We all know the drill: we try to study and write papers at home, but we wind up washing the dishes, or taking a three-hour nap, or eating everything in the fridge instead. We try to do some homework in the library, but wind up seeing our friends and watching YouTube videos, or talking about how much work we have to do instead of actually doing it. We have to meet with a group, but we can’t reserve a study room because it’s too late, and we need a coffee to stay awake anyway. So where do we go? To a café: a neutral, nearby location, unaffiliated with our academic institutions in any way, where we can access caffeine and maybe a little snack, tap into that wifi, plug in our headphones, and finally get some sh!t done.
But doing homework is bad enough; who wants to have to pay a ton of money to buy something, just so you can hang out there to do your work? Well, the fact is, to sit somewhere and use their wifi, unless you’re at the public library, you do have to buy something. Think of that something as fuel, or incentive, or motivation. I don’t know about you all, but I’m an extremely food/drink-motivated person. So, to make it easier on us all, Burly There has gone on a mission to visit the best cafés for doing homework in Burlington. Each of these places has free wifi—the one essential thing for accessing and completing all our online assignments. Beyond that, Burly There has laid out factors such as distance, parking, seating, ambiance, hours, and most importantly, the cheapest item on each menu. Consider this the ultimate study guide to your soon-to-be favorite homework-doing destinations!
150 Cherry Street
Walking distance from downtown? Yes.
Parking? Metered street parking only, though the parking garage on North Winooski Ave. is decently close. Expect to pay to park if you drive. There’s a bike rack just outside the door.
Wifi? Yup. And it’s free; no password needed.
Seating: Ample! Some bar-style seating with stools along the windows in the front, and some comfy armchairs and a couch in front of a big fireplace. Beyond the ordering counter, the space opens up into a surprisingly huge open room of tables and chairs.
Atmosphere: Warm coffee-colored walls give a burrowing-to-escape-the-world feeling that fosters productivity without distraction.
Music: Non-distracting jazz. Good, quiet background music.
Most Affordable Item on the Menu: 8oz Coffee—$1.58.
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30am-8:30pm and Sunday 8am-8:30pm. Closed Saturdays.
Anything Else? They have yummy food to sustain your studies: sandwiches, panini, salads, and soups, as well as juices and smoothies. They also have vegan options!
47 Maple Street
Walking Distance from Downtown? Yep! Just a short walk away for anyone living in the South End, or anyone on or near Maple St.
Parking? Non-metered street parking and bike parking outside the café.
Wifi? Free! No password.
Seating: Tables are somewhat limited, but deep window sills with chairs make for cool bar-style window seating and people watching.
Atmosphere: Simplistic and gallery-esque. The wall art serves as a fun visual break from the computer screen.
Music: Electronic, alternative pop/rock music fills the space. Nothing headphones can’t fix if it’s just not your “cup of tea.”
Hours: 7am-7pm weekdays, weekends 8am-5pm.
Most Affordable Item on the Menu: Small Coffee—$1.94.
Anything Else? Plan your study sesh at the right time and you could sit in on a free coffee tasting! They’re done every Wednesday at noon.
237 North Avenue, Burlington & 1 East Allen Street, Winooski
Walking Distance from Downtown? Not Quite. Best to drive or bike to this one.
Parking? Some non-metered street parking, some designated spots in the free parking garage behind the place.
Wifi? They’ll disclose the password to the free wifi when you buy something.
Seating: Lots of open seating at a number of tables, as well as bar-style window seating and convenient electrical outlets along one of the walls.
Atmosphere: Minimalistic, but hip. White walls feature fun art, bright natural lighting pours in from two walls of windows, and sweet little succulents decorate the tables.
Music: Indie-folk music casts a chill, creative mood in the space.
Most Affordable Item on the Menu: Small Coffee or cup of tea—$2.
Anything Else? At this place, no matter what you order, you can expect nothing less than serious quality. Not only that, but their menu gets madly creative with Smoked Maple Marshmallow Lattes and hipster snacks like Muesli and Chia Seed Porridge. Their impressive array of home made ice cream flavors include Vanilla Oak, Pickled Peach & Celery Leaf, as well as Early Grey, Raspberry Jam, & Caraway. Perfect incentive for getting your sh!t done.
60 Lake Street
Walking Distance from Downtown? Oh yeah. Head down College Street towards the waterfront and you can’t miss it.
