Colonial Williamsburg is a very unique city and I don’t really know where to begin, so I guess I will begin with the Colonial Williamsburg theme which is “That the future may learn from the past”. What makes this city so unique is that it has been restored as nearly as possible to its 18th-century appearance. It is truly remarkable. Everywhere you walk you see people in period clothes and carrying period accessories. It is so fun. Each day they have a paper that tells the town what day it is and what historical events happened that day in the 18th century. The “townspeople” then act out that day as if it were actually the 18th century.
These costumed interpreters act as tradespeople, housewives, slaves, freemen, government officials, and soldiers. There is so much to see and do that you could spend a week there and not be bored. But just in case, they have more than 20 guided and self-guided tours offered daily. You can even enter the homes of Williamsburg’s 18th-century residents, get a firsthand perspective from a curator, or see the city by carriage. Here are some of the more popular tours:
Orientation Walk – This 30-minute walk gives you a glimpse at a town on the edge of Revolution and war and learn of the many ways to engage with your fellow citizens—their interpreters. Discover how you would have traveled to the capital city–and why you might have come. What would you wear? What world, colonial, and local events are the talk about town? How should you greet the residents and what courtesies should you show them? Very interesting tour.
Learn of the ghosts that still haunt the taverns and historic buildings of Colonial Williamsburg. Enjoy spirited and interactive 21st-century folklore of the Revolutionary City on the Official Colonial Williamsburg Ghost Walk. There are a lot of companies that do this, but this is the official one by the city. While on the tour, you will hear authentic stories of real ghosts on the only tour that takes you inside the haunted historic sites. Meet the spirits that have inhabited our taverns and residences for centuries and still unnerve the people that live and work there today. It is defiantly a different feel than during the day. I am really glad we did the tour.
Tour the Art Museums and get an in-depth look at an exhibit with a guided Art Museum Tour or venture on your own into the collections of furniture, ceramics, and textiles from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The distinctive collections of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum are located under one roof. Enter through the Public Hospital of 1773 and be sure to investigate the exhibits detailing mental illness treatments from the 18th and 19th centuries. The hospital was the first of its kind in North America.
If you like gardens, you will love touring the vibrant 18th-century gardens at your leisure or enhance your understanding of heirloom gardening techniques with a guided garden tour. There are more than 100 gardens and green spaces, ranging from sculptured and formal to utilitarian. Get a first-hand perspective and learn about the connection between status and wealth and colonial gardens from a tour guide. They are truly beautiful.
Horse enthusiasts will definitely love checking out Colonial Williamsburg’s modern stable and rare breeds program during the Bits and Bridles’ walking tour. This tour allows guests to view their facilities, discuss animal treatment and training, and get up close and personal with some of the animals. Speaking of animals, make sure to see some of the rare animal breeds living in their pastures.
Some of the other unique things to see and do in Williamsburg are the Courthouse of 1770, the Capitol, Governor’s Palace, as well as several taverns. I can’t say enough about this place. It is so cool. I only wish we could have spent a few more days there. The two we had were not enough. If you ever can, or have the chance, don’t pass it up. I left there feeling so patriotic and inspired by the American Revolution and its history. Like many people, I learn from touching, seeing, and feeling. I could have set in a classroom for weeks and not learned as much as I did in a few days.
Read more about the city and I believe you too will want to go someday too. we visited in October of 2000, and I don’t think much has changed. Here is a link to their website with more information and their event calendar. I did think it was interesting that was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966, which is only two days before I was born. Thought that was interesting and wanted to say. Anyway, I hope you can make it someday. If you have been there, please comment below and let me know what you enjoyed the most during your visit. I love to hear from my readers. Thank you so much. If you like reading about American history, make sure to check out my National Archives post.
Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Information
101 Visitor Center Dr, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Daily 9 am-5 pm
Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Center, The Merchants Square Ticket Office, The Lumber House Ticket Office, and The William Pitt Shop, as well as online and with the Colonial Williamsburg Explorer app. Ticketing agents can answer any questions that you might have. Agents are available by phone at (888) 965-7254 Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. View Ticketing locations on the map.
Youth (6-12) $14.99
Fall Savings Ticket – Unlimited visits through 2020
Youth (6-12) $23.99
Youth (6-12) $41.99
Art Museum Single Day Ticket
Youth (6-12) $8.99
Historic Triangle Ticket
Youth (6-12) $42.00
Getting to Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg is located in Williamsburg, Virginia, and is part of Virginia’s Historic Triangle, which includes Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. They’re located midway between Richmond and Virginia Beach, and 150 miles south of Washington, DC.
They recommend parking at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, which is free. The City of Williamsburg operates a pay-by-the-hour parking garage as well as other timed parking lots.
There are more than 200 flights daily into three nearby airports: Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF) (20 minutes), Norfolk International Airport (ORF) (45 minutes), or Richmond International Airport (RIC) (45 minutes)
Amtrak serves the Williamsburg Transportation Center with a connecting train from Washington, DC. The center is just blocks from Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area and offers car rentals and taxi service.
Colonial Williamsburg is committed to complying with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding barrier-free access to all Colonial Williamsburg programs, services, and activities including dining. Accordingly, Colonial Williamsburg will make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to afford visitors with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit Colonial Williamsburg’s programs, services, and facilities.
Visitors with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations or modifications to assist them in accessing Colonial Williamsburg’s programs, services, and facilities. These requests can be made by contacting 888-965-7254.
Folding wheelchairs are available at the Visitor Center and may be rented on a first-come, first-served basis. No motorized chairs are available.
Guests with wheelchairs will find the streets, most gardens, and outdoor activities in the Historic Area accessible. While ramps and wheelchair lifts are available at selected exhibitions, many of the historic buildings require at least a few steps.
Wheelchair-accessible restrooms are located throughout the Historic Area and Colonial Williamsburg properties, including the following:
- Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center
- Williamsburg Lodge
- Merchants Square Ticket Office
- The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg
- Bassett Hall Reception Center
- Adjacent to the Magazine on Francis Street
- On Botetourt Street between Duke of Gloucester St and Nicholson St.
- On the Palace grounds
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