Visit Colonial Williamsburg during the Holidays for the “Grand Illumination”

Time a visit to Colonial Williamsburg to coincide with the impressive Grand Illumination displays for the holiday season.

Fireworks for the annual Grand Illumination celebration light up the sky over the Capitol Building in historic Williamsburg, Virginia

Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in what later became the United States. But the settlement was plagued with problems, and as the Virginia colony expanded, the capital was moved to the better location of Williamsburg. Today, Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living open-air museum in the United States.

Few places in the nation are as informative about the colonial and revolutionary era of the United States as Colonial Williamsburg. Plan your visit this December and attend one of Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination weekends. See the historic city like never before. Colonial Williamsburg is a major attraction in Virginia’s Historic Triangle.


Colonial Williamsburg – The largest living colonial museum in the United States

Colonial Williamsburg offers an immersive and authentic 18th Century experience with re-enactments and more. Colonial Williamsburg is the historic district of the more modern city of Williamsburg.

  • Size: 301 hectares
  • Historical Triangle: Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown, the Colonial Parkway

The attraction features several hundred restored and recreated colonial-era buildings. The costumed staff wear period clothing and often speak in colonial grammar and diction. The neighborhood was restored and recreated in the 1920s – thanks in part to support from the Rockefellers.

One of the other top places in the United States to explore the Revolutionary Era is Boston. Next time you’re there, explore the historic Boston Freedom Trail.

Williamsburg took over Jamestown as the colony’s capital after the Jamestown Statehouse burned down on October 20, 1698. The legislature moved to the College of William & Mary, Virginia in Middle Plantation. It was meant to be temporary, but they liked it more, and the move ended up being permanent. It remained the colony’s capital until 1780, when it moved to Richmond (partly to be less vulnerable to British attack).

  • Colonial Capital: From 1698 to 1780

Today it’s one of the best places to learn about the early days of the United States.

Related: These tours explain why Willemstad’s colonial Caribbean architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Plan to visit the upcoming Colonial Williamsburg Grand Illumination

The holiday season is fast approaching and this is a great time to visit Colonial Williamsburg. They celebrate the holiday season with three Grand Illumination weekends in December. Bring the family and enjoy Christmas entertainment that includes holiday traditions and heartwarming new additions to the festivities.


  • 2nd-4th December
  • 9th-11th December
  • 16-18 December

Travel back to the 18th century to celebrate the winter festivals. See the firing of cannons and the lighting of firecrackers that once celebrated important events in the colonial era (such as the reigning sovereign’s birthday, military victories, or the arrival of a new colonial governor).

The day begins by exploring the intricate decorations throughout the historic district. Later, watch the musical performances taking place on multiple stages in the historic streets. Finally, watch the fireworks from the Capitol and Palace.

Also see: Follow in the footsteps of John Smith on this Virginia Historic Trail

Tickets & planning a visit to colonial Williamsburg

The Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area is open to the public and free of charge. However, tickets are required to visit the historical sites and commercial shops. Open sides have a flag at the front.

Daily ticket:

Includes access to guided attractions, historic trading, staged performances about the Charlton States and more.

  • Costs: Adult $46.99 l Child $25.99 (6 to 12 years)

Multi-day ticket:

Valid for three consecutive days with the same entry prices as the standard ticket.

  • Costs: Adult $56.99 l Child $30.99 (6 to 12 years)

If you plan to visit during the holiday season, you should book a holiday package. They offer cozy weekends by the fireplace with a touch of historic magic. Enjoy a winter stay at Colonial Williamsburg Resorts for a vacation to remember.

  • Season: November 28, 2022 to January 2, 2023

Vacation packages include accommodation at the Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg Lodge, Griffin Hotel or Colonial Houses, breakfast for two, two length of stay tickets to Colonial Williamsburg, a Colonial Williamsburg Boxed Holiday Ornament and a Colonial Williamsburg Retail Shopping Pass .

As you explore the most historic parts of America’s oldest colony, complete the trip with Virginia’s oldest ghost tour. America has a rich history, and perhaps visiting living historical sites is the ultimate educational experience for any family.