15 Unique Things to Do in Kingston

things to do in Kingston
Courtesy: Unlimphotos

Kingston Ontario, is a vibrant city that was Canada’s first capital. But that’s not all, Kingston is where Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, and Rideau Canal meet,  is also rich with history and activities.

So, if you were wondering what are the Things to Do in Kingston then you are at the right place.

Every single day is fun and adventurous, and with Kingston’s countless museums, unique shopping, and delicious dining experiences around every corner, not a second is wasted in boredom.

Kingston is a whole package, and of course, it is a package of fun things. Amidst the buildings of the ‘Limestone City’, it is a bustling package of fun activities and cool places to visit.

It features colourful patios, popular festivals, a local farmers market, and a variety of other great entertainment options.

And of course, there’s plenty more to explore in the countryside of the surrounding Kingston, excluding the aforementioned things to do in Kingston. What’s more, Kingston is a safe and clean city for a fun and scrap-book worthy family vacation.

That being said, let’s see what fun things to do in Kingston.

So, hop on with us on the journey across this Limestone City for a fun experience.

15 Cool Things to Do in Kingston

Here are some incredible varieties of things to do in Kingston, all from the notable history to delicious food and everything in between.

1. Trolley Tour

Courtesy: Kingston Trolley Tour

Hopping on a trolley tour is one of the top things to do in Kingston. The trolley tour takes you around to the top highlights of Kingston.

It offers you a ‘hop-on and hop-off‘ tour style where you can get off to explore the attraction, and catch another Trolley if you missed your previous one.

Furthermore, the tour also has live commentary from the driver or from an audio guide which makes it a great way to learn about the historical points of the city.

2. Downtown Adventure at Martello Alley

Courtesy: Martello Alley

Touring around Martello Alley is one of the relaxing things to do in Kingston. It is a downtown adventure that explores intriguing history and surprises at every turn.

This art-themed historic alley represents numerous artists. It’s a place with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. 

But you won’t just experience the beautiful art, you can meet the artists on-site as well. You get to enjoy coffee while checking out some amazing works of art, all, completed and work in progress. 

3. Paddle Around Kingston

Being located at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, Kingston comprises some amazing and popular water ventures such as kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.

And since the Kingston waterfront stretches to over 8 kilometres, you can find several access points for launching the kayak or stand-up paddle board. What’s more, when paddling around the water body, you can get a panoramic view of some of Kingston’s most iconic landmarks, such as Kingston City Hall, Fort Henry, and the Kingston Penitentiary.

4. Infamous Kingston Penitentiary

Image by Jim Lyon from Pixabay

Kingston Penitentiary which is locally known as Kingston Pen and KP, has always been notorious in Canada and one of the popular visits and things to do in Kingston.

Kingston Penitentiary or Kingston Pen is located between King Street West and Lake Ontario, Kingston Ontario, Canada, and has housed several of Canada’s worst criminals over its 178 years. 

The construction of this prison with maximum security took about 2 years (1833 to 1834) and was later opened in 1835 June 1st, as the “Provincial Penitentiary of the Province of Upper Canada“.

Furthermore, this penitentiary is an award-winning museum which is now dedicated solely to the interpretation and preservation of the history of Canada’s federal penitentiaries.

5. Get to Know the Prime Minister

Courtesy: Bellevue House

Although you won’t meet the Prime Minister in person, but you will get to see the first Prime Minister, Sir John Alexander Macdonald’s house, the Bellevue House: the non-symmetrical Italian Villa style.

Besides being the home of  Canada’s first Prime Minister, it is also famous for its unique architecture and is one of the fun things to do in Kingston.

This Italian villa has three floors, which are further divided by seven separate levels, and beautiful balconies, different-shaped windows as well as various roof gables.

What’s more, the guides are dressed in costumes from the 1840s and will guide you through the house that is filled with artifacts and exhibits.

6. Attend the Vibrant Festival

Kingston never runs out of festivals for Kingston Ontario is known for its all-year-round lively festivals and events. No matter when you visit it is always time for some celebration, and there are several festivals for every interest imaginable.

The Limestone City Blues Festival, Art-fest, Writers-Fest, Reel-out Film Festival and the Kingston Jazz Festival, are some of the festivals that Kingston likes to celebrate.

7. Agnes Etherington Art Center

Agnes Etherington Art Center
Courtesy: Agnes Etherington Art Center

Art enthusiasts hail the Agnes Etherington Art Center

Founded in 1926, the Art Center is located in the heart of the campus of Queen’s University, in Kingston Ontario and has a collection of more than 16,000 European and Canadian art pieces.

