Kingston boasts four Rembrandt paintings, two film festivals, and one vibrant downtown shopping scene. Home to Ontario’s oldest public market and Canada’s hippest live music scene, Kingston is a walkable city, where hidden alleyways contain antique markets and restaurant patios. With dozens of museums and historic sites, and dozens more unique shopping and dining experiences, Kingston offers you something old and something new around every corner. 

To learn more about all there is to see and do in Kingston, scroll down or visit the city's tourism website.

Where is Kingston?

Kingston is located on the traditional lands of the Huron-Wendat and the Mississauga of the Ojibways. To the local Indigenous peoples, this place has long been known as Katarowki, meaning “a place where there is clay.” In Anishnaabowin, it is “Gaadanokwii.”  In Mohawk, it is “Ken’tarókwen.”    

Kingston/Katarokwi acknowledges the everlasting presence of other Indigenous nations, the Metis, Inuit, and other First Nations. We are grateful to reside in and visit this territory and acknowledge that each of us has a responsibility to honour these lands by walking gently and respectfully upon them and enjoying the immense beauty of the natural landscape.  

Kingston is located in South Eastern Ontario where Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the historic Rideau Canal meet and right in the middle between Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Syracuse, New York. The city is easily accessible via Highway 401.

Things to Do in Kingston

Pair the grand heritage, history, and architecture of Kingston with the city’s dynamic cultural life for a truly distinct getaway. Leave the car behind as you explore the pedestrian-friendly downtown core’s limestone streetscapes dotted with restaurants and bars offering some of the best food and drink you’ll find anywhere, and an abundance of independent shops and boutiques offering only-in-Kingston finds. 

Enriched by an active arts and culture scene, Kingston offers dynamic festivals and events year-round. Cinephile? Experience the country’s best films at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival or explore issues of identity at Reelout Queer Film Festival. Bookworm? Connect with your favourite authors at Kingston WritersFest. Foodie? Check out YGK Craft Beer Fest or Corks & Forks. Music lover? Limestone City Blues Festival and Back to the Farm Beer and Music Festival are must-dos, plus you can find live music wafting from Kingston’s many pubs, taverns, and cafes pretty much any night of the week. 

Kingston is also for the kids! Events like Maple MadnessBuskers Rendezvous, and Movies in the Square offer family-friendly fare, while Kingston’s many museums have engaging children’s exhibits and programming that the whole family can enjoy, including the Museum of Healthcare, the PumpHouse, and Frontenac County Schools Museum. Or pack a picnic and hit up one of the city’s many beaches, parks, or hiking trails. Grass Creek Park and Breakwater Park, which features an accessible beach, are both favourites.

Kingston Neighbourhoods & Districts

The City of Kingston is made up of several distinct neighbourhoods, however, the city can be divided into four major areas geographically.

Downtown and inner suburbs

A historical centre of the city, downtown and the inner suburbs are home to some of the most important heritage places of interest in Kingston, including Sydenham and Downtown Kingston, the Inner Harbour, Queen’s University, and Portsmouth Village – home to the oldest federal penitentiary in Canada.

Kingston West

Kingston West is the beginning point of Princess Street, a major road connecting the city. Points of interest include new breweries, local dining and shops, and Lemoine Point.

Kingston East

A district dotted with parks, Kingston East is full of great historical sites including Fort Henry, Barriefield Village (the first village in Ontario to be designated a Heritage Conservation District), CFB Kingston, and the Military Communications and Electronics Museum.

Kingston North

Enjoy trails at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area and the K&P Trail – a converted recreational trail that runs along the old Kingston and Pembroke Railway (K&P) bed.

Things to Know About Visiting Kingston

Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Kingston, it’s nice to learn what the locals know about the city.  

Little known fact

Former prison Kingston Penitentiary is Canada’s oldest and most notorious maximum security prison – take the fascinating guided Kingston Pen Tour of the facility.

Hidden gem

Kingston boasts nine different breweries – take a tour around the city and see what tasty sips we have to offer! We’re home to Ontario’s oldest brewpub and Canada’s oldest wine-producing pub.

Don't forget to pack

Good walking shoes! There is so much to explore along Kingston’s historic, and scenic waterfront, including great places to shop, delicious food options and beautiful parks.

Great way to get around

Hop on, Hop off Kingston Trolley Tours are the most flexible and fun way to explore Kingston’s historic sights and unique attractions.

Where to watch the sunset

Kingston’s three-hour Sunset Dinner Cruise through the glorious 1,000 Islands might just end up being the highlight of your visit. 

Last updated: November 25, 2022

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