Williamsburg for the Holidays

Christmas Carolers in Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg

Williamsburg, Virginia offers holiday visitors many unique and memorable seasonal experiences. At Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, holiday traditions of the 17th and 18th centuries come to life with the glow of Christmas candles, fragrant handmade decorations, period music, and themed tours and activities.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg transforms into Christmas Town, featuring over six million sparkling lights, holiday-themed shows, holiday markets, thrill rides and more, while area resorts and local shops offer special holiday events throughout the season.

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10 Fun Things to See and Do

Busch Gardens Christmas Town
Photo: Scott K. Brown; © 2009 Busch Entertainment Corp.

10 Fun Things to See and Do in Williamsburg, Virginia During the Holiday Season:

  • Celebrate the Holidays at Colonial Williamsburg - Between Thanksgiving and the first weekend in January, choose from hundreds of holiday-themed activities, tours, dining experiences, special events and interactive programs. Experience many Colonial traditions of Christmases past, complete with the warm glow of candlelight, seasonal music, fragrant wreaths and garlands, festive decorations and holiday celebrations.
  • Foods and Feasts of Colonial Virginia - On scheduled days during Thanksgiving weekend, visit Jamestown Settlement to learn how food was gathered, preserved and prepared by Virginia's English colonists and Powhatan Indians. At the Yorktown Victory Center, explore the Continental Army encampment and learn about typical food served to the soldiers during the American Revolution.
  • Christmas Town: A Busch Gardens Celebration - Enjoy festive decorations including more than six million sparking lights, holiday themed shows, holiday markets and shops, dining on seasonal favorites, and visits and dining with Santa. Many of the popular rides will be open as well, weather permitting.
  • A Colonial Christmas - Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center - At Jamestown Settlement, explore holiday traditions of the 17th and 18th centuries through fun and informative guided tours and interpretive programs. At the Yorktown Victory Center, learn about winter in Revolutionary War encampments, how Christmas may have been observed and see holiday preparations on a 1780s farm.
  • Merchants Square - A charming and bustling 18th-century retail village, Merchants Square is located steps from the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area. In addition to unique shops and popular restaurants, Merchants Square offers many holiday-themed events on select days throughout the season, including visits with Santa, strolling musical entertainment and concerts, street theater performances, a Holiday Farmers' Market and much more.

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Holiday Visits to Williamsburg, VA - Ten Fun Things to See and Do...continued

Colonial Williamsburg - Williamsburg VA - Holidays
Photo © Colonial Williamsburg Foundation - All Rights Reserved
  • The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg - The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg offers healing therapies inspired by centuries of treatment approaches, from botanical therapies of the 17th century to advanced modern approaches of today. Conveniently located in the historic area on South England Street between the Williamsburg Inn and the Williamsburg Lodge, the elegant 20,000 square foot spa is open to guests of the resort and day visitors. Monthly specials during the holidays include such naturally luscious seasonal options as an orange and clove manicure and pedicure. (What a great way to enjoy history!). Read a review of the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg by About.com's Guide to Spas.
  • Holiday Discount Shopping - The Williamsburg area offers great options for brand name and designer outlet shopping, including Williamsburg Premium Outlets, one of the top U.S. centers in the outlet industry and the nearby Williamsburg Pottery, one of Virginia's top tourist attractions. Other fun places to browse or shop for gifts, although not necessarily for bargains, include the close to 20 unique shops along the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area streets and in the hotels. Also, in addition to the unique shops at Merchants Square (mentioned on page 1), dozens of galleries, artists' studios and museum gift shops feature everything from fine art to small handmade craft items.
  • Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg - Enjoy a family getaway with seasonal fun, including a Snow Show in the Grand Lobby, visits with Santa, life-sized gingerbread house, MagiQuest action adventure games, special holiday activities, celebrations and more, plus a 79,000 square-foot indoor entertainment area with a year round indoor waterpark for the kids. Should you find yourself wishing for a little break from all of the excitement, there is an on-site spa where you can relax and enjoy being pampered.
  • James River Plantations - Among the several nearby historic plantations, two National Historic Landmarks are particularly fun to visit during the holidays: Shirley Plantation (1613), considered to be Virginia's first plantation and one of the most authentic Colonial plantations in the nation, has a storied history spanning eleven generations of one family. Berkeley Plantation, built in 1726 and one of Virginia's earliest Georgian-style plantation homes, is the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his son, President William Henry Harrison. Both plantations are located about 30 miles from the Williamsburg Historic area and both offer holiday-themed tours and special events on select days throughout the season.
  • First Night Williamsburg - First Night Williamsburg is a family-oriented, alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration of the performing arts, presented in a number of venues within walking distance of historic Williamsburg's Merchants Square. Area entertainers perform vocal and instrumental music, dance, magic, storytelling, puppetry, juggling, clown acts and more, all leading up to the Grand Finale countdown and fireworks extravaganza at midnight.
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