And from the Canada Council of Arts, the Art Galleries of Ontario Association and many others, the gallery was recognized and awarded for its artsy exhibitions.

8. Explore Henry Fort

Courtesy: Unlimphotos

Located near the mouth of the Cataraqui River in Kingston Ontario, is a historical site known as Henry Fort. The Henry Fort was originally built between 1812 and 1814 to protect the Kingston Royal Naval Dockyard.

Visiting here is one of the enlightening things to do in Kingston because it offers a glimpse into the early years of Ontario. You can even apply for a guided tour of the fort, this includes multimedia experiences, and drills, along with an insight into the lives of the soldiers that called Fort Henry home.

9. Ghost Trolley Tour

Courtesy: Ghost Trolley Tour

Taking a Ghost and Mystery Trolley Tour should be one of your top things to do in Kingston.

The 90-minute Ghost Trolley Ride will take you through Kingston’s mysterious past. It tours around the notorious neighbourhoods that played a ghostly role in Kingston’s early history, and through the streets of infamous sites.

What’s more, you also get to go out and walk through the cemetery, that is if you dare.

10. Walk Along the Princess Street

One of the things to do in Kingston is to visit its major arterial road: Princess Street.

It is a main retail street of downtown Kingston, where you can see dozens of charming shops and walk along the historic limestone buildings lined up side by side.

Though it was originally called store street, however, later in approximately 1840 it was named Princess Street in honour of the birth of Princess Royal.

11. Cruise the Thousand Island

Courtesy: Thousand Island Cruises

One of the top attractions and probably the top things to do in Kingston is taking the popular Thousand Island Cruise. You come across some gorgeous cottages and islands along with massive Thousand Island castles during the boat tours in the St. Lawrence River. 

Furthermore, Thousand Islands includes over 1,800 glorious islands that stretch along the St. Lawrence River which counts around 80 kilometres. And each island’s size ranges differently with the largest island being around 100 square kilometres.

What’s more, the Thousand Island Adventure also offers an abundance of paddling adventures, where you can enjoy an overnight trip, camping or rent a houseboat, then take a kayak tour with 1000 Islands Kayaking.

12. Walk Around Kingston City Hall

kingston city hall
Courtesy: Kingston City Hall

The historic City Hall of Kingston has been a well-known landmark on the Kingston waterfront since 1844 and is considered to be one of the famous places to visit and interesting things to do in Kingston.

This stunning building is Canada’s historic site that symbolizes the community’s civic government and administration.

You can also get a free guided tour that’s about 45 minutes long, to learn more about the fascinating history of Kingston City Hall, and its beautiful architecture – and about the intriguing people, events, and stories. 

13. Go to the Theatre

Courtesy: Kingston Grand Theatre

No, we are not talking about a movie theatre, but the stunning heritage building located in the heart of downtown Kingston. And visiting this Grand Heartthrob Theater which was opened in 1902 is one of the best things to do in Kingston.

It has been showing numerous performances ever since its opening. The theatre comprises a stage, an orchestra pit, and a total of 776 seats, as well as a black box theatre that counts around 105 seats.

14. Walking Food Tours

No vacation is complete without its local delicacies. So, the things to do in Kingston list should and must include walking food tours that take you through the eclectic and vibrant downtown scene that offers a tremendous selection of flavours.

The walking tour is led by a passionate local guide, who will help you discover Canada’s original capital city by savouring the very best in local cuisine.

With a “Classic Kingston” tour, you’ll get an insight into Kingston’s culture through its delicious food, history and unique architecture from the local citizens themselves.

15. Relax in a Park

Image by Anja from Pixabay

If the aforementioned activities on the list of things to do in Kingston were too exhausting that now you crave a little peace time on the vacation, then Kingston got you covered there as well.

Kingston comprises more than 200 beautiful parks you can visit year-round, where you can take a stroll, a jog or just enjoy the lake views.

And among all the parks, Lake Ontario Park is the best one to visit. And as the name suggests, Lake Ontario Park is located along the shore of the magnificent Lake Ontario and serene land, a great place to relax.


This list only comprises the best things to do in Kingston, however, there is much more to explore. Kingston is rich in history with countless museums, unique shopping and dining experiences around every corner and numerous activities it adds on to the unforgettable experiences.

Share your experiences with us and comment down, what part of Kingston caught your eye?

Raisa is a published writer, having published in various anthologies like Whimsical Motion, Shadows, Love is in the Air, and more; she is also an experienced blog writer in various niches including food, lifestyle and health-related content. Having written a lot of content related to lifestyle, health, food, and beverages, she is now focusing on providing professional content to her readers that is well-researched and gives a broad perspective.