With its festive holiday decorations, festive Christmas shopping, and delicious holiday cuisines, it’s no wonder Colonial Williamsburg is a favorite destination during Christmastime. Between late November and all of December, you’ll find an assortment of special events throughout the area designed to put you in the holiday spirit. There’s no better way to ring in the season than celebrating the winter holidays at Colonial Williamsburg.
For an extraordinary Christmas vacation, add these activities, tours, and sights to your Colonial Williamsburg itinerary:
Thanksgiving at Colonial Williamsburg
Start your holidays at Colonial Williamsburg with a traditional Thanksgiving. Step back into the 18th-century with festive feasts at Williamsburg Lodge, Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, Shield’s Tavern, King’s Arms Tavern, and Chowning’s Tavern. Most dinner events require a reservation, so book your spot soon!
While you dine on Thanksgiving fare, you’ll also be treated to holiday songs and games from the Revolutionary era.
The Christmas season all begins with the Grand Illumination on December 8, 2019. Just as the colonists would celebrate special events by shooting off guns and fireworks, Colonial Williamsburg lights up with fireworks from three different locations around the Revolutionary City.
Historic area buildings will also be lit with hundreds of candles flickering in the windows and decorated with holiday wreaths on the doors. Traditional entertainment takes place around the historic area, including fifes and drums and costumed performers. The Grand Illumination Dinner at various restaurants throughout the holidays begins at 4:30 pm, and separate tickets are required. However, fireworks go off from 7:00 to 7:30 pm, which is open to the public.
Talk of the Town: Christmastide
If you plan to ring in the holidays at Colonial Williamsburg, you’ll want to embark on this daily Christmas tour. Follow an 18th-century Williamsburg resident as they share with you everything there is to know about Christmas time in the city. Listen closely, they may also reveal a bit of holiday gossip with you!
Talk of the Town: Christmastide tours are offered daily at 10:00 am and 10:15 am beginning on November 29, 2019 on select dates.
In addition to sharing the stories of the colonists, Colonial Williamsburg invites guests to experience what life was like for Native American tribes. This holiday activity allows guests to listen to traditional Native American stories of winter from tribes such as the Lakota, Cherokee, Shawnee, and Pamunkey. Back in the 18th-century, storytelling occurred indoors during the fall and winter while the men were out hunting. This holiday event begins on November 28, 2019 and also does not require a special ticket.
Liberty’s Ice Pavilion
Located on the historic Duke of Gloucester Street, Liberty’s Ice Pavilion offers exhilarating ice skating! You don’t want to miss your chance to ice skate in the middle of Colonial Williamsburg. You’ll be able to say you went ice skating in the 18th-century! Plus, you never know what revolutionary character might strap on a pair of skates and join you. The Ice Pavillion is open daily from November 22, 2019 through February 17, 2020.
Joy in the Morning
During the 18th-century, many Colonial Williamsburg citizens owned slaves. Guests are also encouraged to listen to the enslaved community’s winter and holiday stories during Joy in the Morning. This weekly event includes songs, stories, and speeches filled with hope for the holiday season.
A Raleigh Christmas Party
Hosted multiple times each day, the Raleigh Tavern lights up for the holidays with riveting entertainment, dancing, and Christmas treats. There’s no better way to celebrate the holidays at Colonial Williamsburg than with a Raleigh Christmas Party! This event does require a ticket reservation and books up fast!
The Annual Christmas Homes Tour
The 58th Annual Christmas Homes Tour is happening on December 7, 2019 from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Tour six different homes around The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Revolutionary City, including the Custis Tenement, the Unicorn’s Horn, and the Coke-Garrett House. Advance tickets are $35 or you can purchase tickets the day of the event for $40 at either the Visitor Center or the Williamsburg Lodge. You can also purchase tickets at each house on the tour for $10 a piece.
Christmas Shopping at Colonial Williamsburg
If you’re looking for that special gift for the person who has everything, stroll through the historic shops and Williamsburg stores. Find handmade items created by skilled tradesmen, pottery, period clothing, handcrafted jewelry, and much more. Moreover, you’ll be able to find the perfect gift for a family member or friend.
Spend the Holidays at Colonial Williamsburg
With the abundance of Christmas decorations, winter activities, and handmade gifts, spending the holidays at Colonial Williamsburg is the perfect addition to any family tradition. While it is free to walk through Colonial Williamsburg, various areas of the city, tours, and activities do require a ticket for entry. Save yourself the time, money, and hassle by purchasing your Colonial Williamsburg tickets today.