Places to Go and Things to Do in Williamsburg
View Williamsburg's top spots for locals and tourists.
Food and Drink Essentials
BEST PLACE TO BUY GROCERIES
5000 Settler’s Market Blvd.
It might be a chain store, but since Trader Joe’s opened in New Town a few years ago, it’s been popular among college students and residents alike. Trader Joe’s stocks the basics like milk, butter and bread, but also has imported cheeses, organic produce and a wide selection of wine that’s affordable and good. There is always some kind of food or drink to sample, and kids who accompany their parents get a free balloon.
BEST ETHNIC FOOD
Nawab Indian Cuisine
204 Monticello Ave.
Tucked into a nondescript strip mall that also houses a thrift store and a storefront church is Nawab, an Indian restaurant where elegant tables are set with white tablecloths, cloth napkins and candles. The restaurant -- part of a local chain -- offers a lunchtime buffet to try out savory dishes, and a full bar serves the dinner crowd. The naan breads, tandoori specialties and mango lassi drinks rank with the best curry restaurants out there.
Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que
447 E. Rochambeau Dr.
Visitors to the Williamsburg area happen upon Pierce’s while vacationing, and then return time and again for the delicious hickory-smoked, Tennessee-style barbecue. For a yummy lunch, the “J.C. Special” features a generous pulled-pork sandwich topped with coleslaw, fries, drink and a homemade cookie. Pierce’s offers catering services and through its online store ships its “Doc” Pierce’s original and honey barbecue sauces around the world -- the owners have been known to ship sauce to military personnel in Iraq.
BEST PLACE TO GET A DRINK
Green Leafe Cafe
765 Scotland St. (Downtown) and 4345 New Town Ave.
757-220-3405 or 757-221-9582
Voted a Top 10 bar by USA Today, Green Leafe Cafe offers a huge selection of beers -- more than 60 drafts and more than 150 different bottled beers, including Virginia brews such as Williamsburg’s own Shock Top Belgian White and Bud Light. Green Leafe also offers an extensive wine list and lunch and dinner specials. The Downtown location, across the street from the College of William & Mary football stadium, is a favorite among locals and college students, while the newer restaurant in New Town features outdoor seating.
BEST PLACE TO GET DESSERT
403 Duke of Gloucester St., Merchants Square
If dinner at The Trellis is too pricey -- it’s one of Williamsburg’s most expensive restaurants -- at least stop by for dessert. The signature Death By Chocolate dessert, which inspired a cookbook and arguably made The Trellis famous, is a seven-layer chocolate torte with chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce. The elegant restaurant’s dessert menu also features sweet potato fritters, a selection of homemade sorbets and a cheese plate.Outdoors Essentials
BEST FREE THINGS TO DO
Save the admission passes for the tourists -- simply walking around Colonial Williamsburg is free and fun. You might not be able to get into all the attractions, but you can still walk among scores of reconstructed homes, shops and public buildings. Stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street and encounter costumed interpreters, stop to pet the horses tethered along the side of the cobblestoned roads or pause to learn about a 18th century trade. Get a glimpse of CW’s “Revolutionary City” -- a family-friendly, live dramatic program that features interpreters suddenly launching into street theater that’s intended to recreate life around the time of the American Revolution. Or just people-watch.
Mid County Park, 3793 Ironbound Road
Kidsburg is a community-built playground located at a 19-acre park in James City County. The wooden playground includes a fenced-in toddler area, a zip line, a play pirate ship with ladders and lookouts and a wooden tower with a slide steep and fast enough to intimidate adults. The park itself has a 2/3-mile paved path encircling it and includes lighted ball fields, basketball and tennis courts, a beach volleyball court and picnic shelters.