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Colonial Williamsburg for Locals

Sure, you’ve visited Colonial Williamsburg on school field trips, for coffee in Merchants Square, or to walk the dog on DoG Street, but there’s so much more to experience….right in your own backyard!

In the News

Frequently Asked Questions for Locals
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Designer in Residence Tours of the Nelson-Galt House
Tour the second Designer in Residence project, highlighting the historic Nelson-Galt House and featuring the work of interior designer Heather Chadduck Hillegas. A Virginia native, Hillegas is an acclaimed, Birmingham-based decorator and textile designer known for relaxed elegance rooted in tradition. Explore the interior of the oldest frame house in Virginia (circa 1695) and discover how Hillegas reimagined these spaces for today using paints, fabrics, wallpapers, and more from the WILLIAMSBURG licensed lines, as well as antiques and décor curated to complete the story. Click here for more information.

Tour Dates:

  • Sunday, May 14 (Mother’s Day)
  • Tuesday, July 4
  • Sunday, September 3
  • Sunday, October 8

Drummer’s Call, May 19-20, 2023
Free and open to the public.
Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes & Drums, along with fife and drum units from across the United States, will celebrate the tradition of military music during Drummer’s Call, a mainstay of Colonial Williamsburg’s music program for nearly 20 years.

  • Friday, May 19, 7:30 pm at the Charlton Stage
    Successful Campaign,” an evening of traditional, patriotic military music performed by the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums Senior Corps and the Grand Republic Fife and Drum Corps, an 1890s-era corps based in Framingham, MA.
  • Saturday, May 20, 12:30 pm
    Grand March and Review from the Capitol down Duke of Gloucester Street to Market Square. The musicians will congregate behind the Courthouse where each group will perform.
  • Saturday, May 20, 8:30 pm
    Williamsburg Military Tattoo, an evening march down Duke of Gloucester Street featuring the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums joined by the visiting units.

Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums
The Fifes and Drums will be performing Wednesdays and Thursdays at 4:40 pm in Market Square, Saturdays at 12:30 pm starting at the Capitol and marching to the Palace, and Saturdays at 1 pm on the Play House Stage.

Trades Workshops

  • Beginner Workshop: Tailor
    Sundays, April 30 to June 3; 10 to 11:30 am.
    Participants will learn that simple materials and skills produced a broad range of useful buttons and a very large industry in the 18th century. Join the Tailors and make two types of historic thread-covered buttons. Limit of 10 participants. The minimum age is 12. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.

  • Beginner Workshop: Tin Plate Worker
    Fridays, May 5 to June 9; 10 to 11 am.
    Join the Publick Armoury Tin Plate Worker in exploring the unique properties of tin-plated iron by creating a practical lighting device. Commonly known as a cellar-stick, this simple candle holder offers a useful beginner’s project to develop the fundamental skills and knowledge that all tin plate workers, both historical and modern, need to learn to be competent. Bending, cutting, and soldering are performed in this quick project, providing the maker with a functional candleholder and invaluable life skills to take home and enjoy. Limit of 9 participants. Minimum age is 10.

  • Beginner Workshop: Gunsmith
    Saturdays, May 6, 13 and June 3; 10 to 11 am.
    Join the Gunsmiths for the layout of sheet brass to make three pieces of a rifle. Participants will make a barrel loop, a ramrod thimble, and the finial of a patch box with attached hinge. The minimum age is 13. Limit of four participants.

Parking Update
Merchant Square parking fees can be paid either through the Passport Parking app available for download on mobile devices or through new parking kiosks installed in the P2, P4 and P6 parking lots. Parking rates and hours in these lots remain unchanged: the first 2 hours are free. Additional hours are $2 per hour with a $10.00 daily maximum. Fees are charged from 8 am to 8 pm.

American Red Cross Blood Drives
Colonial Williamsburg hosts monthly blood drives for the American Red Cross at the Woodlands Conference Center, located at 159 Visitor Center Drive.

Upcoming dates:

  • Monday, May 23
  • Friday, July 7

To register for an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org and use sponsor code: CWF next to "Make Your Appointment."

Archaeology Behind the Scenes Tours
Mondays, 9:30 to 10:30 am
How do we know about the people who lived and worked at Custis Square? How do we know what Williamsburg's first Baptist Meeting House looked like? Find the answers to these questions and more by joining a guided tour of the Colonial Williamsburg Archaeology Lab! See archaeological objects, hear about current excavations and curatorial efforts, and find out how nearly 100 years of archaeological discoveries shed new light on our colonial past and inform the stories told of Colonial Williamsburg's past, present, and future.

