When you think of history along Coastal Virginia, your mind likely goes to one place: Williamsburg. While the city is far from the only local spot with far-reaching roots, it’s certainly become synonymous with colonial history in our region. One-third of the historic triangle (Jamestown and Yorktown complete the area), Williamsburg is home to both cobblestones and colleges. The town is also well-known for delicious opportunities to eat and drink. If you’ve only got a weekend to spare in Williamsburg, make sure not to miss our favorite local restaurants, breweries, and cafes. Here are just a few:
Juicy chicken, succulent ribs, and tender pulled pork await diners at Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que. Just a short drive from the campus of William and Mary, Pierce’s has served up delicious barbecue since 1961. They specialize in traditional Carolina-style barbecue, with vinegar based sauces that are sure to delight. Try the collard greens – they’re a standout – as is the macaroni and cheese. Just be sure to bring your appetite, as you certainly won’t leave Pierce’s hungry!
Hopheads, rejoice! Alewerks Brewing Co. is Williamsburg's premier taproom. Established in 2008, Alewerks has been serving up cold ones to locals, tourists, and college students alike. They offer a truly Superb IPA, a Munich-style Weekend Lager, a Tavern Brown Ale, and other seasonal specialities. Not a beer fan? There’s still a lot to love about Alewerks! Biergarten style picnic tables set the scene for long afternoons spent playing board games and relaxing with friends.
If you’re more of a wine fan, head to the Williamsburg Winery, a picturesque vineyard with a tasting room and restaurant. Take a tour to learn about the history of Virginia wines and taste selected vintages from their library collection. Plan a romantic dinner under the stars and, if the mood strikes you, stay the night in one of their uniquely designed suites. There’s no better place to catch feelings than on this gorgeous property – and the wine is pretty great, too!
When you’re craving brunch in Williamsburg, there’s only one place to go: Culture Cafe. It’s well-known for its eclectic decor, creative cocktails, and delicious vegan options. Nosh on Moroccan meatballs with feta cheese and pine nuts, an out of this world cauliflower burger topped with pepper jack and relish, or sip on a cappuccino martini. It’s not just the food that’s to die for here: step through the front door and you’ll be instantly transported to a world of literature and whimsy. Harry Potter fans will especially appreciate the surprise awaiting them inside the bathroom!
It’s impossible to stop by Williamsburg’s Merchant Square without grabbing something delicious from the Cheese Shop. Originally opened in Newport News in 1971, they’ve been serving up the finest cheese on Duke of Gloucester Street since 2003. Don’t be surprised if you spot William and Mary alumni returning for their favorite snack of bread ends and house dressing. While it might sound strange at first, the combination is impossible to resist once you’ve tried it!
I'm Chelsea, a freelance writer and Norfolk native. While I'm currently based in North Carolina, I can never stay away from CoVA for long! I take a weekend warrior approach to my frequent visits, packing in as much beach time and restaurant hopping as I can.