Welcome to Kingston, Ontario, a charming and historic city nestled on the shores of Lake Ontario. Known as the “Limestone City” for its stunning architecture, Kingston is a captivating destination that seamlessly blends the past with the present. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a delightful getaway, Kingston has something to offer everyone.
As Canada’s first capital, Kingston boasts a rich heritage that can be seen throughout its streets and landmarks. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kingston’s Fortifications, which played a vital role in the defense of the city and the surrounding area. Immerse yourself in the fascinating stories of the past as you wander through the well-preserved streets of the Historic District, where beautiful limestone buildings stand as a testament to the city’s historic significance.
Beyond its historical charm, Kingston is a vibrant and bustling city with a lively cultural scene. Discover a myriad of art galleries, theaters, and music venues, showcasing the talents of local artists and performers. The lively downtown core offers a diverse range of dining options, from quaint cafes and gastropubs to upscale restaurants, serving up delectable cuisine to satisfy every palate.
Nature lovers will find solace in Kingston’s abundant green spaces and breathtaking waterfront views. Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Lake Ontario shoreline or explore the stunning trails of the Thousand Islands region, just a short drive away. For those seeking adventure on the water, embark on a scenic boat tour to discover the beauty of the Thousand Islands, a collection of charming islands dotting the St. Lawrence River.
Kingston also prides itself on its strong sense of community and offers a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. From music festivals and outdoor markets to cultural celebrations and sporting events, there’s always something happening in Kingston to engage and entertain visitors of all ages.
With its historical significance, natural beauty, vibrant arts scene, and warm community spirit, Kingston, Ontario, is a destination that will leave a lasting impression. So pack your bags, embrace the charm of the Limestone City, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in this enchanting Canadian gem.
Kingston City Guide: A Brief History Of Kingston, Ontario, Canada
For travelers interested in the history of Kingston, Ontario, you’re in for a treat. This city has a captivating past that dates back centuries, and exploring its historical landmarks and sites is a must-do experience. Here’s a glimpse into the history of Kingston:
- First Nations Heritage: Before European settlement, the area now known as Kingston was inhabited by First Nations peoples, including the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. They relied on the waterways for transportation and fishing, and their presence is an integral part of the region’s history.
- French and British Colonial Era: In the 17th century, French explorers, such as Samuel de Champlain, arrived in the area and established trading posts. However, in 1758, during the Seven Years’ War, the British captured Fort Frontenac (now Kingston) and claimed the region as their own.
- Military History: Kingston played a significant role in the defense of Upper Canada (now Ontario) during the War of 1812. The city’s strategic location at the eastern end of Lake Ontario made it a vital military base. Visitors can explore Fort Henry, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was constructed in the 19th century to safeguard the entrance to the Rideau Canal.
- First Capital of Canada: Kingston was chosen as the capital of the United Province of Canada in 1841, making it the first capital of Canada. However, this status was short-lived, as the capital was later moved to Montreal and then to Ottawa. Despite the move, Kingston’s historical significance as a former capital remains.
- Historic District: The downtown area of Kingston is home to a well-preserved Historic District, where visitors can admire beautiful limestone buildings that date back to the 19th century. This area offers a charming atmosphere, with its cobblestone streets, boutique shops, and restaurants.
- Kingston Penitentiary: Built in 1835, the Kingston Penitentiary is a former maximum-security prison that operated for nearly 180 years. It has housed some of Canada’s most notorious criminals and is now a popular tourist attraction offering guided tours, providing a unique insight into the country’s penal history.
- Royal Military College of Canada: Established in 1876, the Royal Military College of Canada is a prestigious military academy located in Kingston. The campus, with its stunning architecture and rich military traditions, is open for guided tours and offers a glimpse into the life of cadets and the institution’s history.
As you explore Kingston, you’ll find historical markers, plaques, and informative displays throughout the city, providing further insights into its captivating past. Whether you’re visiting Fort Henry, walking the streets of the Historic District, or delving into the stories behind the city’s landmarks, Kingston’s history is sure to fascinate and enrich your travel experience.
Kingston Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Ontario, Canada
Situated on the shores of Lake Ontario, Kingston, Ontario, boasts a wealth of top attractions and captivating destinations that will enchant visitors. From its historic landmarks to its scenic waterfront, the city offers a diverse range of experiences for all who venture here.
One of the crown jewels of Kingston is the Fort Henry National Historic Site. This meticulously restored 19th-century fort, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, transports visitors back in time. Immerse yourself in military history as you explore its grounds, partake in thrilling demonstrations, and engage with informative exhibits.
A leisurely stroll along the Kingston Waterfront is a must-do activity. The picturesque shoreline of Lake Ontario offers breathtaking views and a serene ambiance. Parks, marinas, and a multitude of dining options make it an idyllic spot for relaxation and people-watching.
The heart of Kingston lies in its City Hall and Market Square. The historic City Hall, an architectural gem crafted from limestone, serves as the seat of municipal government and is a sight to behold. Next to it, Market Square bustles with activity, hosting farmers’ markets, live music performances, and various cultural events throughout the year.
For a truly enchanting experience, embark on a boat tour to explore the Thousand Islands region. Marvel at the natural beauty of this unique archipelago, with its countless islands dotting the St. Lawrence River. Scenic cruises offer a chance to soak in the stunning landscapes and immerse yourself in the charm of the region.
