Nestled where the Rideau Canal and St. Lawrence River meet Lake Ontario, Kingston is a city built on a grand heritage and defined by an exquisite ability to blend the beauty of yesterday with the passion and sophistication of today.
Discover all the many things to do in Kingston near the Courtyard Marriott Kingston hotel. Stroll through our town’s endlessly diverting features: from its urban heart, sparkling with a casual boutique and bistro vitality, to its winding waterfront, with its breathtaking parkland.
All of this in a city that dazzles with soaring 19th century limestone architecture and the amenities of a major centre, but retains the fascinating allure of a small town.
Explore our history and immerse yourself in our vibrant culture. With so much to see and do in Kingston, there is a wealth of attractions to choose from, and each one unravels the secrets of our beautiful city. We’ve listed here some of our favourite and most popular attractions. For a more comprehensive list, please visit Tourism Kingston’s website.
See the sites, sight the seaway… If you’re interested in touring our fair City, you won’t be disappointed by the options. By land, air or water, there’s always plenty to see every day of the year. During the summer months, tours are offered regularly – perfect for the do-it-yourselfer and those who like some company. Haunted walks, sailing cruises and tour trolleys await.
Plan some time to get to know Kingston.
1000 Island Cruises
1000 Island Cruises is a hospitality boat line offering the widest variety of cruise options in the 1000 Islands region including sightseeing, lunch and dinner tours. The line operates 3 ships with up to 8 scheduled departures daily.
All cruises, except the 1 1/2 hour, feature live entertainment. For more information on the Food, Fun & Entertainment Ships, please visit their website.
Kingston Heli-Tours offers year-round helicopter adventures, service for heli-tourism, private charters, and aerial photography & videography. Please note that all flights are subject to weather conditions and there are weight restrictions. Outside regular business hours: bookings by appointment (available sunrise to sunset).
AHOY Rentals provide waterfront rentals for sailing, sea kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboards and cycling.
Pick up and drop off services for canoes and kayaks are offered at most lock-stations along the Rideau Canal route, all the way to Ottawa. Instructions are available to beginners as well as to first time sailors.
Kingston Trolley Tour
Journey through three centuries of history on Kingston’s only trolley. Hop aboard and let our trained guides take you through Kingston’s past. Highlights of this entertaining and informative tour include Royal Military College, Fort Henry National Historic Site, Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, Bellevue House (residence of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s First Prime Minister), Queen’s University, and many more points of interest.
Haunted Walk of Kingston
Haunted Walks Inc. is best known for the evening explorations of local ghost stories and darker history. Tours take place when the lights are low and the atmosphere is just right for a good spooky tale. Follow the guides who wear cloaks and carry a lantern as they lead their groups through the quiet city streets, showing the city the way it was meant to be seen – up close and on foot. None of the stories are exaggerated and several years of research have gone into each tour. Haunted Walks are second to none!
Fort Henry: A UNESCO Designated World Heritage Site
Sentries guard the entrance to this 19th century British military fortress, only to let you in if you are ready to enter British garrison life during the year of Canada’s confederation …
Fort Henry is both a museum and a spectacular historic site. Once inside the fortification’s wooden gates, visitors enter a marvellous reproduction of 19th century military life. The site offers guided tours, scenic views, and musical performances from a military band and marching demonstrations by the Fort Henry Guard. The Fort also plays host to numerous special ceremonies and events throughout the tourist season, so don’t be surprised if you get a little unforeseen bonus during your visit.
Fort Henry has been designated by the Government of Canada as a place of national significance. It is part of the Family of National Historic Sites, one of more than 800 places across the country which help define Canada’s diverse but common heritage and identity.
Come see why it’s Kingston’s #1 tourist attraction.
Museums & Historic Sites
Kingston is Canada‘s museum capital with something for everyone at our 20 exhibition halls and historic sites. It’s all here, from small, specialized museums to national treasures.
From the heights of Fort Henry, you can view a landscape forged by tradition or see our history up close at the Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation where artifacts from centuries gone by are on display.
Guided tours of Kingston City Hall allow you to explore a most notable architectural site, while costumed interpreters welcome you to the home of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.
Discover Canada’s nautical heritage at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, or explore the countrywide sport tradition through top-calibre NHL players’ memorabilia on display at the International Hockey Museum (rumour has it that hockey started in Kingston). Wonderfully unique, Canada’s Penitentiary Museum houses artifacts that highlight the evolution of Canada’s prison.
Many sites offer guided tours, special programs and exhibits for children throughout the year.
Bellevue House National Historic Site of Canada
Commemorating Canada’s First Prime Minister
Bellevue House was once the home of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister. Restored to the 1840’s period, and staffed by costumed interpreters, the house and gardens are kept much as they would have been during the time that Macdonald lived here with his wife and infant son. Enjoy a visit to the past. You may even encounter the ghost or Sir John A.!
Canada’s Penitentiary Museum
Canada’s Penitentiary Museum is located in the former Warden’s residence of Kingston Penitentiary, built by inmate labour between 1870 and 1873. To date, eight rooms have been converted for use as public display galleries. Exhibits range from contraband items to inmate art; staff uniforms and insignia to full-scale replicas of Canadian federal penitentiary cells. The collections also consist of photos and documents from all across the country, which reflects the national scope of the museum.
International Hockey Hall of Fame
The world’s original Hockey Hall of Fame was founded in Kingston, Ontario by the National Hockey League in 1943. It is a 10,000 square feet treasure trove for fans with a special tribute to the “Original Six” NHL teams, extensive international exhibits and hundreds of unique artifacts from hockey’s greatest players and builders. It is also home to the exclusive “Don Cherry Collection”, complete with loud sports jackets and high-collared shirts from the Hockey Night in Canada commentator.
Theatre & Performing Arts Venues
Take in a play, enjoy a concert, or discover the world of dance. Kingston’s theatres and performing arts venues offer something for everyone, from the traditional to the avant-garde.
The recently built 5,700 seat K-Rock Centre offers fantastic concerts and events all year long in downtown Kingston. From home-grown favourites The Tragically Hip and Avril Lavigne to Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Anne Murray, Blue Man Group and Trailer Park Boys, the K-Rock Centre experience is not to be missed. There’s not a bad seat in the house and the events just keep getting better and better.
The historic Grand Theatre, one of the first modern theatres in Canada, was recently restored to its original grandeur: both its structure and programming have been given a facelift. Home to the Kingston Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Theatre provides customers with a taste of comedy, dance, music and drama.