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Your First Colonial Williamsburg Visit

A First Timer’s Multiday Itinerary

So you’re planning your first trip to Colonial Williamsburg? Or perhaps it’s been a while since your last visit? Awesome, we can’t wait to share this amazing place with you! We’re here to help you plan your visit so you can get the most out of your stay.

Get ready to experience the living, breathing 18th-century colonial capital. A mile long and half a mile wide, the Historic Area boasts 15 historic sites and 22 historic trades. Discover our two world-class art museums with thousands of objects on display. Meet the people who bring history to life at programs and events throughout the day.

Planning ahead is key to getting the most out of your visit. We’re sharing our tips on what to do during a three-day visit. Download our multi-day itinerary planner to pick your must-sees out and build your schedule. Plus, we’ve asked our fans to share their favorite activities and tips below as well!


INSIDER TIP

Our fans agree: stay for at least three days.

We only allowed ourselves two days to explore and that just wasn't enough time. I think we needed at least three.

—Diana


Hit the Favorites

Don’t miss our top two visited sites!

Pro TIP

The Governor’s Palace and Capitol buildings are about a 12 minute walk apart. Plan accordingly!

 

 

Pick four trades to visit

Allow 20-30 minutes in each location to ask questions and learn from the skilled craftspeople .

BLACKSMITH

APOTHECARY

BINDERY

BRICKYARD

CABINETMAKER

CARPENTER

COOPER

FOUNDRY

GOVERNOR'S PALACE KITCHEN

COLONIAL GARDEN

GUNSMITH SHOP

JOINERY

MILLINER AND MANTUA-MAKER

PRINTING OFFICE

SHOEMAKER

SILVERSMITH

TAILOR

TIN SHOP

WEAVER

WHEELWRIGHT

WIGMAKER

Plan your Meals

Savor historically inspired and contemporary creative cuisine.

Pro TIP

Follow the stomach of George Washington! His favorite tavern was Christiana Campbell’s

 

 

INSIDER TIP

Eat at a Tavern — King’s Arms is my favorite.

—EJ

Add a hands-on activity for each day

Meet at least two Nation Builders

Time and again, our fans suggest spending time with our nation builders. From Thomas Jefferson to the Marquis de Lafayette, any opportunity to learn from these engaging and knowledgeable interpreters is a win.

Pro TIP

Be sure to leave space in your schedule to relax and take it all in. Perhaps you’ll take a break on the Palace Green, hold an impromptu photo shoot or shop at Tarpley’s.

 

Experience Diverse Voices

This year, we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary of African American Interpretation. These interpreters, in addition to our American Indian Interpreters design programs to introduce you to the stories of often underrepresented peoples. Be sure to add some to your plan!

Take a Carriage Ride

Enjoy a leisurely ride through the Historic Area by horse-drawn carriage and surround yourself with the sights and sounds of our unique city

INSIDER TIP

Carriage ride. You gotta take a carriage ride. You learn so much while taking them — not just history but information on how the foundation works, the animals, and everything

—Katherine

Pro TIP

Carriage rides often sell out, so book ahead of time online here, by calling the reservation team at 1-800-447-8679, or in person at the Visitor Center, Lumber House Ticket Office, or the William Pitt Store on the day of use.

 

See two performances

Whether you’re seeing our whimsical outdoor plays or Nation Builders sharing their stories, theatrical performances are great entertainment while you rest your legs.

Explore on Your Own

Have some time between scheduled tours and programs? Peruse the African American Religion, Presbyterian Meeting House, or the Public Gaol on a self-guided tour.


 

Watch a Fife and Drum march

Join the Fife and Drum Corps as they march down Duke of Gloucester Street, projecting the music that stirred filled the fields of the Revolutionary War.

INSIDER TIP

Make sure you plan to watch the Fife and Drums!!

—Amy

Visit the art museums

In addition to the world’s largest living history museum, two hidden gems await in the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum features American and British antiques and decorative art from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, while you can find bold and imaginative pieces of colonial and contemporary folk art at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.

Pro TIP

The art museums are open daily 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, so head over as the Historic Area closes up shop, or explore while you’re there seeing a performance at the Hennage Auditorium.

 

Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

 

 

INSIDER TIP

Go to the art museums … check out the case in the main hall that contains George Washington’s watch fob, and say to yourself, ‘wow, George Washington actually held that between his fingers.’ The museum can be a cool oasis away from crowds.

—Harvey

Select an evening program

INSIDER TIP

Ghost walks, any of the additional programs like Cry Witch. Last year we saw Trial of a Patriot, which was amazing. Escape the King was so much fun.

—Nicole

INSIDER TIP

Definitely do the “Haunted Williamsburg” tour.

—Ed

 

Stay with Us

From absolute luxury to family-centric amenities (read: Splash Park!) to the complete 18th-century experience, our unique properties offer the complete experience, just minutes from all the action. Book your stay now.

 

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