The Bellevue House National Historic Site offers a glimpse into the life of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister. This meticulously restored 19th-century house showcases Macdonald’s personal and political life, allowing visitors to delve into Canadian history and gain insights into this influential figure.
History enthusiasts will find intrigue in the Kingston Penitentiary Tours. This decommissioned maximum-security prison holds a storied past. Guided tours provide a fascinating glimpse into the prison’s history, notable inmates, and the daily operations that took place within its imposing limestone walls.
Art lovers shouldn’t miss the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, located on the Queen’s University campus. The gallery houses an impressive collection of Canadian and international art, spanning both contemporary and historical works. Discover the diversity and creativity of the artistic world within its welcoming halls.
For a change of pace, venture to Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands. A short ferry ride away from Kingston, this rural retreat offers tranquility, picturesque landscapes, and opportunities for outdoor activities. From cycling routes to bird-watching and scenic lake views, Wolfe Island is a haven for nature enthusiasts.
Take a journey to Kingston Mills, a historic site that forms part of the Rideau Canal system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Watch boats navigate the locks, enjoy a relaxing picnic by the water, or explore the surrounding trails, which showcase the region’s natural beauty and serenity.
Climb to the top of Murney Tower National Historic Site, a Martello tower that offers panoramic views of Kingston and its surroundings. Within its walls, exhibits detail the city’s military history, providing a deeper understanding of the role this fortified structure played in the area’s defense.
These attractions and destinations are just a taste of what Kingston, Ontario, has to offer. Whether you seek history, natural beauty, artistic inspiration, or a tranquil escape, this captivating city promises to deliver an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return.
source: The Planet D on YouTube
Top 22 Things To Do in Kingston, Ontario, Canada For Visitors
Kingston, Ontario, offers a plethora of exciting activities and attractions to keep visitors entertained. Here are 22 top things to do in Kingston:
- Immerse yourself in the rich history of Kingston by exploring the meticulously restored Fort Henry National Historic Site. Witness engaging military reenactments and take in panoramic views of the city and Lake Ontario.
- Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the scenic Kingston Waterfront, where you can bask in the beauty of the lake and observe boats sailing by. Find a cozy spot to relax and watch the sunset over the water.
- Visit Kingston City Hall and Market Square, a vibrant hub where you can marvel at the impressive architecture of the historic City Hall building. Browse through the bustling market and discover local artisans, fresh produce, and unique souvenirs.
- Embark on a captivating boat tour of the enchanting Thousand Islands region. Cruise through the picturesque islands, marvel at their natural beauty, and learn about the area’s fascinating history and legends.
- Step into the past at Bellevue House National Historic Site, the former home of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister. Tour the elegantly restored rooms and gain insights into Macdonald’s life and political career.
- Delve into the intriguing history of the Kingston Penitentiary with a guided tour. Explore the cells and grounds of this decommissioned maximum-security prison, hear captivating stories about its infamous inmates, and gain a deeper understanding of the criminal justice system.
- Immerse yourself in the world of art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Marvel at its extensive collection of Canadian and international artworks, spanning various genres and time periods. Attend special exhibitions, lectures, and interactive workshops.
- Experience the vibrant cultural scene at the Grand Theatre, where you can enjoy a diverse range of live performances, including theater, dance, music, and comedy shows.
- Wander through the streets of Kingston’s Historic District, adorned with stunning limestone buildings that date back centuries. Admire the architecture, discover charming boutiques and galleries, and indulge in the city’s culinary delights.
- Uncover the fascinating stories behind the artifacts at the Royal Military College Museum. Learn about the military history of Canada and explore the extensive collection of uniforms, weapons, and memorabilia.
- Embark on an outdoor adventure along the scenic K&P Trail. Walk, jog, or cycle on this former railway line, surrounded by beautiful landscapes and lush greenery.
- Escape to one of Kingston’s picturesque parks, such as Lake Ontario Park or Grass Creek Park. Enjoy a picnic by the water, go for a swim, or simply relax in the serene natural surroundings.
- Immerse yourself in the world of music and performing arts at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Catch a live concert, theatrical production, or dance performance in this state-of-the-art venue.
- Uncover the evolution of healthcare at the Museum of Health Care. Explore the exhibits showcasing medical instruments, hospital equipment, and personal stories, providing insights into the history of healthcare in Canada.
- Take a guided tour of Kingston City Hall and admire its impressive architecture and historical significance. Learn about the building’s design and explore its ornate interiors.
- Soak up the vibrant atmosphere at the Kingston Public Market, one of the oldest markets in Ontario. Sample local produce, baked goods, and artisanal products while immersing yourself in the lively ambiance.
- Indulge in a shopping spree along Princess Street, Kingston’s main downtown thoroughfare. Explore the unique shops, boutiques, and galleries offering a wide range of fashion, art, and home decor.
- Embark on a scenic drive or bike ride along the Thousand Islands Parkway, following the St. Lawrence River as it winds through the breathtaking Thousand Islands region. Marvel at the stunning vistas of the river and the myriad of islands that dot its waters, each with its own unique charm and character. Take your time to stop at scenic viewpoints, snap photos of the picturesque landscapes, and appreciate the tranquility of this natural wonder.
- Quench your thirst for local flavors by embarking on a tasting tour of Kingston’s breweries, wineries, and distilleries. Sample craft beers, fine wines, and artisanal spirits, and learn about the passion and craftsmanship behind these libations.
