When you think of Williamsburg, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? If you said colonial history, you’re not alone. Many people imagine William and Mary to be surrounded by re-enactors, horse buggies, and taverns. While all of these things do actually exist on Duke of Gloucester Street (across from the Wren building), there is a lot more to do in Williamsburg than taking pictures with Thomas Jefferson statues and visiting historical court houses. Believe it or not, students don’t actually churn butter and forge metal at the local blacksmith for fun on the weekends. There are more stores, restaurants, and attractions in Williamsburg and the surrounding area than any student could probably visit in a semester. To help narrow down the options, I thought I’d make a list of things to do for your convenience. Here you go!
MY TOP 10 LIST OF THINGS TO DO AROUND WILLIAM AND MARY
10. Go out to eat: As I mentioned above, there is a borderline-ridiculous number of restaurants in Williamsburg. Barrett’s Seafood, Fat Canary, Blue Talon, the Trellis, and the Cheese Shop are all wonderful restaurants within walking distance from campus. Looking for a quick meal? Panera, Cheeburger Cheeburger, California Tortilla, and Five Guys are also all very close. And of course, you’ll find Applebee’s, Chili’s, Ruby Tuesday, Carrabba’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and every fast food restaurant you could possibly imagine. When you arrive in Williamsburg, you’ll also hear a lot about the Delis, including Paul’s, the Green Leafe Café, and the College Delly. These are really popular for students, especially on the
weekends. To put it simply, Williamsburg is not a bad place to be, if you’re hungry!
9. Take a trip to the Williamsburg Winery: I visited the Winery for the first time a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it. Here, you’ll have the chance to take a tour, learn a lot about the wine-making process, and even sample 7 different wines (if you’re 21, of course). You even get a complimentary Williamsburg Winery glass.
8. Hike in Yorktown: Feeling active? There are a number of different hiking trails in Yorktown. Not only are there day hikes, but there are also weekend backpacking trips and multi-day trekking trails. This is a great opportunity to get away from the textbooks and exams and enjoy the beautiful outdoors!
7. Go shopping at the Prime Outlets: That’s right – there are 120 outlet stores right on Richmond Road. Nike, Ralph Lauren Polo, J. Crew, Vans, L.L. Bean, Under Armour, and PacSun are just a few of them. The outlets are a great place to go if you need some new clothes, shoes, a swimming suit, or if you’re just looking for something to do on a Saturday afternoon. Not to mention the fact that they have a lot of delicious samples at Le Gourmet Chef.
6. Spend a day in Colonial Williamsburg (CW): I definitely can’t leave CW off of the list. Take a stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street (DoG Street) and check out Kimball Theater, The Governor’s Palace, the Williamsburg Capitol building, or just talk with a re-enactor. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, students at the College have free access to all exhibits and museums in CW. You can definitely turn a visit to Colonial Williamsburg into a great day trip. It’s also an awesome place to take a jog.
5. Drive to Virginia Beach: It’s fantastic that we’re only 45 minutes from Virginia Beach. This past weekend, I drove with a few of my friends (Jay, Skyler, Morgan Leigh, and Jenn) to visit my roommate from last year. We spent a day at the beach and ate at a couple of different restaurants. It’s the perfect place to go for an afternoon, a night, or an entire weekend.
4. Catch a concert in Richmond: Looking for a bigger city? Richmond is only about an hour away. It’s a great place to go on a weekend night, especially to see a concert. Over the past two years, I’ve seen Gavin Degraw and Jason Mraz at the National (a smaller but very nice venue). Richmond is also a wonderful place to head, if you’re looking for restaurants, clubs, parks, or even political events.
3. Watch a movie at New Town or the Movie Tavern: For those of you who read my blog about the newest Harry Potter movie, you’ll know that there are 2 movie theaters right near William and Mary’s campus. At the Movie Tavern, you can even order food and drinks, which they’ll deliver to you at your seat. Seeing a movie is always a great option on the weekends or a slow weekday night.
2. Spend a hot afternoon at Jamestown Beach: It’s spring and you’re feeling restless? Head to Jamestown Beach! It’s a nice, small beach, and it’s only about 10 or 15 minutes away from campus–the perfect place to go when you want to get outside, go swimming, or just get a tan. The Running Club even does a yearly run to Jamestown Beach, so it’s definitely feasible to run or ride your bike there.
1. Hop on a ride at Busch Gardens or cool off at Water Country USA: William and Mary is only a few minutes away from both of these theme parks. Students often make day trips to Busch Gardens Europe or hang out at Water Country, especially during the summer. There is even a Busch Gardens Day for students in the fall, where W&M student receive a discount on tickets.
See? There is plenty to do in Williamsburg and the surrounding area. And of course, there is always something happening on
William and Mary’s campus. With over 400 clubs and organizations, you can always find a concert, comedian, multi-cultural performance, or sporting event right outside of your dorm room. To put it simply, Williamsburg is no dull place. I would be very surprised if there were a student at the College that couldn’t find something to do on either a weekday or a weekend. Don’t believe me? Come to “the Burg” and check it out for yourself. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
Have a fantastic week!