Things to do in Williamsburg

Things to do in  Williamsburg

Top 11 attractions in Williamsburg

Yorktown Battlefield

Site of the American Revolutionary War’s decisive 1781 battle—where the British surrendered, leading to the war's conclusion—the Yorktown Battlefield is one of Virginia’s most important landmarks. Now part of the Colonial National Historical Park, the site features monuments, weaponry, and other historical and natural attractions.More

Governor's Palace

One of the largest and grandest buildings in Colonial Williamsburg, the Governor’s Palace was the seat of royal authority in the colony. Between 1710 and 1776, the landmark housed seven royal governors and two elected governors (Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson). After burning down in 1781, it was restored to its former glory in 1934.More

Bruton Parish Episcopal Church

Located in Colonial Williamsburg, Bruton Parish Episcopal Church is a National Historic Landmark. Visit to view the well-preserved example of colonial religious architecture and perhaps take in a concert at the active church. First built in 1674, the current structure dates back to 1715.More

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Located in Yorktown, Virginia—the site of the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War—the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown dives into early US history. The two-part museum offers a sweeping, multimedia exhibition space with hundreds of artifacts, as well as an immersive living history area.More

Historic Jamestowne

Explore the first English settlement in the United States at Historic Jamestowne, part of the Colonial National Historical Park. Located on Jamestown Island, the town was founded as James Fort in 1607. Learn about the ongoing excavation work and see the ruins and thousands of artifacts that have been unearthed so far.More

Public Hospital of 1773

See the country’s first hospital devoted to the care of the mentally ill, and learn about the treatment of mental illness in early American history at the Public Hospital of 1773. The building is located in the Colonial Williamsburg living history area, and features exhibition cells, galleries, and artifacts.The hospital was first founded in 1773 and reopened as a museum in 1985. There are six exhibition cells on the first floor of the east wing, set up to show the types of treatments used over the years. Additional galleries and artifacts illustrate the history of the hospital and the practices of 18th and 19th century medicine. Guided tours offer additional insights.Entrance to the Public Hospital of 1773 is included as part of your Colonial Williamsburg ticket.Guided tours are held on Mondays and Wednesdays at 9am and last for about an hour. The topics and displays of the museum may not be suitable for young children. The museum is wheelchair accessible.The museum is located south of Francis Street in Colonial Williamsburg. The shuttle bus stops just outside. There’s also an underground concourse that leads to the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.The Public Hospital Museum is open daily from morning until evening. Since it’s open later than many of the other attractions on the Colonial Williamsburg tour, it makes sense to save the museum for the end of the circuit.It's easy to visit the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, which includes the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, as it's located in the same building as the Public Hospital of 1773. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s holdings include more than 70,000 antiques and works of art, 15,000 architectural elements, and 20 million archaeological artifacts, including clothing, instruments, toys, furniture, and paintings.More

Water Country USA

The largest waterpark in Virginia, Water Country USA is home to more than a dozen rides and attractions, from gravity-defying waterslides to wave pools and paddling areas for younger children. The Williamsburg-based park also offers a wide range of dining and shopping options and is a popular day-trip destination for families.More

Colonial Williamsburg

Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg is among the largest living history museums in the US. Here, visitors can experience what daily life looked like during the American Revolution. Historical re-enactors contribute to the immersive experience by working in preserved historic buildings and a variety of craft shops, from blacksmiths to wigmakers.More

Jamestown Settlement

See how America’s first English settlers lived at the Jamestown Settlement. The living history museum sits in Virginia near the site of the original colony where settlers landed in 1607. It explores colonial history through films, exhibits, and interactive experiences. Plus, climb aboard replicas of the ships that sailed to Virginia.More

Jamestown Glasshouse

Discover the art of glassblowing, as it was done centuries ago, at the Jamestown Glasshouse. Part of the Colonial National Historic Park, Jamestown Glasshouse is a recreation of a colonial-era glasshouse, complete with costumed artisans and interpreters who create glass products by hand, using traditional tools and techniques.More

