An exciting place to be in the state of Virginia, Williamsburg played a significant role in the American Revolution. You’ll know plenty about its history when you visit the numerous tourist attractions that line the city. At the center, you’ll find the Colonial Williamsburg, which is a living history museum, where you’ll see period homes, people dressed in colonial costumes, 18th century re-imagined stores, traditional workshops, and more. In case you’re wondering what this city has in store for you, read on and discover our list of the best things to do in Williamsburg, Virginia. Have a lovely holiday exploring everything that the area has to offer.
1. Pay a visit to the Muscarelle Museum of Art
Located on the campus of William and Mary in Williamsburg, the Muscarelle Museum of Art has been operating since 1983, but the university started collecting pieces of artwork in 1732 when it received a portrait of Robert Boyle, a famous physicist. Now, the museum has over 6,000 works, including portraits from Colonial American times and the 17th and 18th centuries. It also has, on display, original prints and drawings from the 15th up to the 21st century, like Japanese prints, works of German Expressionists, collections of American contemporary arts in the form of sculptures, watercolor paintings, oil-based drawings, and more. Additionally, the museum has a changing exhibit, so make sure you keep yourself updated with the schedule of events and exhibits.
Muscarelle Museum of Art
Address: 603 Jamestown Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Muscarelle Museum of Art
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 12pm - 4pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 5 USD
2. Drop by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is the first and oldest operating museum in the United States that focuses on American folk art. It aims to preserve, collect, and exhibit the said form of art for the next generations to come. Here, you’ll see different works of art ranging from paintings, sculptures, quilts, etc., that are made by talented self-taught artists. The displays you’ll find here includes Navajo weaving, American folk portraits, outdoor folk art, American hooked rugs, and a family-friendly exhibit dedicated to animals.
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
Address: 326 Francis St W, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Opening hours: 10am - 7pm (daily)
3. Buy souvenirs at Williamsburg Craft House
If you’re looking for exquisite and personalized items to bring back home from your trip to Williamsburg, then there’s no better shop to visit than Williamsburg Craft House. It is an iconic craft store in Colonial Williamsburg, where you can buy varieties of items ranging from jewelry to ceramics, folk arts, and specialty items, which are made by talented artists. Also, there is an on-site engraving service, where you can have your items personalized. A must-buy here is their classic inspired tableware and tabletop patterns, which are perfect as wedding gifts.
Williamsburg Craft House
Address: 402 W Duke of Gloucester St, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Williamsburg Craft House
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
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4. Go on a guided tour of Basset Hall
Step back in time as you visit the elegant home of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. It is an 18th-century two-story house that was built and furnished in the 1930s and 40s. Each room here shows why Basset Hall is the favored retreat of the Rockefellers. The house contains exquisite folk art, antiques from the 18th century, and 20th-century decor, showing the lavishness of the family. Apart from the main house, Basset Hall also has a picturesque view from the outside, with its manicured lawns and 5,000 trees and shrubs that make you believe you’re in the 1940s era.
Address: 4207, 522 Francis St E, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Bassett Hall
Opening hours: Wed, Thu & Sat: 9am - 5pm (closed on Mon, Tue, Fri & Sun)
Price: 14.99 USD
5. Learn about local history at Great Hopes Plantation
A famous Williamsburg attraction that showcases the life of ordinary Virginian folks during the 18th century, Great Hopes Plantation is a re-enactment of that life. It is a middle-class plantation, where you’ll find tobacco fields, you’ll see slave representation and learn about farming and harvesting back in the days. Apart from learning how slaves were treated in farms, you’ll also have a glimpse of how ordinary farmers without slaves tend to their fields. After a day here, you’ll surely have lots of knowledge about the 18th-century Virginia life, which you can share back home.
Great Hopes Plantation
Address: 100 Visitor Center Dr, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Great Hopes Plantation
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
6. Explore York River State Park
A nature lover’s haven, York River State Park is a perfect location for people looking to have peace with nature and some quality time with family and friends. It is a state park that offers a unique and refined environment in the form of a coastal estuary. It is where fresh and saltwater meet, forming a habitat that is abundant with plant and marine life. Apart from nature, the park also offers numerous activities which will surely be enjoyed by everyone, such as boating, hiking, fishing, biking, and more.
York River State Park
Address: 9801 York River Park Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23188, United States
Website: York River State Park
7. Be amazed at Ripley's Believe It or Not!
One of the top attractions in Williamsburg is Ripley’s Believe It or Not!. It is a museum that features oddities, funny, and tacky objects that you won’t usually see in an ordinary museum. For example, the displays you can see here include unique animal skeletons and shrunken human heads. This museum is popular among kids and adults alike for its unique features, so make sure you drop by before leaving the city.
Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Address: 1735 Richmond Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 10am - 7pm; Fri - Sat: 10am - 11pm
Price: 16.99 USD
8. Take a tour of the Wren Building
Marvel at the beautiful architecture of the Wren Building, which is the signature structure of the William and Mary College. This building is also considered as a National Historic Landmark. It is said to be the oldest academic building that was built in 1695 and is still in operation up to this day. One of the best times to visit the Wren Building is every Saturday at 10 am when you can watch a recital performance in the Wren Chapel.
Address: West End of Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg, VA
Website: Wren Building
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat: 9:30am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm
9. Enjoy fishing in the lake at Waller Mill Park
A community’s favorite park because of its close to everything location, Waller Mill Park is a picturesque area that overlooks a 360-acre (145.69-hectare) lake. Apart from its scenic views, the park offers numerous activities for the whole family, like boating, fishing, disc golf, kayaking, etc. Also, it has picnic areas, playgrounds, hiking trails, a dog park, and many more. You will surely have the best time here with your loved ones.
Waller Mill Park
Address: 901 Airport Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Waller Mill Park
Opening hours: 7am - 8pm (daily)
Price: 2 USD
10. Learn about glass-making at Jamestown Glasshouse
A recreation of a glasshouse during the colonial era, Jamestown Glasshouse will teach you the art of glassblowing and how it was made in the past. Also, true to its theme, you’ll see here artisans, dressed in colonial costumes, creating handmade glass products, with the use of traditional tools and techniques. Apart from learning the process, you can bring one or two of their creations back home. Just a heads up, the items here can be a little pricey, but it is worth it, given its quality and artistic value.
Address: 1348 Colonial Pkwy, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Jamestown Glasshouse
Opening hours: 8:30am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 14 USD
11. Buy local items at Williamsburg Farmers Market
Located in the center of the city in Merchant Square, Williamsburg Farmers Market is an open-air, producers-only, shopping area. You can buy varieties of products like fruits, vegetables, artisan cheese, meats, flowers, pasta, soaps, and a lot more. Apart from the vendors and their products, the farmer’s market also has live music, chef presentations, and exhibits, as well as local shops and restaurants where you can dine and buy souvenirs. It is a great experience, so make sure you drop by before leaving Williamsburg.
Williamsburg Farmers Market
Address: 402 W Duke of Gloucester St, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Williamsburg Farmers Market
Opening hours: Every Sat: 8am - 12pm
12. Go wine tasting at Williamsburg Winery
Across a rolling hill, in a historic 300-acre (121.41 hectares) vineyard, lies the Williamsburg Winery. It is a family-owned winery that has produced critically acclaimed wines since 1988. The estate has a tasting room, a boutique hotel with 28 rooms, and two restaurants by the names of Gabriel Archer Tavern and the Café Provencal. So, if you want to experience living in a vineyard, just like in Europe, you better book a room here and try everything Williamsburg Winery has to offer. You will surely have a wondrous time here.
Address: 5800 Wessex Hundred, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Williamsburg Winery
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 12pm - 5:30pm
13. Go ice-skating with friends at Liberty's Ice Pavilion
Are you looking for an activity that will surely be enjoyed by everyone? If so, you have to drop by the Liberty’s Ice Pavilion. It is an ice skating rink that is popular, especially during the holiday season. Here, you can smell, see, and experience the holiday vibe as you twist and turn and chase each other on the rink. It is a great activity for friends who want a break from all the historical tours that the city offers. Also, not far from the ice skating rink are concessionaires selling refreshments like coffee and hot cider.
Liberty's Ice Pavilion
Address: Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Opening hours: 9am - 10pm (daily)
Price: 12 USD
14. Attend a service at Bruton Parish Episcopal Church
A significant landmark in Colonial Williamsburg, Bruton Parish Episcopal Church is an 18th-century building that still holds weekly service. It is an excellent example of well-preserved colonial architecture that was built in the year 1674. As for the current structure of the church, you can trace it back to the year 1715. Don’t forget to attend mass before leaving town, or pay your respects as you browse the inside and the exterior of the church.
Bruton Parish Episcopal Church
Address: 331 W Duke of Gloucester St, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Bruton Parish Episcopal Church
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 4pm; Sun: 12:30pm - 4:30pm
15. Play a round of mini golf at Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf
A pirate-themed mini-golf course, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is a perfect attraction for the whole family, tired of the usual stuff and want something unique and enjoyable to do. It features two award-winning 18-hole courses as well as courses poised among mountain caves, cascading waterfalls, and footbridges. Apart from playing golf, you’ll also enjoy the spectacular scenery and thank the heavens for the accommodating and friendly staff. Additionally, after your experience, the kids get to have a pirate loot bag as a token.
Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf
Address: 2001 Mooretown Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 3pm - 7pm; Fri: 1pm - 9pm; Sat: 11am - 9pm; Sun: 11am - 9pm
Price: 8.95 USD
16. Browse the stores at Williamsburg Premium Outlets
Whose eyes light when hearing the word shopping? If yours, then you have to visit Williamsburg Premium Outlets. It is an excellent way to spend a day and at the same time save money, for the prices of goods here are relatively cheaper than in the regular malls. Williamsburg Premium Outlets is an outdoor shopping area with over 135 stores, including Adidas, Michael Kors, Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach, and more. Also, they have plenty of dining options here, where you can sit, relax, and eat to your heart’s desire.
Williamsburg Premium Outlets
Address: 5715 Richmond Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23188, United States
Website: Williamsburg Premium Outlets
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 10am - 7pm
17. Dine on American cuisine at Food For Thought
A conceptual restaurant in Williamsburg, Food For Thought is beautifully decorated with word of wisdom quotations and photos of influential and significant people in society such as inventors, scientists, social leaders, and more. The reason behind the concept is to encourage its guests to have meaningful conversations over delectable food. As for the menu, they serve American fare with some international dishes like Pad Thai and Jamaican Jerky chicken. Another great thing about this restaurant is it has a meal for everyone, including vegan and gluten-free options, kids’ meals, a seniors’ menu, and healthy options.
Food For Thought
Address: 1647 Richmond Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Food For Thought
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 9pm; Sat: 8am - 11am, 11:30am - 9pm; Sun: 8am - 11am, 11:45am - 9pm
18. Watch a play or musical performances at Kimball Theater
Located in Merchant Square in a lovely historic venue, Kimball Theater is your go-to place for intimate concerts, theater plays, dance shows as well as poignant indie films and classic movies. The theater’s main auditorium can seat up to 400 people, while the Kimball Box Office schedules vary per season. So you better check the showing hours and scheduled performances on their website before heading to the theater.
Address: 428 W Duke of Gloucester St, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Kimball Theater
19. Plan a bowling night at AMF Williamsburg Lanes
A long-established chain of bowling alleys in Williamsburg, AMF Williamsburg Lanes features 40 lanes, bumper bowling, rent-a-lane, and extreme bowling. It also has a cafe area and a snack bar that offers American grub and pitchers. Another great thing about this facility is it has a pro-shop, where you can buy necessities, gears, and equipment. Moreover, AMF Williamsburg Lanes accepts birthday parties, company events, social gatherings, and more. You and your family or friends will surely have a fun time here without getting hungry.
AMF Williamsburg Lanes
Address: 5544 Olde Towne Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23188, United States
Website: AMF Williamsburg Lanes
Opening hours: Mon, Wed, & Thu: 5pm - 11pm; Tue: 9am - 11pm; Fri: 9am - 1am; Sat: 12pm - 1am; Sun: 12pm - 11pm
20. Take a tour of Whitley's Peanut Factory - Williamsburg
If you want to know the secret behind the mouthwatering peanuts of Whitley’s in Williamsburg, then you have to visit the place and have a look inside its factory. Whitley’s Peanut Factory is famous for its flavorful peanuts that are crunchy and have a distinct taste. The secret is behind the cooking process; they cook the peanuts the traditional way, hand-cooked, and slowly roasted until perfect. The factory has been producing fine quality gourmet peanuts and peanut candies since 1986. Today, it has three stores throughout Virginia.
Whitley's Peanut Factory - Williamsburg
Address: 1351 Richmond Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Opening hours: Sun - Wed: 9:30am - 6pm; Thu - Sat: 9:30am - 8pm
21. Be pampered at Williamsburg Salt Spa
After a tiring day of sightseeing and walking tours in historic Williamsburg, you deserve a day of relaxation at the Williamsburg Salt Spa. It is a breathing treatment in the form of salt therapy, which is perfect for the whole family, especially for a member with respiratory problems. The session will last 45 minutes and, as a result, you’ll be breathing more clearly and will feel like you’ve been to the seaside. Other services here include an infrared sauna and float tank sessions.