- Dive into the captivating world of woodworking at the MacLachlan Woodworking Museum. Explore the exhibits showcasing the history and techniques of traditional woodworking, and witness skilled artisans at work.
- Immerse yourself in nature’s embrace by engaging in outdoor activities on the Rideau Canal or the Cataraqui River. Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard to explore the waterways, or simply relax on the shore and soak in the serene surroundings.
- Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by attending one of the many festivals and events that take place throughout the year in Kingston. From music festivals and art fairs to cultural celebrations and sporting events, there’s always something happening to engage and entertain visitors of all ages.
With its rich history, natural beauty, vibrant arts scene, and warm community spirit, Kingston, Ontario, offers a multitude of activities and attractions that cater to every interest. Whether you’re seeking historical landmarks, outdoor adventures, artistic inspiration, or a taste of local culture, Kingston is sure to captivate your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories.
What To Eat and Drink in Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Kingston, Ontario is a culinary haven, offering a diverse range of dining experiences that cater to every palate. From local specialties to international flavors, here are some must-try foods and drinks in Kingston:
- Poutine: Indulge in a Canadian classic – poutine. This delicious dish features crispy french fries smothered in rich gravy and topped with squeaky cheese curds. Try variations that include additional toppings like pulled pork, bacon, or caramelized onions.
- Kingston-style seafood: As a waterfront city, Kingston is renowned for its fresh seafood. Feast on delectable dishes like pan-seared pickerel, grilled Atlantic salmon, or creamy seafood chowder, made with locally sourced ingredients.
- BeaverTails: Treat yourself to a sweet Canadian delight at BeaverTails. These iconic pastries are stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail and topped with various flavors like cinnamon and sugar, Nutella, or maple butter.
- Craft beer: Kingston is home to several craft breweries that offer a wide selection of unique and flavorful beers. Sample a variety of locally brewed IPAs, stouts, lagers, and seasonal brews while enjoying the lively atmosphere of the city’s breweries and pubs.
- Maple syrup: Indulge in the taste of pure Canadian maple syrup, a sweet and golden elixir. Drizzle it over pancakes, waffles, or French toast for a truly authentic Canadian breakfast experience.
- Farmers’ market delights: Visit the Kingston Public Market or the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market to explore a plethora of local produce, baked goods, artisanal cheeses, and handmade crafts. Grab some fresh fruits, vegetables, or homemade preserves to savor the flavors of the region.
- Butter tarts: Sink your teeth into a classic Canadian treat – butter tarts. These sweet and gooey pastries are made with a buttery, flaky crust and filled with a rich caramel-like filling. Look for variations with added pecans or raisins for an extra indulgence.
- Whisky and spirits: Kingston boasts distilleries that produce a range of spirits, including whisky, vodka, gin, and rum. Sample the local spirits and learn about the distillation process while enjoying a tasting or a craft cocktail at the distillery’s tasting room.
- International cuisines: Kingston offers a diverse culinary scene with a wide range of international cuisines. From Italian and Mexican to Indian and Thai, you’ll find an array of restaurants serving authentic dishes from around the world.
- Ice cream: Beat the summer heat with a scoop or two of creamy, handcrafted ice cream. Visit one of Kingston’s ice cream parlors and indulge in flavors ranging from traditional classics to innovative creations.
Whether you’re craving comfort food, local delicacies, or international flavors, Kingston’s food scene has something to satisfy every palate. Explore the city’s restaurants, cafes, and food markets to experience the best of the region’s culinary delights.
Top Restaurants In Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Kingston, Ontario boasts a vibrant culinary scene with a wide array of restaurants offering diverse flavors and dining experiences. Here are some top restaurants in Kingston that are sure to tantalize your taste buds:
- Chez Piggy: Located in a historic limestone building, Chez Piggy is a beloved local institution. This cozy restaurant offers a delightful menu featuring dishes like roasted duck breast, Moroccan spiced lamb, and an assortment of delectable vegetarian options.
- Grecos: Experience the flavors of Greece at Grecos, a family-run restaurant serving authentic Greek cuisine. Indulge in classic dishes such as moussaka, souvlaki, and spanakopita, accompanied by Greek salads and tzatziki.
- Shima Sushi: Satisfy your sushi cravings at Shima Sushi, known for its fresh and flavorful Japanese cuisine. Enjoy a variety of sushi rolls, sashimi, and specialty dishes like tempura and teriyaki, all beautifully presented and expertly crafted.
- Tango Nuevo: Known for its farm-to-table concept, Tango Nuevo focuses on sustainable, locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy innovative dishes inspired by Latin American and Mediterranean flavors, such as ceviche, empanadas, and grilled seafood.
- Dianne’s Fish Shack & Smokehouse: For seafood lovers, Dianne’s Fish Shack & Smokehouse is a must-visit. Feast on fresh oysters, fish tacos, lobster rolls, and other mouthwatering seafood creations in a lively and casual atmosphere.
- Atomica Pizza & Wine Bar: If you’re in the mood for pizza, Atomica is a go-to spot. Their wood-fired pizzas, crafted with fresh, high-quality ingredients, are a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Pair your pie with a selection from their extensive wine list.
- Curry Original: Experience the flavors of India at Curry Original, a family-run restaurant serving authentic Indian cuisine. Indulge in aromatic curries, tandoori dishes, and an assortment of vegetarian options, all made with traditional spices and ingredients.
