15 Best Things to Do in Williamsburg, VA

Williamsburg virginia
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Founded in 1638, the city of Williamsburg in James City County formed the “Historic Triangle” along with Jamestown and Yorktown.

For the longest time, it was the only municipality in Virginia; in 1699, Williamsburg succeeded Jamestown as the state’s colonial capital.

You’ll see a lot of historical sites in the city, with Colonial Williamsburg as its main attraction.

Beyond that, there are also other modern places to visit that will take you to the bustling and entertaining part of Williamsburg.

Check out the best things to do in Williamsburg, Virginia!

Walk around the Governor’s Palace

Exterior of the Governor’s Palace
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Walk along the halls that royal governors used to pass when you visit the Governor’s Palace along Williamsburg’s Palace Green St.

Built in 1706, the Governor’s Palace served as the official residence of seven of Virginia’s most notable governors.

Tours are conducted every seven to 15 minutes, which is enough time to wander the halls and learn more about this historic structure.

Gate of the Governor’s Palace
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Marvel at the Colonial Revival architecture gracing the entire palace, and look at the rooms and other amenities inside the residence.

The Governor’s Palace underwent reconstruction after its destruction in 1781, changing its original English Baroque style of architecture.

Grand staircase in the Governor’s Palace
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Visit the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center

Exterior of the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center
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There’s something every tourist shouldn’t miss when visiting Williamsburg, and that’s the iconic Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center on Visitor Center Drive.

Touring the visitor center is enough to give you a great perspective on the city of Williamsburg, as it has most of the most fantastic attractions you’ll find around the area.

The visitor center also doubles as a living history museum and is filled with displays, exhibits, and archives that will take you back to when Williamsburg was starting to develop.

There are over 15 itineraries you can check out while exploring the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, covering themes like couple’s getaway, military history, and African American and American Indian experiences.

You’ll find some of your favorite books and shows brought to life with Colonial Williamsburg’s attractions, featuring works like Bridgerton and Jane Austen and Hamilton stories.

Check Out the Odditorium at Ripley’s Believe It or Not

If you’re a massive fan of all things weird and unusual, you must swing by Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Williamsburg.

Make a beeline for the Odditorium.

Witness over 350 exhibits and 11 themed galleries displaying some of the most bizarre things you’ll see in your lifetime, including shrunken heads, robot sculptures, vortex tunnels, and more.

Experience movies in 3D and get blasted with air, sprayed with mist, or feel a bunch of other sensations while you watch.

Ripley’s Museum Williamsburg also has a Catfish Cove mini-golf course where you can play with your family.

You can also try conquering Ripley’s impossible laser race, which lets you navigate through a web of lasers inside a maze.

View Displays at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

Exterior of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
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Art comes in many forms, but there’s nothing quite like the ones at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum on S Nassau St.

You don’t want to miss out on this museum in Williamsburg because it’s the first and largest museum in the country that preserves and collects American folk art.

Over 7,000 displays of American folk art are scattered along the museum halls, covering periods between the 18th and 19th centuries.

Feast your eyes on a vast collection of portraiture, sculptures, fraktur, textiles, watercolor paintings, and much more.

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum began with Abby Rockefeller’s collection of 424 folk art objects recovered between 1929 and 1942.

This collection eventually grew into thousands of art pieces.

Visit Bassett Hall

Witness the grandeur of Williamsburg’s most historical sites when you visit Bassett Hall on Francis St.

Bassett Hall is only one of the many 18th-century homes gracing Williamsburg and arguably one of the most significant homes there.

Bassett Hall is a farmhouse owned by famous philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.

It’s one of the remaining 88 buildings presented to Rockefeller by Rev. Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin that was part of the Colonial Williamsburg restoration.

Philip Johnson built the house between 1753 and 1766, a two-story white frame house on 583 acres.

Swing by the George Wythe House

Exterior of the George Wythe House
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You’re bound to see a lot of great attractions while exploring the city of Williamsburg.

One of the places you should check out is the famous George Wythe House.

Located along Palace Green St, the George Wythe House was built as a residential home for Richard Taliaferro, George Wythe’s father-in-law.

Besides serving as George Wythe’s home, the historic Williamsburg house also was the temporary headquarters for General George Washington before the Siege of Yorktown.

Interior of the George Wythe House
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As you wander the halls, you’ll see a fascinating Georgian style of architecture that takes you back to the old days.

The George Wythe House has two stories with four rooms on each one.

Check out every nook and cranny of this residential home and learn the secrets and tales behind its inception.

Exhibit in the George Wythe House
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Get Spooked at Haunted Williamsburg

If you’re a fan of ghost hunting and seeking the thrill of paranormal encounters, then you’ll have a great time at Haunted Williamsburg.

Haunted Williamsburg takes guests on a thrilling experience around Colonial Williamsburg in an hour-long candle-lit tour.

Feel the chills running down your spine and the cold air brushing against your skin as you walk around.

Visit popular haunted outdoor spaces as you listen to age-old stories about some places you’ll visit.

Colonial-costumed storytellers also roam the area, adding to the entire experience.

Young kids can also get the entire experience, as Haunted Williamsburg offers a 45-minute ghost walk.

Have a Blast at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

People at Busch Gardens Williamsburg's tudor village
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One of the best places to go and have fun in Williamsburg would be Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

It’s not your typical floral fields and forests.

