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Downtown Kingston

Amazing Things to See, Eat and Do in Kingston, Ontario

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Downtown Kingston
Downtown Kingston by Mike Hewitt on Flickr

Located on the shores of Lake Ontario at the beginning of the Cataraqui and St. Lawrence Rivers is Kingston, Canada’s first capital city. Nicknamed the “Limestone City” due to its 19th-century limestone buildings, Kingston is best known for its interesting history, vibrant downtown, and scenic outdoor spaces. If you’re visiting Kingston, the following are what I would consider to be the best things to see, eat and do.

Related Posts: Unique Places to Visit in Ontario
The Best Eastern Ontario Attractions


Places to Visit on Your Kingston Vacation


Explore Fort Henry National Historic Site

1 Fort Henry Drive, Kingston, ON K7K 5G8 613 542 7388
Hours: Daily from 9:30 am – 5 pm from May to September and daily from 10 am – 4 pm from September to May

Fort Henry is a military fort located on an elevated point across the St. Lawrence River from downtown Kingston. It was originally constructed during the War of 1812 and was then reconstructed between 1832 and 1837 in order to protect the city of Kingston. Fort Henry is Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit during the day for a guided tour and the chance to experience military life in the 19th-century; or during special events for 1860’s military music, drills and artillery manoeuvres including a simulated battle. 


Tour Fort Frederick and the RMC Museum 

9-15 Passchendaele Dr., Kingston, ON   613-541-6000 ext. 3555
Hours: The RMC Museum is open during the summer months when the Cadets are not in residence, however, visitors are always at Point Frederick for self-guided walking tours.

Located on Point Frederick, Fort Frederick was built in 1846 as part of the Kingston Fortifications. Today, it is the campus of the Royal Military College of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Royal Military College Museum is housed in the Fort Frederick Martello Tower and contains more than 7,000 artifacts, some of which date back to WWI.

Wheelchair Accessible: Partial


Go to Murney Tower

1421 King St W, Kingston, ON K7L 3J6 613-507-5181
Hours: Daily from 10 am – 5 pm mid-May to Labour Day  (613) 507-5181

Murney Tower
Murney Tower by detsang on Flickr

Built during 1846, the Murney Tower National Historic Site was one of the four original towers built to defend Kingston and the Rideau Canal. Today the tower houses a museum that displays a collection of unique military artifacts.

Wheelchair Accessible: No


Check-Out the PumpHouse Museum

23 Ontario St., Kingston, ON K7L 2Y2 613-544-7867
Hours: vary seasonally 

The PumpHouse Museum in Kingston is one of the six remaining similarly preserved water pumping stations in North America. Located in one of Canada’s oldest original water works, it houses an incredible display of original steam machinery as well as an impressive collection of model railway trains. Along with both guided and self-guided tours, the PumpHouse Museum offers drop-in programming for families, lectures and programs for adults, and a number of free admission days.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Learn about Medical History at The Museum of Health Care 

Ann Baillie Building National Historic Site, 32 George St., Kingston, ON K7L 2V7 613-548-2419
Hours: Tuesday – Friday from 10 am – 4 pm during the fall, winter and spring, and Tuesday – Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm during the summer.

The Museum of Health Care is one of the most unique attractions in Kingston. It is also the only museum in Canada that is dedicated to the history of health and medicine. Containing an impressive collection of over 30,000 pieces of surgical, medical and laboratory equipment dating back to the 18th century, this museum is truly one of a kind. 

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Stop by Kingston City Hall

216 Ontario Street, Kingston, ON K7L 2Z3 613-546-4291
Hours: Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm from September through June. Open daily in July and August.

Kingston City Hall
Kingston City Hall by Evan Goldenberg on Flickr

Kingston City Hall is a remarkable 19th-century neoclassical style building that features an iconic dome. It operates as the city’s administrative centre and is also a National Historic Site of Canada. The first two floors are open to the public year-round and guided tours are available from May to October. 

