Planning a trip sounds amazing, but then again having to do the research about where and how to go sounds like a lot of work, isn’t it? Luckily for you, Scoop Canada did the legwork and has listed out what to do in Kingston below.
The city of Kingston, which once served as Canada’s first capital, is today a bustling neighborhood with a few of the province’s most fascinating historical significance.
Kingston, Ontario, also referred to as “Limestone City” by natives, has a lot to serve to day-trippers and tourists from abroad. You don’t even need to research and plan much about what to do in Kingston since the city is blessed with beauty to explore at every turn.
Its many majestic 19th-century houses were constructed using limestone, earning the city this nickname. The bigger Ontario towns of Ottawa and Toronto frequently cast a shadow over Kingston, but this seaside city has much to be proud of. In addition to being host to the Rideau Canal, it is situated on the banks of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
Kingston is among the most fascinating places to visit in Ontario since it offers many such outdoor adventures as well as fantastic entertainment and cultural scene. Kingston should be on your checklist of must-see places in Canada if you have really resided in the state all your life or are just traveling.
The legacy of the city is very lengthy and rich with abundant of places that come to mind when wondering what to do in Kingston. When it first served as a trading post and castle for the French people in the late seventeenth century, its position on Lake Ontario’s eastern edge close to the head of the Saint Lawrence River granted it a tremendous strategic significance.
Ownership of the region, which was once known as Cataraqui, granted the French command over the crucial shipping routes in the region. After hundred years, the British took over, renaming the city and considerably increasing both its military significance and community with the construction of Fort Henry.
Kingston was so significant to the Britishers that it briefly functioned as the colony’s capital city prior to Ottawa being given this status. Although it is not the capital city, there still are very historically significant monuments to explore when planning on what to do in Kingston.
Tour the city today, and you will find many reminders of its considerable influence on the young country of Canada, including historical fortresses, public structures, and crucial connections like the Rideau Canal, which once served as a crucial transport network between Ontario and Ottawa but is now crowded with amusement boat traffic.
Kingston cruises offer tourists the ability to view the stunning Kingston cityscape from the river and to take part in the viewing of the world-famous monuments. The city offers dining cruises, tourist cruise lines, and even exclusive charters you can rent for yourself.
Kingston is a bustling city with walkable paths and the oldest open market in Ontario and the trendiest live entertainment culture in Canada. Tucked away passageways also house antique stalls and bistro terraces. In Kingston, there are numerous things to do and sites to see. Everything from strolls and excursions to sailing, swimming, and trekking.
There is something for everybody in Kingston. Kingston delivers something unexpected and something unique around every turn with its numerous galleries, historic landmarks, and distinctive shopping and dining options. So, you really do not need to worry about what to do in Kingston when planning to visit.
What to do in Kingston?
Read on and delve deeper to find out what to do in Kingston for the best experience ever.
1. Spend Time in Wolfe Island
The first place that you should visit when wondering what to do in Kingston for some calm and quiet is the biggest of the legendary Thousand Islands, Wolfe Island. Situated where Lake Ontario finishes and the River Saint Lawrence starts, it is known for its magnificent sunrises, romantic sunsets, and starry skies at nightfall.
At the head of the Saint Lawrence River, the mesmerizing Wolfe Island is readily reached by public ferries from Kingston, Ontario, which is nearby. When visiting Wolfe Island, you will discover that it is gorgeous all year round, but summertime is particularly lovely. Now that you are sure what to do in Kingston for the day, have a look at vclosest airports to Wolfe Island for help in commuting.
Budget-conscious tourists will value the lovely waterside walks, the clear, quiet streets ideal for riding, the exquisite bakeries, and the close-by bars and restaurants. The best part is that there are lots of interesting options for photographing. You could even decide to plan a surprise date for your special someone.
2. Take a Food Tour
Kingston is a magical place. It resembles a town from a fairy tale since it has lovely coastal views, friendly locals, interesting places to explore, and stunning sights to see. Kingston is not just a fantastic destination, but it also boasts a top-notch food culture. So, get ready to never go starving and find a new cuisine you love.