- Woodenheads Gourmet Pizza: Housed in a historic building, Woodenheads is renowned for its artisanal pizzas with creative toppings. Pair your pizza with a craft beer or choose from their extensive wine list.
- Bayview Farm Restaurant: Located just outside of Kingston, Bayview Farm Restaurant offers a charming countryside dining experience. This farm-to-table restaurant showcases locally sourced ingredients in dishes like beef tenderloin, roasted chicken, and fresh salads.
- Le Chien Noir Bistro: Set in a chic and cozy atmosphere, Le Chien Noir Bistro serves French-inspired cuisine with a modern twist. Enjoy dishes like coq au vin, steak frites, and decadent desserts paired with a fine selection of wines.
- Days on Front: Situated in a beautifully restored heritage building, Days on Front offers a menu of contemporary Canadian cuisine. Their dishes highlight seasonal ingredients and feature a fusion of flavors, ranging from seafood to grilled meats.
- The Grizzly Grill: Known for its warm and inviting ambiance, The Grizzly Grill offers a diverse menu with an emphasis on Canadian flavors. Savor dishes like bison burgers, Alberta steaks, and maple-glazed salmon.
- Windmills Café: A popular breakfast and brunch spot, Windmills Café serves up delicious and hearty meals to start your day off right. From fluffy pancakes and omelets to savory breakfast sandwiches, there’s something for everyone.
- Olivea: With a focus on Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, Olivea offers a menu that showcases flavors from Italy, Greece, and Spain. Enjoy dishes like house-made pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and flavorful tapas.
Tours For Visitors To Kingston, Ontario, Canada
For visitors to Kingston, Ontario, there are several captivating tours that offer unique insights into the city’s history, culture, and natural beauty. Here are some tours you can consider:
- Kingston Trolley Tours: Hop aboard a charming trolley and embark on a guided tour of Kingston’s historic sites and landmarks. Learn about the city’s rich history as knowledgeable guides share fascinating stories and anecdotes along the way.
- Thousand Islands Boat Tours: Explore the breathtaking Thousand Islands region on a scenic boat tour. Cruise through the St. Lawrence River, marvel at the picturesque islands, and learn about the area’s history and ecology from experienced guides.
- Kingston Food Tours: Embark on a culinary adventure with a guided food tour through Kingston’s vibrant downtown. Sample delicious local specialties, visit popular eateries, and gain insights into the city’s culinary scene from passionate local guides.
- Ghost and Mystery Trolley Tour: Delve into the spooky side of Kingston with a ghost and mystery trolley tour. Explore haunted locations, hear chilling tales of the city’s past, and uncover the mysteries that lie within its historic streets.
- Kingston Penitentiary Tours: Take a guided tour of the decommissioned Kingston Penitentiary, once a maximum-security prison. Walk through the cells, learn about the lives of inmates, and discover the prison’s intriguing history from knowledgeable guides.
- Kingston Walks: Join a guided walking tour through Kingston’s historic district and delve into its fascinating past. Learn about the city’s architecture, notable residents, and pivotal moments in its history as you explore its charming streets.
- Fort Henry Sunset Ceremony: Experience a unique evening event at Fort Henry National Historic Site. Witness the stirring Sunset Ceremony, featuring military drills, cannon firings, and a mesmerizing performance by the Fort Henry Guard.
- Haunted Walk of Kingston: Embark on a spine-chilling walking tour led by costumed guides who share eerie tales of Kingston’s haunted past. Explore dark alleyways, visit haunted sites, and experience the city’s paranormal side.
- Kayak or Canoe Tours: Discover Kingston’s waterways on a kayak or canoe tour. Paddle along the picturesque shores of Lake Ontario, explore hidden coves, and enjoy scenic views of the city’s skyline.
- Bicycle Tours: Join a guided bicycle tour and pedal your way through Kingston’s charming streets and scenic trails. Learn about the city’s history, stop at significant landmarks, and take in the beauty of the surroundings.
- Kingston by Segway: Glide through Kingston’s streets on a Segway tour, combining fun and exploration. Follow an experienced guide as you visit top attractions and learn about the city’s past, all while enjoying a unique mode of transportation.
- City Hall Tower Tour: Climb to the top of Kingston City Hall’s iconic tower and enjoy panoramic views of the city. A knowledgeable guide will share insights into the history and architecture of this historic landmark.
These tours offer diverse experiences, allowing visitors to delve into Kingston’s history, enjoy its natural beauty, and savor its culinary delights. Whether you prefer walking, cruising, or paddling, there’s a tour to suit every interest and provide a memorable experience of Kingston, Ontario.
Kingston Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
When visiting Kingston, Ontario, you’ll find a range of accommodations that cater to different preferences and budgets. From luxury hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts, here’s a guide to the types of accommodations available in Kingston:
- Hotels and Resorts: Kingston offers a variety of hotels and resorts, ranging from budget-friendly options to upscale establishments. These properties provide amenities like comfortable rooms, on-site restaurants, fitness centers, and often, stunning views of the waterfront.
- Bed and Breakfasts: Experience the charm of Kingston by staying at one of the many bed and breakfasts scattered throughout the city. These cozy establishments offer comfortable rooms, homemade breakfasts, and personalized service, often set in beautifully restored historic homes.
- Inns and Boutique Hotels: Kingston boasts a selection of inns and boutique hotels that offer a unique and intimate atmosphere. These accommodations often feature stylish decor, personalized service, and a range of amenities, providing a memorable and personalized stay.