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Go on a Haunted Walk of Kingston or Fort Henry

200 Ontario St., Kingston, ON K7L 2Y9  613-549-6366
Hours: Click here for the current tour schedule

The Haunted Walk of Kinston has been a top-rated tourist attraction in the city for the past 20 years.  This hair-raising tour leads you through Kingston’s old Sydenham Ward at night and features haunted hotels, hidden burial grounds as well as stories of grave robbers and hangings at the old courthouse.  For even more spine-tingling adventures, sign up for the Haunted Walk Experience at Fort Henry where you will hear about the many supernatural encounters that occurred around the nearly 200-year old fortress. 

Wheelchair Accessible: the Original Haunted Walk of Kingston is wheelchair accessible with assistance.


Explore the Military Communications and Electronics Museum

95 Craftsman Blvd., Kingston, ON K7K 7B4 613-541-4675
Hours: Monday – Friday from 11 am – 5 pm

Located on base at CFB Kingston is one of the city’s largest and most underrated museums, the Military Communications and Electronics Museum. Paying homage to the troops, the times, and the technologies used in military communications and peace-keeping missions, this museum is highly recommended for visitors of all ages.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Tour Bellevue House National Historic Site

35 Centre Street, Kingston, ON K7L 4E6 613-545-8666
Hours: Thursday – Monday from 10 am – 5 pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

Bellevue House, one of the historical attractions in Kingston
Bellevue-House by havent the slightest on Flickr

The Bellevue House is closed for restoration work, but the gardens and visitor center remain open.

Bellevue House was once the home of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A MacDonald, from 1848 until 1849. Completely restored to its Italian Villa style, the house provides a glimpse into what life was like for our country’s first leader. Dressed in costume, the knowledgeable staff at Bellevue House will guide you through the property explaining all there is to know about the artifacts and exhibits on display. 

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Pay a Visit to the Gravesite of Canada’s first Prime Minister

Cataraqui Cemetery, 927 Purdy’s Mill Rd., Kingston, ON K7M 3N1 613-546-6545

In the Cataraqui cemetery rests Sir John A. Macdonald, the country’s first Prime Minister and one of the founding fathers of Canada. Buried in his family plot which has been designated as a National Historic Site of Canada, his grave is marked by a simple stone cross. A visit to his grave is ideal after visiting Bellevue House, his former residence. 

Wheelchair Accessible: Partial, uneven terrain 


Visit St. Mary’s Cathedral

279 Johnson Street, Kingston, ON K7L 1Y4 613-546-5521
Hours: Monday – Friday from 9 am – 5 pm. Closed from 12 pm – 1 pm.

The Cathedral of St Mary is a stunning Gothic style Roman Catholic cathedral dating back to the mid-19th century. Said to be the tallest structure in the city of Kingston, the spire of the cathedral reaches an impressive height of 242 feet.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Tour Canada’s Most Notorious Prison, the Kingston Penitentiary

560 King Street West, Kingston, ON K7L 4V7 613-542-7388
Hours: Tours run from May to the end of October. Click here for details. 

Opened in 1835, Kingston Penitentiary was the oldest and the most famous maximum-security prison in Canada. Since its closure in 2013 tours of the facility have become the most popular tourist attractions in Kingston.  Tours range from 90 minutes to 2.5 hours and provide an up-close look at the main dome, the prison yard, the metal shop, the segregation/dissociation wing solitary confinement, and more. Along the way, former Kingston Penitentiary guards share stories and insight into what life was like working amongst Canada’s most notorious criminals.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Go to the Correctional Service of Canada Museum 

555 King Street West, Kingston, ON K7M 2E6 613-530-3122
Hours: Monday – Friday from 9 am – 4 pm and Saturday – Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm from May to October as well as by appointment on weekdays from November to April.

