16 Ways to Have Holiday Fun in Williamsburg
Skating. Santa Claus. Christmas trees. Holidays in Greater Williamsburg are an opportunity to have fun and create lasting memories. Here are 16 experiences to keep you jolly 'til the new year.
Strap on the Skates and Glide. Take to the ice at Colonial Williamsburg's winter wonderland at Liberty's Ice Pavilion. The rink opens for the season on Nov. 18. Skate Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. There will also be caroling at the rink on Dec. 9, 16, and 23 at 6 p.m.
Have a Blast at Busch Gardens Christmas Town. The smell of Christmas trees plus the dazzling light display of Polar Pathway are a holiday feast for the senses. View the waterfalls of Italy’s Escape from Pompeii, an icy wonderland shimmering in the moonlight. Busch Gardens Christmas Town’s 8 million Christmas lights make it the largest light display in North America. The fun starts Nov. 25 and runs through Jan. 2.
Shop, Gawk, and Celebrate at Yankee Candle Village. If Christmas is celebrated year-round at Yankee Candle Village, imagine what December is like. With more than 40,000 square feet of interactive shopping and fun, feel wrapped in the warmth of the season. Stroll through the Holiday Park with more than 40,000 ornaments – not to mention 400,000 candles. Say hi to Santa. And don't miss the tree lighting on Dec. 3 and 4.
Watch Lights Dancing on the River. Join in the 20th anniversary Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade. Start by caroling around the beach bonfire and sipping hot cider before the decorated motorboats, sailboats, and Chesapeake deadrise workboats begin their parade on the York River at 7 p.m. on Dec. 3.
Live a Colonial Christmas. Become part of holiday traditions at Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown. At Jamestown, compare Christmas customs of the time with how they were observed in the early years of the first English settlement. At the museum, listen to stories about military encampments during the American Revolution and watch holiday preparations on a period farm.
Belt out a Christmas Carol (Fa La La La La!). Head into Colonial Williamsburg with a song in your heart and join in the caroling on the porch of R. Charlton's Coffeehouse starting at 6 p.m. on Dec. 11, 15, 18 and 22. Between songs, sample coffee, tea, or velvety hot chocolate prepared the 18th-century way.
Thrill to the Grand Illumination. Grab a blanket, pack a picnic basket or Thermos, and head to Colonial Williamsburg for the finest fireworks in Williamsburg. In the 18th century, illuminations celebrated major events, including military victories. Get there early to gawk at the decorations, listen to music from multiple stages, and secure a prime viewing spot for the illuminations launched from three locations. Dec. 4.
Visit the Scottish Countryside at Busch Gardens Christmas Town. The stunning Scottish countryside is the setting for a stable of family-friendly animals including Scottish blackface sheep, Border collies and, of course, the famous Clydesdales. What could be more enchanting than petting beautiful animals under a starry winter sky? Select dates Nov. 25 through Jan. 2.
Get Out and Frolic in Nature (Bugs, Optional). Round up the kids for a free, guided walk on the new Freedom Park nature trail in Williamsburg, which departs every 30 minutes between 9 and 11 a.m. on Dec. 3. Stop to examine plants, wildlife, insects, and more along the multi-use trail winding through historical sites and forests, as well as along creeks and open meadows.
Revel in the Yorktown Christmas Tree Lighting. Watch your kids’ eyes light up at the Yorktown Christmas Tree Lighting, a tradition that began in 1945. Tap along to a performance by The Fifes and Drums of Yorktown at the Victory Monument, listen to festive music at Riverwalk Landing, follow the procession of lights through the historic village, and welcome the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Dec. 6.
Have Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Join Santa and Mrs. Claus for a child-friendly breakfast on the water at the Riverwalk Restaurant in Yorktown and relive the wonder of the season as kids relay their Christmas wish list to the merry one. Tickets are required. Dec. 10, 8:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Spend an Evening with Charles Dickens (or at Least his Great-Great-Grandson). Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Scrooge and Tiny Tim. At the Williamsburg Inn, Gerald Charles Dickens, great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, will present a retelling of the classic A Christmas Carol during an elegant banquet featuring world-class cuisine. Reservations are a must. Dec. 13 and 14.
Watch Classic Christmas Cartoons in the Square (Hello, Charlie Brown!). Blue Talon Bistro will host Toons in the Square on Dec. 21 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring "A Charlie Brown Christmas," “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and "Frosty the Snowman” on Duke of Gloucester Street in Merchants Square. Wythe Candies will be distributing goodies to the first 100 children.
See a Show, Visit Rudolph at Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Sesame Street Forest of Fun are new this year at Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Don’t miss your pick of six holiday shows daily, including ‘Twas That Night, an ice show featuring world champion Elvis Stojko that reimagines the classic poem A Visit From St. Nicholas. Nov. 25 through Jan. 2, select dates.
Attend the Colonial Williamsburg Christmas Tree Lighting. Gather in Colonial Williamsburg for a special reading of The Night Before Christmas and learn about the first Christmas tree in the United States. Sing along to classic Christmas carols and watch as the large evergreen tree on Market Square is lighted. Dec. 24.
Live it up at First Night Williamsburg. First Night Williamsburg dawns on New Year's Eve. More than just a night, it's an afternoon and evening of alcohol-free family fun throughout Williamsburg and at the College of William & Mary. Music ranges from classical to rock, food from burgers to barbecue. And of course there are fireworks, first as part of the children’s show, which ends at 7 p.m., and then again at midnight.