- Vacation Rentals: If you prefer a more home-like experience, consider renting a vacation home or apartment. Several properties in Kingston are available for short-term rentals, providing the convenience of a fully equipped kitchen and the flexibility to accommodate larger groups or families.
- University Residences: During the summer months, Kingston’s universities offer accommodations in their residence halls. This budget-friendly option is ideal for travelers seeking a simple and affordable place to stay while enjoying proximity to the city’s attractions.
- Campgrounds and RV Parks: If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Kingston has several campgrounds and RV parks in the surrounding area. Enjoy the natural beauty of the region while camping in tents, RVs, or cabins, often with amenities such as picnic areas, fire pits, and access to hiking trails.
When choosing accommodations in Kingston, consider factors such as location, amenities, and budget. Downtown Kingston offers convenient access to attractions, dining, and shopping, while accommodations along the waterfront provide stunning views. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability.
Ultimately, whether you prefer the comforts of a hotel, the personalized touch of a bed and breakfast, or the flexibility of a vacation rental, Kingston offers a range of options to suit your needs, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay in this charming city.
Day Trips From Kingston, Ontario, Canada
While Kingston itself offers a plethora of attractions and activities, there are also several enticing day trip destinations in the surrounding area. Here are some fantastic day trips you can take from Kingston, Ontario:
- Thousand Islands: Just a short drive from Kingston, the picturesque Thousand Islands region is a must-visit. Embark on a boat tour to explore the enchanting islands, take in the breathtaking views, and learn about the area’s rich history and natural beauty.
- Prince Edward County: Head south of Kingston to Prince Edward County, a charming region renowned for its wineries, beautiful beaches, and quaint towns. Indulge in wine tastings, visit artisanal shops, and enjoy the serene ambiance of this scenic destination.
- Gananoque: Located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, Gananoque is a delightful town known as the “Gateway to the Thousand Islands.” Explore its charming downtown, enjoy a boat cruise, or visit the Arthur Child Heritage Museum to learn more about the area’s history.
- Sandbanks Provincial Park: For nature lovers, a trip to Sandbanks Provincial Park is a must. This park features expansive sand dunes, pristine beaches, and nature trails, making it an ideal spot for picnicking, swimming, hiking, or simply basking in the natural beauty.
- Perth: Travel north to the town of Perth, known for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture and charming heritage downtown. Explore the unique shops, enjoy a leisurely walk by the Tay River, and visit the Perth Museum to learn about the town’s history.
- Algonquin Provincial Park: If you’re seeking a wilderness adventure, consider a day trip to Algonquin Provincial Park. This vast park offers stunning landscapes, hiking trails, canoeing opportunities, and the chance to spot wildlife in their natural habitat.
- Rideau Canal: Discover the historical and engineering marvel that is the Rideau Canal. Visit charming towns along the canal, explore lock stations, and enjoy activities like boating, fishing, or cycling along the scenic pathways.
- Bon Echo Provincial Park: Venture to Bon Echo Provincial Park, known for its rugged landscapes and Mazinaw Rock, adorned with ancient Indigenous pictographs. Hike the trails, rent a kayak, or simply take in the stunning views of the park’s crystal-clear lakes.
- Ottawa: For a more urban day trip, head to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, located a couple of hours from Kingston. Explore Parliament Hill, visit national museums, stroll along the Rideau Canal, and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene.
These day trips from Kingston offer a diverse range of experiences, from natural beauty and outdoor adventures to historical sites and cultural attractions. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, exploration, or a change of scenery, these destinations are within reach, allowing you to make the most of your visit to Kingston, Ontario.
Kingston Transportation Guide
Getting around Kingston, Ontario is convenient and accessible, thanks to a variety of transportation options. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the city:
- Walking: The compact size of Kingston’s downtown core makes it easily walkable. Many attractions, shops, and restaurants are within close proximity, allowing you to explore the city on foot and enjoy its charming streets and historic sites.
- Public Transit: Kingston Transit operates a bus system that covers the city and surrounding areas. Buses run on various routes, making it easy to reach different neighborhoods and attractions. Schedules and route information can be found on the Kingston Transit website.
- Cycling: Kingston is bicycle-friendly, with dedicated bike lanes and paths throughout the city. Consider renting a bike from one of the local bike shops or take advantage of the bike-sharing program available in the downtown area. Cycling is a great way to explore the city and enjoy the scenic waterfront.
- Taxis and Ride-Sharing: Taxis are readily available in Kingston, and several taxi companies serve the city. Additionally, ride-sharing services like Uber operate in Kingston, providing convenient transportation options at the touch of a button.
- Car Rentals: If you prefer the flexibility of having your own vehicle, several car rental companies operate in Kingston. Renting a car allows you to explore the city and venture further afield for day trips or to explore the surrounding area at your own pace.
- Kingston Waterfront Shuttle: During the summer months, the Kingston Waterfront Shuttle operates along a designated route, connecting popular waterfront destinations. This hop-on, hop-off service allows you to explore different areas of the waterfront easily.
- Ferries: To visit nearby islands, such as Wolfe Island, you can take advantage of the ferry services available from downtown Kingston. Ferries provide both passenger and vehicle transportation, offering a unique way to experience the Thousand Islands region.
- Train and Bus Services: Kingston is well-connected by train and bus services to other cities in Canada and the United States. VIA Rail offers train services, while Greyhound and Megabus provide bus transportation options for longer-distance travel.