Recommended for guests age 10 and up. Free reservation required. Space is limited for this program. To book your reservation, please visit a ticket office or call our Guest Services at (888) 965-7254. Not wheelchair accessible.

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.

Merchants Square
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.

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.

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.

The Historic Triangle Recreational Facilities Authority (HTRFA) has determined that property adjacent to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center building and owned by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is its preferred location to build a regional indoor sports facility. Colonial Williamsburg is reviewing the HTRFA’s proposal, but no decision has been made about the best use of the property. The HTRFA’s proposal for the indoor sports facility has no impact on the Visitor Center building. The development of an indoor sports facility is independent of Colonial Williamsburg operations. For additional information, visit the Historic Triangle Recreational Facilities Authority (HTRFA) website: https://htrfa.org/

Colonial Williamsburg Homeschool Days

  • September 9-24, 2023

During these special times, homeschoolers and their families can discover history brought to life at a special discounted rate. Join us to visit the historic sites where Revolutionary ideas were shaped, meet the tradespeople whose craftsmanship supported the War for Independence, and so much more. Use our virtual tours, educational videos, activity sheets, and behind-the-scenes blogs to supplement your visit.

Save on Admission

Annual Pass

An Annual Pass pays for itself in just two visits. With 365 days of access to the Historic Area sites, two art museums, programs, performances, and more, the Annual Pass is a great value. Plus, enjoy exclusive discounts on shopping, dining, golf, relaxation at the spa, and more.

Learn More

Good Neighbor Pass

We’re happy to offer our hyper-local neighbors a discounted annual pass featuring the same great admission and exclusive benefits. If you live in 23089, 23090, 23127, 23168, 23185, 23186, 23187, or 23188, you qualify for our Good Neighbor Pass!

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City and County Employees

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.

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Teacher Pass

Teachers who work in Greater Williamsburg are eligible to receive a FREE Good Neighbor Pass. See a list of qualifying schools.

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William & Mary Collegiate Pass

Current William & Mary students, faculty and staff are eligible for a free collegiate pass.

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Christopher Newport University Collegiate Pass

Current Christopher Newport University students, faculty and staff are eligible for a free collegiate pass.

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In Your Own Backyard

Explore Colonial Williamsburg

With over 300 acres to explore and something new to discover every season, there’s something for everyone all year long. Check out archaeology at Custis Square, learn about rare animal breeds, and meet the people who bring history to life.

Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

Featuring the best in British and American fine and decorative arts, plus the nation’s premiere collection of American folk art.

Special Events

Join us for special programming for holidays and commemorative seasons throughout the year.


Come behind the fence for a closer look at current excavations, tour our labs where much of the discovery takes place, or find out more about what our latest projects have revealed.

Bassett Trace Nature Trail

Take a self-guided tour of the Bassett Trace Nature Trail. Use the Nature Trail Map to identify shrubs, trees, and flowers found throughout the trail.

Self-guided Arboretum Tour

Look for interactive tags on trees throughout the historic area. Use the camera on your phone to scan the QR codes with your smart phone or tablet and learn about each species.

Pastures at Colonial Williamsburg

Visit the Foundation's rare animal breeds throughout the historic area.

Merchants Square

Over 40 unique stores and restaurants. Unlimited memorable experiences. At Merchants Square, you'll find so much more than can fit in a shopping bag.

Working and Volunteering at Colonial Williamsburg

Find exciting careers in Virginia at our living history museum. Rewarding Colonial Williamsburg jobs available for new and returning job seekers.

Visit After Work

Evening Programs

Evening entertainment includes signature favorites and new enchanting experiences. Discounts on evening programs are available to all Annual, Good Neighbor, and Collegiate Pass holders.


With a mixture of historic taverns, modern restaurants, and cafes located in and around the Historic Area, you’ll find the perfect place for a historically inspired family meal or an intimate evening of creative cuisine.

Homeschool Resources

Colonial Williamsburg invites homeschoolers and their families to experience revolutionary educational opportunities. Discover history brought to life and meet the people who contributed to the founding of America.

Learn More

Homeschool Family Itinerary

A Parent’s Guide to Weekly Visits

Homeschool Virtual Programs

Contact Us

Donate Today

Did you know that contributing to the Foundation can earn you admission benefits as well? Join the Duke of Gloucester Society to receive Good Neighbor rates for two annual passes. Further donor levels earn you complimentary annual passes, plus your contribution makes it possible for us to fulfill our mission: that the future may learn from the past.

Donate Now