Colonial Williamsburg is the largest outdoor living museum in America offering interactive and innovative experiences that take you on a journey through the history of the nation.
There you will find world-class hotel accommodations; modern and authentic 18th-century dining; a full-service destination wellness spa and highly-acclaimed championship golf – all combined with the opportunity to explore the immersive Historic Area.
For first-time or returning guests, here are 12 top things to do in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.
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- 1. Stay in an Authentic Colonial House
- 2. Receive the Royal Treatment at The Williamsburg Inn
- 3. Enjoy live music at The Social Terrace
- 4. Explore the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area
- 5. Enjoy a candlelight dinner at King’s Arms Tavern
- 6. Dine at Chowning’s Tavern
- 7. Reset at The Spa of Williamsburg
- 8. Savor the Southern flavors of Sweet Tea & Barley
- 9. Play unlimited rounds of golf
- 10. Take a breath of fresh air on a nature trail hike
- 11. See the Gingerbread Display at Williamsburg Lodge
- 12. Kick off the Holidays at the Williamsburg Inn Lighting Ceremony
1. Stay in an Authentic Colonial House
These cozy, standalone homes are located in the Historic Area, yet offer the modern amenities of a hotel.
Options range from intimate one-bedroom suites to larger multi-suite houses. Some even feature two stories, fireplaces and full kitchens, making them ideal vacation guesthouses.
2. Receive the Royal Treatment at The Williamsburg Inn
Fit for royalty and the only hotel in America where Queen Elizabeth II has stayed on more than one occasion, the iconic Forbes Five-Star rated Williamsburg Inn (see reviews) features luxurious accommodations, exceptional service and outdoor terrace dining.
While here: take a photo on the iconic staircase where Her Royal Highness was famously photographed.
3. Enjoy live music at The Social Terrace
The expansive outdoor Social Terrace offers sweeping panoramic views and features a bar, comfortable seating, and firepits perfect for an intimate night of cocktails, conversation and safe social distancing under the stars.
4. Explore the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area
Many seasonal hotel packages include two complimentary tickets to the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area and Art Museums, located mere steps away.
Explore 301 acres of living history that pays homage to our nation’s beginnings and includes more than 600 restored or reconstructed original buildings, costumed interpreters, interactive activities as well as the recently expanded Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, and the shopping and dining experiences in Merchants Square.
Walk the streets that presidents and notable political figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry walked to uncover the fascinating stories and history of our nation’s origin.
As the season changes, also enjoy exciting experiences including official Colonial Williamsburg ghost tours, hundreds of holiday decorations and illuminations.
5. Enjoy a candlelight dinner at King’s Arms Tavern
Known in colonial times as “the place where all the best people resorted,” King’s Arms Tavern was at the center of political and social activity in 18th-century Williamsburg.
The original tavern was opened in 1772 by notable tavern-keeper Jane Vobe and was frequented by famous patrons including George Washington and Colonel William Byrd.
Today, the reproduction public house invites guests to dine by candlelight and experience 18th-century-inspired fare with some menu items taken directly from colonial cookbooks.
Adding to the ambiance is the elegant setting and curated décor with period artifacts and reproduction tables, chairs, pewter candlesticks and serving pieces.
Top pick: the Classic Prime Rib paired with the decadent Champagne Cocktail, created with one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite champagnes and garnished with a twist of lemon and cherry.
6. Dine at Chowning’s Tavern
Taverns in the 18th century were lively, yet important gathering places of our nation’s founding fathers, where intellectual ideas were exchanged and the conversations about democracy and the American Revolution were bred.
A favorite of the nation’s founding fathers, Chowning’s Tavern, invites guests to be a part of history. The reconstructed tavern pays homage to the original, which was operated by tavern-keeper Josiah Chowing in the 1760s and provides an authentic 18th-century alehouse experience.
Try a menu of hearty, savory fare and exciting live entertainment by Tavern Musicians. Indoor and outdoor dining is available.
Top pick: a local craft beer paired with the Low Country Shrimp Boil.
7. Reset at The Spa of Williamsburg
The Spa of Williamsburg beckons those seeking relaxation and self-care. The wellness sanctuary features treatments inspired by the past that transform and renew the body, reawaken the senses and reenergize the spirit.
Melt away stress with the 17th-Century Detoxifying Herbal Wrap and Hot Stone Massage or experience the African healing traditions of the 19th century with the African Traditional Bath and Strengthening Massage.
Top picks: Begin or conclude the wellness journey at the Fountain Garden, located at The Spa of Williamsburg. Take a stroll under the picturesque trellis or meditate in the garden surrounded by gorgeous vibrant floral blooms while taking in the soothing sounds of the fountains.
8. Savor the Southern flavors of Sweet Tea & Barley
Located in the Williamsburg Lodge (see reviews), Sweet Tea & Barley is a must-do on the itinerary. The popular restaurant features modern southern classics including the famous Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles, Shrimp and Grits and the American Heritage Chocolate Torte.
9. Play unlimited rounds of golf
Fall weather paired with The Golden Horseshoe Golf Club are what a golfer’s dreams are made of. Named one of America’s Greatest Public Golf Courses, the championship golf club features three award-winning courses and a notable 19th hole with delicious fare. Stay and play unlimited rounds with the Unlimited Golf Package.
10. Take a breath of fresh air on a nature trail hike
Fresh air and outdoor adventures can also be found. Take a self-guided tour through The Bassett Trace Nature Trail, which is home to a collection of native plants and over 40 bird species.
11. See the Gingerbread Display at Williamsburg Lodge
Festivity abounds with holiday experiences including a traditional gingerbread display at the Williamsburg Lodge. Gaze in wonder at the gigantic confectionery houses that take the hotel’s pastry team about 330 hours and 375 pounds of gingerbread to create. This year, the gingerbread display will be unveiled on November 28.
12. Kick off the Holidays at the Williamsburg Inn Lighting Ceremony
Available exclusively to resort guests, grab the family, a cozy scarf and masks as the tradition of the lighting of the historic Williamsburg Inn continues this year on November 28.
Snap postcard-perfect photos and witness the illumination of thousands of dazzling lights at the Inn.
The private, guest-only affair will feature artists from the Virginia Arts Festival and a special guest from the North Pole. Stay and make it a new tradition with the Holiday Getaway Package.