Top 14 Things to Do in Williamsburg, VA in December

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Updated November 23, 2023

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia is filled with history and gorgeous historic architecture. This makes it a great place to enjoy a magical holiday season in December!

From amusement parks to historical sites to shopping and much more, you can find something for everyone in Williamsburg in the month of December!

Below are some of my top recommendations for things to do in Williamsburg, VA in December, plus some of my favorite Christmas things to do in Williamsburg, VA to help make the holidays a special Colonial Christmas to remember!


Where to Stay in Williamsburg, VA
Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg – Great for Families
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The Historic Powhatan Resort by Diamond – Great for Furnished Apartments
* * *
Club Wyndham Kingsgate – Great for Recreation and Amenities
* * *
Kingsmill Resort – Great for Nature Trails



Busch Gardens Christmas Town

What:

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a beautiful theme park featuring thrilling world-class roller coasters. The park also celebrates the Christmas season in grand fashion, with the largest Christmas event in the whole state of Virginia!

The amusement park lights up with more than 10 million lights, making it one of the largest light displays in North America!

The spectacular lights of Christmas Town Busch Gardens are paired with special holiday attractions like Santa’s Workshop, the Christmas Town Express, and special shows.

The park also has amusement park rides for the entire family, plus special holiday-themed shopping and food. 

All of this makes it the number one December attraction in Williamsburg, and definitely one that you don’t want to miss!

When:

November 10, 2023 – January 7, 2024

Tickets:

Tickets to Christmas Town are separate from regular park admission. Admission is included with a Busch Gardens Membership.


Liberty Ice Pavilion

What:

Liberty Ice Pavillion is an ice skating rink located amidst the historic buildings of Colonial Williamsburg on Duke of Gloucester Street. It is a great way to get out and enjoy the winter air with friends and family.

The ice rink also features hot cider, coffee, and more refreshments for purchase.

When visiting the ice pavilion, you can also experience many of the great Colonial Williamsburg sites in the heart of the town’s historic district, including taking a carriage ride past colonial buildings and visiting the Governor’s Palace.

The Liberty Ice Pavilion creates a winter wonderland in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg’s historic area, and it’s the perfect activity to get you in the holiday spirit!

When:

November 17, 2023 to February 27, 2024

Tickets:

You can purchase tickets online.


Christmas Market on Main

What:

The Christmas Market on Main takes place each December in downtown Yorktown. The market features over 100 different vendors, with goods ranging from arts and crafts, to holiday decoration and wreaths, and much more.

The event also features a performance by the Fifes and Drums of York Town, plus an appearance by Santa Claus, and musical performances throughout the weekend.

When:

December 2 to 3, 2023

Tickets:

Free admission. No ticket is required.


Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

What:

The annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony occurs every year at the Victory Monument & Yorktown Waterfront. The event dates back to 1945 and includes a performance by the Fifes and Drums of York Town.

The tree lighting ceremony then occurs at Riverwalk Landing. The event even includes a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, so it’s perfect for the whole family!

When:

December 1, 2023 starting at 6:30pm

Tickets:

Free admission. No ticket is required.


Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

What:

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg host special events in November and December to celebrate the holidays. The events include special-themed Christmas trees on display, many music performances, Christmas decoration presentations, and much more.

The centerpiece is a 16-foot tree decorated with over 2,000 ornaments!

Don’t miss the Artful Winter Evenings, which take place on Thursdays from 5:30pm to 8pm, November 30 to December 28. You’ll be treated to a guided tour of the museum and centerpiece Christmas tree, make crafts, and have some hot chocolate and rum cream churros!

When:

Throughout November and December. You can find a full calendar of events online.

Tickets:

You can purchase tickets through the Colonial Williamsburg website.


Jamestown Settlement

What:

In December, Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown celebrate Christmastide, which is a unique look at Christmas past.

During the event, both historic sites feature a look at what the Christmas holidays were like in the 17th and 18th centuries in early America.

The event includes holiday decorations, demonstrations, interpretive programs, period music, and much more. It is a special way to celebrate the holidays as only Colonial Williamsburg can offer!

Jamestown Settlement will have special programs depicting English Christmas customs of the period, as well as a comparison of how the English and early colonists celebrated Christmas in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Outdoor demonstrations will also depict winter activities such as food preservation and hunting tools and techniques.

When:

December 16 – 31, 2023

Tickets:

Tickets can be purchased here.


American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

What:

Both Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown celebrate Christmastide in December.

At Yorktown, outdoor demonstrations will teach visitors about how Christmas and winter were spent in military camps during the Revolutionary War. Some of the demonstrations include learning how rations were cooked.