More commonly known as Canada’s Penitentiary Museum, the Correctional Service of Canada Museum is located across the road from Kingston Penitentiary in the former home of the warden. Exhibiting the city’s role in Canadian correctional history, the museum displays hundreds of contraband items, uniforms and inmate hobby crafts. There is also a collection of punishment and restraint devices used by Canadian Correctional Officers over the years. If possible, coordinate your visit along with a tour of Kingston Penitentiary for the complete prison experience. 

Wheelchair Accessible: The main floor of the Correctional Service of Canada Museum is accessible, as are the washrooms. 


Take a 1000 Islands Boat Tour

1 Brock Street, Kingston, ON K7L 1R7 613-549-5544
Hours: Monday – Tuesday from 9 am – 5 pm and Wednesday – Sunday from 9 am  – 6:30 pm 

1000 Island Boat Tours are popular excursions from Kingston
1000 Islands by Marco Nürnberger on Flickr

The 1000 Islands are a group of islands that run between Northern New York State and Southeastern Ontario. They boast stunning shorelines, charming towns, and unique attractions. The best way to experience these islands is on a boat trip run by 1000 Island Cruises. Visitors have the choice between 90-minute sightseeing cruises, three-hour excursions, dining cruises or private charter tours, all of which offer unparalleled views of the local scenery.


Go Shopping at the Kingston Public Market

Springer Market Square, 216 Ontario St., Kingston, ON K7L 2Z3 613 217 9647
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 am – 6 pm April through November

The Kingston Public Market has been in operating at Springer Market Square since 1801. Open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from April to November, it is the oldest market in Ontario where vendors sell fresh local produce, flowers, baked goods and other artisanal products. On Saturdays, there is also a sprawling antique market.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Enjoy Nature at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area

1641 Perth Road, Glenburnie, ON K0H 1S0 613-546-4228
Hours: Daily from 7:30 am to dusk

With close to 1000 acres, the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area is one of the best places to enjoy nature in Kingston. The area is popular no matter year-round with many recreational activities available including hiking, birdwatching, kayaking and canoeing. Winter is the busiest time of year with opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and skating on the largest natural ice rink in Kingston.

Wheelchair Accessible: Partial, uneven terrain


Visit the Kingston Mills Locks 

563 Kingston Mills Road, Kingston, ON K7L 4V3  613-283-5170

Kingston Mills Locks,, a scenic outdoor attraction in Kingston
Kingston Mills Locks by Pat O’Malley on Flickr

Kingston Mills is the site of the King’s Mill, which was the first mill constructed on the Rideau Canal back in 1784. Today, the site features three locks, a turning basin, a detached upper lock, a hydro-electric station, a blockhouse (one of four on the Rideau), a lockstation office, and a visitor’s centre. There is also a swimming hole, a fishing spot and rocks for climbing, all of which are popular amongst outdoor lovers and city slickers alike. 

Wheelchair Accessible: Partial, uneven terrain 


Explore the Kingston Waterfront Trail

The Waterfront Trail is an 8 km pathway located not far from downtown Kingston. Perfect for walking or cycling, the trail features parks, beaches, shops, cafés, and some of the best waterfront views in the city. Historic sights along the trail include the Kingston Penitentiary, the Bellevue House National Historic Site, Murney Tower, the Pump House Steam Museum, and City Hall.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Take the Ferry to Wolfe Island

Barrack St., Kingston, ON 613-548-7227
Hours: Daily 30-minute service from 6 am – 1:15 am

Wolfe Island is the largest of the 1000 Islands and a short ferry ride from Kingston. Visit during the summer months to cycle around the island, explore the popular town of Marysville and swim in the crystal clear waters at the Big Sandy Bay beach. 