Williamsburg Salt Spa
Address: 1111 Old Colony Ln, Williamsburg, VA 23185, United States
Website: Williamsburg Salt Spa
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 7pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm
A seasonal theme park owned by Seaworld Entertainment, located 60 mi (96.56 km) away from Virginia Beach, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a must-visit attraction for the whole family. It contains water rides, seven heart-stopping roller coasters, fun shows, themed areas, as well as dining options and resort-like amenities. One of their top attractions here is the Loch Ness Monster ride, which is a double loop roller coaster that is the first and only one in the entire world, and you can ride it only here at Busch Garden Williamsburg.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg Admission Ticket
Duration: 1 day
One of the best ways to learn more about the place you’re traveling to is by trying the local cuisines. Join the food tour offered by Viator, where you’ll be sampling different foods from a handful of restaurants, specialty shops, bakeries, fresh producers, and more. You’ll be tasting gourmet dishes as well as local delicacies for three hours, with an expert guide in tow. Apart from the food, you’ll also meet chefs and producers who will tell you more about the local food scene.
Williamsburg Walking Food Tour
Duration: 3 hours
The largest waterpark in the Mid-Atlantic, Water Country USA is another top tourist destination in Williamsburg that has a 1950’s or 60’s theme. It has exciting water rides, live entertainment, family-friendly attractions, as well as numerous shops and restaurants. A few of its popular features include Surfer’s Bay Wave Pool, KIDsiderate play areas, a lazy river, and the Colossal Curl. Moreover, the waterpark is also owned by Seaworld Entertainment.
Water Country USA Water Park in Williamsburg, Virginia
Duration: 4 hours
Are you sure you’re not afraid of the dark? If not, you’ll surely have a lot of fun joining a haunted tour in Colonial Williamsburg, where you’ll visit a haunted house, tenements, old taverns, and a family cemetery, in search of spooky elements like witches and ghosts. The tour will last for four hours and will be headed by a costumed guide who will tell you chilling stories about paranormal events and sightings as well as stories of piracy, sorcery, and colonial conspiracy. Some of the tales you may hear are about Blackbeard’s headless body and Virginia’s bloody witch persecutions of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Williamsburg Ghosts and Witches & Pirates Combination Tour
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
For many tourists, a trip to Williamsburg isn’t complete without visiting the grand Governor’s Palace. The three-level building is an example of how luxurious the then government of Virginia was before it collapsed. You can see its grandeur in the ornaments, furniture, and the ornate 18th-century furnishing of the palace. The fact that it was once the home of British royals and post-colonial governors of Virginia, including Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, adds up to its charm and historical value.
Colonial Williamsburg Admission with Historical Reenactments
Duration: 9 hours
Do you want to learn about colonial America and facts and stories about the American Revolution? If so, you have to visit Colonial Williamsburg. It is a historic city within a city that has an area of 301 acres (121.81 hectares) and is considered a living history museum. It features art museums, beautiful gardens, 18th-century buildings, and you’ll get a chance to watch theatrical shows and historical re-enactments. Also, don’t forget to interact with the locals to know more about their culture and the best spots to visit.
Americas Historic Triangle: Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown
Duration: 1 to 7 days
If you’re tired of the usual walking tours, then you have to join this exciting activity offered by Viator. It is a scavenger hunt in which you’ll be looking for 120 items hidden throughout the downtown area. And as proof, the players have to take photos of the object in exchange for points. Along the way, you’ll encounter challenges, but don’t worry, for a remote guide will help you throughout the game. By playing, you’ll also get to know the Williamsburg downtown area better.
Operation City Quest Scavenger Hunt - Williamsburg, VA
Duration: 2 hours
A perfect activity for all the craft beer enthusiasts and occasional drinkers, the Williamsburg craft alcohol tasting tour will introduce you to the local craft alcohol scene. The tour will take you to breweries, distilleries, and a meadery, from there you can sample honey and mead as well as local brews and spirits. Also, along the way, you’ll see food trucks where you can grab a bite at your own expense. It is a small group tour and lasts only for three and a half hours.
Williamsburg Craft Alcohol Tasting Tour
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
This tour will bring you to three original burial grounds in Williamsburg, where important figures in the history of New England are buried along with other early settlers. Apart from exploring the graveyards, you’ll also hear about the scary tales, ghost stories, and interesting facts about the secret history of Williamsburg. Don’t forget to pay your tribute to these local figures in history as you roam around the cemeteries.
Williamsburg Cemetery Guided Tour
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Make the most of your time in Williamsburg, learning about its history and going back in time as you explore every nook and cranny of Colonial Williamsburg. But, apart from history, the town has so much in store for tourists in the form of water parks, nature activities, beautiful architecture, unique handicrafts, delectable local cuisine, and more. Check out our list of the best things to do in Williamsburg, Virginia, as a guide.
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