Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development

The Vermont Downtown Program

Established in 1994

These thriving centers are where visitors and residents find unique local businesses, historic buildings, and rich cultural and social activities that form Vermont's special sense of community.

Vermont's authentic and attractive downtowns and villages are widely recognized as a key part of the state’s allure for visitors from around the globe. Not only will you find buildings, streets, and architecture of historical significance, but also memorable shopping and dining experiences. From locally-owned retail businesses that display their specialty goods proudly, to fine dining restaurants serving fresh, local food and wines that have attracted international accolades, Vermont downtowns are a centerpiece of community life.

With help from the Vermont Downtown Program, established in 1994, aggressive revitalization efforts are now in place in all of the state’s major downtowns. Building on each community’s history, these local efforts have demonstrated how revitalization of their communities encourages the local economy and cultural institutions, while supporting growth in a way that minimizes environmental impacts.

In recognition of Vermont's efforts to preserve downtowns the World Travel & Tourism Council in London chose Vermont’s downtowns, and the Vermont Downtown Program, as one of only three finalists in the Destination Award category in their 2007 Tourism for Tomorrow Award.

Vermont has given special recognition to 24 downtowns: Barre, Bennington, Bellows Falls, Bradford, Brandon, Brattleboro, Bristol, Burlington, Middlebury, Montpelier, Morrisville, Newport, Poultney, Randolph, Rutland, Springfield, St Albans, St Johnsbury, Vergennes, Waterbury, White River Junction, Windsor, and Winooski.

But these aren't the only Vermont towns that will give you wonderful experiences. Woodstock, Grafton, Shelburne ... we could go on until we've named all 251 Vermont towns. But we won't. Instead, go out and explore. We think you'll enjoy what you find.