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One of the most popular historic tourist destinations on the east coast, Williamsburg, Virginia, is a beautiful city that can also make a fantastic place to live.

However, the same things that make Williamsburg alluring can also be a drawback, depending on the circumstances, so it’s important to look at all angles of living in the area.

Key Takeaways

  • The area’s rich history offers plenty to see, but tourists can cause congestion in the city.
  • Williamsburg’s residents are friendly, and the community is welcoming.
  • The area offers many recreational opportunities but has limited nightlife options.
  • Williamsburg’s cost of living is high.
  • Williamsburg’s school system is excellent.
  • The local crime rate is low.
  • Residents can enjoy four beautiful seasons and gorgeous scenery but may have to contend with unpleasant storms and winters.
  • Local military bases provide job opportunities but can be noisy.

Rich History

Williamsburg was founded in 1632 and was a politically-important city during the American Revolution. Visitors and residents will have many options for historic places to explore.

For example, Colonial Williamsburg, the largest living history museum in the country, is located in the heart of the city. The museum features several historic buildings, and actors reenact daily life and educate guests about the role the area played as the United States formed.

These historic sites also draw many tourists. Tourism is excellent for Williamsburg’s economy, but heavy tourism can make some areas of the city very crowded.

The downtown area, in particular, is generally busy and can be quite noisy.

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Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia


Traffic in Williamsburg can be heavy. This is partially due to tourists but is also due to commuters. For example, many people work at the nearby military base, so rush hour can be very congested.

Pedestrians can also slow traffic, and anyone who drives through downtown Williamsburg will need to watch out for foot traffic.

Friendly People

In general, the people of Williamsburg are friendly and welcoming. Most new residents find that it’s easy to feel like they’re part of the community.

There are also many local options for shopping and dining, so getting to know the area’s favorite local spots and mingling with neighbors is simple.

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Entertainment Options

As mentioned above, Williamsburg offers plenty of historic entertainment options. The area is also home to several parks, and there are many outdoor recreation areas, so hiking, camping, fishing, and other activities are common and plentiful.

However, although there are many options for entertainment during the day, there are far fewer nightlife options. There are few options for concerts or taking in any other kind of show, and, as the town is geared toward families, there are not many options for bars.

Cost of Living

Williamsburg’s cost of living is moderate. Compared to some other major cities along the east coast, Williamsburg offers a lower cost of living, but compared to the rest of Virginia, the cost of living might be considered high.

The area’s strong tourist economy drives some prices up, but high average annual salaries do somewhat make up for these higher prices.

While the cost of utilities and basic necessities may be moderate, the cost of housing is quite expensive. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $1,200, and the average cost of a home is about $373,000, which is much higher than in the rest of Virginia.

Healthcare and transportation costs are also relatively high. Virginia also enacts personal property taxes. This means that anyone who owns a car in Virginia must pay an annual tax based on the vehicle’s current value.

These taxes must be paid every year, regardless of whether you have paid off the vehicle.

School System

Williamsburg’s school system is known as one of the best in the state of Virginia. Most students test significantly higher than in other parts of Virginia.

Students who graduate from high school in Williamsburg will also be able to choose from several excellent Virginia colleges if they decide to attend school in the state.

Virginia Tech is a popular choice, and William & Mary, one of the premier schools in the country, is located right in Williamsburg.

children in a classroom

Crime Rate

Williamsburg is often thought of as a family-friendly city, and some of the reasoning behind that is that the area has such a low crime rate.

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The rate of both violent and property crimes is lower in Williamsburg than in much of the rest of the country. In fact, Williamsburg has some of the lowest crime rates in the country and also has a lower crime rate than many other areas in Virginia.

Climate and Landscape

Many visitors flock to Williamsburg and the surrounding area to view the beautiful landscape. Like much of Virginia, Williamsburg is surrounded by dense forests and rolling hills that provide gorgeous views.

Williamsburg is also located between two major rivers and isn’t far from the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This means that residents will have plenty of options for visiting the beach, swimming, fishing, and boating.

Residents of Williamsburg will also be able to experience all four seasons. Summers in the area are warm, with temperatures reaching into the 80s.

The fall and spring months can be chilly, but spring brings beautiful flowers, and the fall foliage is quite stunning. Winters are cold but picturesque. The area sees about 5 inches of snow each winter.

Rain is relatively common in Williamsburg, and about nine or 10 days out of every month will be dreary. The winter months can also be very cold, with temperatures dropping well below freezing.

Because the city is located on the coast, residents will also need to stay alert for any signs of tropical storms. Hurricanes can occasionally whip through the city, and these violent storms can cause property damage.

hurricane shown on a map of eastern usa

Military Bases

The area around Williamsburg is home to several military bases and naval training areas. These bases offer many excellent jobs for military personnel and civilians alike.

However, these bases can cause traffic congestion, and some residents dislike the noise created by military planes overhead.

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