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, is a Europe-themed amusement park like no other. Situated in one of the country’s most historic colonial towns, park visitors can ride a steam train through replica villages from France, Italy, Germany, and Ireland; take in a show; or ride a roller coaster at top speeds through the treetops.More

Top activities in Williamsburg

Taste of Williamsburg Food Tour by Junket
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Williamsburg East Ghost Tour
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Williamsburg East Ghost Tour

Williamsburg West Tour
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Williamsburg West Tour

The Romantic Side of Williamsburg – Walking Tour
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The Romantic Side of Williamsburg – Walking Tour

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We Shall Overcome: A Williamsburg Black History Experience
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Private Colonial Williamsburg Architectural Tour
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All about Williamsburg

When to visit

Williamsburg’s key attraction, Colonial Williamsburg, is a living history museum that’s open 365 days a year. The landmark is busiest on weekends, school holidays, and in summer. Its Independence Day celebrations are a particular highpoint. But it’s worth visiting at other times of year—especially in early December for Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination when bonfires, candlelit tours, and other festive activities take place.

Getting around

Williamsburg in Virginia is located roughly 150 miles (241 kilometers) south of Washington DC, its nearest major hub. Three airports are located within a 45-mile (72-kilometer) trip of Williamsburg: Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, Norfolk International Airport, and Richmond International Airport. The city is also served by the Williamsburg Transportation Center, which is a stop for Amtrak trains and intercity bus lines like Greyhound. Much of Williamsburg, especially Colonial Williamsburg, is best explored on foot.

Traveler tips

Though Williamsburg is best known for its living history museum, Colonial Williamsburg, the city offers many experiences for outdoorsy types. Some of its best green spaces include the Williamsburg Botanic Garden, located within Freedom Park and home to local coastal plants, and Waller Mill Park, a wooded parkland overlooking a 360-acre lake, with boating, fishing, and hiking opportunities. It’s not far to the scenic Colonial National Historical Park and Parkway, along the York River, either.

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People Also Ask

Is Colonial Williamsburg worth visiting?

Yes, Colonial Williamsburg is worth visiting. The world’s largest living history museum, it welcomes roughly half a million visitors yearly and is staffed by costumed volunteers who help bring the past to life. Home to dozens of 18th-century landmarks, it’s a popular destination for families and history buffs.

Can you walk around Colonial Williamsburg for free?

Yes, Colonial Williamsburg is free to enter, although you need to purchase paid tickets to visit any of the historical buildings or shops. A variety of tickets and visiting packages are available, from single-day tickets up to multi-day passes; it’s even possible to stay overnight at its on-site hotels.

What is Williamsburg, VA known for?

Colonial Williamsburg is famous for being the world’s largest living history museum. Williamsburg was the capital of the Virginia colony from 1699-1780, and the town transports visitors back to the 18th century, thanks to its many historic landmarks, interactive experiences, exhibitions, and costumed guides.

How do I spend a day in Williamsburg?

One day offers an introduction to Colonial Williamsburg. Begin in the historic area, where you can interact with costumed guides, watch demonstrations and performances, and soak up the 18th-century ambiance. Afterward, visit one of the two on-site art museums, go shopping, eat out, and finish with an evening ghost tour.

What does Williamsburg, Virginia have to offer?

Colonial Williamsburg has much to offer. Its historic area features dozens of 18th-century landmarks, costumed guides, performances, and more. It’s also worth visiting its two art museums (Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum), as well as its shops, restaurants, and arboretum.

How long does it take to see everything at Colonial Williamsburg?

While one day is enough to offer a good introduction to Colonial Williamsburg, it’s worth spending at least two days to make the most of the park’s historic area, its two art museums, and its shops and restaurants —not to mention to stay overnight in one of its historic hotels.

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