What better place to celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s birth than right here in the Revolutionary City? If you’re planning to spend July 4 with us, allow us to help you get prepared. We’re about to outline everything from the weekend’s events to the best places to park—even how you can take home a unique piece of history!
While the fireworks show on Monday is free, there’s so much more taking place that’s included in your Colonial Williamsburg admission. In fact, you can make an entire weekend out of it! We have a variety of ticket options to suit any number of family budgets. And if you live here in Williamsburg, be sure to take advantage of our Good Neighbor Pass.
Our patriotic programming starts Saturday, July 2.
10: 30 a.m Head to our Art Museums for Mapping the Declaration of Independence. It will take place in the Hennage Auditorium and you can get in with either your CW admission or your museum ticket. You’ll learn about maps and other museum objects during this guided tour which also features the Declaration of Independence as you’ve never seen it before!
11 a.m. If you’re looking to get a bit of a later start, you can join Thomas Jefferson and George Wythe at the Charlton Stage (next to the Coffeehouse) for A Public Audience with a Founding Father.
4:30 p.m. Make your way to the Raleigh Tavern for An Officer’s Message to the People and Recruitment followed by On to Yorktown & Victory (in the field to the right of the Courthouse). For that big end-of-the-day event—just listen for the sound of our Fifes & Drums. They will lead you to the roped off area where General Washington will ride in on his horse and address the crowd and his new “recruits” before heading off to battle
11 a.m. Start your day off right with a good old-fashioned discussion about politics. Head to the Charlton Stage for A Debate on Public Protest. When is civil disobedience appropriate? What should be considered our right to disobey and when do you cross the line? Members of the House of Burgesses are in disagreement. Find out where you fall on these key issues.
1:15 p.m. The tough talk continues—this time at the Hennage Auditorium, inside our Art Museums. During Faction and Vice, George Washington and James Madison debate their views and ideas about political parties and their effects on the Nation. Do parties bring us together or tear us apart? How can we know if these new theories will endure?
2:30 p.m. Walk through town to learn what the Revolution means to different people in our town. My Personal Revolution requires a separate ticket that you can pick up at the Lumber House Ticket Office.
4:45 p.m. The date will be May 15, 1776 and Virginians will be declaring independence during our program To be Free and Independent! down by the Capitol.
Take a break for dinner! We recommend any of our four taverns, depending on what you’re in the mood for. Visit Open Table to make your reservations for King’s Arms, Shields, or Christiana Campbell’s. You don’t need a reservation for Chowning’s which is first come, first served.
8:30 p.m. Make sure you’re back out on DoG Street for the Fifes and Drums march from Palace Green to the Capitol during our Williamsburg Military Tattoo
With your admission, share your patriotism with our Salute to the States and the Reading the Declaration of Independence. Then, watch as your kids learn how to play colonial games and even join in our epic tug-of-war battle.
In between all the fun, you can enjoy lunch or dinner in one of our historic taverns and don’t miss your chance to bid on some pretty unique Colonial Williamsburg pieces in our live auction. We’ll also have our annual performance from the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums. And of course—the fireworks! Those are just a few of the featured events (there are many!). Here’s a complete timeline of all there is to do:
Salute to the States 10 a.m.
Reading of the Declaration of Independence 11 a.m.
Colonial Faire for the kids! 11:30 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Lafayette in Two Worlds 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Live Auction at Market Square 1 – 3:00 p.m.
1776 Plays at the Kimball Theatre 1:30 – 4:00 (extra ticket required)
I Hear America Singing 4 – 5 p.m. (extra ticket required)
My Duty, My Voice 4:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Medley of Patriotic Entertainments 8:15 – 8:45 p.m.
Fifes & Drums Performance 8:50 – 9:10 p.m.
Fireworks 9:15 – 9:35
You can also buy hot dogs, hamburgers, and draft beer behind Chownings from 11:30 a.m. – 9:15 p.m. so make a stop that works into your personal itinerary and re-fuel for all the day’s fun.
If you’d like reserved seating on Palace Green for the fireworks and a personal escort from the Fifes and Drums, consider reserving your ticket for the Williamsburg Lodge Fourth of July Celebration. Tickets are $85.95 for ages 11 and up, $50.95 for ages 3-10, and kids two and under get in for free! The fun starts at 4 p.m. and includes children’s games and activities. There’s also a cash bar for the adults, an elaborate buffet (sneak peek at some of the menu items here), plus live musical entertainment. And of course, the big perk—front row seats to the big fireworks
We recommend parking at the Visitor Center and utilizing the free shuttle service or the pathway to the Revolutionary City. The shuttle buses will run every half hour to all regular stops. Important note: all shuttles will stop running from 9-11 p.m. during the fireworks show. The pedestrian bridge by the Visitor Center will also close from 9 to 10:15 p.m.
Other parking options include the Prince George Street parking garage. The first 30 minutes are free and each additional hour is $1 with a maximum fee of $12. Parts of Prince George Street, Nassau Street, and Scotland Street also allow unlimited free parking between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. Just remember, free street parking is hard to come by and those spots do fill up quickly.
One of the most unique experiences during our Fourth of July celebration is the live auction at Market Square. It’s historically accurate and one of the biggest all year. Expect close to 120 exciting items including many made onsite in our 18th-century trade shops!
I was able to get a sneak peek at some other exclusive pieces that will be up for bid including a hand-engraved brass bell, a one-of-a-kind mahogany sea chest made by our Coopers, and a coverlet made by our Weavers. There will also be several silver pieces hand-crafted by our Silversmiths. And perhaps one of the most unique items up for bid will be a George Washington Campaign Trunk covered in deer hide. Many of these items are exclusive to this auction. Below is a photo gallery of some of the “big ticket” items. As soon as we get a complete list, we’ll share with you!
Before, during, or after your visit—celebrate our great nation’s independence with our red, white, and blue products from WILLIAMSBURG Revolutions (inside the Visitor Center) and online at Williamsburg Marketplace! For example, our American flag hooked pillow is the perfect way to show your patriotism. Place it in your favorite comfy recliner in front of the TV, or display it in a wicker chair on your screened-in porch. It’s a great accessory to add to your Fourth of July festivities. For the cookout enthusiasts, colonial lanterns can light up your deck or patio and add just the right ambience to a warm summer night. That’s not all! Browse through the rest of our products to see if there’s anything else you’d like.
You’re allowed to bring a lawn chair for the fireworks! In fact, we highly recommend it—especially for any elderly or very young members of your party. And don’t forget to pack water bottles and plenty of sunscreen. If you purchase one of our refillable mugs, you can get all the free water refills you’d like! Remember, the Virginia heat can be brutal in July. Also, make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes. If you aren’t taking a carriage, you’ll have to rely on your feet to get you up and down DoG Street.
And finally, don’t forget your camera! Tag your photos with #Huzzah and @colonialwmsburg on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We may share them or use them in a future blog post. This beautiful shot was shared with us by Jerry Shell. Thanks, Jerry!