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A Guide to Wandering Around Kingston


Whether you’re a graduate student who is fairly new to Kingston, or you’ve been around for a year or two (or four!), settling into a new place is often accompanied by development and maintenance of routines. Just like some of us have difficulty fathoming a breakfast being complete without a steaming cup of coffee, there are certain experiences that we come to associate with particular times or places.

I’ve spent my fair share of weekends in Kingston and there are a few small pleasures that I’ve come to enjoy, so I thought I’d share some of them with you, especially for those of you who may be new to the city, so here are some of my favourite things to do in Kingston.

One of my favourite weekend memories is having brunch at Pan Chancho. Swing the door open and aromas of freshly baked breads and baked goods welcome you inside. Grab a table and order one of my favourite dishes, apple butter French toast (yum!). Be tempted by the dessert selection on your way out, and indulge your chocolate cravings. Bonus: Check out a free Sunday morning yoga session at Lululemon before brunch (in the summer these are held @ 9.30 AM at Battery Park)

While we’re in the area, you may wish to browse the market (Saturday: Farmer’s Market; Sunday: Antique Market) by City Hall. Pick up some fresh produce or jam, or enjoy the music.

Meandering around the market

Meandering around the market

After this, you may want to head down to the waterfront and go for a stroll. I recommend grabbing a coffee or tea to go from Sipps or Coffeeco (both of which are right by the square). Follow the waterfront pathway around the hotel and continue through Battery Park. You can walk all the way to the pier in front of Kingston General Hospital at Queen’s University, if you wish. This route makes for a refreshing and relaxing walk!

Alternatively, f you’re feeling like doing work at a coffee shop, there’s no shortage of coffee shops to choose from. I personally enjoy working at the big wooden table at Coffeeco in the square, Sipps, or the Common Market (on Ontario St).

Another option is to browse the shops on Princess and Clarence Street. I always like to check out Cooke’s, a purveyor of specialty food items and confectionary. It’s one of my favourite places to visit (even if I don’t buy anything!)- you will immediately notice the strong aroma of coffee, the creaking floorboards, and the cheese samples are sure to entice. If you’re a fan of specialty chocolate (a euphemism for chocoholics like me), this is the place for you.

Additional options for a nice summer or fall day include taking the free ferry over to Wolfe Island (from the Tim Hortons on Ontario Street near the KRock Center). You can bike around the island. I have lovely memories of spending the day at the beach (Big Sandy Bay), followed by dinner at the Wolfe Island Grill (which is right by the ferry).

If you have a car, optional excursions include driving out to Sandbanks beach in Picton (note, entrance fees do apply), or taking the wine trail (but if you are wine tasting, be sure to have a designated driver!). Bonus: drive out to the end of Bath Rd and take the Glenora Ferry over (it takes roughly the same amount of time!).

A relaxing day at Sandbanks Beach.

A relaxing day at Sandbanks Beach.


Another option for those with cars is to drive roughly 30 km east to Gananoque. There, you have access to the 1000 Islands and you can rent kayaks. I highly recommend checking out the Socialist Pig for coffee and food (there’s a good chance you will find me there!).

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can plan a camping trip to one of many nearby campsites: Sharbot Lake, Frontenac Park, Charleston Lake, just to name a few. If you’d rather go for a short walk, Lemoine Point is my favourite option (and it’s especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves change colour). During the school year, the Queen’s Outdoor Club plans excursions every weekend (so those of you without cars, don’t fret!)


Camping at Charleston Lake

Camping at Charleston Lake

Finally, if you’re in the mood for dessert, check out Atif’s post on his favourite places!

Now I admit that I haven’t even come close to covering the spectrum of things to do in Kingston. That’s where you come in- what are your favourite things to do in or around the city?


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10 comments on “A Guide to Wandering Around Kingston
  1. amandatracey says:

    Fun post, Rachel!

    My favourites for the summer are the movies in Market square and all of the festivals… there is literally one every weekend.

    In the winter, you can go to Little Cataraqui Conservation Area… It’s beautiful. You can rent cross country skis… and feed the chickadees that overwinter there, they land right in your hand!

    • Atif Atif says:

      I second Little Cat! It’s absolutely beautiful, and not that far from the city. For those with a car, you can make the trek out to Frontenac Park or Bon Echo, both of which are great for hiking and camping.

    • Sharday says:

      Amanda neglected to mention that “AmandaTracey” is just the alias she usually goes by, but the chickadees and other fauna in the Conservation Area know her as Snow White. But seriously, having a bird alight on my hand seems like an attainable goal for this year, and I’m setting it.

  2. Shelby says:

    You hit so many of my favorites and I am from here! Also worth noting is all of the amazing food – you mentioned Pan Chancho, but there are so many restaurants in downtown Kingston and you really can’t go wrong.

    The newly remodeled Lake Ontario Park is also nice, located across the street and along the water from St. Lawrence College.

    Ahhhhh Kingston.

  3. Christine says:

    And for those of you who don’t know, Pan Chancho offers a discount to Queen’s students so be sure to bring your student cards with you!

  4. Rachel Wayne 8rw16 says:

    I can’t believe I forgot this, but the Kingston Brewing Company and Alibi are my favourite evening time spots!

  5. Has anyone checked out the new olive oil shop, opposite Cooke’s. Anyone who likes to cook or drizzle some oil on a plate with some balsamic vinegar and fresh bread to dip would love this place.

  6. Christine says:

    Re Olive Oil shop: Love what they’ve done with the place. However a small note to foodies: If you’re looking for a nice truffle oil, I personally prefer a cheaper bottle available at Costco. I found the version sold at the Olive Oil shop overly pungent (even for truffle oil standards) and too Pow-In-You-Face. Having said that, I highly recommend the cinnamon pear and/or mission fig vinegars at the store. Delightful.

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