A Study Guide to Burlington’s Best Homework Cafés

Cheap Thrills

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!


New Moon Café

150 Cherry Street

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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!


Maglianero Café

47 Maple Street

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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.


Scout & Co.

237 North Avenue, Burlington & 1 East Allen Street, Winooski

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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.

Hours: 

Monday 7am–5pm

Tuesday 7am–7pm

Wednesday 7am–7pm

Thursday 7am–7pm

Friday 7am–7pm

Saturday 8am–7pm

Sunday 7am–6pm

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.


The Skinny Pancake

60 Lake Street

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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.)

Hours: 

Monday 8am-9pm

Tuesday 8am-9pm

Wednesday 8am-11pm

Thursday 8am-11pm

Friday 8am-11pm

Saturday 8am-11pm

Sunday 8am-9pm

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!


Speeder & Earl’s

412 Pine Street

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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.

Hours: 

Monday 6:30am–5:30pm

Tuesday 6:30am–5:30pm

Wednesday 6:30am–5:30pm

Thursday 6:30am–5:30pm

Friday 6:30am–5:30pm

Saturday 8:00am–5:00pm

Sunday 8:00am–5:00pm

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.


Uncommon Grounds

42 Church StreetIMG_6414

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.

Hours: 

Monday 7am–9pm

Tuesday 7am–9pm

Wednesday 7am–9pm

Thursday 7am–9pm

Friday 7am–10pm

Saturday 8am–10pm

Sunday 9am–9pm

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!


Barrio Bakery

197 North Winooski Avenue

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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!

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FREE, Though

Cheap Thrills

Every Day:

This one goes out to my fellow frugal foodies out there. If you’ve been to Saratoga Olive Oil Co., you know how magical it is. If you haven’t, you’re doing Burlington wrong. What makes it so great? Two words: FREE SAMPLES. Get creative dipping chunks of baguette into different flavors of infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Add a sprinkle of their gourmet sea salts, if you dare. No matter how you do it, a visit to this place is a fun and free afternoon outing for any day of the week. Plus, if there’s a holiday coming up, their stuff makes the perfect gift for parents! Keep that in mind when you make your way over to 86 Church St.

Every Tuesday:

Welcome to Tilted Tuesdays at Tilt Classic Arcade and Alehouse, home of FREE pinball and $1.50 16oz cans of Narragansett Lager! This South Burlington “barcade” is the definition of old-school fun, with food, drinks, and games all in one. Liven up your weeknight at 7 Fayette Rd., South Burlington.

Every Wednesday:

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Free Coffee Tasting—Every Wednesday at noon, Maglianero Café, on Maple Street, does a quick little coffee demonstration, and free tasting! Now you know the best time to casually stop by for an in-between-class caffeine fix, or when to schedule your next off-campus study-athon for.

Every Other Thursday:

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Thursday Free Bowl—Champlain kids bowl FOR FREE every other Thursday night at Spare Time in Colchester. Sign up at the Hub and meet the bus at the Maple Street shuttle stop at 9:15. Count off every other week from April 9th!

Saturday:

The Burlington Farmer’s Market is the epitome of all things local, handmade, and delicious. Stroll through stands of ethnic foods from samosas to dumplings, feast your eyes on fresh, local produce, sniff some homemade soaps, and best of all, snack on FREE samples of the best Vermont cheeses you’ve ever tried. During the summer, this free and lively event sprawls through City Hall Park and St. Paul Street. In the cooler months, it’s brought inside to the Memorial Auditorium on South Union and Main St. The Burlington Farmer’s Market takes place 8:30am-2pm every Saturday, May-October, and 10am-2pm every other Saturday during winter months.

Every Friday:

All summer, the Green Mountain Gore Society is hosting their Outdoor Free B-Movie BBQ every Friday. What does this mean? In their words, “we’ll be firing up the grill and projecting a themed double feature of crowd pleasing, mind melting, eye rotting trash cinema on our MASSIVE outdoor screen!” Sounds fun, right? Best of all, admission and popcorn is FREE. Seating is limited so please, BYOC (bring your own chair). The first screening starts at dusk, and the event is conveniently located behind  Speaking Volumes on Pine St. Perfect after-foodtrucks party? We think so. Check out their Facebook (link above) and Twitter (@greenmtngore) for their scheduled weekly showings!

