Best Things to Do in Kingston, Ontario

  1. By Globerouter
  2. On Jul 26, 2019
  3. North America
  4. Travel Tips

The variety of things to do in Kingston, Ontario, makes it a great destination for travellers of all ages and from all walks of life. Known for its rich history, Kingston was once the capital of Canada, but there's more to this city than relics of the past. First time visitors should expect the unexpected at every turn, from each unforgettable outdoor experience to every fancy plate of food.


Find something fun for every age group

When you visit Kingston, you'll notice pieces of history everywhere, from the government buildings and old housing to original relics like locomotive trains, but that doesn't mean it's only for the adults. There are plenty of options the whole family will enjoy, and you can find many of them outdoors. Kingston Waterfront and Lake Ontario Park are great spots for families with young children, promising to keep them entertained for at least a few hours at a time. Older kids will love the activities available at Lemoine Point Conservation Area, where you'll find endless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you're the picnic type or you prefer to get active with a swim or a bike ride, Lemoine Point can accommodate it all, and without cost. 


Don't miss the highlights

If you're not sure where to start, sampling some of Kingston's most critically-acclaimed attractions and cuisine will set you on the right path. From the historical significance of the military communications and electronics museum to the natural wonder of Kingston Mills river, there are plenty of spectacles unique to the city. For some hands-on action, try the Kingston fortress known as Fort Henry, where you'll have a rare opportunity to fire a rifle. As an original battle relic, the fort is an important part of the city's history, and has been preserved well enough to give visitors an experience of military life in the 19th century. 


Go downtown

Downtown Kingston might be overlooked by some travellers, but there's plenty to see and do in the southern precinct. Here you'll find some of the city's best wineries, cider mills, and antique boat museums, as well as an impressive variety of restaurants and pubs. Food tours are very popular in this part of the city, and once you've perused some of the eclectic menus, you'll understand why. A short way further south lie the Thousand Islands, where you'll find everything from mansions and museums to sprawling park land. The islands are a perfect excuse for a helicopter tour, while spots like Heart Island and its famous Boldt Castle are best visited by boat. Once you get into the swing of southern exploration, you could go as far as New York State Zoo, but for those days when you'd rather stay on solid ground, Downtown Kingston has no shortage of entertainment options in the form of live music, outdoor cinemas, and shopping. 

Brave the cold…

The best stuff to do in Kingston changes by the season, so think carefully about the best time to plan your visit. Those visiting in winter will love the Lumina Borealis, an attraction which includes an interactive walk through Fort Henry after dark. Just don’t forget to pack your warmest clothes - temperatures take a dive on winter nights, thanks to the surrounding body of water, but the promise of an unforgettable visual spectacle will make it all worthwhile.  You’ll also find many of the surrounding restaurants have their own ways to combat the winter chill. With Canadian kitchens everywhere pumping out heartwarming comfort food, indulging in the vast array of comfort food on offer at brunch is a must. 

...or soak up the sun

During the Spring months, between March and May, is the perfect time to book a cruise or catch a festival. The Homegrown Live Music Festival celebrates local musicians throughout the first week of May, while those who would rather perform than watch will get a kick out of Juvenis, a festival which offers classes for young performers in acting, dancing, and singing. By July, the sun is well and truly shining, which makes for a great time to get outside and soak up the sunshine on a kayak or from behind a set of handlebars. Summer is the perfect time for keen cyclists to conquer the Kick ’n Push trail, a stretch of bike path 40 kilometres long, but if bike seats don’t quite do it for you, there’s always horse-riding. The DreamCatcher Farm offers visitors a unique escape from the city, and they even have options for longer stays in the form of summer camps and boarding houses. 


Keep to your budget

Working out what to do in Kingston when you’re on a tight budget need not be difficult, owing to the city’s many free activities and attractions. History buffs will get a kick out of exploring Old Parliament House, or visiting Kingston Mills, where adventure seekers can take on a rock-climbing challenge. Meanwhile, lovers of art and culture can feast their eyes on the outdoor art gallery, Martello Alley, for the price of an hour or two. While you’re there, you stand a good chance of running into one of the artists responsible for the works, and you might even get to witness the evolution of a new piece.

Kingston has plenty to offer visitors from around the world, especially those who are willing to take on unexpected experiences. Whether you’re a potential star of the stage, a rock-climbing revelation, or a wildlife warrior, this understated city is waiting to bring out the best in you.