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Fall Into the Holiday Season with a Colonial Williamsburg Experience

Each year, we eagerly await the arrival of the fall season, bringing cooler weather, warm cider, and a renewed wonderment to the Historic Area. Following the rush of summer, we look forward to taking our time to view the multi-colored leaves, stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street to enjoy lit cressets and revel in the atmosphere of one of the most historic streets in America.

In addition, the autumn season ushers in our holiday season, when our 18th-century city comes alive with historically-inspired wreaths and Christmas decorations, our exhilarating Grand Illumination weekends, and more.

Now, through October 31, take part in the changing of the seasons by purchasing a Fall into Holiday Savings Ticket, where for the price of a multiday ticket, you can return the rest of the year for FREE! Come back time and time again for new programming, holiday decorations, and more through the rest of 2022. This offer only comes around once a year, and you don’t want to miss this...let’s take a closer look at some of the exciting programs happening now through the end of the year.


While we might be coming to the end of the month, there’s no reason we can’t still celebrate the spookiest month of the year!

Spend some time exploring the Historic Area. Talk with our tradespeople about their seasonal projects. Our Historic Farming and Gardening trades are coming to the end of their harvest season and preparing the garden beds and farm plots for the winter. Learn their tips and tricks for keeping certain plants alive over the winter months and how they’re prepping for the spring season.

As you walk along our history-filled streets, pay a visit to the Raleigh Tavern and learn where citizens would have dined, slept, and lived in 18th-century Williamsburg, or pop into the Raleigh Tavern Bakery for a fresh-baked ginger cake. While you’re there, take in a performance at the Charlton Stage and meet a person of the past as they share their experiences in historic Williamsburg.

With the Fall into Holiday ticket, you’ll also receive access to our world-class Art Museums, featuring more of our collection on view than ever. From whimsical folk art made by amateur artisans in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum to objects that are useful as well as beautiful in the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, discover amazing stories, beautifully told.

At the Art Museums, you’ll be able to find tailored programming featuring historic characters, field experts, or trained musicians every day of the week, and our newest exhibition “I made this...”: The Work of Black American Artists and Artisans, which highlights the material culture that they created using the designs of men and women from different times, places, and backgrounds. These works represent the inspirations, resilience, and legacies of these talented makers.

Jug by David Drake, Edgefield, South Carolina, 1842. Alkaline-glazed stoneware. Museum Purchase. 2021.900.24.

The fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down. Explore our 301-acre living history museum by night, and experience one of our signature evening performances, like Haunted Williamsburg, a candlelit ghost tour that takes you inside our historic buildings, using stories from both the 18th century and today. Join us on October 29, as we celebrate the spooky season with cresset-lined streets, chilling street performers, and painted horses, in a community experience that connects us to our haunted past.


Did you know that many of our trees don’t reach their peak fall colors until the end of October, or even the beginning of November? Visit our expansive Level 2 Certified Arboretum, comprised of 18th-century tree and woody shrub varieties, including more than 25 period species of oak trees that are carefully maintained throughout the year. From our towering Compton Oak tree to the golden hues of the American Beech arbors at the Governor’s Palace, you’ll find a myriad of colors to see while experiencing the wonder of autumn in the Historic Area.

Throughout November, you can join us for American Indian Heritage Month, where we’ll offer special programming and exciting new performances of our newest Nation Builder, Oconostota, an elected “Great Warrior” for his prowess in battle, but also a representative of his people, and a diplomatic leader. During the month, learn about the American Indian Experience at the encampment site or via the American Indian Life Series at the Charlton Stage, where you can hear from American Indian interpreters and examine the role of this population in 18th-century Williamsburg.

Introducing Oconostota, our newest Nation Builder. Photographed by Brandon Sostak.

November brings the annual Firing of the Kiln at the Brickyard. Here, you can see our expert brickmakers work around the clock to fire up to 20,000 hand-molded bricks at temperatures over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Once fired, these bricks are used throughout the Historic Area in building projects during the year. Looking for a respite from the chilly November weather? Stop in at any of our Historic Trade shops and enjoy a fireside chat with one of our tradespeople while learning more about their ongoing projects and preparations for the months ahead.

The Lighting of the Kiln will take place from November 15 – 19.

Marking the official start of the holiday season, Thanksgiving allows us to reflect, enjoy, and give thanks for the company around us. On Thanksgiving Day, we’ll be offering several programs dedicated to the spirit of the giving season, including President George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation and programming like Midwinter Stories where you’ll hear the stories and traditions from east coast Native Nations. Throughout the holiday season, your Fall into Holiday Ticket will allow you to take part in many of our holiday-themed programs, that each tell a different story and offer insight into 18th-century Williamsburg during the holiday season.


Valid through December 31, your Fall into Holiday ticket grants you access to iconic places like the Governor’s Palace, Courthouse, and Capitol buildings, where you can take guided tours to learn about the history, way of life, politics, and culture of Williamsburg in the 1700s. You can also explore other open buildings and grounds such as the Wythe House, Randolph Yard, and more.

On our Grand Illumination weekends, you’ll be able to spend your day in the Historic Area, and enjoy multiple performances throughout our city, including the Lighting of the Cressets, Goodwin & The Ghost: A Williamsburg Christmas Tale storytelling, as well as breathtaking fireworks displays from the Capitol and Palace.

Grand Illumination will take place on December 3, 10, and 17!

December offers an abundance of holiday-themed programming throughout the Historic Area and at the Art Museums. From heartfelt theatrical performances to lively musical performances, you’ll find something for everyone in the group to enjoy. For a complete list of our holiday programming, check out our Holiday Planner. When you visit the Historic Area in December, you’ll also be able to view some of the handmade wreaths that adorn the doorways of our public and private buildings, complete with greenery, fruit, pinecones, feathers, and more.

During the holiday season, a trip to the Art Museums is a must! From the opening of the exhibition, “Stitched In Time” on December 3, to the massive 16-foot Folk-Art Tree you’ll be amazed at the holiday decorations here. Whether you’re exploring the exhibitions or making a holiday ornament for your own tree your ticket will allow you to see all the excitement at the Art Museums.

Being able to return time and time again from now through December means you’ll be able to make memories that will last a lifetime in the Historic Area. This ticket is available for our guests of all ages, so whether you're traveling solo, celebrating an anniversary, or having a family-friendly getaway, make your next trip (or two or three) unforgettable by visiting the Historic Area at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history museum in the world. Witness history brought to life on the charming streets of the colonial capital and explore our newly expanded and updated Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, featuring the nation’s premier folk art collection, plus the best in British and American fine and decorative arts from 1670–1840. Check out sales and special offers and our Official Colonial Williamsburg Hotels to plan your visit.