Thinking of coming to W&M, or already here on campus? Here are just a few of the things our MPP students love to do around the area on their days off.
The Williamsburg Farmers Market
The Williamsburg Farmers Market is an awesome way to get fresh, local food and support Virginia businesses. The market is held in Merchant Square every Saturday morning (rain or shine) from 8 am to noon. With 40 vendors, live music, and an easy walk from main campus make sure to catch this bustling market! Don’t forget to check out the center booth where you can pick up a free punch card and be entered to win a free gift basket. Most vendors accept VISA, MasterCard, and even W&M Express.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
If you love thrills, treats, and good company, then Busch Gardens is worth checking out. The best part about the park is their rotation of events throughout the year. In the Spring and early summer sample foods from around the world at their Food & Wine Festival. As the summer nights heat up, catch summer concerts in the park with free tickets to pass holders offered. In the fall swing by for their craft beer festival and come to the park at night for some Halloween haunts sure to make you scream! In the late fall and early winter, the park becomes home to Christmas Town a magical display of millions of Christmas lights. Whatever you’re into, Busch Gardens is worth a visit for sure!
The park has a seasons pass for students that stay in the area year-round. Students also have the option of purchasing discounted tickets exclusively for W&M students on Busch Gardens Day, a once a year event sponsored by the Student Assembly and Student Affairs at the college.
On the second Sunday of every month March to December, the streets of Colonial Williamsburg showcase tons of different vendors selling unique art, jewelry, and home goods. If you’re into petting dogs, which we know you are, Second Sundays is a great place to listen to live music, buy some cool things, and smile at all the cute dogs you see.
Virginia Beer Company
For our 21+ students, Virginia Beer Company is a new brewery that opened up a few miles from main campus that hosts tons of different food trucks and live weekly events. The brewery has an industrial type feel and was started by 3 W&M graduates. Their beers are delicious, and their events are always a good time. Some nights they even offer W&M student discounts so don’t forget your student ID!
York River State Park
York River State Park is a beautiful state park in Williamsburg situated on the York River. A short drive away from main campus, you can find over 30 miles of great hiking, biking, and horse trails, as well as beach-front fossil beds. Check it out and enjoy all this unique estuarine park has to offer 🙂
Another local favorite is the Williamsburg Winery. The winery is located on a 300-acre farm and the whole place has an awesome vibe. Make sure to check out Sunday’s brunch menu at the onsite Tavern for some delicious food and cocktails. Tours and tastings are given daily and offer a unique opportunity to see how they make their wine.
If you can’t make the drive to the winery, walk over to their new tasting room and wine bar in CW’s Merchants Square. Grab a glass, bottle, or wine flight and enjoy some local flavor!
Kimball Theatre is centrally in downtown Merchant Square and is a short walk from main campus. The theater first opened in 1933 and has a main stage for both live productions and a movie screen. ClickitTicket has listed the Kimball as one of the best small stage theaters in America.
This year’s W&M Global Film Festival was hosted here and students could view award-winning movies from around the world. The historic feel and variety of show options make it a place worth checking out during your free time!
Contrary to popular belief, the Jamestown Settlement and Jamestown Rediscovery are not one in the same. While they both cover the history of America’s first permanent English colony, the experiences at each establishment are a little different.
If you’re looking for a museum experience with some historical reenactments on the side, spend a day at the Jamestown Settlement where the entrance is free to residents of Williamsburg. Here you can tour a recreation of the Powhatan Indian Village, the James Fort, and even board recreations of the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and the Discovery which set sail in 1606 headed for Virginia.
If an active historical archeological dig site if more your style, head a little further up the road to Jamestown Rediscovery where you can watch and interact with staff archeologists and historians uncovering the history of Jamestown. The site is located right on the James River and the Dale House is a wonderful place to grab lunch with great riverfront views.
A favorite spot on campus is Lake Matoaka. The area has over 10 miles of hiking trails through the largest remaining contiguous forest in the city, and a waterfront amphitheater that hosts concerts and events. Students can rent canoes and kayaks at an onsite boathouse or stargaze at night.
Colonial Williamsburg is a short walk from main campus and a great place for students to exercise, lounge, or grab a bite to eat at one of their historic taverns. CW offers a uniquely immersive experience into early colonial American history with through daily tours, reenactments, and special events. In the early spring, CW welcomes baby lambs and beautiful flower garden displays. In the winter enjoy ice skating, colonial holiday decorations, and don’t miss the Grand Illumination, a spectacular firework display sure to light up the night sky. Don’t forget to find the cider stand and purchase an official CW mug for a year of discounted refills.
Check out the Official Tourism & Visitors Guide of Williamsburg for upcoming events and more things to do in the area.
What are your favorite things to do around campus? Please feel free to let us know in the comments below 🙂