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Planning a trip to the city of Kingston? This awesome guide will help you create the perfect itinerary for your stay in the city. The historic and educational sights to visit, restaurants that will delight your taste buds, and hotels that will help you feel at home - it's all here! Here are 13 best things to do, 6 restaurants to eat at, and 4 hotels you can stay in while visiting this beautiful city.
13 Best Things to do in Kingston
Whether you're looking for a weekend getaway or a day trip from your cottage or home in the area, Kingston is brimming with fun activities that will keep you busy all day long. Here are our top 13 things to do in Kingston to help you plan your next adventure!
Kingston Penitentiary Tours
Kingston Penitentiary was once one of Canada's most notorious prisons. The penitentiary operated from 1835 until 2013 and housed some of the country's most notorious criminals during that time. However, it's now open as an attraction where tourists can take tours of the facilities.
This includes seeing where prisoners were hung and visiting solitary confinement cells that were used for disciplinary purposes.
Fort Henry is a National Historic Site of Canada built in the 1830s in response to fears about a war with the United States. However, tensions had eased by the time it was completed, and it became a training center for militia members instead. British soldiers were stationed at Fort Henry until 1870, when Queen Victoria's troops were pulled out of Canada.
It has also served as a prison for captured American soldiers and a haven for refugees fleeing the Civil War. The fort was restored in the 1930s, and today visitors can tour its interior and enjoy views of Lake Ontario. If you're looking for a unique experience while visiting Fort Henry, check out the haunted tour by clicking the link below.
If you're looking for a vibrant, historical district to explore on foot, look no further than Princess Street in downtown Kingston. It's the perfect place to stroll and soak up some of the area's 19th-century charm, lined with old churches and historic buildings.
The district's signature street has been dubbed 'the street of churches' since it once featured eight houses of worship. Today, that number has dwindled to four: St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica, St. George's Anglican Cathedral, Sydenham Street United Church, and St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.
These historic structures are just one reason why Princess Street is considered a must-see attraction in this Ontario city. It also features many other landmarks, including City Hall and City Hall Park. There's a neat self-guided scavenger hunt and walking tour that begins at City Hall in Kingston, you can find out more by clicking the link below.
Whether you're a student or just visiting, Queen's University will have something for everyone. Founded in 1841, one of its most famous buildings is the Arts and Administration building, which includes works by Mackintosh (of Glasgow School fame). In addition, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre features more than 15,000 pieces of artwork, including intricately carved designs from China's Ming Dynasty.
The Rideau Canal has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. This canal stretches 202 kilometers from Ottawa to Kingston, passing through 47 locks along its path.
You can visit the Southernmost of the 24 lockstations in Kingston and see this age-old locking mechanism. Then, sit down and relax at the beautiful park surrounding the lockstation or go for a stroll down the trail.
If you love being out in nature, you'll enjoy the breathtaking views at Lemoine Point Conservation Area and Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area. These parks offer several trails that weave through nature preserves and waterways. You'll find beautiful scenery along the way and explore some of the many trees that call this part of Ontario home.
This sleepy little island is only accessible by ferry from downtown Kingston, but it's worth the trip! Consider taking a tour of the island's wind farm (the first of its kind in Canada), taking a walk along its many beaches, or relaxing with a drink at a waterfront pub.
As Wolfe Island is just 30 minutes away from downtown Kingston, it makes for a great night out — but don't underestimate its capacity to entertain you for an entire day.
Skeleton Park Art Festival is Kingston's annual indie arts festival, running for 11 days every June. The festival features local and national artists — both established and up-and-coming. You can bring the entire family to enjoy these talented performances, and the best part is it's free!
If you're feeling brave, hop on the Haunted Walk Tour and learn about the most haunted places in town. You'll see some of the oldest buildings in Kingston and hear stories about the people who lived and died there. You might even meet some of them!
Kingston has excellent bike lanes, so it's no surprise that more and more people choose to rent bikes when exploring the city. The downtown waterfront is full of beautiful views, historical landmarks, and cozy coffee shops. Going on a guided bike tour can help get you around the city quickly to visit some of the top spots.
Lake Ontario Park is the perfect place to take a break from your hectic day. The park offers picnic tables, benches, and lovely scenery, ideal for enjoying a meal or rest. The park also has grassy areas on its beachfront, excellent for laying in the sun or playing games with the kids.
The Royal Military College of Canada Museum provides a fascinating look into Canada's military history, with a focus on the legacy of the college itself. The collections here are extensive and provide real insight into what life was like for soldiers in the past. If you're interested in exploring this aspect of Canadian culture, this is one activity you won't want to miss.
Did you know that Kingston is also known as the 'freshwater sailing capital' of Canada? You may have come to Kingston for the architecture and history, but there's so much more to do here! Set sail along the waterfront and enjoy the beautiful sunset over Lake Ontario. You can charter a sailboat and have your skipper take you out onto calm waters where you can either participate or let the skipper handle everything. No experience is required!
