Frequently Asked Questions for Locals
- In observance of Juneteenth, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is offering free admission to the Historic Area and the Art Museums on June 19 from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. This marks the first time in the foundation’s history that the entire museum will be open to the public at no cost.
- Juneteenth Weekend, June 17-19 - Colonial Williamsburg has joined multiple organizations across the Historic Triangle to form the Juneteenth Community Consortium. The consortium was created with the goal of coordinating Juneteenth programming designed to educate and commemorate June 19, 1865; the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston to bring the news of freedom to the last 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas. It was more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Also known as Jubilee Day, Freedom Day and African American Independence Day, Juneteenth is now a federal holiday celebrated on June 19 each year. Details on the events and more can be found on the website.
- Williamsburg Live, June 17-19 - Tickets are available for Williamsburg Live, presented by the Virginia Arts Festival on the Art Museums Lawn. Enjoy concerts by Mandy Moore (June 17), Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (June 18) and Martina McBride (June 19).
Colonial Williamsburg Newsletters - Be the First to Know
Sign up to receive our email newsletters to stay informed about upcoming special events, new programming, historical research, and great special offers. And with a Good Neighbor Pass you can take advantage of it all.
There’s always something new to discover in Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square with new restaurants and stores, summer menus and special events. Visit the website for the latest and be in the know. (Don’t worry, there are hundreds of free parking spaces throughout the downtown area. See information on Parking below.)
Good Neighbor Pass
If you live in the Williamsburg area, the Good Neighbor Pass is an excellent way to enjoy Colonial Williamsburg programs and special events at substantial savings. Enjoy unlimited admission to the Art Museums and Historic Area as well as discounts on shopping, dining, evening programs, and tickets for friends and family. Williamsburg-James City County teachers and current municipal employees of the city of Williamsburg, James City County, and the Bruton District of York County are eligible to receive a FREE Good Neighbor Pass. More information here.
Updates on Spring Programs and Events
- New Program: “Intersections” (Wednesdays-Sundays): The Williamsburg community comes to life in this street theatre experience exploring the daily lives of ordinary people during extraordinary times. Consider diverse perspectives on political and societal elements of 18th-century life as people of the past gather near the Raleigh Tavern to tend to personal and professional businesses of the day. This event will take place on Duke of Gloucester Street and is free and open to the public.
Historic Trades and Skills Family Workshops (multiple dates): Throughout the Historic Area, modern-day practitioners use 18th-century tools and techniques to apprentice in — and eventually master — over twenty historic trades such as woodworking, weaving or blacksmithing, just to name a few. Join them this spring for special hands-on workshops designed for participants aged 7 and older. Admission tickets to Colonial Williamsburg are not required, however, there is a fee to participate in the workshops. See details in the links below.
Merchants Square Open During Construction
Please pardon our intrusion in Merchants Square as we work to update the P3 parking lot off of North Boundary Street. All of your favorite stores are still open during construction. There is walkway signage to direct you to alternate entry paths for all stores affected by the construction.
Museums for All
Colonial Williamsburg has joined Museums for All, a signature program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Association of Children’s Museums, to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums and build lifelong museum-going habits. The program enables those receiving food assistance (SNAP) benefits to visit Colonial Williamsburg for a minimal fee of $3 per person (for up to four people) with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. “History belongs to all of us and should be accessible to all,” said Cliff Fleet, president and CEO of Colonial Williamsburg. “Colonial Williamsburg is proud to participate in initiatives like Museums for All to ensure that everyone — regardless of race, religion, politics, or socio-economic background — is able to see themselves in our nation’s history.” For more information on this special offer visit colonialwilliamsburg.org/museumsforall.
After a parking study was conducted by the City of Williamsburg several years ago, it became clear that changes needed to be made to improve parking in the downtown area. Implementing a modest charge for parking ensures that spaces are not occupied unnecessarily for extended periods of time, and funds are generated to maintain and improve parking facilities to provide the best and safest possible experience for residents and guests visiting the area. Currently there are hundreds of free parking spaces throughout the downtown area that do not require use of the Passport App, including the parking lots adjacent to Merchants Square and at the Art Museums. The city parking garage on N. Henry Street utilizes a self-pay kiosk that does not require use of the app. Free two-hour parking is available in most parking lots, including the Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg Lodge, and the Tavern parking lots, as well as the parking lots on Francis Street, but the app is required to log your visit. More information here.
Historic Area Paving
Historic Area street paving by the City of Williamsburg is done in two phases to allow the surfaces to cure between applications. City contractors first apply a standard paving material, which appears black and makes the streets look like a traditional road. A brown aggregate topcoat is then applied. The topcoat must be able to withstand the metal banded carriage wheels on Colonial Williamsburg carriages as the wheels would pulverize traditional aggregate topcoat as they travel along Duke of Gloucester and adjacent streets. Although paving began last year, complications arose during a test of a possible aggregate topcoat and further evaluation is needed by Colonial Williamsburg and the city before it can be applied throughout the Historic Area. We know that the aesthetics of the brown aggregate complements the Historic Area experience and look forward to applying a suitable material as soon as possible.
Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center
The Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center is open for ticket purchases, information, parking, and shuttles to the Historic Area. In addition, there is a small gift shop.
Looking toward the future, the City of Williamsburg, James City and York counties as well as other stakeholders, determined that repurposing a section of the Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center campus for a regional sports complex is in the best interest of the Greater Williamsburg community and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The addition of these new facilities does not mean that the Visitor Center is closing. The campus has ample room to accommodate new facilities in addition to the current Visitor Center building. City-commissioned economic impact studies have come back very positive and funding for the publicly financed and operated facility is secured. The proposal aligns with the city's vision to reimagine Williamsburg's shared spaces while maintaining the traditions and history that shape our community. We are optimistic that it will benefit the region in new and exciting ways.
Restaurants and Taverns
We are pleased to see that so many are eager to enjoy our wonderful restaurants and taverns. There is currently a nationwide and regional shortage of hospitality/restaurant workers. Colonial Williamsburg’s hospitality group is hiring restaurant staff, but is confronting the same challenges as others in the region. When combined with the economic impact resulting from COVID-19 health and safety restrictions, the Foundation has temporarily reduced operating hours at some of our facilities to ensure that we provide a high-quality guest experience. We are actively recruiting talented restaurant staff in anticipation of a return to normal operations in the coming months as the world emerges from the pandemic.