With its beginnings dating back to 1927, Merchants Square is recognized as one of the earliest, if not the first, planned shopping district in the United States. While John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the Reverend W.A.R. Goodwin envisioned the restoration of Virginia’s colonial capital, they realized that the business community already in Williamsburg would need to be folded into the master plan.
The goal was to move shops and other small businesses, many located on the footprint of the original colonial town, into a new, customer-oriented shopping district to make way for the accurate restoration of the rest of the town. The buildings for this “Merchants Square” would not be designed to duplicate the architecture of the 18th-century Historic Area, but to harmonize with the character of the restoration.
During the early years, many of the shop owners agreed to sell their properties to the Foundation and move into this new area of what was then considered “Uptown”; that end of Duke of Gloucester Street near William & Mary. Buildings of the new Merchants Square were set back farther from the street, offering easy pedestrian access. Power and telephone lines were placed underground. Large trees were planted, and modern elements such as air conditioning ducts and garage equipment were concealed behind plantings and shrubs. In later years, the street was closed to traffic, thus allowing for an expansive pedestrian mall connecting the stores.
Over the years, as the town has grown, most of the early shops, such as the small grocery stores, have moved nearer the expanding neighbourhoods and become supermarkets. But Merchants Square, that idyllic shopping district, retains that friendly, quaint quality.
Stay Up To Date
Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media to keep up to date with the latest updates on all things Merchants Square
Discover properties for lease in Merchants Square. A historic destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg. Please contact the leasing team at Thalhimer to inquire about available commercial spaces.
Looking for a unique place to work? Look no further than Merchants Square. Browse job listings with our merchants.
Penny and a Sixpence
Exceptional sterling silver jewelry at exceptional prices.
Precarious Beer Project, a modern brewing company focused on creating cutting-edge, progressive beers.
Public Parking Paid Deck (P-1)
There’s an electric vehicle charging station on the ground level of the garage.
230 N. Henry Street, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Williamsburg Winery Tasting
Savor wine in a flight or by the glass in their updated tasting room or charming outdoor wine garden.
Serving up ice cream, bubble tea, coffee and more. Enhancing the Colonial Williamsburg experience.
Saladworks offers signature salads and create-your-own options offering salads, soups, wraps & more.
Serving up hand-tossed stone-baked pizzas and more, with 30 draft beers, and hand-crafted cocktails.
Enjoy quality, casual dining that features hand-made pasta and modern interpretations of Italian cuisine.
European-style café serving world-famous illy coffee, breakfast, lunch, cocktails, wine, and desserts.
An award-winning fine dining restaurant and a more casual and spontaneous dining experience downstairs.
DoG Street Pub
The only gastropub on Duke of Gloucester Street with a large craft beer menu and excellent food.
The Cheese Shop
Hundreds of imported/domestic cheeses, charcuterie, fresh breads, specialty foods, sandwiches and wines.
Chef David Everett offers relaxed bistro dining, serving comfort food with flair.
Offering an assortment of tempting bread, pastries, bombolone, cruffins and croissants baked fresh daily.
Specializing in fresh, regional seafood, Berret’s has been voted “Best Seafood Restaurant” by locals yearly.
Enjoy a mouth-watering variety of ice creams, milkshakes, smoothies, sundaes and frozen yogurt.
A specialty cafe offering fast-casual breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enjoy two lovely patios.
Offering freshly made fudge, hand-dipped chocolates, caramel apples and a large selection of candy.
William & Harry
William & Harry specializes in luxury men’s apparel, shoes, and accessories.
Three Cabanas is a Lilly Pulitzer signature store, offering colorful and quality resort wear.
An assortment of women’s casual wear, sportswear, versatile pieces, and accessories with a range of sizes.
The Spice & Tea Exchange
An extensive tea selection, custom spice blends, specialty salts, accessories for your tea and culinary needs.
Featuring brands like Birkenstock, Vionic, Dansko, Brooks and more, along with expert fitting services.
The Shoe Attic
The Shoe Attic offers eclectic and standout styles with a selection of clothing to complement the shoes.
Scotland House Ltd.
Home to a wide selection of tartan items, Harris Tweed jackets, Celtic jewelry and more.
R.P. Wallance & Sons
Featuring Williamsburg souvenirs, t-shirts, sweatshirts and Simply Southern apparel and gifts.
R. Bryant Ltd.
R. Bryant Ltd. offers both imported and domestic quality traditional men’s apparel.
The Precious Gem
The Precious Gem offers a selection of unique jewelry and precious stones that have been hand-selected.
Penny and a Sixpence
Penny and a Sixpence offers exceptional sterling silver and gold vermeil jewelry at exceptional prices.
The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg
World-famous hand-cooked Virginia peanuts roasted locally, offering specialty nuts, confections, and more.
A technical apparel company for yoga, running, training and most other sweaty pursuits.
An American sportswear clothing brand offering classic clothes with current styles for men and women.
J. Fenton Gallery
J. Fenton sells clothing with an emphasis on comfortable, fashionable FLAX-brand linen collection.
French Twist Boutique, a local boutique with European flair in Colonial Williamsburg.
Carefully crafted eco-friendly clothing designs made for day-to-day adventures with a British flair.
Find a selection of exclusive Colonial Williamsburg souvenirs including t-shirts, toys, food and drinks.
Finely crafted pieces from ornaments and jewelry to home goods. All products are handmade in Vermont.
The Christmas Shop
Williamsburg’s oldest Christmas store, specializing in unique Christmas ornaments and collectibles.
Offering carefully curated fashion collections with quality, comfort and versatility as the focal point.
A specialty children’s clothing boutique offering shoes, accessories and apparel for girls and boys.
Campus Shop, a one-stop shop for t-shirts, accessories, gifts, and more.
Brick & Vine
Featuring Williamsburg brand home décor, furnishings, and refined accents, a design center and more.
Blink offers distinctive gifts, jewelry, art, and home accessories along with interior design services.