Like most big cities in the world, Kingston is home to plenty of restaurants offering various foods and cuisines. Most restaurants here have a decent vegetarian and vegan selection which means you can easily find one that fits your lifestyle. If you are new to Kingston, the first step is knowing where to start - this list should give you a good starting point!
Toucan Pub and Grill
The Toucan Pub and Grill is one of the best places to eat in the city. The restaurant has a huge menu that's packed with delicious food and drink options, from mouth-watering burgers and fries to grilled chicken wings, fish tacos, and more! The specialty of this place is definitely the meaty and juicy wings — every bite will have you craving for more and more.
AquaTerra offers fine dining with incredible views of Lake Ontario, but that view isn't the only attractive thing about this restaurant. Their menu is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine and they feature an extensive wine menu from all over the world. Whether you have a special event or a night out with friends, AquaTerra is the place to go.
Tango Nuevo is Kingston's premier Argentinean cuisine. Since opening in 2017, the restaurant has offered diners classic Argentinian fare as well as modern twists on it. The restaurant itself has a warm and inviting décor, featuring dark wood accents, brick walls, and flat screens playing soccer matches. It's a great place to gather with friends, watch the game and drink some fine red wine.
The Iron Duke is the perfect restaurant for anyone who is looking for new taste experiences. The local trendsetters and foodies all love to eat at the Iron Duke's spacious indoor and outdoor seating areas, where their favorites are always on the menu. A La Carte or family-style menus are available all day, and you're sure to find something that will please every sense in Kingston, Ontario.
Chez Piggy, considered a staple of Kingston's downtown restaurant scene, is a gourmet eatery known for its locally sourced ingredients and inventive menu. The cozy little spot is particularly popular among Kingston residents and visitors who want to dine out in an intimate setting with seasonal food that uses fresh, local ingredients as much as possible.
Wooden Heads Pizza is located downtown and is one of the top reviewed pizza spots in Kingston. They have been around since 1995 and they serve their own brand. They always have interesting flavors that you can add to your slices of goodness. It's a great place to share a couple drinks with friends or take a date for a nice pizza meal. The restaurant is located across from the waterfront so you can get some great views.
If you're heading to Kingston, Ontario, Canada for vacation or business, you might be wondering where to stay. Whatever your budget, there's a place for everyone in this beautiful city. Here are four ideas for hotels to meet every need:
Delta Hotels by Marriott Kingston Waterfront
The Delta Hotels by Marriott Kingston Waterfront is a great place to stay in Kingston. With so many amenities, you will never run out of things to do. The hotel is close to the waterfront and the architecture of the building is beautiful inside and out. With plenty of shops and cafes nearby and easy access to public transit, this hotel will keep you entertained any time of day or night! It has an indoor pool with a poolside bar, a coffee shop, and poolside food delivery. There is also a fitness center and a gift shop on-site. The hotel is close to the waterfront and the architecture of the building is beautiful inside and out.
Rosemount Inn is a Tuscan-style villa dating from the 1850s with a rich history. It is nestled among the trees on the side of the Rosemount Estate, giving you the serene feeling that you are visiting a country estate. The Manor has eight bedrooms, each with suite bathrooms, many of them with fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs. It's also within walking distance to historic downtown Kingston.
The Hochelaga Inn is a beautiful, old mansion that was built in 1879. It has been refurbished to provide guests with an elegant place to stay while they're in Kingston! It's a bed and breakfast that has been decorated in the Victorian style of the time the house was first built. The Hochelaga Inn offers free wifi and parking, as well as access to a lovely garden on the property.
The inn itself is located in the historic district of Kingston. It's just minutes from downtown and all the shops, restaurants, and attractions that are there. If you want to explore, it's easy to walk from this bed & breakfast; or if you prefer something quieter, there is plenty of space at the Hochelaga Inn for relaxing too - including some indoor seating areas with fireplaces and comfy chairs.
If you're looking for an elegant, quiet place to stay, look no further than The Woodview Inn. You'll be treated to understated rooms with gourmet breakfasts and an upscale French restaurant. The area's numerous parks offer cycling and hiking trails, while the nearby St. Lawrence River offers watersports and other outdoor recreation. It's a 30-minute drive from Kingston, so you'll have to arrange to drive into the city if that's the focus of your trip. In that case, it might be best to stay at a hotel near the downtown core as listed prior.
Kingston is one of Canada's best-kept secrets. Its historic, yet modernized landscape will give you a wide range of things to see and do throughout the year. Canada's first Prime Minister grew up in Kingston, thus giving this city even more historical significance. It can be a lot of fun to visit Kingston and spend time getting to know the city. Though it is small, there are plenty of things to do, including visiting parks and unique attractions, as well as fun dining opportunities and historical sites.
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