Visit Alamance County Historical Museum
Address: 4777 South, NC-62, Burlington, NC 27215, USA
For you history and culture buffs, a trip to the Alamance County Historical Museum is a guaranteed adventure. Built in the 19th century, this museum allows visitors to get to know Edwin Michael Holt (textile pioneer) better by offering tours that take you through all his exciting stories – not to mention retro period rooms.
The exhibition center’s upper floor is devoted to changing, excellent exhibits like Native American relics, 19th-century military goodies, antique toys, and clothing Alamance County quilts.
Basically, all sorts of stuff that tell the history of Burlington City should certainly be on your list of unmissable points of interest. Plus – there’s an incredible guided tour to check out the summer kitchen, outdoor gardens, family cemetery, and other period buildings.
See Related: Best Museums in the US to Visit
Where to Stay in Burlington, North Carolina
- Drury Inn & Suites Burlington – Situated right in the middle of Burlington, Drury Inn & Suites is the ultimate option for any traveler. Spacious guest rooms, modern features, and exceptional service – it’s like being at home, but better! And don’t forget – you also get complimentary breakfast and an evening reception.
- Courtyard by Marriott Burlington – For those wanting an incredible hotel experience, you can’t beat Courtyard by Marriott. This gorgeous spot is near the Alamance Crossing Shopping Center and has all the amenities you’d expect for a high-end stay. Their excellent guest rooms have plush bedding, ergonomic workspaces, and free Wi-Fi.
- Hampton Inn & Suites Burlington – If you’re seeking a fantastic budget-friendly stay, check out Hampton Inn & Suites. Super spacious rooms with all the comforts of home – cozy beds, modern amenities, and free Wi-Fi – plus the helpful staff will surely give your trip a special touch.
What are the best places to eat and drink in Burlington, NC?
The Cutting Board is the go-to spot – delicious sandwiches and an unbeatable craft beer selection. Or if Carolina-style hot dogs are more your thing, Zack’s Hot Dogs will blow your taste buds away with their toppings extravaganza.
How can I get around Burlington, NC?
Getting around Burlington is easy and convenient. The fastest and most popular way to explore the city is driving – all the roads are super well-kept, and plenty of parking is available.
But if you’re more into public transportation, have no fear. Piedmont Area Regional Transit (PART) operates regular bus services throughout the area – inexpensive and dependable – so you can get where you need to go without any stress or hassle.
What are the best day trip destinations around Burlington, NC?
Burlington has many unique experiences just a day trip away. Greensboro has an incredible artsy scene and numerous places abundant in historical significance.
Durham’s got the cool American Tobacco Campus and the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Plus, Hanging Rock State Park is within easy reach for all nature lovers.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.