When planning your transportation in Kingston, consider factors such as proximity, convenience, and your itinerary. Many attractions in the downtown area are easily accessible on foot, while public transit, taxis, and ride-sharing services provide convenient options for getting around the city and reaching farther destinations.
With its range of transportation options, navigating Kingston and exploring its surroundings is a breeze, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable visit to this charming city in Ontario, Canada.
Kingston 1 Day Travel Itinerary
If you have just one day to explore Kingston, Ontario, here’s a suggested itinerary that allows you to experience the city’s highlights:
- Start your day with a visit to Fort Henry National Historic Site. Explore the fort’s grounds, learn about its history, and catch the thrilling Fort Henry Guard performance.
- Take a leisurely stroll along the Kingston Waterfront, enjoying the scenic views of Lake Ontario and the city’s skyline.
- Visit City Hall and Market Square. Admire the architecture of City Hall and explore the market, where you can browse local products and perhaps grab a quick snack.
- Enjoy a delicious lunch at one of Kingston’s local eateries. Consider trying a classic Canadian dish like poutine or indulging in fresh seafood.
- Take a guided tour of Kingston Penitentiary, delving into its intriguing history and learning about the daily lives of inmates.
- Explore the unique shops and boutiques along Princess Street in downtown Kingston, picking up souvenirs or indulging in some retail therapy.
- Visit the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on the Queen’s University campus, marveling at its impressive collection of Canadian and international art.
- Experience a memorable dinner at one of Kingston’s diverse restaurants. Choose from cuisines like Mediterranean, Indian, or local farm-to-table fare.
- Attend a live performance at the Grand Theatre or Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, enjoying a show ranging from theater to music or dance.
- Wrap up your day with a relaxing stroll along the waterfront, savoring the peaceful ambiance and reflecting on your time in Kingston.
While this itinerary provides a snapshot of Kingston’s highlights, there is much more to explore in the city. If time permits, consider extending your stay to fully immerse yourself in Kingston’s history, culture, and natural beauty.
Kingston 3-4 Days Travel Itinerary
If you have 3 to 4 days to explore Kingston, Ontario, here’s a suggested itinerary that allows you to immerse yourself in the city’s attractions and experience the surrounding region:
Day 1: Morning:
- Begin your day with a visit to Fort Henry National Historic Site. Explore the fort’s grounds, attend informative demonstrations, and learn about its captivating history.
- Take a leisurely stroll along the Kingston Waterfront, enjoying the scenic views of Lake Ontario and discovering the parks, marinas, and dining options along the way.
- Visit City Hall and Market Square. Marvel at the architecture of City Hall and explore the bustling market, where you can find local products, artisanal goods, and grab a bite to eat.
- Embark on a boat tour of the Thousand Islands region, marveling at the picturesque islands and enjoying the stunning landscapes. Learn about the history and ecology of the area from knowledgeable guides.
- Enjoy a delightful dinner at one of Kingston’s renowned restaurants, savoring flavors from a variety of cuisines, such as Mediterranean, French, or farm-to-table.
- Attend a live performance at the Grand Theatre or Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
Day 2: Morning:
- Explore the charming streets of Kingston’s Historic District, admiring the beautifully preserved limestone buildings. Visit unique shops, boutiques, and art galleries along Princess Street.
- Discover the history of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, at Bellevue House National Historic Site. Tour the house and gain insights into his personal and political life.
- Take a guided tour of the decommissioned Kingston Penitentiary, learning about its storied past, notable inmates, and the daily operations within its imposing walls.
- Visit the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on the Queen’s University campus. Marvel at its extensive collection of Canadian and international art, spanning various genres and time periods.
- Enjoy a delightful dinner at one of Kingston’s waterfront restaurants, indulging in fresh seafood or other local specialties.
- Take an evening stroll along the waterfront, witnessing the beautiful sunset and soaking in the peaceful ambiance of the city.
Day 3: Morning:
- Venture outside of Kingston and visit the picturesque Prince Edward County. Explore the wineries, indulge in wine tastings, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the region.
- Spend the morning at Sandbanks Provincial Park, relaxing on the sandy beaches, swimming in the clear waters, or hiking the nature trails.
- Discover the charming town of Picton in Prince Edward County. Explore its boutiques, art galleries, and historic sites, and savor a leisurely lunch at one of its local eateries.
- Visit one of the local breweries or distilleries in the region for a tasting of craft beers, spirits, or wines.
- Return to Kingston and enjoy dinner at one of the city’s unique and vibrant restaurants, savoring the flavors of international or local cuisine.
- Take a leisurely evening stroll through the downtown area, exploring the shops, art installations, and enjoying the city’s lively atmosphere.
This itinerary provides a well-rounded experience of Kingston and its surrounding area, incorporating historical landmarks, cultural attractions, natural beauty, and culinary delights. Feel free to adjust and personalize it based on your own interests and preferences.
Kingston 1 Week Travel Itinerary
If you have a full week to explore Kingston, Ontario, and its surrounding region, you can embark on a comprehensive itinerary that allows for a deeper exploration of the city and the opportunity to venture further into the surrounding area. Here’s a suggested 1-week travel itinerary for Kingston:
- Morning: Begin your journey with a visit to Fort Henry National Historic Site. Explore the fort, attend live demonstrations, and learn about its fascinating history.
- Afternoon: Take a leisurely stroll along the Kingston Waterfront, enjoying the scenic views and stopping at local shops and cafes for lunch.
