Be a part of the story.
Colonial Williamsburg is the only place that takes you back in time to the dawn of America. This isn't just a place where things once happened. They're happening, right now, here in the 18th century. Step back in time and meet the people who made America—sing with them, dance with them, eat with them, and have fun with them. For every person who wants to understand this country, this is your place.
Expanded experiences at some of our most famous buildings give you a new understanding of life in the 18th century and you'll feel as if you stepped off a time machine. At the George Wythe House, you'll be transported to the Age of Enlightenment, when students of George Wythe, such as Thomas Jefferson, were introduced to revelations in science and the arts. Families play games, dance, and participate in daily chores at the James Geddy House. Enter the Peyton Randolph House and gain a deeper knowledge of slavery and the early African American experience. At the Public Armory, you'll learn about simple machines and find out what it took to support the Revolutionary War.
On May 15, 1776, from The Capitol of what was England’s first permanent colony in the New World, Virginia legislators instructed their delegation at Philadelphia’s Continental Congress to introduce a resolution to make the colonies independent from Great Britain. The gentlemen at Williamsburg sat in the oldest representative assembly in what was then the world’s newest nation. The assembly traces its beginnings to 1619 when the House of Burgesses first convened at Jamestown.
- Nearby: The Gaol * Benjamin Powell House * Presbyterian Meetinghouse * Christiana Cambell's Tavern
Standing as evidence of the position the king's representative enjoyed in the capital of England’s largest American colony, the Governor’s Palace was the third largest public building in Williamsburg. The 3,380-square-foot Georgian home included an 11-bin wine cellar. The immaculate grounds offered a formal garden and natural park that stretched to the north. The stable, carriage house, kitchen, scullery, laundry, and an octagonal bathhouse were arranged in service yards. It was an elaborate household requiring 25 servants and slaves to tend.
- Nearby: Everard House * Play Booth Theatre
Raleigh Tavern was the center of events and a gathering place where plans were made to join other colonies in the American Revolution. Meet people from the past and then enjoy freshly baked gingerbread cakes in the adjacent Bakery.
See The Magazine, the colonial arsenal housing a collection of muskets and cannon. Take part in musket-firing demonstrations and drills, watch the militia, and listen to the fife and drums.
Pretend you are justices, defendants, and witnesses at The Courthouse, and then swing into Chowning's Tavern, one of the most popular places for BBQ, beers, and ales.
Bruton Parish Church was the Anglican church of the capital and is still active today.
- Nearby: The Colonial Garden and Nursery * Geddy House and Foundry * Mary Dickinson Shop * Wythe House * Greenhow Store
Richard Charlton’s Coffeehouse re-creates the 1765 hotbed of political, business and social activity adjacent to the colonial Capitol.
Explore the 18thCentury
Explore Colonial Williamsburg and become a citizen of the city. Engage with the community and experience firsthand the triumphs and struggles of people from all walks of life.
When you visit Colonial Williamsburg's 18th-century city, you'll discover why Williamsburg was the capital of Virginia, the largest and most prosperous American colony. At the Capitol, independence was declared before all other colonies, setting the pace for the American Revolution. Men and women from all walks of life walked these streets, and you're following in their footsteps. Our Historic Area truly takes you back in time.
Tradespeople use real 18th-century tools and techniques in their crafts, many of which have been around since the beginning of our civilization. These skilled men and women are true apprentices, journeymen, and masters and they hone their skills with every hammer, needle, or plow. There are opportunities for you to get a real, hands-on experience within our trades.
Patriots at play
Grab your tricorn hat and head to the Peyton Randolph Yard for Patriots at Play! This interactive program offers fun, hands-on activities that immerse children in 18th-century life.
The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg
The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum features an extensive collection of American and British antiques, showcasing furniture, metals, ceramics, glass, painting, prints, firearms, and textiles from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
Young patriots can enjoy hands-on activities and exhibits throughout the year, such as Wee Folk, Map Quest and Crack the Code. Also see the Public Hospital exhibition depicting the treatment of mentally ill patients. Visit the Museum Shop and the Museum Cafe, too.
Under the same roof, you'll find the award-winning Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, the oldest institution in the United States dedicated solely to the collection and preservation of American folk art.
Bassett Hall was the home of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller during the restoration of the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area. Tour the house and walk among the gardens and the woodland trails established during the 1940s.
Places to Stay
Colonial Williamsburg is an experience that doesn't have to end when you check in for the night. These properties are within walking distance of the Historic Area:
Places to Shop
In addition to the Historic Area shops offering period clothing, silver, pottery, foods, and gift items, Merchants Square on Duke of Gloucester Street features more than 40 shops including jewelry, pewter, quilts, quality clothing, restaurants, and a theater.
Last Updated: 7/5/2017