A great way to experience a place authentically is to explore and savor the traditional delicacies. This is especially apparent in Kingston, where a large percentage of eateries, restaurants, and wineries are operated privately and regionally.
Consider going on a cuisine city tour of Kingston. You will experience tastings at a few of the city’s best restaurants and gain a new appreciation for some of its most stunning landmarks, such as Springer Town Square and Kingston City Hall.
A fun activity in Kingston is to join the Kingston Trolley Tours in addition to a cuisine tour. You will discover everything there is to know regarding Canada’s original capital city during the hour-long guided walk of Kingston’s ancient old town.
You will adore taking excursions such as this to get to know a city. Plus, it is a hop-on and hop-off trip, enabling you to go visit some of Kingston’s famous sites like Fort Henry in between.
You must try a few dished like the Greens Curry Bamboo, It is a dish that is incredibly colorful and flavorful; for those of you who enjoy a little spice, it is also mildly spicy.
And while eggs Benedict are fantastic, they get even better when latkes are added, particularly the crunchy, delicious latkes served at AquaTerra. The Kingston waterfront is beautifully seen from AquaTerra, adding the beauty to this place.
Woodenheads is the place to go if you want exquisite pizza. The wood-fired pizzas at this hip Italian eatery are freshly prepared on the spot and has the crisp, crunchy base you would want from the real deal. Since it can be very crowded, be sure to reserve a table in advance.
Another such eatery to visit is Kame, it is arguably the best of Kingston’s many modest, family-run sushi establishments. The meal is amazingly consistent despite the restaurant’s modest façade and small atmosphere. A wide variety of spaghetti, donburi, and seafood alternatives are available in addition to the exquisite sushi.
3. Have a Day-Out by Lake Ontario
A marvel of nature, Lake Ontario has to be on your list when thinking about what to do in Kingston. Lake Ontario serves as a vital route for transit, freshwater interchange, and fish migrations because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.
Sand dunes, woodlands, marshes, and steep cliffs are just a few of the varied environments that encircle the lake and are home to numerous flora and fauna. More than 9 million people live around Lake Ontario, which also serves as a water source for abundant wildlife.
The Lake Ontario basin is home to more Canadians than just about any other basin in the nation, despite being the tiniest of the Great Lakes.
The biggest freshwater fish in Canada, the Lake Sturgeon, as well as numerous other coastal fish species can be found in Lake Ontario. Regrettably, overfishing has put the lake sturgeon in danger. To finish their lifespans, several of these creatures move across the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Ontario.
Striving to preserve all of the environments that these fish utilize throughout their life cycles is critical to safeguard them, so make sure to not pollute the water there. Old Fort Niagara, the earliest surviving inhabited military facility in Canada, is accessible till 5 p.m. in the months of September-June. It is a great place to start your vacation when wondering what to do in Kingston first.
The citadel is available till 7 p.m., in the summer months and various programs about heritage, handicrafts, gastronomy in the 1800s, army life, and artillery drills are held there till 4 p.m.
Travel half an hour to “Selkirk Shore State Park” or less than 60 minutes to the “Southwick Beach State Park” on your route eastward towards to the Thousand Islands because mid-afternoon is a great beachfront period on Lake Ontario. Every kind of nature lover can find anything to enjoy at Selkirk Shores, including campers, fishermen, and birdwatchers.
Having boat docks and charter services that can get visitors on the lake to haul in fish and trout, it is also a top fishery location. With pathways winding across and beside the Lakeside Wildlife Management Zone next to the lakeside campsite, Southwick Beach is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.
The park, a well-liked destination for picnickers and day visitors, includes a large stretch of seashore, fishing, restaurants, and other amenities.
The top aquatic marine exhibition in Canada is the “Antique Boat Museum”, which you can also tour after spending an afternoon on Lake Ontario. A stop at the collection of the museum of even more than 300 vessels and countless relics is a must for everyone visiting the 1000 Islands.
When you get there, make sure to register for the 45-minute Journey the Rivers tours as well as the 1903 riverboat La Duchesse. A 1953 skipper or a 1974 vintage commuter are both available for rent for a sundown sail.
