Kingston, located in Ontario, Canada, is a vibrant and historic city with a rich cultural heritage. It offers a plethora of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. From stunning waterfront views to fascinating historical sites, Kingston has something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Kingston.
1. Kingston Waterfront
Start your exploration by visiting the picturesque waterfront area. Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic shores of Lake Ontario, enjoy the fresh air, and admire the beautiful views. The waterfront is lined with parks, gardens, and restaurants, making it a perfect spot for relaxation and picnics.
2. Historic Downtown Kingston
Explore the charming historic district of downtown Kingston. The streets are filled with well-preserved 19th-century buildings, boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants. Don’t miss out on visiting Market Square, where you can find local produce and crafts at the outdoor market.
3. Kingston City Hall
A prominent landmark in downtown Kingston, the City Hall is an architectural marvel. Built in the 19th century, it showcases stunning Victorian design and features a beautiful clock tower. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of this grand building.
4. Fort Henry National Historic Site
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Step back in time and visit Fort Henry, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 19th-century fortress offers an immersive experience into military life during the 1800s. Explore the fort’s ramparts, watch reenactments, and enjoy panoramic views of the city and Lake Ontario.
5. Kingston Penitentiary Museum
For a unique and educational experience, visit the Kingston Penitentiary Museum. Located in a former maximum-security prison, the museum provides insights into the history of Canadian corrections. Learn about infamous inmates, tour the cells, and discover the prison’s role in shaping Canada’s justice system.
6. Thousand Islands
Embark on a boat tour from Kingston and explore the beautiful Thousand Islands region. This archipelago of islands offers breathtaking scenery, charming cottages, and opportunities for swimming, fishing, and kayaking. The boat tours provide fascinating commentary about the islands’ history and legends.
7. Queen’s University
Take a stroll through the prestigious Queen’s University campus, known for its stunning limestone buildings and picturesque surroundings. Admire the historic architecture, visit the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and explore the beautifully landscaped Queen’s University Botanical Gardens.
8. Bellevue House National Historic Site
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Visit Bellevue House, the former residence of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister. This well-preserved Victorian villa offers guided tours, showcasing the lifestyle of the 19th-century upper class. Learn about Macdonald’s role in shaping the nation while exploring the elegant rooms and gardens.
9. Kingston Public Market
Indulge in the vibrant local culture by visiting the Kingston Public Market. Established in 1801, it is one of the oldest markets in Canada. Explore a wide array of stalls offering fresh produce, artisanal goods, baked treats, and local crafts. It’s a fantastic place to experience the city’s community spirit.
10. Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning
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If you’re interested in arts and culture, head to the Tett Centre. Housed in a historic limestone building, it serves as a hub for artists, performers, and cultural organizations. Attend exhibitions, workshops, and live performances, or simply explore the galleries and artist studios.
11. Kingston Mills
Explore the fascinating Kingston Mills, part of the Rideau Canal system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the engineering marvels of the locks and learn about the canal’s importance in the region’s history. Enjoy a peaceful walk along the scenic trails, go fishing, or have a picnic by the water’s edge.
12. Wolfe Island
Take a short ferry ride from Kingston and discover the tranquility of Wolfe Island. Known for its picturesque landscapes and charming rural atmosphere, the island offers opportunities for cycling, birdwatching, and exploring sandy beaches. Visit Big Sandy Bay Conservation Area for a scenic hike or a swim in Lake Ontario.
13. Kingston Food and Drink Scene
Kingston boasts a thriving culinary scene with a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and breweries. Sample delicious local cuisine, from farm-to-table dishes to international flavors. Don’t miss the chance to try the famous Kingston-style poutine, a local twist on the classic Canadian dish.
14. Kingston Haunted Walk
Experience the spookier side of Kingston with a haunted walk tour. Led by entertaining guides, these tours take you through the city’s historic streets, sharing eerie tales of ghostly encounters and haunted locations. It’s a fun and thrilling way to explore the city’s darker history.
15. Kingston Pen Tours
Go behind the bars of Canada’s most notorious prison with a Kingston Penitentiary tour. Led by former guards, the tours provide an intriguing look into the facility’s history, infamous inmates, and prison life. Explore the cells, exercise yards, and common areas while hearing captivating stories.
16. The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts
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Enjoy a night of culture and entertainment at the Isabel Bader Centre. This state-of-the-art venue hosts a variety of performances, including music concerts, theater productions, and dance shows. Check the schedule to catch a captivating performance during your visit.
