There's more to life than beer pong and Call of Duty. Not, like, a ton more. But enough that it's worth emerging from your dorm room once in a while to soak up some culture. You need the occasional salad in your diet of pizza and Doritos to keep your body (somewhat) healthy, right? Well, your brain craves nourishment, too.
Fortunately, Vermont has a stellar — and not overly snooty — arts scene. Whether you're into abstract sculptures or Egyptian mummies, its galleries and museums offer exhibits guaranteed to fascinate and inspire. Below are a few favorites that will help you class up your act, expand your mind and impress your parents when they stop by for a visit.
135 Church St., Burlington, burlingtoncityarts.org
This retro brick building used to be a fire station. Now it presents contemporary art exhibits, classes and the occasional indie music show. Don't miss the Vermont Metro Gallery on the fourth floor.
ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
1 College St., Burlington, echovermont.org
You won't find any tropical fish at this waterfront science center — it showcases plants and animals that live in Lake Champlain. There are some monstrous, 40-pound lake sturgeon, though.
Fleming Museum of art
61 Colchester Ave., Burlington, uvm.edu/~fleming
This UVM museum has a dazzling marble foyer and 25,000 art objects in its extensive permanent collections. It hosts special exhibitions, too, and is free with your UVM, Champlain College or Community College of Vermont student ID. Score.
208 Flynn Ave., Burlington, flynndog.net
This funky community art space has nothing to do with the Flynn Center. Feast your eyes, then your stomach; Chef's Corner Café & Bakery — South End is located here, too.
New City Galerie
132 Church St., Burlington, newcitygalerie.org
Located above Akes' Place on Church Street, this gallery has a monthly folk music night and arts events in addition to exhibits.
404 Pine St., Burlington, seaba.com
The South End Arts and Business Association organizes the best arts party in the state — the South End Art Hop (see "The Main Events," page 24). It also hosts drinking-and-drawing events around town. Visit the HQ to see local art.
6000 Shelburne Rd., Shelburne, shelburnemuseum.org
Vermont's famous folk-art museum has the coolest exhibition buildings around, including barns and the Ticonderoga, a fully restored, 220-foot passenger steamboat that once plied the waters of Lake Champlain. The exhibits here cover everything from high fashion to time machines, and the sprawling grounds are home to stunning gardens and summer concerts. Called a "Disneyesque New England fantasyland" by the New York Times, the museum is open May through October. Hit up its Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education for year-round shows, events and classes.