4. Discover the Fort Henry
Fort Henry National Historical Monument, which occupies a prominent spot-on Point Henry and has a magnificent vantage point over through the Saint Lawrence River and the Cataraqui, ought to be the first on your list of places when thinking about where to go in Kingston.
Fort Henry is a fortification citadel that was built in the War of 1812 and is situated throughout the river from Kingston’s center on a bluff with a view of the Saint Lawrence River’s basin.
The Fortress serves as a portal into Canadian historical events and is now managed by Parks Canada as a component of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rideau Canal. Everyday excursions of the citadel are available, and they might include some of the security staff’s British military reenactors.
The remarkable forts you see currently were established in the 1930s and functioned for generations to safeguard Kingston’s Royal Maritime Dockyard and the entrance of the Rideau Canal, which connects Ottawa to Lake Ontario.
The fort is titled after an erstwhile Lt. governor of Quebec and was constructed on the location of an ancient fort constructed during the battle with USA in 1812. It has grown in popularity as a famous tourist destination since it first opened as a “living museum” in 1938, giving tourists a genuine flavor of life during the nineteenth century and the cultural significance of the castle.
During displays and sightseeing tours, the Fort Henry Guards, the fort’s knowledgeable uniform crew, recreates the life of the castle’s past inhabitants and their vocations.
In complement to these demonstrations of traditional crafts and skills, the crew often performs traditional military maneuvers and re-enactments, such as the exciting Garrison March. Family members can enroll children in a real Victorian schoolroom adventure, complete with historical attire and lessons, as one of the attractions.
Visit the fort’s authorized website for information on the renowned Sunset Ceremony, which features musical and cannon performances, if you plan to visit in August. The facility is open all year long and also provides a number of enjoyable holiday events.
Explore Fort Henry if you appreciate the past; it is one of the biggest attractions to do when visiting Kingston. To learn about the sinister background of this haunting fortress, schedule a Haunted Excursion of Fort Henry. Fort Henry is located in such a beautiful location that the vistas alone are motivation enough just to visit. But this national historic site offers a ton of activities.
Tourists can participate in a self-guided Fort Henry sightseeing tour, view a garrison march, and observe the armed Guard fire rifles and display cannons. A cafe and a souvenir shop are also present where you can stop by when leaving the fort.
Fort Henry is transformed into a terrifying Halloween event by Fort Fright, regarded as Ontario’s finest haunting attraction. Challenge your nerve in the eerie Fort, which features frightful actors, spooky sets, and brutal activation of all five of your emotions. It is a really thrilling experience.
Enjoy an extended evening at Fort Fright if a ghost excursion is not scary enough for you. If you can slumber, take a nap in the army compound room from the late nineteenth century. Don’t overlook checking out Pumpkinferno at Greater Canada Town in Morrisburg, which is Eastern Ontario’s second Halloween festival, and get ready to have the best time of your lives.
5. Visit the Canada’s Penitentiary Museum
Thinking about what to do in Kingston but not tilted towards going to boring old museums? Not all galleries have gloomy shelves and uninteresting exhibits. Be amazed, informed, and delighted by visiting Canada’s Penitentiary Museum. Explore the acclaimed institution Canada’s Penitentiary Museum, which is devoted completely to preserving and interpreting the past of the national penitentiaries.
The museum can be found inside the original Warden’s House of Kingston Penitentiary, which is where the Correctional Services of Canada was first founded in Kingston.
A correctional environment’s diversity frequently astounds visitors. There is more to it than just violence and deterrence. You can explore the 8 exhibit halls at your own speed and discover more about the innovative leisure and art initiatives implemented in the 1950s. Browse the unmatched collection of images and relics from prisons.
As an additional perk, former officer volunteers who have a real experience that dates back to 1960 work as docents at the exhibit throughout the summertime. The surroundings of the institution provide a stunning view of Portsmouth Olympic Harbor and Lake Ontario to promote local travel. Several of the guests stop by merely to take in the limestone grandeur that has rendered Kingston known as “the Limestone City” throughout the globe.
A greenhouse, wineries, conservatories, and carriage houses were once part of the house. Around 1978, these sections had been taken out to make room for the new fence of the formerly existing Prison for Women at the back of the home.
