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Colonial Williamsburg for Locals

Rediscover the many exciting programs, events and exhibits that make Colonial Williamsburg a favorite destination for travelers from around the world. Sure, you’ve visited Colonial Williamsburg on school field trips, for coffee or a meal in Merchants Square, or to walk the dog on DoG Street, but there’s so much more to experience.  Right in your own backyard.

This webpage is a dedicated resource for reliable information about Foundation initiatives and proposals that have been featured in the news or discussed on social media. The topical areas will change regularly to reflect areas of community interest.

In the News

Frequently Asked Questions for Locals
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New Evening Performances and Activities
Colonial Williamsburg comes alive after dark this fall with new plays and the return of the popular Cry Witch. Experience the Historic Area in a new way, by candlelight and with strolling musicians. Or perhaps get in the Halloween spirit with one of our ghost tours. Click here for information on our fall evening programs.

Celebrate the Season with Colonial Williamsburg
Our new Holiday Planner has just arrived, and it is full of amazing dining, music, and holiday programs. Take advantage of living near Colonial Williamsburg and celebrate the season this year with festive events. This year, Grand Illumination is scheduled over three weekends in December and on Friday and Saturday nights! Check out the planner here.

Colonial Williamsburg modestly charges for parking in select lots to ensure that spaces are not occupied unnecessarily for extended periods of time and to generate funds to maintain and improve parking facilities in order to provide the best possible experience for local residents and guests visiting Colonial Williamsburg, Merchants Square and the downtown area. In addition to hundreds of free parking spaces in downtown Williamsburg, the foundation offers 30 minutes to two free hours of parking at most parking lots. Additional time is $1 to $2 per hour. Paid use of parking lots is available via the Passport Parking App, which is the same online payment system the city uses at the Prince George Parking Garage. The Passport Parking App is a widely used system across the nation.  Click Here to learn more.

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.  

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Colonial Williamsburg's Strategic Plan

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.

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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.

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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.

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