- Evening: Enjoy a delicious dinner at one of Kingston’s renowned restaurants, followed by a relaxing walk along the waterfront.
- Morning: Explore the historic streets of Kingston’s downtown Historic District, admiring the limestone buildings and visiting unique shops and boutiques.
- Afternoon: Visit City Hall and Market Square, exploring the market and indulging in some local treats.
- Evening: Attend a live performance at the Grand Theatre or Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
- Morning: Take a guided tour of Kingston Penitentiary, gaining insights into its history and infamous inmates.
- Afternoon: Visit the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and admire its extensive collection of Canadian and international artworks.
- Evening: Enjoy a leisurely dinner at one of Kingston’s waterfront restaurants, savoring the flavors of fresh seafood or other local specialties.
- Morning: Embark on a full-day excursion to the Thousand Islands region. Take a boat tour, explore the islands, and enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty.
- Afternoon: Visit the charming town of Gananoque, located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Explore the town, dine at a local restaurant, and perhaps visit the Arthur Child Heritage Museum.
- Evening: Return to Kingston and relax with an evening stroll along the waterfront.
- Morning: Take a day trip to Prince Edward County. Explore the wineries, indulge in wine tastings, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
- Afternoon: Visit Sandbanks Provincial Park, where you can relax on the sandy beaches, swim, or hike the nature trails.
- Evening: Enjoy dinner in one of the quaint towns of Prince Edward County, experiencing the region’s culinary delights.
- Morning: Venture to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, for a day trip. Explore Parliament Hill, visit national museums, and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene.
- Afternoon: Continue exploring Ottawa’s attractions, such as the Rideau Canal, ByWard Market, or the National Gallery of Canada.
- Evening: Return to Kingston and dine at one of the city’s diverse restaurants, trying flavors from different cuisines.
- Morning: Spend the day enjoying outdoor activities on the Rideau Canal or nearby hiking trails.
- Afternoon: Explore Kingston’s parks, such as Lake Ontario Park or Grass Creek Park, for a picnic or leisurely walk.
- Evening: Relax and reflect on your week in Kingston, savoring a final dinner at one of the city’s waterfront or downtown establishments.
This 1-week itinerary allows for a comprehensive exploration of Kingston, Ontario, while also providing opportunities to experience the surrounding region’s natural beauty, cultural attractions, and nearby cities. Feel free to customize the itinerary based on your preferences and interests, ensuring a memorable and fulfilling week in this charming city.
Is Kingston A Safe City To Visit?
Kingston is generally considered a safe city to visit. It has a relatively low crime rate compared to other cities in Canada. However, as with any city, it is important to exercise caution and take common-sense safety precautions while exploring Kingston. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and attentive to your surroundings, especially in crowded areas or at night. Trust your instincts and avoid poorly lit or isolated areas.
- Secure your belongings: Keep your valuables, such as wallets, phones, and cameras, secure and out of sight. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and be cautious of pickpocketing in crowded areas.
- Use reputable transportation: When using taxis or ride-sharing services, ensure that they are licensed and use reputable companies. If you’re walking at night, stick to well-lit and populated routes or consider using public transportation.
- Lock your accommodations: Whether you’re staying in a hotel, bed and breakfast, or vacation rental, make sure to lock your doors and windows securely. Use the provided safety features, such as safes or lockboxes, to store your valuables.
- Follow traffic rules: If you’re driving or cycling in Kingston, obey traffic laws and pay attention to pedestrians and other vehicles. Be cautious of one-way streets and use designated bike lanes when available.
- Be cautious with alcohol consumption: If you choose to consume alcohol, do so responsibly and be mindful of your surroundings. Excessive drinking can impair judgment and make you more vulnerable.
- Respect local customs and laws: Familiarize yourself with local customs and laws to ensure you stay within the legal boundaries. This includes being mindful of noise levels, smoking restrictions, and any specific regulations in public spaces.
It’s always a good idea to consult local authorities, tourist information centers, or your accommodations for specific safety tips and advice based on the current conditions in Kingston. By staying vigilant and taking precautions, you can enjoy a safe and pleasant visit to Kingston, Ontario.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Kingston?
The best time to visit Kingston, Ontario largely depends on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in. Here’s an overview of the different seasons in Kingston to help you decide:
- Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Kingston. The weather is warm and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F). This is an ideal time to explore the waterfront, take boat tours, visit outdoor attractions, and enjoy festivals and events. However, it can be crowded, and accommodations may be more expensive.
- Fall (September to November): Fall in Kingston brings milder temperatures and beautiful foliage as the leaves change color. The weather is still pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F). This is a great time to visit if you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or cycling, as the trails are less crowded. The fall also offers harvest festivals and a quieter atmosphere.
- Winter (December to February): Winter in Kingston is cold, with temperatures ranging from -5°C to -15°C (23°F to 5°F). If you enjoy winter sports like ice skating or skiing, this is a great time to visit. Kingston also hosts festive events during the holiday season, such as the Kingston Lumina Borealis light show. However, be prepared for winter conditions and dress warmly.
- Spring (March to May): Spring in Kingston brings milder temperatures, with temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C (41°F to 59°F). The city starts to come alive with the arrival of spring blooms and outdoor activities resume. Spring is a good time for exploring gardens, visiting museums, and enjoying the blossoming natural beauty of the area.
