Dive into History at Colonial Williamsburg
Images supplied by Colonial Williamsburg
Where America’s History Comes to Life
Step back in time to the dawn of America. A trip to Colonial Williamsburg will give visitors an up-close look at 18th century Virginia—right as our country is being born. Hear the stories of the men, women and children whose ideas and values crafted the world we live in today. Sing, dance and eat with the people who helped establish America.
Fully immerse yourself in 18th century Williamsburg as you walk down Duke of Gloucester Street. Listen to the stories of the daily lives, dreams and accomplishments of both free and enslaved people.
Watch as blacksmiths create weapons and hardware to supply the armies during the Revolutionary War. Then, visit the ax-throwing range or musket range to test your skills.
Historical Attractions at Colonial Williamsburg
A trip to Colonial Williamsburg is an opportunity to be surrounded in centuries of American history. An admission ticket to Colonial Williamsburg includes over 20 guided and self-guided tours around Revolution City. Your ticket gives you access to all of Colonial Williamsburg’s historic sites and attractions, but here are the most popular attractions that you won’t want to miss.
Anderson Blacksmith Shop and Public Armoury
Watch as blacksmiths use the traditional technique of forging and hammering tools from red-hot iron. Colonial Williamsburg’s blacksmiths will create a number of tools, weapons and hardware that were used during the Revolutionary War to fight the British.
You could say that the Revolution began right here in Colonial Williamsburg’s Capitol building. The same halls where the representatives of the colony argued the meaning of American liberty, you can explore with your Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket.
One of Colonial Williamsburg’s most regal landmarks is the Governor’s Palace, which was home to royal governors and two of Virginia’s elected governors. The Governor’s Palace was a symbol of British wealth and authority as the government ruled Virginia.
The public hospital at Colonial Williamsburg was the first in North America dedicated completely to the care of the mentally ill. Discover the treatments that were used in the 18th century at this hospital that seemed more like a jail.
Colonial Williamsburg Houses
Don’t forget to visit the many restored houses within Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area. The George Wythe House was owned by distinguished attorney and Thomas Jefferson’s teacher, George Wythe. There, you can find both free and enslaved people discussing the Revolution. Or, see the contrasts between free and enslaved people when you visit the Peyton Randolph House. At the home of one of America’s most well-known families, learn more about the early lives of enslaved African Americans and their paths to freedom.
A Hands-On Approach to History
Transport yourself to 18th century Virginia and take part in the traditions and customs of a Colonial American. Help with daily household chores when you visit the Geddy family at the James Geddy House. Once you finish, play the same games that colonial children enjoyed.
Dress the part with a rental from the Visitor Center or an outdoor booth in Market Square. The whole family will love getting into character with an 18th-century costume, made locally by Colonial Williamsburg staff. Then march with the Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg as an enlisted member of the militia.
Shop like a colonist and purchase everything from souvenirs and books, to home furnishings and handmade 18th-century jewelry. Colonial Williamsburg historic tradespeople at the Golden Ball can design a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry, including traditionally-made accessories from the silversmiths next door. Or purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and breads from the Market House, an open-air market in the center of the historic area.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy a historically-inspired meal using only the freshest ingredients. Visit one of the historic eateries like Chowning’s Tavern, an 18th-century ale house, or Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, George Washington’s favorite place for seafood. Dine on locally-sourced meals while listening in on town gossip or political conversation as it was in the times of the founders.
The fun doesn’t stop once the sun goes down. Music, dancing, ghost walks and live performances abound during an evening in Colonial Williamsburg. New for 2018 is Nimble Toes & Dancing Woes. Visit Raleigh Tavern for a light-hearted and immersive dance class given by a charming colonial couple.
Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg
The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg invites guests to view expansive collections at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, all in one building! Celebrate six decades of folk art and pay tribute to Mrs. Rockefeller’s collection of over 400 pieces at the America’s Folk Art exhibit.
Walk in through the Public Hospital of 1773 and explore the exhibits on mental illness treatment during that century. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum is home to some of the world’s largest collections of British ceramics and southern furniture. The Painted Fashions exhibit features over 75 gowns, quilts, men’s waistcoats and more with printed designs from floral bouquets to patriotic heroes.
Admission to both art museums is included when you purchase any of the Colonial Williamsburg tickets.
Admission to Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg tickets include admission to the Historic Area, guided tours, free shuttle service, admission to the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and seasonal discounts on carriage rides. There are three types of tickets to purchase when you visit Colonial Williamsburg, including single-day tickets, multiday tickets and annual passes. Children under 6 receive free admission.
Getting to Colonial Williamsburg
Those driving to Colonial Williamsburg should take advantage of the free shuttle available to Colonial Williamsburg ticket holders and annual pass recipients, along with guests of the official Colonial Williamsburg hotels.
The shuttles operate from 9 a.m.–10 p.m. and routes start at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors Center and run throughout the Historic Area. Save yourself from having to ask for directions to Colonial Williamsburg and let the complimentary shuttle drop you off at sites including, the Governor’s Palace, the Capitol, the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, Merchants Square and more.
There are parking lots located near Duke of Gloucester Street and the Historic Area with a two-hour time limit as well as parking garages within walking distance.
Colonial Williamsburg Hours of Operation
A majority of the historic sites and attractions within Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area are open daily from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are open daily from 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
Evening programs, restaurant and store hours vary. Visit the Colonial Williamsburg website for specific event and vendor hours.
There are a variety of ways to experience the history and traditions of Colonial Williamsburg. From romantic carriage rides to an in-depth look at art exhibits, guests will surely make unforgettable memories and have stories to share when they leave. Find out why Colonial Williamsburg has received countless awards, including fourth on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Historic Destinations in the USA.”