With so much history and colonial charm around every corner, a winter getaway to Williamsburg is the gift that keeps on giving.
‘Tis the Season for a Trip to Williamsburg
With so much history and colonial charm around every corner, a winter getaway to Williamsburg is the gift that keeps on giving. Looking for ways to celebrate the holiday season in the Greater Williamsburg area? Here are some attractions and events you won’t want to miss.
Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Events and Programs
Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg is decked with festive décor during the holiday season. Colonial Williamsburg will be open throughout the holiday season, including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Get ready to experience Colonial Williamsburg during the most joyful time of year.
The Christmas season in Colonial Williamsburg officially begins with the Grand Illumination. Thousands gather every year to watch a spectacular firework displays throughout the Historic Area. The Grand Illumination is the perfect time to experience colonial Christmas cheer, view the authentic decorations in the charming homes and enjoy traditional musical performances. The Grand Illumination is free and open to the public. Museum ticket not required.
Holiday Cheer at Raleigh Tavern
In the 1700s, Raleigh Tavern was a place for colonial Virginians to gather, meet and dance. Today, Colonial Williamsburg keeps that tradition alive with two holiday events. You’ll have the opportunity to watch as colonial residents set up for the Ball of Christmastide at Raleigh Tavern. During The Spirit of the Season at The Raleigh Tavern, you’ll get an inside look at how 18th-century citizens celebrated the Christmas season. Museum ticket required.
Then, purchase a ticket for A Raleigh Christmas Party. Perfect for families and friends, take part in a rambunctious colonial Christmas party complete with live entertainment and lots of dancing.
Joy in the Morning
The holiday season is a time for hope and joy. Experience a celebration of stories and songs, led by Colonials Williamsburg enslaved people. Discover their struggles and triumphs, as African Americans during the 18th century, through song-filled messages of hope. Museum ticket and program ticket required.
Enjoy lively holiday music at the Capitol of Colonial Williamsburg, Sunday evenings in December. The Governor’s Musick Ensemble will fill the House of Burgesses with joyous Christmas music. Program ticket required.
Christmas Decorations Walking Tour
While it’s free to traverse the Historic Area and observe all of the holiday decorations, learn more about the décor along a walking tour. A costumed guide takes you around to Colonial Williamsburg’s festively decorated streets. Learn about the techniques and materials used to make these traditional decorations. Program ticket required.
Don’t forget to visit the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg for some holiday fun. For six weeks, the art museums will be hosting holiday craft workshops inspired by the museum’s collection. Make festive holiday cards, gift tags, ornaments and more. Museum ticket required.
Christmas Breakfast at Colonial Williamsburg
Celebrate Christmas morning at Colonial Williamsburg with a meal at one of the authentic 18th-century taverns. Both Shields Tavern and King’s Arms Tavern will host a Christmas breakfast. Purchase your tickets and make your reservation for one of the three meal times in advance. Museum ticket not required.
Colonial Williamsburg will also have a new special holiday program every day during December. Click here to view the calendar.
Colonial Williamsburg Resorts Hotel Package
Enjoy the convenience of staying at one of the Colonial Williamsburg Resorts and receive tickets to popular attractions when you take advantage of the Holiday Getaway Package. Book by January 1, 2019 and get free tickets to Busch Gardens Christmas Town and Colonial Williamsburg when you stay at either the Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel & Suites, Griffin Hotel, Governor’s Inn or Williamsburg Lodge. This package includes:
- Accommodations at one of the Colonail Williamsburg Resort hotels
- Tickets to Busch Gardens Christmas Town for up to three consecutive days
- Parking at Busch Gardens
- Free shuttle to and from Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens
- Discounts on additional Colonial Williamsburg programs and attractions
Holiday Happenings at Merchants Square
While you’re visiting Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area, stop by Merchants Square. The 18th-century retail village will be in the holiday spirit with events throughout November and December during Sparkleland on the Square. Take part in DIY holiday decorating workshops, sip hot cocoa, enjoy live music from costumed performers and let the kids visit Santa’s corner. Find a full calendar of events on the Merchants Square website.
Annual Christmas Tree Lighting
Enjoy free holiday fun as Merchants Square lights up during the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. Blue Talon Bistro will provide chestnuts roasted on the fire. Sing along with the holiday carolers and warm up free hot chocolate.
Williamsburg Christmas Parade
Mark your calendars for the annual Williamsburg Christmas Parade. This year’s theme is “Miracle on DoG Street.” Watch as a number of floats, bands and more ride through Merchants Square along the parade route. There will even be an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Dominion presents Liberty Ice Pavilion
Don’t miss the chance to glide on the ice with family and friends. Liberty Ice Pavilion returns to Duke of Gloucester Street. When you aren’t ice skating, grab a cup of hot chocolate, cider or coffee and listen to the holiday-themed tunes playing.
Don’t Miss Busch Gardens Christmas Town
Holiday shows, shopping, dining and more come to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Christmas Town is not only Virginia’s largest light display, but also one of the largest in North America. This award-winning theme park sparkles at night with over 10 million lights and a 50-foot Christmas tree. Click here to read more about Busch Gardens Christmas Town.
Christmas Events Outside of Williamsburg
Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
Visit Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown from December 20–31 for Christmastide in Virginia. Take part in traditional holiday customs and festivities from the 17th and 18th centuries. Enjoy interpretive programs, musical entertainment an appearance by the Lord of Misrule and more at both museums. Purchase the History is Fun ticket to save when visiting both museums.
Yorktown Market Days Holiday Market and Toyland Parade
Beginning at 9 a.m. at Riverwalk Landing, shop local produce, seafood, meat, cheese, handmade goods and more during Yorktown’s Holiday Market. Then, stay for the Toyland Parade. Filled with family-friendly fun, there will be children’s activities, holiday music, rides on the Polar Express, a parade led by the Fifes and Drums of Yorktown and, of course, an appearance from Santa Claus.