Fun Things for Adults to Do in Williamsburg
Enjoy sophisticated grown-up activities — from fine dining and shopping to museums, theaters, and spas — in the Greater Williamsburg area.
No doubt you took that fourth-grade school trip to Colonial Williamsburg and stayed over a couple of extra days to enjoy Busch Gardens or Great Wolf Lodge. But Greater Williamsburg today is as grown-up as you are, a playground for the adult in all of us.
Here's a big-boy and big-girl tour of the area.
Restaurants are a far cry from the fast-food joints of your childhood memory. Brunch at the Blue Talon Bistro, for example, is a Sunday ritual for many locals. Expect the room to be buzzing. There's good reason for that: great food like truffled eggs with asparagus, a goat cheese and leek tart, a healthy choice of signature cocktails, and the laid-back, comfy vibe.
Farm-to-table dining is everywhere in Williamsburg. But thanks to its coveted location between two rivers — the James and the York — and proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, it also boasts the rich bounty of fish and seafood from local waters. Don’t miss the Fat Tuna Grill & Oyster House for a big selection of fresh oysters, an ever-changing list of beers on tap, and its takes on scallops, tuna, and crab cakes. Or try the Waypoint Seafood and Grill. Tucked into a strip shopping center outside of downtown, Wapoint highlights farm- and Chesapeake Bay-to-table fare with a fish-centered menu, while Cafe Provencal on the Williamsburg Winery grounds and the Fat Canary in Merchants Square stand out for their use of the best local ingredients, such as Border Springs Farm rack of lamb and Edwards Virginia Smokehouse ham.
With a belly full, it's time to get bags full. That’s easier to do than ever. With 135 stores, you could spend all day at the Williamsburg Premium Outlets, browsing through Burberry, Calvin Klein, Nike, the Coach Outlet, Ralph Lauren, L'Occitane, Waterford, and others.
Look for treasures at consignment furniture shops, including The Vintage Rabbit and The Velvet Shoestring. Roam the rooms for bargains. The longer a piece is in the store, the more the price drops. Enjoy the hunt.
One-of-a-kind gifts and fashions abound in the shops in Merchants Square, a retail village near the Historic District with some 30 specialty stores.
Art lovers should check out the College of William & Mary’s Muscarelle Museum of Art, where a revolving permanent collection has more than 5,000 works, including English and American portraits of the 17th to 19th centuries; European and American prints, drawings and paintings from the 14th to 21st centuries; Japanese prints; photography; African art; and Asian ceramics.
A far cry from fine art is the collection of the Watermen’s Museum in Yorktown, which exhibits boat models, photos, tools, and artifacts of the men who harvest the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Meanwhile, the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, located under one roof in Colonial Williamsburg, feature wonderful examples of American and British antiques and decorative art from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as well as colonial and contemporary folk art.
A Winery for All Seasons
What could be more grown-up than a winery tour? Head for a tasting at The Williamsburg Winery, the largest in the state. A winding driveway through fields of vines on the 300-acre estate brings you to the tasting room and store as well as the Gabriel Archer Tavern. Take a tour, taste the wines, and then sit outside in the sun at the tavern to enjoy dishes made with ingredients from nearby farms and waters. You can extend your visit into dinner at Café Provencal, a sophisticated French-themed dining room in Wedmore Place, a 28-room European-style country hotel.
Breweries and Distilleries and a Meadery, oh my!
Adult beverages of another kind can be found at Alewerks Brewing Company, where up to 16 taps offer a taste for every palate. Slip in on the weekend, and there's often live music playing in the taproom or the patio outside. Be sure to visit Brass Cannon Brewing Co. in their brand-new tasting room offering kegs, growlers, and draft selections. Over at the Virginia Beer Company, a changing lineup of beers is tapped daily and a sprawling outdoor patio offers a fire pit, tables to play their odd assortment of board games and, of course, cornhole. Finally, Williamsburg now has its very own meadery, Silver Hand Meadery, which produces the ancient honey-based fermented drink right on the premises.
Williamsburg even boasts an expanding roster of distilleries. Copper Fox Distillery currently produces handcrafted whiskey from scratch, including the first applewood-aged whiskey in the world. The Williamsburg Distillery, a craft micro-distillery, offers “American Heritage” spirits using 18th-century recipes and techniques, and produces the only bourbon in the world made with Indian corn.
Now, Greater Williamsburg has stitched together all these high-quality hands-on producers into the Williamsburg Tasting Trail. The establishments on the trail have perfected the art of making delicious handcrafted alcoholic beverages, and many are pioneers in the Williamsburg area.
Imagine an evening out — sans children. For laughs as well as food and drink, the Comedy Club of Williamsburg is the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night. Billed as the longest-running seasonal comedy club in the nation, it’s tucked into the Doubletree by Hilton hotel.
Check out what’s playing at the Kimball Theatre right in the Historic District, including live concerts, plays, and feature films.
No adult destination is complete without an indulgent spa. Pamper yourself at the Spa at Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg’s only AAA Four Diamond resort. Decorated with natural river rock accents and Swarovski Crystal-embellished wallpaper, it offers so many services it needs a 28-page booklet to showcase them. They include a Swedish massage, European facials, French manicures, and a decadent chocolate wrap.
The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg takes you through the centuries with themed treatments based on the herbs and rituals from the 17th through the 21st centuries. They range from the 17th-century Detoxifying Herbal Wrap & Hot Stone Massage Spa Experience to the 21st-century Advanced Age-Defense Spa Experience.
At Elements Spa and Bodywork, a holistic and organic day spa, massage is king — and queen. Take your pick from deep tissue to hot stone to bamboo fusion to Thai massage. It’s just the thing to be renewed and re-energized after a full day of enjoying Williamsburg like a grown-up.