Modern shopping and dining at history’s boundary
Merchants Square, the shopping and dining district adjacent to Colonial Williamsburg’s renowned Historic Area, is home to more than 40 shops and restaurants. Most of the stores and all of the restaurants are locally owned and operated. Specialty boutiques offer products ranging from ladies, men’s and children’s apparel to fine jewelry, art, specialty foods and gifts.
In addition, there is a delightful selection of eateries–the Trellis Restaurant & Café, the Cheese Shop & Fat Canary, Berret’s Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill, Seasons Restaurant, Stephanos Pizza & Subs, the Blue Talon Bistro and Aromas Coffee & Café. National stores in Merchants Square include WILLIAMSBURG At Home®–the square’s anchor tenant and full-line home furnishings store, WILLIAMSBURG Craft House, WILLIAMSBURG Celebrations®, Everything WILLIAMSBURG, Talbots, Chico’s, Barnes & Noble and Williams-Sonoma.
A landmark theatre and live entertainment
On the cultural front, the square’s Kimball Theatre features arts and educational programs daily, including first-run movies, performances by Colonial Williamsburg character interpreters, musicians, poets and lecturers plus a full schedule of classical concerts by the Williamsburg Symphonia. Arts and crafts lovers enjoy the annual Occasion for the Arts each fall and Art on the Square each spring.
The square hosts a variety of other fun community events throughout the year. Each summer, Merchants Square offers free weekly “Summer Breeze” concerts featuring musical performances from oldies and rock and roll, to big band, salsa, jazz and R&B. On Saturdays from April through October, Merchants Square hosts the enormously popular Williamsburg Farmers Market, with a bountiful supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, herbs, cut flowers, potted plants and much more.
A restoration vision fulfilled
Merchants Square is recognized as one of the first planned shopping malls in the United States. Built in 1935, Merchants Square was designed to reflect a synthesis of colonial and early 19th- century architecture–design influences collectively known as Colonial Revival. Architects Perry, Shaw and Hepburn of Boston used this style purposely to avoid diluting the 18th-century authenticity of the nearby Historic Area.
In 2005 Merchants Square was added to the National Register of Historic Places along with the Williamsburg Lodge and the Williamsburg Inn to make up the Merchants Square and Resort Historic District. Last fall the American Planning Association named Duke of Gloucester Street in Merchants Square one of America’s Top 10 Great Streets. In October 2009, Duke of Gloucester Street was designated as one of the 10 Great Streets for 2009 by the American Planning Association (APA). The APA recognized Duke of Gloucester Street for its unique ability to evoke the past while also maintaining a lively mix of modern-day uses.
Watch Merchants Square right now on the webcam.