The official Colonial Williamsburg Explorer app just received another big upgrade, so now there are even more reasons to make sure you make it part of your visit.
Our website is a great way to plan your adventure from home, but when you’re here, the app is an indispensable tool to make the most of your time here. It’s free for both Android and iPhone. Here are some of the top ways it will help…
#1 Skip the Line
You can now use the app to buy one or three-day general admission tickets, or museum admission by clicking on the drop-down menu at the top left corner.
You can also get tickets for the Historic Area’s wonderful evening programs, which include everything from the new Friday Night Gathering at the Randolph House, ghost walks, dinner theater at Shields tavern, and movies at the Kimball Theatre. Find these offerings under the “Events” tab, where you’ll find the full calendar of daily happenings.
Click on the “Experience” tab to book that carriage ride you’ve been meaning to take—without having to make an extra trip to the Lumber House ticket office.
One exception is To Fire a Flintlock Musket. Regulations require that reservations for the musket range be made in person at a ticket location.
#2 Plan Your Day
No need to make a paper list. Just go to the Explore tab and tap the star next to all the sites you can’t miss. Then do the same thing for programs under the Events tab, which has the calendar for the daily happenings.
Once you’ve done that, all your selections will appear in order of start time under the Favorites tab, and you’re ready to go.
#3 Find Your Way
The easiest way to navigate the Historic Area is on the app. Click the map view on the Explore tab and you’ll see the interactive map. Pinch to zoom in or out, slide to scroll through, and quickly find what you’re looking for in no time at all.
And if you select a particular shop or site on the map, you can get walking directions to the door.
Too much clutter? Use the filter in the upper-right hand corner to narrow down the visible choices on the map, from Historic Trades and Historic Sites to Museums or just what’s Open Now.
Remember to connect to our free wireless network, MakeHistory@CW, which just requires an email confirmation. But just in case you’re in an area with low connectivity, you can also download a map to use offline. You’ll find it under settings in the drop-down menu in the top left corner.
#4 Meet a Celebrity
The “Meet” tab is great fun. Just tap it to find some of the people—and one dog—that may be out in the Historic Area. You might find that Nation Builder George Wythe is holding forth in the Raleigh Tavern, or Alexander Purdie is making his way down Duke of Gloucester Street, or a sheep herder is at Market Square. Or Liberty, Colonial Williamsburg’s mascot, is out on Palace Green.
A dozen or so people can be GPS-located. You can click on the squiggly map icon to find them immediately, or tap the star to add them as favorites and be notified when they’re out and about.
In the latter case, just make sure to enable notifications for the Colonial Williamsburg app on your phone settings, then enable the “meet notifications” within the app settings in the main drop-down menu.
#5 Find the Nearest…
Now for some practical concerns. Need to quickly locate the nearest restroom or bus stop? From the Explore tab, go to the Map view, then click the three horizontal dots in the lower-right corner of the screen. You can select Parking, Bus Stops, Restrooms, Tickets & Info, or Near Me.
#6 Get notified!
It’s easy to lose track of time wandering in the 18th century, so if you need a reminder, the app offers notifications when your favorite events are starting soon, or a favorited person you’d like to meet is available.
This requires two steps. First, make sure to enable notifications for the Colonial Williamsburg app on your phone’s settings. Then enable the “event notifications” and/or “meet notifications” within the app settings in the main drop-down menu.
#7 Save a Few Shillings
Just by using the app, you might receive exclusive sales and offers as you wander through town. And there are also coupons available for nearby businesses under Coupons in the main drop-down menu.
There are plenty of other features as well. Take fun family photos with the Colonial Camera. Decide which historic tavern to dine in. Learn more about the differences among our many shops in and around the Historic Area.
And if you plan it just right, this will give you more opportunities to actually put the phone away for a bit so you can truly enjoy the beauty and wonder of 18th-century Williamsburg.