Shh! Secret Places Locals Want to Keep to Themselves

Rub shoulders with residents at their favorite Williamsburg hangouts.

Sunset Cruise on Schooner Alliance
Waller Mill Park Lake
Freshly Ground Coffee at Aromas
Wren Building at The College of William & Mary

Start Me Up

Get started right at Aromas Coffeehouse, Bakery and Fresh Cafe in Williamsburg where there's a lot more than great coffee roasted in-house daily. You'll find every kind of breakfast, including select sandwiches, fresh omelets, crumbly scones, sticky sticky buns, flaky croissants, and monster muffins not to mention pies, cakes, brownies, cookies, and cupcakes. Pull up a chair at a comfortable table inside or sit outside and watch people strolling by.    

Secret Garden

Venture into a pastoral playground. Look west from the College of William & Mary's Wren Building and you'll see the Sunken Garden, a place for relaxation and recreation. It’s based on 18th-century English landscape gardens that feature sweeping lawns intended to uplift the spirit by leading the eye toward a distant, natural setting.

Pictures and Paintings

The Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary has a revolving permanent collection of more than 5,000 works, including English and American portraits from as far back as the 17th century; European and American prints, drawings, and paintings from the 14th to 21st centuries; Japanese prints; African art; and Asian ceramics. Spend a morning. Spend an afternoon. Spend all day. The Museum is closed in preparation for The Martha Wren Briggs Center for the Visual Arts and has moved temporarily into what was previously the Williamsburg Art Gallery in Merchants Square.  The Martha Wren Briggs Center for the Visual Arts and the New Muscarelle Museum of Art is expected to open in 2021.

Beer Run

You'll find locals in the afternoon in the taproom and outdoor biergaten at Alewerks, which showcases up to 16 beers on tap, from year-round offerings and special small batches of great variety, to cask ale served weekly. There's something going on most nights including trivia nights on Wednesdays, bingo on Thursdays and occasional music on the patio. Or you can take a weekend brewery tour or a guided tasting during the week. Cheers!

Sail Away

Hop aboard the schooner Alliance in Yorktown (the sunset cruise is our favorite) and sail the York River, the waters Capt. John Smith explored four centuries ago during a unique time in America’s history. Enjoy evening views of the village streets overlooking the river and look for dolphins and osprey while gliding along the historic shores. The cruise sails from spring to fall.

Smokestack Lightning

Get smoky. Head to Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que for what Garden & Gun magazine named to its bucket list of barbecue places you must visit, one of only two in Virginia. The Q is bathed in the secret family sauce, which dates back more than eight decades. That's a long time, but then it takes a long time to smoke the pulled pork and brisket on the menu. Savor every slow-cooked bite.

Follow Your Arrow    

Head to Freedom Park and follow the arrows to more than 20 miles of mountain biking trails winding through forests and along creeks and open meadows. 

Hey Bartender

Slip into a high-backed chair at The Hound's Tale and browse the list of craft cocktails that change with the seasons, but might include a cucumber ginger martini, a Hendricks Collins, or a Hound's Tale Mule with a local IPA, bourbon, mint, and lime juice. Or just be bold and ask the bartender to make you something good. He will. 

Down to the Waterline

Looking for a bargain with something active for everyone in the family? Visit the playground for all ages at Waller Mill Park. A 360-acre lake and hiking trails are the centerpieces of this park not far from downtown. Cruise in a pedal boat. Cast a line with the available fishing gear. Go flinging with disc golf. Follow your bliss and hike along weaving trails.

Because the Night

Out late? Check out Triangle in Williamsburg, a tapas bar with music, karaoke, and other events that stays open until 2 a.m. and has emerged as a locals' favorite. Check their extensive whiskey and single malt offerings for that nightcap. 

There's so much more to Greater Williamsburg.  Explore outdoor activitiescheap eats, and family fun things to do.  Then plan your visit today and see how many secrets you can uncover.