The home was transformed into an administrative building for the Penitentiary for Females in the year 1933 as an aftermath of the uprising at the maximum-security prison in 1932.
Discover the narrative hidden within each item. It won’t cost you much time to understand why Kingston tourists enjoy this museum. After paying the entrance fee, browse it at your pace. At Canada’s Penitentiary Museum, you may easily travel to Leons Center, Fort Henry, or the Penitentiary if you are looking for more exciting excursions.
6. Tour the Thousand Islands
The Thousand Islands are one of mother nature’s finest magnificent treasures and were formed over hundreds of thousand years of glacier upheaval. This year, find a jewel in Gananoque, Thousand Islands.
It is exciting to explore this picturesque area, and the panorama of the Thousand Islands offers plenty of eye pleasure. Gananoque, the entrance to the Thousand Islands, draws visitors from around the globe, and wow, do they consistently fulfill the promise.
You may find everything you need for a fantastic down-to-earth getaway in the 1000 Islands Area in northern NY State, close to the Canadian border. Any adventure enthusiast will be satisfied by the stretches of shoreline, picturesque archipelago, great surfing, kayaking, boating, and glamping.
Families with kids particularly value the region for the limitless fun that nature offers. There are no queues, no security checks, and no ridiculous pricing. Drop in and engage in some good old’ fashioned fun activities. Spend about two and a half hours traveling around the Thousand islands to learn about the Saint Lawrence River’s unknown mysteries.
The Forgotten Ports of the Thousand Islands Cruise tells the narrative of catastrophes going back to the eighteenth century through narration, sonar pictures, and film. Have a drink and take in the stunning Boldt fortress, Thousand Islands houses, and other natural wonders.
The idea of traveling down a vast river while navigating a bevy of beautiful islands, pausing to explore real fortresses, looking into opulent apartments, and taking part in the mysteries and mystery of family ties, tragedies, and love seems like something out of a novel.
But it is true on the Thousand Islands. Boldt Palace, the Thousand Islands Bridge, and other attractions are highlighted by Rockport Tours, which is headquartered in the center of the Thousand Islands. The 1000 Islands in Canada are among the best spots on the planet to see wildlife. There are countless options for observing creatures in their natural environments, from seabirds to turtle communities.
Boasting islets spanning the Saint Lawrence River varying in length from a few square meters to Canada’s Wolf Islands, including its 48 square miles, the 1000 Islands Area genuinely provides among the most stunning and fantastical landscapes.
Although some beaches are still untamed and unpopulated, others are decorated with Victorian mansions and even magnificent palaces. Tourists will discover both peaceful villages and bustling towns, like Alexandria Harbour, along the coasts, tucked into coves and next to vast harbors, all of which often celebrate their magical settings.
Everyone who enjoys being outside will love the wealth of beauty on the 1000 Islands. The “Thousand Islands National Park”, one amongst Canada’s first nature reserves, is made up of about 20 of archipelagos. Get outside and enjoy the fresh air because there are parks, upland walking paths, and coastal beaches nearby.
You can also sign up for a Kingston trolley tour for having a smooth trip as they already know what to do in Kingston, when, and how.
Now that you know what to do in Kingston, there are a plethora of entertainment, romantic, and cultural activities that are just perfect for children, families, or couples, such as strolling along the seaside in Kingston or visiting the historic downtown Kingston. What to do in Kingston is not only about places to be discovered, to satisfy your inner foodie, explore 6 best restaurants in Kingston, Ontario.
Apart from the list of places mentioned above about what to do in Kingston, you can also tour the Kingston attractions like Kingston pen, Kingston fortifications, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Royal Military College, Kingston Harbour, the gravesite of Canada’s first prime minister, i.e., Sir John, Confederation Park, or also can choose to visit around the right time for the Limestone city blues festival.
For individuals who want to be engaged and active while on holiday and thinking about what to do in Kingston, the downtown area and riverfront are home to a significant variety of hotels, stores, cafes, and monuments. Have fun exploring and tell people some more fantastic places about what to do in Kingston in the comments below