Williamsburg, Virginia is the quintessential Christmas haven for an unforgettable girls' getaway! Picture this: the city transforms into a kaleidoscope of festive cheer, is adorned with vibrant decorations, and echoes with melodies of carolers. As if that wasn’t enchanting enough, brace yourself for one of the largest Christmas light displays in North America! My bestie and I had the best time exploring the area and I'm so excited to share our four-day itinerary with you.
Day 1: A Festive Start in Williamsburg
Upon arriving, we were ready to embrace the holiday season by kicking off our visit at the Williamsburg Christmas Market. A total of 32 vendors showcased their unique items from charming red chalets. The air was filled with the sounds of Christmas music, creating a festive atmosphere. We found many gift items that included handmade jewelry, soaps, candles, and wreaths. Make sure to treat yourself to the warm gluhwein (warm spiced wine) and get a picture with Santa while visiting! This market runs every weekend (Friday-Sunday) until Christmas.
As the sun was setting, we strolled from the Christmas Market to witness Colonial Williamsburg’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting. We were welcomed by the harmonious sounds of carolers and a marching band. Prior to illuminating the tree, there was a special reading of "The Night Before Christmas" and a candle lighting ceremony. It was a unique experience to be surrounded by hundreds of flickering candles. Before we knew it, the 10-second countdown for the tree lighting began, and when everyone said “one!”, we were bathed in the glow of 7,500 twinkling lights wrapped around the giant spruce tree.
For dinner, we drove about 10 minutes to the delicious Kephi Greek Kitchen. This restaurant offers authentic Greek dishes, and we honestly wish we lived closer because we would be here all the time! We tried feta phyllo for the first time ever, which is baked phyllo-wrapped feta with honey and sesame seeds. I highly recommend it!
We were so full after that amazing dinner and ready to check into Kingsmill Resort. This resort is situated in a gated community on the James River. It provides a range of accommodations, including standard rooms, condos, and cottages. The lobby is beautifully decorated for Christmas, featuring a handmade gingerbread village of Williamsburg on display.
Day 2: Coffee, History, and Twinkling Lights
In my opinion, the perfect way to start the day is with a wonderfully roasted cup of coffee, so we headed to Column 15. This cozy coffee shop specializes in nitro cold brew and offers a selection of coffee along with baked goods. I’ve always wanted to try a latte flight and couldn’t resist when I saw it on their holiday menu. The lattes on the flight were so festive and included a snowball latte, sugar cookie latte, snickerdoodle latte, chocolate coconut macaroon latte, and macadamia nut latte.
A visit to Williamsburg wouldn't be complete without exploring its rich history, so we made our way to Jamestown Settlement, eager to step back in time at this living-history museum. This immersive experience really gave me a perspective of what happened in the area years and years ago.
After exploring the museum, we were excited to have lunch at La Tienda. As we approached the restaurant, we instantly fell in love with its cozy ambiance. The menu offers a selection of tapas, and we each chose a couple different ones to share. Our favorite was the fried eggplant with honey; it was absolutely delicious!
It was time to head to Busch Gardens! I had always wanted to visit this amusement park and was even more excited to experience it during the holiday season. As soon as we entered the park, we found ourselves surrounded by charming European-inspired buildings adorned with warm Christmas lights, and carolers filled the air with festive melodies.
This theme park boasts over 10 million twinkling lights, making it one of the largest light displays in North America. We made sure to check the online schedule for Christmas shows and attended the ones we wanted to see, namely, "Scrooge No More!" and "The Celtic Christmas Trio." Both of these shows left us speechless!
We ended our day with dinner at Second Street American Bistro. From the friendly staff to the unique dishes, we easily gave this experience a 10/10. I highly recommend trying the curried sweet potato bisque soup.
Day 3: Sweethaven Lavender, Christmas Shopping, and Coastal Charm
Our third day started with coffee and breakfast at Hohl. This cozy spot offers wholesome meals, most of which are made from scratch. The pastries look like something out of a magazine. I ordered the porridge and the chai latte, and it was perfect.