It’s worth noting that the Thousand Islands region, with its stunning landscapes and boat tours, is a highlight of visiting Kingston. Boat tours typically operate from late spring to early fall, so if you specifically want to experience the Thousand Islands, it’s best to plan your visit during that time.
Ultimately, the best time to visit Kingston depends on your interests, preferred weather, and the activities you wish to engage in. Consider your priorities and preferences when deciding which season aligns best with your travel plans.
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Kingston?
After your trip to Kingston, Ontario, there are several enticing destinations in the surrounding region that you may want to consider visiting. Here are a few suggestions:
- Toronto: Located approximately 2.5 hours west of Kingston, Toronto is Canada’s largest city and offers a vibrant urban experience. Explore iconic landmarks like the CN Tower, visit world-class museums and galleries, enjoy diverse culinary offerings, and experience the city’s lively atmosphere.
- Ottawa: Situated about 2 hours northeast of Kingston, Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. Discover the Parliament Hill, tour national museums, stroll along the Rideau Canal, and immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and cultural scene.
- Niagara Falls: Head south from Kingston to the famous Niagara Falls, which can be reached in approximately 3 hours. Witness the awe-inspiring power of the falls, take a boat tour to get up close, and explore the surrounding attractions, such as the Niagara Parkway and wineries in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region.
- Prince Edward County: Located to the south of Kingston, Prince Edward County is known for its charming towns, vineyards, and beautiful landscapes. Explore the wineries, indulge in wine tastings, relax on sandy beaches, and savor the local culinary offerings.
- Thousand Islands: If you haven’t already done so, consider extending your exploration of the Thousand Islands region beyond Kingston. Take a boat tour, visit Boldt Castle, explore charming riverside towns like Gananoque, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the islands.
- Algonquin Provincial Park: If you’re a nature enthusiast, make your way to Algonquin Provincial Park, which is approximately a 3.5-hour drive north of Kingston. Discover its vast forests, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife. Enjoy activities such as hiking, canoeing, and wildlife viewing.
- Montreal: Venture east from Kingston to Montreal, a culturally rich and vibrant city known for its European charm. Explore Old Montreal, visit museums and galleries, sample delectable cuisine, and experience the city’s lively festivals and events.
These are just a few suggestions for destinations to visit after your trip to Kingston. Consider your interests, travel preferences, and the time available to you to determine which destinations align with your travel plans. Whether you’re seeking urban adventures, natural beauty, or cultural experiences, the region surrounding Kingston offers a wealth of possibilities for further exploration.
Kingston Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
Kingston, Ontario, offers a captivating blend of history, natural beauty, and vibrant cultural experiences, making it a wonderful destination for travelers. With its rich heritage, charming downtown, and stunning waterfront, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Exploring the city’s historic sites, such as Fort Henry and Kingston Penitentiary, provides fascinating insights into Canada’s past. The scenic beauty of the Thousand Islands region, just a short distance away, offers breathtaking boat tours and outdoor adventures.
Kingston’s culinary scene is diverse and vibrant, with a range of restaurants offering delicious flavors from around the world. From farm-to-table eateries to cozy bistros and waterfront dining, there’s no shortage of options to satisfy your palate.
The city’s cultural scene is thriving, with theaters, art galleries, and music venues hosting a variety of performances and events. Whether you’re interested in live theater, visual arts, or live music, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes.
In terms of practicalities, Kingston offers a variety of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences, and getting around the city is convenient with options like walking, public transit, and taxis.
When planning your visit, consider the best time of year based on your interests, as each season in Kingston offers its own unique charm. Whether you’re exploring the waterfront in the summer, enjoying the fall foliage, or experiencing the winter festivities, Kingston has something to offer year-round.
Overall, Kingston’s historical significance, natural beauty, vibrant cultural scene, and warm hospitality make it a truly captivating destination. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, a food enthusiast, or a culture seeker, you’re bound to create unforgettable memories in this charming city in Ontario, Canada.
In Kingston’s embrace, a traveler finds delight, Where history and beauty intertwine, day and night. A city of limestone, standing proud and strong, With stories of the past, whispered all along.
Fort Henry stands sentinel, its secrets to unfold, Guarding the memories, as they gracefully enfold. The waterfront beckons, with its tranquil embrace, Where sunsets paint the sky, in hues of gentle grace.
Stroll along the cobblestone streets, so charming and quaint, Where heritage buildings tell tales, of a bygone era, so faint. In Market Square, the heartbeat of the city thrives, With local flavors and artisans, creating vibrant lives.
Thousand Islands, a jewel, just a boat ride away, Where emerald isles and sparkling waters sway. Cruise amidst nature’s splendor, a breathtaking sight, A symphony of islands, bathed in golden light.
Dine in eclectic eateries, culinary delights abound, From farm-to-table feasts, to flavors global and renowned. Savor every bite, as tastes from afar collide, In Kingston, a gastronomic journey, you’ll surely confide.
The arts flourish, a vibrant tapestry to explore, Theatres and galleries, unveiling stories galore. Immerse in creativity, music filling the air, As Kingston’s soul dances, with passion and flair.
With each passing season, Kingston comes alive, Spring blooms, autumn’s colors, and winter’s icy dive. A city of warmth, where hospitality is true, In Kingston, every traveler finds a welcoming hue.
So come, wanderers, to Kingston’s embrace, Discover its treasures, at your own pace. A city that captivates, with every step you take, In Kingston, an adventure awaits, for travelers’ sake.