Exploring Williamsburg’s Thriving Arts and Culture Scene

For arts-minded visitors, there are endless things to do in Williamsburg, Virginia, whether it be exploring the world-class art museums at Colonial Williamsburg, seeing live music in Merchants Square and at nearby breweries, attending opera at the historic Kimball Theatre, or watching captivating dance performances at the Governor’s Palace. Williamsburg’s cultural milieu surrounds our downtown bed and breakfast – ever-vibrant, entertaining, and easily accessible.

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Centuries of Visual Art and Rarities, All Under One Roof

Embark on a captivating journey through the visual art of Williamsburg at the Colonial Williamsburg Art Museums. Their renowned collection, just a leisurely 10-minute stroll from our doorstep, encompasses two massive museums in one convenient location. With an astonishing collection of over 70,000 art pieces, including seven new gallery spaces developed as part of their recent 3-year expansion project, their exhibits span broad topics and eras. See firsthand the evolution of British and American art over the last several centuries, an enlightening and fascinating experience as you browse their thoughtfully curated galleries.

Explore centuries of history and creativity at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, a true testament to the enduring spirit of art. Celebrating its 67th anniversary in 2024, this is the country's longest continuously-operating folk art museum – a treasure trove of art created by ordinary people, often with practical purposes, reflecting the culture of their time. “Stitched in Time” stands out among the many captivating exhibits, displaying four centuries of quilting. These fabric designs, used to add color and texture to homes dating back to colonial times, served a practical purpose while telling a story of American culture through our artistic expression.

Take one of the daily Art Museums overview tours, offered free at 11:30 am with admission, when you’ll get a general overview of the Folk Art exhibits and the neighboring Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Dewitt Wallace collection includes a vast array of fine and decorative art items, some dating back to 1670, with everything from early British glassware to late-18th-century oil painting portraits and hand-carved wooden furniture, all expertly preserved by the renowned Colonial Williamsburg conservation team (they have a 65,000 square foot lab on-site dedicated to processing every piece of art that comes into their collection, which is constantly growing). Combine your art museum visit with a walk through the historic area’s multiple botanical gardens – ornate and beautiful works of art, flowering anew every spring.

Live Music in Williamsburg – Free Tunes Around Town Every Weekend

Merchants Square, located right across the street from our location, is the heart of downtown Williamsburg. Every Saturday morning from spring through fall, browse the dozens of vendors at the Farmers Market, enjoy the sunshine and delicious eats, and listen to live music from local acts. The bustling market, one of our favorite things to do in Williamsburg, Virginia, has always invited musicians to provide entertainment, supporting the local music scene and creating a lively ambiance. Recurring artists include the LCV Project, which features intricate folk guitar arrangements, and the Audio Project, a trio that plays hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Starting on May 3rd and continuing through early October, the Merchants Square Concert Series brings free live music to an outdoor stage on Duke of Gloucester St on the first Friday evening of every month from 6-8 pm in 2024. Dance to the tunes on a warm spring or summer evening, followed by boutique browsing and delicious plates of blackened salmon or steak frites just around the block at Blue Talon Bistro, one of our favorite Williamsburg restaurants.

If you’re a beer enthusiast, combine live music with a beer tasting at one of several award-winning Williamsburg breweries just minutes away. Precarious Beer Project – recently honored as the best brewery group and craft brewer of the year by the esteemed Great American Beer Festival – often hosts live music on the weekends alongside its weekly Friday night free live comedy series, Punchlines & Pints. At the Virginia Beer Company, grab a table in their always-buzzing outdoor beer garden and enjoy their free live music on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons from late March through October. They invite different food trucks to serve on a rotating schedule, so you’ll have tasty options like Latin fusion from Don Chide or barbeque classics from Bones & BBQ. The Virginia Beer brew team also taps new can releases every weekend, when you can sample the first tapping of specialty brews like a Czech lager or sour ale while kicking back to the free live tunes.

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The Captivating Sound of Arias and the Grace of Dance in Williamsburg

In mid-May, the historic Kimball Theatre, which dates back over 90 years, will be filled with the glorious sound of arias brought to life by the Opera in Williamsburg. Since 2012, the local opera production’s mission has been to showcase some of the world’s best opera singers on our stages while introducing opera in our schools and supporting the local arts. Some of their past shows have included iconic operatic works like La Traviata and La Boheme, and that high pedigree continues this year with their performance of Jacques Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann on May 17, 19, and 21, 2024. The cast includes over a dozen singers and a live orchestra, bringing the late 1800s French libretto to life in a dazzling live setting, sure to be entertaining whether you’re an opera devotee or it’s your first time.

Dance has always played an essential role in Williamsburg culture, dating back to when the Governor’s Palace was the gathering place for events like Christmas balls and exquisite galas when attendees would dance as part of the formal proceedings. The tradition lives on at the Dancing at the Governor’s Palace performances, when costumed Colonial Williamsburg historical interpreters perform these centuries-old dances from 7:30-8:30 pm every Wed throughout June and every Wed and Fri night starting in July. In addition to seeing styles like the country dance, minuet, cotillion, and hornpipe danced beautifully, you’ll also get the option to try the dances at different points throughout the show, a fun way to join the festivities.

Stay with us and experience Williamsburg's cultural tapestry of art, music, opera, and dance!


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