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Go Hiking at Lemoine Point Conservation Area

1441 Coverdale Drive, Kingston, ON K7M 8X7 +1 877-956-2722
Hours: Daily from 7:30 am – 8 pm

Bordered by Lake Ontario and Collins Bay, Lemoine Point Conservation Area is one of the best places in Kingston to appreciate nature. Encompassing 136 hectares, this area boasts more than 2,500 metres of shoreline on Lake Ontario, 11 km of scenic trails and a lovely stone beach ideal for swimming.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Walk Around Confederation Park

Laurier Ave W. & Elgin St., Kingston, ON K1P 5J2 1-800-465-1867

Confederation Park in Kingston
Confederation Park by Viv Lynch on Flickr

Confederation Park is a small park in downtown Kingston which separates City Hall from the waterfront. A hub of activity, the park features a ceremonial arch and fountain along with a restored historic locomotive known as Engine 1095. Confederation Park is also host to many events, festivals and concerts throughout the year.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Explore City Park

King Street East, Kingston, ON K7P 2Y2 613-544-4442

Just 10 short minutes away from City Hall in Kingston is City Park, one of the best green spaces in the city. Ideal for families with children, there are huge shade trees, two playgrounds, a splash pad and two rinks in wintertime. There are also two baseball diamonds and a Cricket Field located to the north of the park. 

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Enjoy a Picnic at Lake Ontario Park

988 King Street West, Kingston, ON K7M 1A3 613-546-0000

Lake Ontario Park is Kingston’s largest waterfront park and a relaxing place for the whole family. Complete with a playground, splash pad, beach volleyball courts, cobble beach and an abundance of picnic tables, this park is the perfect place for kids to burn off some energy.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Visit the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market

Location and Hours: Open Sundays except between Christmas and the 2nd Sunday in January. Market hours and locations rotate throughout the year. Click here for details.

Founded in 2012, the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market highlights sustainably food and craft products that are grown and produced within roughly 100km of Kingston. Market favourites include giant pretzels from the Little German Bakery, apples and apple products from Hall’s Apple Market and chocolates from CocoaBistro. 

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Go to the Leon’s Centre for a Frontenacs Game

1 Tragically Hip Way, Kingston, ON K7K 0B4 613-650-5000
Hours: Click here for the schedule of upcoming events

The Leon's Centre, a popular venue in Kingston
Former K-Rock Centre by The Tragically Hip on Flickr

Formerly known as the Rogers K-Rock Centre, the Leon’s Centre is home to the city’s OHL team, the Kingston Frontenacs. Other events hosted at the centre include big-name music concerts and other live entertainment.  

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Attend a Local Performance at The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts

390 King Street West, Kingston, ON K7L 2X4 1-855-533-2424
Hours: Click here for the performance schedule  

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts is one of the most recent additions to Kingston’s artistic community. Part of Queen’s University, this world-class facility features a concert hall, black box studio theatre, art gallery, rehearsal space and film screening room. There is also an amazing Art and Media Lab which is accessible to community members, students, as well as both professional and emerging artists.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Visit the Agnes Etherington Art Centre

36 University Av., Kingston, ON K7L 3N6 613-533-2190
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 am – 4:30 pm, Thursday from 10 am – 9 pm, Saturday – Sunday from 1 – 5 pm, and Holiday Mondays from 1 – 5 pm May through September

At the heart of Queen’s University sits Kingston’s public art gallery, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. It houses over 17,000 works including contemporary art, Indigenous art and artifacts, Canadian historical art, as well as 4 paintings by the famous Dutch painter, Rembrandt. Special programs at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre include drop-in creative events for young adults, weekly crafts for children and their families, and day camps to name a few. 

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Check out the Art at Martello Alley

203B Wellington St., Kingston, ON K7K 2Y6 613-767-2966
Hours: Daily from 10 am – 5 pm

Martello Alley is a historic alley in downtown Kingston which also serves as an art gallery. If you’re looking for a unique gift or memorable keepsake, this is the perfect spot. With a fun and friendly atmosphere one doesn’t necessarily expect in a gallery, this artist collective aims to bring great art at a reasonable price to the residents and visitors of Kingston.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Bust a Gut at the Absolute Comedy Club

1187 Princess St., Kingston, ON K7M 3E1 613-900-5400
Hours: Wednesday to Friday at 8:30 pm and Saturday at 8 pm

If you’re in the mood for a few laughs, check out the Absolute Comedy Club. Showcasing both amateur Kingston comedians and professional performers, you’re nearly guaranteed to bust a gut. They also offer pre-show dinner and drinks at an extremely reasonable price.  