Parking? Metered parking. Don’t forget your coins!
Wifi? Yep! Free; no password.
Seating: Plenty! Some two-seater high-top tables, rustic wooden booths, a bar, and more traditional seating with tables with chairs.
Atmosphere: Industrial yet cozy, with natural wooden accents, warm lighting, and creamy-colored walls. This place’s food is so good, there’s almost always a line out the door, but if you avoid regular meal times, you’re sure to get a good spot.
Music: Upbeat, alternative indie music meets steady restaurant chatter. (The music seemed to be a bit loud for my studying preferences, though I did happen to be sitting directly below a speaker.)
Most Affordable Item on the Menu: 8 oz Coffee—$1.60. $1 refills!
Anything Else? This place has ridiculously good food. I mean, the line speaks for itself. But if you’re looking to buy the dirt cheap minimum just to get to use their wifi, they have $1 day-old muffins. Go there a lot? Get a coffee punch card and if you buy 10, your 11th will be free!
412 Pine Street
Walking Distance from Downtown? Might be a bit much with a heavy backpack, but yes.
Parking? One and two-hour non-metered street parking right in front.
Wifi? Yup. They provide the password upon request, as long as you buy something.
Seating: Lots of seating! Standard wooden tables and chairs.
Atmosphere: Vintage warehouse feel with creamy-colored brick walls, and original wooden beams. Checkered tile floors give a classic vibe and large windows let in lots of natural light. Local art dresses up the walls with stained glass, paintings, and a hand-painted mural along the wall above the barista counter.
Music: Upbeat, jazzy/bluesy/alternative rock. Refreshingly old school, but not necessarily ideal study music.
Most Affordable Item on the Menu: 12oz Coffee—$1.40.
Anything Else? This place has some delicious specialty lattes. Snack on pastries from Kinger’s Bread Co., Mirabelle’s, or Barrio Bakery, or on a Myer’s bagel. Day-old pastries are half price.
Walking Distance from Downtown? Yes. Right in the middle of everything on Church Street.
Parking? Metered street parking. The parking garage on South Winooski St. is about a block away.
Wifi? Free wifi—No password.
Seating: There’s a good amount of seating in relation to the amount of space, but it fills up quickly when this place gets busy. There are a few bar-style window seats up front, as well as tables and chairs along the bench-lined wall, going all the way to the back of the shop. Be prepared to sit nice and close to someone you don’t know.
Atmosphere: Mocha colored walls display local art above polkadot printed table cloths. An antique-looking Probat L12 coffee bean roaster welcomes customers right inside the door and fills the place with a sweet and nutty aroma.
Music: Crowd-pleasing stuff, from upbeat R&B, to oldies, to today’s pop. The music plays gently under the chatter of conversation and whirring of coffee machines.
Most Affordable Item on the Menu: 12oz Coffee + 1 free refill—$1.62
Anything Else? Half price day-old bagels aren’t exactly brain food, but they’ll keep you going for cheap. Uncommon Grounds serves locally made bagels, pastries and fabulous-looking cakes and pies, as well as a wide variety of imported coffees and teas!
197 North Winooski Avenue
Walking Distance from Downtown? On a really nice day, if you’re not in a time crunch, and you don’t mind a nice stroll through the North End, then yes.
Parking? Non-metered street parking in this neck o’ the woods.
Wifi? Free wifi—password provided when you ask!
Seating: It’s a cozy space, but full of practical seating for the solo studier, as well as tables for different sized groups.
Atmosphere: This older building has been converted into a charming bakery/café, with an original, intricately-molded ceiling, paneled, warm-colored walls, and wood floors. When the sun goes down, the string lights turn on and the bright café becomes a romantic and hip table-service pizza restaurant.
Music: During pizza hours, ambient acoustic music plays. If anyone knows their bakery music to be any different, please comment below!
Hours: Barrio Bakery is open every day, 7:30am-3pm. Pizza Barrio is open Wednesday-Saturday, 5:30-9pm.
Most Affordable Item on the Menu: 8oz Coffee—$2.
Anything Else? During bakery hours, keep yourself going with a sandwich on focaccia, or reward yourself for all your hard work in the end with a delicious pastry, muffin, or cupcake! OR just reward yourself by coming back at 5:30 for some drool-inducing pizza.
Did you find this helpful? Do you have an corrections or suggestions? If so, please comment below!