Other demonstrations in the nearby farm will show visitors other 18th-century holiday traditions, such as how a banquet table was set during the holidays, as well as how special holiday dishes were made in an open hearth.

When:

December 16 – 31, 2023

Tickets:

Tickets can be purchased here.


Yorktown Mistletoe Market and Toyland Parade

What:

Yorktown features some excellent Christmas events in December, including the Mistletoe Market and Toyland Parade.

The market has a number of winter and holiday treats and goods from local vendors and artists, like soups and chowders, cakes, bread, fudge, jams, holiday wreaths, candles, soaps, and local holiday art.

The Toyland Parade generally takes place in the afternoon, and it is led by Santa and the Fifes and Drums of York Town.

The festivities even include a train you can ride through the festivities: the Riverwalk Landing Polar Express.

When:

December 9, 2023

Tickets:

Free admission. No ticket is required.


Virginia Living Museum

What:

The Virginia Living Museum features over 250 animals native to Virginia, including wood turtles, chipmunks, sharks, pine voles, ghost crabs, flying squirrels, lobsters, eels, jellyfish, and much more.

There is also a 30,000-gallon Noland Chesapeake Bay Aquarium, Butterfly Haven, and even a planetarium. The museum also includes fun outdoor activities such as an outdoor boardwalk where you can see otters, beavers, red wolves, bald eagles, and more; a 5,500 square-foot coastal plain aviary; and a dinosaur discovery trail.

During the holiday season, The Virginia Living Museum also hosts special events, such as the Winter Nature Nights, which features Christmas lights, hot chocolate, a Christmas dinosaur display, and cookie decorating!

When:

December 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, and 23, 2023

Tickets:

You can purchase tickets for the museum here.


Yule Log Celebration

What:

The Yule Log Celebration in Colonial Williamsburg is an annual tradition that occurs on Friday evenings in the month of December.

It begins with the Yule Log being transported by wagon from the Capitol Circle to Market Square. It combines the spirit of the 18th-century colonial past with the present.

When:

  • Friday, December 1, 2023: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
  • Friday, December 8, 2023: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
  • Friday, December 15, 2023: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Tickets:

Free admission. No ticket is required.


Grand Illumination at Colonial Williamsburg

What:

Colonial Williamsburg celebrates the holiday season every December with a special “Grand Illumination” event. The ceremony is inspired by the 18th-century “illumination” tradition of firing guns in the air and shooting off fireworks to commemorate special events, such as military victories, or the birthday of a sovereign.

As part of the ceremony, there is a fireworks display each night, plus holiday decorations and musical performances to enjoy throughout the historic district.

When:

December 2, 9, and 16, 2023

Tickets:

You can purchase tickets through the Colonial Williamsburg website.


Yorktown Lighted Boat Parade

What:

For a unique holiday celebration, you can head down to the Yorktown waterfront for the annual Lighted Boat Parade. As part of the event, there is a musical performance by the Fifes & Drums of York Town, complimentary hot cider, and caroling around a beach bonfire.

The event culminates with the parade, which features boats riding by the waterfront and decked out in dazzling holiday lights!

When:

December 2, 2023 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Tickets:

Free admission. No ticket is required.


The Bizarre Bazaar

What:

Holiday shopping is of course a big part of the season, and the annual Christmas Collection Bizarre Bazaar features over 475 exhibitors where you can find that perfect holiday gift. Different exhibitors include specialty boutiques, arts and crafts, and new exhibitors. There is a cafe with food and drink as well.

The show takes place on the first weekend of December every year. The Bazaar takes place at the Richmond Raceway Complex.

When:

November 30 to December 3, 2023

Tickets:

You can purchase tickets here.


Shopping at the Williamsburg Premium Outlets

What:

The Williamsburg Premium Outlets feature more stores where you can find additional holiday gifts. The outlets are just 10 minutes from Merchant Square. There are over 135 stores, including American Eagle, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Coach, The Children’s Place, and much more. A full list of stores can be found here.

When:

Open year-round. Store hours vary.

Tickets:

Free admission. No ticket is required.


Learn even more about the best things to do, where to stay, and where to eat at Colonial Williamsburg!

Learn about the best things to do in Williamsburg

Building and gardens at Colonial Williamsburg

Learn about the best places to stay in Williamsburg

Learn about my favorite Restaurants in Williamsburg

Chocolate Mousse at the Blue Talon Bistro in Colonial Williamsburg

Learn all about the best Colonial Williamsburg Tours

Building and gardens at Colonial Williamsburg

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Christmas Wreath on a door

Spend the perfect Thanksgiving in Williamsburg

Thanksgiving dinner table