17. Kingston Symphony Orchestra
If you appreciate classical music, don’t miss the opportunity to attend a concert by the Kingston Symphony Orchestra. This talented ensemble performs a diverse repertoire, showcasing the works of renowned composers. Immerse yourself in the world of symphonic music and enjoy an evening of musical brilliance.
18. Kingston Mills Lockstation Skating Trail
During the winter months, experience a unique activity by skating along the frozen Rideau Canal at Kingston Mills Lockstation. Glide across the ice, surrounded by picturesque winter scenery. Warm up with hot cocoa and enjoy a memorable winter adventure.
19. Lemoine Point Conservation Area
Nature lovers will appreciate the beauty of Lemoine Point Conservation Area. This expansive park offers scenic trails, perfect for hiking, cycling, or birdwatching. Explore diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and shoreline habitats, and take in the serene natural surroundings.
20. Shopping in Kingston
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If you enjoy shopping, Kingston won’t disappoint. The city offers a mix of independent boutiques, antique shops, and well-known brands. Browse through the unique stores in downtown Kingston or visit shopping centers like Cataraqui Centre for a wide range of retail options.
21. Kingston Mills Locks
Witness the engineering marvels of the Kingston Mills Locks, a series of interconnected locks along the Rideau Canal. Watch as boats navigate through the locks, and learn about the canal’s role in connecting Lake Ontario to the Ottawa River. The locks offer a unique and fascinating glimpse into the canal’s operation.
22. Kingston Frontenac Public Library
If you’re a book lover or seeking a quiet space, visit the Kingston Frontenac Public Library. This architectural gem features a modern design and offers a vast collection of books, digital resources, and community programs. Take some time to relax, read, or explore the library’s exhibits and events.
23. Kingston Mills Archaeological Center
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Delve into Kingston’s history through the Kingston Mills Archaeological Center. Located near the locks, this center provides insights into the region’s Indigenous heritage and archaeological discoveries. Explore exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays that showcase the area’s cultural significance.
24. MacLachlan Woodworking Museum
Discover the craftsmanship and artistry of woodworking at the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum. Housed in a historic mill, the museum showcases a collection of beautifully crafted wooden artifacts, tools, and furniture. Take part in workshops or demonstrations to learn woodworking techniques firsthand.
25. Kingston Grand Theatre
Immerse yourself in the performing arts scene at the Kingston Grand Theatre. This historic venue hosts a diverse range of performances, including plays, musicals, concerts, and dance shows. Check the schedule for upcoming shows and enjoy an evening of entertainment and culture.
26. Kingston Ghost and Mystery Trolley Tour
Embark on an entertaining and spine-chilling adventure with the Kingston Ghost and Mystery Trolley Tour. Hop aboard a vintage trolley and explore the city’s haunted locations and intriguing mysteries. Listen to engaging stories of ghosts, legends, and unsolved mysteries that add a thrilling twist to Kingston’s history.
27. Kingston Brewing Company
Sample locally crafted beers at the Kingston Brewing Company, Ontario’s oldest brewpub. Enjoy a wide selection of handcrafted ales and lagers while soaking in the brewery’s laid-back atmosphere. Take a tour to learn about the brewing process and the company’s history.
28. City Park
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in the serene surroundings of City Park. This expansive green space features beautiful gardens, mature trees, and recreational facilities. Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or engage in activities such as frisbee, soccer, or tennis.
29. Kingston Fall Fair
If you happen to visit Kingston in September, make sure to attend the Kingston Fall Fair. This annual event celebrates agriculture and community spirit with livestock shows, exhibits, live entertainment, carnival rides, and delicious fair food. It’s a fun-filled experience for all ages.
30. Kingston Public Art
Kingston boasts a vibrant public art scene with numerous sculptures, murals, and installations scattered throughout the city. Take a self-guided tour and discover the diverse array of public art pieces that enhance the urban landscape. Each artwork adds a touch of creativity and cultural significance to Kingston’s streets.
31. Kingston Military Community Sports Centre
Stay active and enjoy various sports activities at the Kingston Military Community Sports Centre. This state-of-the-art facility offers amenities such as swimming pools, fitness classes, indoor tracks, and ice rinks. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or seeking family-friendly recreational options, this center has something for everyone.
Places and Things To Do