If you are traveling to Canada, you cannot miss visiting Kingston, Ontario. It was Once the original capital of Canada and is now known as the “Limestone City” due to various heritage buildings made from limestone during the 19th century.
Kingston has myriad attractions to galvanize you while you are visiting. It is located on the northeastern end of Lake Ontario and between the midway of Toronto and Montreal. It is also connected to Ottawa through Rideau Canal, a world heritage site.
Plus, it is located near two popular tourist attractions Thousand islands in the east and Prince Edward County in the west. In addition to its spectacular landscape, Kingston has a long and prestigious history as well.
Besides being the hometown of the first Canadian Prime Minister named Sir John A. Macdonald, it is also a place with two UNESCO world heritage sites, Rideau Canal and Kingston Fortification.
Queen University and Canadian Military college will inspire you with their youthful energy if you are a student. With all this history and beautiful landscape combined, Kingston is the perfect place to visit with your family.
You will also enjoy visiting restaurants, historic places, and scenic waterfronts. There are many things to do in Kinston. Let’s take a rundown at some of the best locations.
Things to do in Kingston
We have already given you a brief rundown about Kingston. Now let’s take a look at some best places. It has some pretty good things that will make your trip to Kinston memorable.
1. Relax at Kingston Waterfront
If you want alone time at a beautiful place, visit the Kingston waterfront in winter. Still, if you’re going to see the liveliness of the site, the best time to visit will be spring to summer, when the Kingstone waterfront becomes a hub of tourist attraction.
It stretches over 8 km long and has a trail that runs from Niagara waterfall to Quebec City. You can explore this place with endless possibilities, including walking, bicycling, boating, or taking a tour bus. Here, you can even rent a sailboat, paddleboard, or bike.
If you enjoy long walks, you will certainly love the waterfront trail which joins the downtown Kingstone to Lake Ontario Park. Alongside picturesque views, it also has beaches, a shop, a park, Bellevue House, a café, and many other things to do on Kingston waterfront.
2. Canada’s Penitentiary Museum
You must visit the award-winning Canada Penitentiary Museum to explore unique places and history. It was the house of the warden of Kingston penitentiary, which now preserves the history of Canada.
It explains the system of Canada’s Federal Penitentiary in the 1800s. At present more than 50000 people visit this museum per year. Here you will see the artifacts and photographs related to the prison, which let you experience the past of Canada.
3. Take a tour with Kingston Trolley
We implore you to take an educational and entertaining Kingston trolley Ride, a great way to learn and tour Kingston simultaneously. This Hop-on-hop-off bus or trolley is a great way to get an insight into a great location in Kingston.
This ride comes with an energetic tour guide who will narrate over 300 years of history in only 75 minutes, and you will not want to miss a second of it.
It covers various popular sites like Fort Henry, City Hall, Queen university, Kingston Penitentiary, and the downtown shopping district. If you have limited time, then the Kingston trolley is the best way to get an overview of a city.
4. Fort Henry, A UNESCO world heritage site
It is one of the most famous and visited historic places in Canada. It was named after Henry Hamilton, the first Lieutenant Governor of Quebec. Inside the fort, you will experience life around 1867, from how actors dressed in uniform and adorned weapons to depict history.
It is the best place for you if you want to see military action like cannon firing, flag-raising and lowering ceremonies, and muster parades. You can even watch the special ceremony held in the evening on Wednesday and Friday, which finishes with a crackling display of fireworks.
5. Thousand islands is the best place to enjoy the water ride
Your trip to Kingston can never be complete without visiting Thousand island. It is located in the Saint Lawrence River and shares its border with both Canada and the United States. The best method to explore this site is by island cruise.
You can have your breakfast to dinner on the cruises if your ticket can avail this service, but if you are pressed for time, you can also take a 3 hours boat cruise, which comes with audio commentary to provide a learning experience. You will surely enjoy the historic waterway ride.
6. Go to a picnic at Kinston Mill Locks
Another World Heritage site of Canada, the Kingston Mill Lock, was built in 1820. It is situated approximately 7 km north of downtown Kingston. It is part of 24 lock stations of the Rideau Canal System.
It is a historic site and a great destination to enjoy the scenic view. Here you learn the history of the men who protected this strategic location. You can watch the locks working similarly to how they were working 180 years ago. Rent a boat to visit different parts of the Rideau Canal.
7. Tour Kingston Penitentiary
If Kinston is famous for its beautiful landscape, it is similarly renowned for having the most notorious security prison in Canada. It was opened in 1835 and was one of the oldest prisons at its time of closing in 2013.
It once held men, children, and women of all ages for various crimes. Later it was changed to a maximum security prison for men and housed the most dangerous killers in Canadian history. The Kingstone penitentiary is the best place to get a glimpse into the life of prisoners and correctional officers in history.
8. Go shopping on Princess Street
If you want a souvenir from your trip, there is no better place to buy it than Princess Street. It is located right through downtown and the waterfront. Here, you will find a variety of local shops selling things from painting to food and other craft items. You will also find popular store chains and unique stores. For any shopping enthusiast, princess street is the best location.
You can easily get to Kingston by bus, car, train, or plane. It is a 2.5-hour ride from Toronto and 2 hours from Ottawa. You can also take Via Rail, which has direct trains from Toronto and Montreal.
Coach Canada and Megabus offer customer service at fixed intervals for those interested in bus rides. Billy Bishop Airport has two flights on Thursday and Friday to Kinston.