What to Do, See and Eat in Burlington: A City With a Rich History and Culture

Enjoy strolling through this extremely walkable small town and exploring the restaurants, unique shops and events.

A view of Burlington, NJ
Burlington has small-town charm in a beautiful setting along the Delaware River. Photo: AEROJO Drone Productions

Gloriously settled along the Delaware River in 1677 by a group of William Penn’s Quakers, Burlington was West Jersey’s first capital. Today, nearly 350 years later, visitors can immerse themselves in Burlington’s vibrant culture and history, charming downtown shopping district, waterfront area, and exciting events and festivals.


September 2023 cover of New Jersey Monthly

Buy our September 2023 issue here. Cover photo: Laura Moss

Get a true flavor of this historic town by starting your day with a walking tour from Burlington Tours, which leaves from 100 High Street on various days. Highlights include author James Fenimore Cooper’s house; the birthplace of War of 1812 naval hero James Lawrence (“Don’t give up the ship”); the Ulysses S. Grant house; the Burlington County Historical Society and its Armed Forces Heritage Museum; and the 1685 Hutchinson-Revell House—Burlington County’s oldest building, where a 17-year-old Benjamin Franklin once bought gingerbread and ate supper en route to Philadelphia from Boston in 1723. Other must-sees are the 1783 Quaker meetinghouse and its much earlier graveyard, the final resting place of Lenape chief Ockanickon, a friend of the Friends.

Burlington, located in Burlington County, is a walkable town. In the extensive High Street shopping district, a highlight is the popular and historic Burlington Antiques and Art Emporium—15,000 square feet of treasures, from vintage jewelry to kitchen gadgets to film cameras, offered by 65 dealers in a 1918 building.

Burlington, which has a population of 10,016, is small but mighty when it comes to events. Between now and December, there are more than a dozen on tap, including the beloved Wood Street Fair, a spooky Walk With Ghosts tour, and Winter Fest.

Entertainment isn’t lacking either. Take in a stage show by the Bridge Players Theatre Company at the Broad Street United Methodist Church, the company’s performance site and the Garden State’s oldest Methodist congregation. Also at the 253-year-old church is the town’s annual theatrical highlight: A Christmas Carol performed by Charles Dickens’ great-great-grandson Gerald Dickens, who travels from his English home each year to perform around the world. His energetic one-man show features 26 characters and hits Burlington at 1 pm and 7 pm on November 24.

Child eating ice cream at Ummm Ice Cream Parlor

End your day in Burlington with ice cream at the very charming ice cream parlor Ummm. Photo courtesy of Ummm Ice Cream Parlor


Locals favor the two-story Riverview Restaurant & Bar, which overlooks the Delaware and has stunning views, as well as Doc’s Irish Pub, Amy’s Omelette House, Kum Fong Restaurant, Third State Brewing and Il Portico, which features live music on weekend nights. Get sweets at JB Bakery and the very charming Ummm homemade ice cream shop.


The Lily Inn, a 300-year-old mansion turned bed and breakfast, is conveniently situated within the historic district. It’s the perfect spot to stay while soaking up history and charm in Burlington.

Want to keep exploring? Check out more of our 12 favorite small towns to visit now.

Burlington Tours; Burlington Antiques and Art Emporium, 424 High Street; Broad Street United Methodist Church, 36 E. Broad Street; Riverview Restaurant & Bar, 219 High Street; Doc’s Irish Pub, 100 Jones Street; Amy’s Omelette House, 637 High Street; Kum Fong Restaurant, 1817 Mount Holly Road; Third State Brewing, 352 High Street; Il Portico, 273 W. Route 30; JB Bakery, 712 S. High Street; Ummm Ice Cream Parlor, 236 High Street; Lily Inn, 214 High Street

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