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Top Things To Do In Williamsburg

Williamsburg is a city steeped in rich Colonial American history. Adventure seekers and history buffs will find ample opportunity for exploration in this historic area. In the summertime, families and friends enjoy water sports and recreational activities on the blueways of the York River. Keep reading to experience the Williamsburg of old in a whole new way.

Step back in time by exploring America's first colony, Williamsburg, a small town that offers freedom and fun. There are plenty of things to do in Williamsburg, including walking through the 300-hundred-year-old Colonial streets of Colonial and visiting the second oldest college in the country.

Here are some of the best things to do in Williamsburg:

  • Make history by experiencing authentic pioneer lifestyle
  • Stroll through the college quad and enjoy William and Mary’s historic architecture
  • Walk in the steps of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas at Historic Jamestowne
  • Examine 19th-century folk toys, kitchenware, paintings, and furniture at Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
  • Drive down the Colonial Parkway, the 23-mile stretch of a nature-rich greenway that connects Historic Jamestowne and the Yorktown Battlefield

Though Williamsburg is rich in history, visitors can still enjoy the city on a budget. Explore a local museum or take a bike ride through one of its many parks and nature preserves, there are plenty of free things to do in Williamsburg to keep you busy.

Cheap things to do near Williamsburg include:

  • Experiencing the grandeur of the royal Virginia government before its collapse at the Governor’s Palace
  • Touring the historic George Wythe house, the headquarters of General George Washington before the British Siege of Yorktown
  • Exploring the Colonial American and English 17th and 18th century portraits on display at the Muscarelle Museum of Art
  • Getting to know one of the largest collections of American folk art in the country at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
  • Mountain biking through more than 20 miles of windy, rugged trails at Freedom Park

Rent a settler-era costume in Colonial Williamsburg or take a leisurely walk near the York River. Explore reenactments, live theater performances, and period-style shops in this spirited city.

Here are popular attractions near Williamsburg:

  • Visit the Kimball Theatre to get a taste of modern theatrics in a colonial setting
  • Enjoy the scenic river views on the free Jamestown-Scotland ferry
  • Take part in an exciting hands-on activity in the Education Studio at the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum
  • Climb aboard re-creations of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia at Jamestown Settlement
  • Browse the Peanut Shop of Williamsburg’s selection of Virginia peanuts

Williamsburg is packed with adventure for thrill seekers, outdoor enthusiasts, and those with a love for Colonial history. Spend the day riding roller coasters at a theme park or boating along the river.

Fun things to do in Williamsburg today include:

  • Feeding your inner thrill-seeker at Busch Gardens Williamsburg or Water Country USA
  • Enjoying a local craft beer at Aleworks Brewing Company
  • Gliding along the river on a local boat tour along the York River
  • Finding a variety of treasures and keepsakes at the Williamsburg Antique Mall
  • Attending an educational mass at the historic Saint Bede Catholic

According to Williamsburg’s authentic homes and taverns, settlers sure knew how to party. Learn how spirits were brewed in 1802 or devour classic American cuisine at a local eatery tonight in Williamsburg.

Nighttime activities near Williamsburg include:

  • Jumping out of your skin on a chillingly authentic Williamsburg ghost tour with Colonial Ghosts
  • Relaxing in the taproom with a beer in hand at the Virginia Beer Company
  • Enjoying a jazz ensemble of talented students at Kimball Theater
  • Dining at Chowning’s Tavern, where you can enjoy traditional southern cuisine in a reconstructed 1766 tavern
  • Sipping a Brit-inspired microbrew while chowing down on a charcuterie board at DoG Street Pub

When the clock strikes five on a Friday, Williamsburg is just getting started. Spend the weekend perusing a local farmers market or enjoy colonial artwork at a museum.