Once we finished our hearty breakfast, we made our way to Sweethaven Lavender of Williamsburg. One of my favorite scents is lavender and I was beyond excited to visit. It was a foggy morning and we loved the picturesque landscape as we drove down Williamsburg’s country roads.
When we arrived we were so excited to see the farm decorated for Christmas! We attended their Christmas event, which featured a hay ride, petting zoo, photo ops, live music, and much more. Additionally, we discovered the most adorable items in their gift shop to bring back home.
Our next stop was Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters in historic Yorktown (it takes about 40 minutes to get here from Sweethaven Lavender). This charming coffee shop started back in 2007 and boasts a great selection of drinks, along with wraps and sandwiches. I loved the curry chickpea salad wrap, and it paired well with their ginger peach tea.
We finished our sandwiches and made our way to Yorktown’s Christmas Market on Main. This Christmas Market has close to 100 vendors selling handmade gifts. We saw so many beautiful things to buy such as clothing, paintings, pottery, soaps, and baked goods. We both bought some gifts to bring back home and wished we had more room in our luggage.
After shopping, we explored some historic sites in Yorktown. There are so many charming streets to walk along and we admired the 18th century architecture in the area. Some streets to explore include Water Street, Ballard Street, and Main Street. You can also drive to some historic sites which include the Moore House, Surrender Field, Grand French Battery, and the Yorktown National Cemetery.
For dinner, we walk back over to Water Street Grille, which is a cozy restaurant located right on the water. It’s known for its craft beer selection, seafood, and brick oven pizza. We couldn’t resist ordering the mac & cheese egg rolls. They came with a spicy chipotle dipping sauce that added so much flavor!
As it got darker, we made our way to the beach and stood next to a warm fire pit to watch the Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade. Before the parade started, we listened to carolers and a musical performance by the Fifes & Drums of York Town. It was a foggy night, but we enjoyed the cheerful atmosphere and watching the lighted boats make their way down the York River.
Day 4: A Whimsical Finale in Williamsburg
We started our last day in Williamsburg at Aromas Coffeehouse Bakeshop & Cafe. This is a local favorite and we loved the inviting atmosphere. They serve all meals here, too, plus they are dog-friendly!
After breakfast, we walked over to Colonial Williamsburg to enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through the historic area. This was such a unique experience and passed so many beautiful sights and buildings including the Governor’s Palace and the Peyton Randolph House.
There are so many walking tours you can do in this area as well! We were so excited to do the Secrets and Untold Stories of Williamsburg Tour with We Junket Tours. This walking tour was 1.5 hours long and we learned so many interesting stories of the area and of the people that helped found our country.
After the tour ended, we had lunch at The Cheese Shop. This famous shop only uses the best cheeses and meats to make their sandwiches and they even bake their own breads daily. Every sandwich is made to order and seating is first-come first-served. There’s normally a line when entering but it's worth the wait. There are drinks and sides that you can purchase inside as well.
From there, we headed over to the Kimball Theatre after eating to watch The Holiday Pops show! This show features the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra and tenor John Riesen from America’s Got Talent. We loved listening to our favorite Christmas songs in this gorgeous setting. It was a magical way to start the season.
One of my favorite winter activities is ice skating, and nearby was the Liberty Ice Pavilion. Located right in Colonial Williamsburg, it’s the perfect little rink to get you into the Christmas spirit. They also have refreshments, such as hot cocoa and cider available to purchase.
After our ice skating adventures, we walked over to The Williamsburg Winery’s Tasting Room & Wine Bar in Merchants Square to try some wine! We found a cozy spot next to a Christmas tree and tried the red and sweet wine flights. As we were tasting the wine, we watched a local Christmas Parade make its way down the road! It was such a fun experience.
Our last dinner in Williamsburg couldn’t have been more perfect. We ate at King’s Arms Tavern, which is an 18th-century colonial reproduction. We loved that the dining rooms were lit with only candlelight. We tried peanut soup and I had the onion pye which is made with potatoes, apples, and onions. It was delicious and I know we will be talking about this experience for years!