Sangha Studio: Name-Your-Price Yoga

Cheap Thrills

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Whether you have ever done yoga or not, I won’t try to tell you all the remarkable things it can do for you. You can Google that. What I will tell you is that a good yoga class, with the right instructor, can change my whole day my whole week for the better.

As someone who hates running and traditional gym workouts, taking a yoga class is the most reviving, refreshing, strenuously challenging, and most rewarding exercise I’ve ever experienced. I can tell you that it focuses me, it calms me, and it stretches and strengthens muscles that I didn’t even know I had. It helps me sleep, manage my anxiety, and just feel healthier all-around. And no matter how often I go, I’m usually just the slightest bit sore the next morning, which is always the most glorious feeling of accomplishment.

But alas, anything that costs money gives us an automatic excuse to just not do it, right? Sure there are free yoga classes on campus, but personally speaking, either my academic schedule always conflicts, or I’m just not crazy about the particular instructor teaching. I’ve found that really enjoying and getting the most out of yoga requires an instructor that you connect with. For me, that instructor is Caitlin Pascucci.

I started practicing with Caitlin two years ago when she taught at the Champlain College Fitness Center. I was immediately impressed by her passion and confidence in teaching, and her wise insight on how each pose can be modified to fit our own unique bodies. I also felt inspired by her, like taking her classes would help me challenge myself to improve my strength, balance, and focus—giving me a complete, well-rounded mind/body/soul workout. After that semester, things changed, as they do. I studied abroad, and when I got back, my academic schedule had sadly taken over my on-campus yoga schedule.

But in that time, Caitlin had done an amazing thing. She had opened her own non-profit Sangha Studio on Main Street, and eventually, its pricing has become completely donation-based. Not only that, it’s a sanctuary for all yogis and yoginis who practice there. For me, it is a place of peace, centering, and physical engagement. I can confidently say that Caitlin and the other Sangha instructors know their sh!t, and that they are damn good at helping you feel absolutely amazing.

The best part: students like us don’t have to dish out a fortune to keep coming! The fact that Sangha Studio has donation-based pricing allows you to name your price for a class, or a package of classes. Or, you have the option to become a sustaining member for a monthly donation of $39. Though the suggested donation per class is $10, you are free to pay what you want to pay (within reason, of course), or pay what you can pay. Their mission: “Health and wellness is a right of life, not a luxury. Participate, regardless of skill level and income.

So that’s it. You’re out of excuses. For convenience sake, I’m posting Sangha Studio’s class schedule here. Pick a class, and take a walk to 200 Main St. Suite 7, Burlington. You can’t go wrong, and you won’t regret it. Namaste.

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Hello There!

Creator

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Oh hello! I’m Nicole—a senior studying Business Management, Publishing, and Foreign Language at Champlain College. I’m currently a resident of Burlington’s North End and I love where I live!

I’ve been lucky enough to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Dublin, Ireland. It was while living in these places that I fell in love with exploring cities and uncovering their local gems: from the quaintest bookshops and coziest cafés, to underground bars and late-night food joints.

I am a self-proclaimed foodie with fine taste and an adventurous palate. Some of my favorite foods cover a wide variety of genres and I love anything spicy, cheesy, or chocolatey. With that said, I am always ready and willing to try something new!

As a music enthusiast, I have an eye on upcoming shows and events at all times and love knowing what’s happening around town. Some of my favorite artists I’ve seen in Burlington have been Band of Horses, Strand of Oaks, Neutral Milk Hotel, Volcano Choir, and Gregory Alan Isakov.

In the past year, I have interned for couple great Vermont-based companies and have discovered an appreciation for supporting unique local businesses and promoting them through my writing—which I intend to do here!

At 23 years old, as a student working two jobs, I’m always trying to get the biggest bang for my buck. For that reason, I’ve got my eyes peeled for deals and I can’t wait to share my finds with you!