Try these things to do in Williamsburg this weekend:

  • See a 4D-movie at the Odditorium inside Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
  • Tour Copper Fox Distillery, the first distillery in the US to floor malt their own barley
  • Shop for fresh, locally grown vegetables and flowers at the Williamsburg Farmers Market at Merchant’s Square
  • Practice your batting skills at the Swing Kingz state-of-the-art sports facility and restaurant
  • Explore the eccentric Sideshow Gallery, where curiosities and art are always on display

Williamsburg isn’t only about dressing like a squashbuckler and eating cornbread. Try a ghostly night-tour or explore a gigantic bounce house built for thrills. At the end of the day, it’s easy to find things do in Williamsburg for kids.

Family-friendly things to do near Williamsburg include:

  • Sliding down water slides with the whole family at Water Country USA
  • Exploring over 300 acres of fascinating animal-themed attractions at Busch Gardens amusement park
  • Playing a raucous game of bocce on the court at Veterans Park while the kids enjoy Kidsburg
  • Families with older children should also try the “Ghosts of Williamsburg” candlelight tour
  • Becoming the hero of your own story at Bounce House Laser Tag, one of Virginia’s largest inflatable playgrounds

For a date night in Williamsburg, candlelight is easy to find. Enjoy a romantic dinner together or a spa treatment for two.

Try these date night ideas near Williamsburg:

  • Enjoy an intimate tour and tasting experience together at the Williamsburg Winery
  • Book the Wine Down experience at Great Wolf Lodge after a day spent swimming and exploring the hotel
  • Excite your love with a thrilling trip to Kings Dominion amusement park
  • Treat your date to the buttery scallops at The Fat Canary
  • Book a couple of romantic heated stone massages at the Colonial Spa of Williamsburg

Everyone in your party will find something to enjoy. Whether it’s a scavenger hunt through the city, a zipline adventure through the forest, or games and pizza at the arcade, there’s something for everyone.

Things to do with your friends near Williamsburg include:

  • Flying through the treeline on a zipline experience with Go Ape Zipline & Treetop Adventure
  • Listening to a series of illuminating local stories on a walking tour of Colonial Williamsburg
  • Testing your wits against your crew’s at the Colonial Escape Room
  • Enjoying the sun and surf at the Jamestown Beach Event Park
  • Exploring the 80’s-style arcade at The Zone: Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex

Is it a rainy day in Virginia? Enjoy the indoor ambiance of Williamsburg’s many museums, galleries, and historical shops.

Williamsburg things to do indoors include:

  • Visiting the Sir Christopher Wren Building at William and Mary, the oldest college building in the United States
  • Picking out a thoughtful glass-blown gift at the Jamestown Glasshouse
  • Taking an intimate look into the musical lives of some of Virginia’s most famous musicians at the Virginia Musical Museum
  • Discovering rare, new, and used books during an afternoon at the Mermaid Bookstore
  • Experiencing booze the way the settlers with a tour at Eight Shires Coloniale Distillery

Bikers, hikers, and campers rejoice. Williamsburg offers plenty for those hoping to get outside and explore. Cycle through one of its beautiful parks. Hike through a wetland. Paddleboard across the York River.

Here are some active things to see in Williamsburg:

  • Cycle or jog the 23-mile Colonial Parkway, which tunnels under Williamsburg and links the nearby colonial areas
  • Kayak across Water Mill Park’s 360-acre reservoir before eating lunch on the shore
  • Browse through more than 135 stores at the Williamsburg Premium Outlets, a premier outdoor shopping center nearby
  • Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it at the York River State Park
  • Hike the wetlands at Greensprings Interpretive Trail

Fly under the radar with these Williamsburg activities. Here, the road less traveled leads to more exciting monuments, ruins, and antiques from an era long past.

Check out these must-see places near Williamsburg:

  • Visit the Public Hospital Museum, which doubled as an 18th century treatment center and jail for the mentally ill.
  • Explore the artifacts at TK Asian Antiquities and learn how they’re preserved
  • Wander amongst 43 giant busts of U.S. Presidents at Howard Hankin’s farm
  • Take a short drive 5 miles north of Newport News, VA and discover the spooky Ruins of Rosewell Plantation
  • Feast your eyes upon The World’s Oldest Edible Ham over in Smithfield, VA, which was curated in 1902