Busch Gardens is Williamsburg’s prized water and theme park, with a little something for everyone to enjoy.

A water ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
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Give the Pantheon a whirl, and see if you’re brave enough to ride the world’s fastest multi-launch roller coaster to make you feel like the wrath of the Roman gods is upon you.

Over 40 kid-friendly rides and attractions are also guaranteed to keep the little ones entertained.

Besides these rides and thrills, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a popular venue for seasonal shows and concerts.

A rollercoaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
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Swing through the Treetops with Go Ape

Exploring the wonders of Williamsburg is much better when you do it from the treetops, and luckily, you can book a tour with Go Ape!

Go Ape Treetops on Centerville Rd takes tourists to new heights with thrilling amenities and attractions that will give them the best views and experiences in Williamsburg.

Step out of your comfort zone and embark on an exciting zipline journey paired with rope and obstacle courses to test your skills.

Enjoy the stunning views atop the forest canopy, and feel the wind running through your hair while aboard this thrilling journey.

You can also enjoy ax throwing at Go Ape.

Otherwise, go for the 40-foot monkey drop if you want adrenaline-pumping rides.

Stop by the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum

Exterior of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum
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Art is everywhere in Williamsburg.

If you’re someone who can’t get enough of it, check out the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum on S Nassau St.

Check out the world’s biggest collection of Southern furniture, accompanied by a wide selection of British ceramics, and find out what’s so special about them.

View paintings, textiles, ceramics, furniture, prints, and metals recovered from the 17th to the early 19th century.

Also inside the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum is the Hennage Auditorium, where you can catch live performances, concerts, and tours for special exhibitions.

To commemorate your trip to this Williamsburg attraction, head to the museum store to buy your souvenirs or have a couple of snacks by the cafe.

Try Mead at Silver Hand Meadery

Take a sip of Williamsburg’s finest concoctions when you try the mead at Silver Hand Meadery on Monticello Ave.

Silver Hand Meadery takes you through a 35-minute tasting experience about mead and its main ingredient, honey.

Mead is a popular drink you’ll mostly see in films like Beowulf, Robin Hood, and Game of Thrones.

If you’re a fan of those, don’t miss out on this experience.

Mead is also the oldest fermented beverage in the world, and Williamsburg is your ticket to enjoying the drink.

If you can’t make it to the venue, you can still join the fun because Silver Hand Meadery ships six unique kinds of honey along with tasting sticks and sheets, allowing you to enjoy them from the comfort of your home.

Uncover American History at the Peyton Randolph House

Exterior of the Peyton Randolph House
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Located along Nicholson St, the Peyton Randolph House is arguably one of the most historical places you’ll ever see in Williamsburg.

The Peyton Randolph House was built in 1715 for founding father Peyton Randolph, who served as the first and third president of the Continental Congress.

Like most of the old houses in Williamsburg, the Peyton Randolph House sports a Georgian style of architecture, which only adds to the estate’s grandeur.

Front door of the Peyton Randolph House
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The Peyton Randolph House also holds a significant portion of American history; it once owned 27 slaves.

Embark on a guided tour at the Peyton Randolph House, and discover more about the paradox of American slavery.

Sip Fine Wine at Williamsburg Winery

Grape field at Williamsburg Winery
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There’s no better way to spend your vacation than enjoying a glass of wine from Williamsburg’s finest winery.

Located along Wessex Hundred, Williamsburg Winery takes you through an extensive tour and reserve wine tasting in a private cellar where you can taste vintage concoctions from the winery’s library collection.

Stop by the winery during the day, and hang out by the outdoor pavilion to enjoy your glass of wine while overlooking the scenic vineyard.

There are also indoor tasting flights at Williamsburg Winery’s Susan Constant Hall, with each flight including four different wines at two ounces each.

If you want something other than wine, feel free to dine at the Gabriel Archer Tavern to fill up some good food.

Explore the Muscarelle Museum of Art

Art lovers visiting Williamsburg will have a great time visiting the Muscarelle Museum of Art on Jamestown Rd.

The Muscarelle Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1983, showcasing its first collection in the form of American portraiture.

Today, you’ll see dozens of permanent collections housed in this Williamsburg museum, ranging from 15th-century to 21st-century artworks.

Look at over 6,000 works of art from around the globe made from almost every medium imaginable.

Check out Colonial American and English portraits; German expressionist works from Hans Grohs; and even world-class pieces from Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse, Hans Hoffman, and more.

Cross the Crim Dell Bridge

Winter scene at Crim Dell Bridge
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Cross the scenic Crim Dell Bridge in the College of William and Mary to get a good look at one of Williamsburg’s finest spots.

Crim Dell Bridge is one of the most photographed and scenic spots around the campus.

According to campus lore, you’ll be lifelong friends with the person you cross the bridge with while holding hands.

Snow-covered pathway of Crim Dell Bridge
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If you kiss, you’ll be lifelong lovers.

You’ll also witness the many natural mountain laurels that bloom in May, further adding to the grandeur and enchanting view of the area.

Once you’ve crossed the Crim Dell Bridge, you’ll see other native plants, such as white oak, yaupon holly, and much more.

Final Thoughts

The best things to do in Williamsburg, Virginia, are simple yet full of insights and beautiful experiences.

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