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Hop Aboard a Kingston Trolley Tour

209 Ontario St., Kingston, ON K7L 2Z1 613-549-5544
Hours: Departs every 30 minutes from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm every day between May and October

If it’s your first time visiting Kingston, hop aboard one of the Kingston Trolley Tours to see the city’s historic downtown and waterfront. Operating on a hop-on hop-off system, the tour route takes a total of 75 minutes to complete. Tickets for Kingston Trolley Tours can be purchased at 1 Brock Street or 248 Ontario St. at least 15 mins before departure.


Go on a Kingston Food Tour

136 Ontario St., Kingston, ON K7L 2Y4 613-704-0006

The best way to decide where you will want to eat is by taking a culinary tour with Kingston Food Tours. Led by a knowledgeable guide, this 2.5-hour walking tour covers a 1.6km distance in the city’s historic downtown. They stop in at the best local restaurants, shops and artisans in Kingston, allowing you to indulge in some of the city’s finest cuisine. 

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Drink Craft Beer at a Kingston Brewery

Known as one of the best craft beer towns in Ontario, Kingston is home to a grand total of 10 breweries. With everything from the oldest brewpub in Ontario to modern stainless steel breweries, it would be a crime not to buy a flight of beer while in the city. Some of the best breweries to visit are; Stone City Ales where the beer is made on-site, the Spearhead Brewing Company with their eclectic brews and the Kingston Brewing Company which is both Ontario’s oldest brewpub and Canada’s oldest wine-producing pub.    


Eat at a Famous Kingston Restaurant

68 Princess St., Kingston, ON K7L 1A5 613-549-7673
Hours: Monday – Saturday from 11:30 am and Sunday from 10 am 

Known for their internationally inspired menu and friendly service, Chez Piggy is one of the best restaurants in Kingston. Located on along charming cobblestone lane reminiscent of Europe, it’s the ideal place to grab a bite to eat after a day of sightseeing.  

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Take a Stroll Down Princess Street

The easternmost section of Princess Street lies in the heart of downtown Kingston. It is the city’s main commercial area, featuring numerous cafés, bars, restaurants and retail stores, many of which are housed in historic limestone buildings. 

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Catch a Show at The Grand Theatre

218 Princess St., Kingston, ON K7L 1B2 613-530-2050
Box Office Hours: Monday – Saturday from 12 pm – 6 pm; open until at least showtime when there are performances and two hours prior to a performance on Sundays and holidays.

Located in the hip and trendy downtown strip is The Grand Theatre, one of the main cultural venues in Kingston. Since its opening in 1902, it has hosted thousands of performances including Bruce Cockburn, Red Green and Eddie Palmieri. The theatre has also been the home of the Kingston Symphony Orchestra since 1964.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes


Check Out a Festival

Hosting over 30 events annually, it’s likely there will be a festival happening at the time you visit Kingston. There is something for everyone including the Kingston Buskers’ Rendezvous, the Kingston Sheep Dog Trials, the Kingston Jazz Festival, Ontario Craft Beer Week and Artfest Kingston. 


Go Climbing at The Boiler Room

4 Cataraqui St., Ste 103, Kingston, ON K7K 1Z7 613-549-0520
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 1 pm – 10:30 pm, Thursday from 3 pm -10:30 pm, and Saturday – Sunday from 10 am – 7 pm

One of the most popular places to go to in Kingston for those with an adventurous streak is The Boiler Room. Known as Kingston’s premier climbing gym, it is home to Canada’s highest indoor climb. Welcoming beginners, groups and families, they offer adult programs, youth programs and individual lessons.

Wheelchair Accessible: No


What are your favourite things to do in Kingston Ontario? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!


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