Kingston is located about half way between New York City and Albany in the heart of the Hudson Valley. Immerse yourself in the town’s history while strolling through the Kingston Uptown Historic District, visit the Senate House State Historic Site, relax in the lovely Forsyth Nature Center and see the historic Roundout Lighthouse. Best things to do in Kingston, NY with kids include the Hudson River Maritime Museum and the Trolley Museum of New York.

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1.Hudson River Maritime Museum

Hudson River Maritime Museum
© Hudson River Maritime Museum

The Hudson River Maritime Museum is dedicated to exploring and showcasing the history of the Hudson River and is one of the top Kingston attractions. Located on the banks of the Rondout Creek in the Rondout district of Kingston, the museum boasts collections that celebrate the history of the shipping industry on the Hudson River and its tributaries, as well as explores the heritage of Rondout, which was one of the busiest and important ports between New York and Albany in the 19th century.

Founded in 1980, the museum features exhibits that include artifacts of river steamships and various small craft, ice-harvesting tools, a research library, and an array of marine-related paintings and maps from the past. The 1898 steam tugboat Mathilda is displayed in a yard adjacent to the museum, and visitors can enjoy boat trips to the Rondout Lighthouse from the museum in the summer months. The Hudson River Maritime Museum is also home to various rowing teams and sailing clubs and hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year.

50 Rondout Landing, Kingston, New York, Phone: 845-338-0071

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2.Kingston Uptown Historic District

Kingston Uptown Historic District
© Courtesy of Nomad_Soul -

The Kingston Uptown Historic District, also known as the Kingston Stockade District, is a unique region of the city that celebrates, preserves, and promotes the history and heritage of Kingston. Spanning eight blocks in the western section of the city and commonly referred to as Uptown Kingston, the Kingston Uptown Historic District is the original site of the mid-17th-century Dutch settlement of Wiltwyck, which was later renamed Kingston when it passed into British control.

The district features many buildings that have been designated as National Historic Landmarks and Historic Places, including the Old Dutch Church, founded in 1659 as the First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Kingston, the Kirkland Hotel, a rare example of a wood-frame central hotel, and the century-old stone Senate House. Visitors can enjoy guided walking tours of the district and explore the treasury of centuries-old architecture in the heart of the original stockaded village of Kingston.

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3.Forsyth Nature Center

Forsyth Nature Center
© Forsyth Nature Center

The Forsyth Nature Center is an 18-plus acre Ulster County nature preserve located on Lucas Avenue that aims to encourage the exploration and preservation of the natural world through contact with flora and fauna and through a variety of educational programming at an interpretive facility.

Home to more than a dozen gardens that feature an array of native flora found in the Hudson Valley, as well as 24 animal exhibits, the Forsyth Nature Center provides a range of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. Join the community at the annual Forsyth Nature Center Fall Festival, which features live entertainment, children’s games and activities, music, arts and crafts, delicious foods and baked goods, hayrides, and much more.

157 Lucas Avenue, Kingston, New York, Phone: 845-339-3053

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4.Things to Do in Kingston: Rondout Lighthouse

Things to Do in Kingston: Rondout Lighthouse
© Courtesy of Zakhar Marunov -

The Rondout Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse on the Hudson River and one of three fully operational lighthouses that act as navigational lights to mark the entrance to the Rondout Creek. One of only seven remaining lighthouses on the Hudson River, the original wooden tower was built in 1867, though it was later replaced by a brick structure in 1915.

The lighthouse is accessible only by boat, which can be taken from the Hudson River Maritime Museum, and visitors can explore the lighthouse on occasional public and private guided tours led by experienced and knowledgeable tour guides who discuss the history of the lighthouse and the shipping industry in Kingston.

50 Rondout Landing, Kingston, New York, Phone: 845-338-0071

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5.The Matthewis Persen House, Kingston, NY

The Matthewis Persen House, Kingston, NY
© Courtesy of Ulster County Records Center

The Matthewis Persen House is one the oldest and most significant buildings in Ulster County and has witnessed many important moments in Ulster County's history. With a rich and diverse history that has seen wars, revolution, and fire, the Persen House, which has housed grocers, tailors, druggists, and doctors, takes visitors on a journey back in time.

Named after its longest resident Matthewis Persen, the house has undergone extensive restoration to maintain its historical significance and now functions as Ulster County's Heritage Gateway. Various cultural heritage groups from around the country hold special events each weekend, allowing visitors to explore the house and its culture and heritage on docent-led guided tours and enjoy a variety of exhibits, lectures, programs, and dramatic re-enactments.

244 Fair Street, Kingston, New York, Phone: 845-340-3288

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6.Senate House State Historic Site

Senate House State Historic Site
© Senate House State Historic Site

The Senate House State Historic Site marks the place where New York State was established in 1777 during the Revolutionary War. Located in the Stockade Historic District at the corner of North Front Street and Clinton Avenue on Fair Street, the Senate House State Historic Site was built in 1676 when the British took control of New York from the Dutch. It is an excellent example of early Dutch and English construction styles and features stone and brick laid in Flemish Bond.

The house was abandoned when the Senate fled the British troops during the war and later burned in retribution. However, it was restored to its former glory and has since served as a museum for the public to enjoy. The museum’s collection consists of a broad range of documents, historical objects, and artworks relating to the history of the house and the role the Senate House played in the American Revolution. The Senate building and surrounding grounds are open to the public, and professional Senate House staff provide guided tours of the museum.

296 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-338-2786

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7.The Den of Marbletown (Museum & B&B)

The Den of Marbletown (Museum & B&B)
© The Den of Marbletown

The Den of Marbletown is a museum by day and a cozy bed and breakfast by night. The family-run “den” features a family-friendly Teddy Bear Museum, which is home to a range of historic Steiff teddy bears and other stuffed animals, a Steiff gift shop, and a warm and welcoming bed and breakfast. Housed in a stunning 1860 farmhouse, the Teddy Bear Museum is a celebration of Steiff teddy bears and delves into the history of the German company that invented the Teddy Bear more than 100 years ago.

Along with the teddy bear collection, the museum also features rotating exhibitions of Madame Alexander dolls, Barbie dolls, Schuco toys and bears, and hand-carved wooden toys. The museum doubles as an inviting bed and breakfast in the evenings, and guests can enjoy a quiet stay in a comfortable home-away-from-home environment and savor a delicious homemade breakfast each morning.

1 Basten Lane, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-687-6441

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8.Sushi Makio, Kingston, NY

Sushi Makio, Kingston, NY
© Sushi Makio

Sushi Makio is a contemporary eatery that fuses the ancient Japanese culture with the spirit of Kingston. Sushi Master Makio Idesako owns and operates this restaurant, where he creates imaginative dishes of sushi and sashimi using fresh ingredients from all over the world.

Sustainably sourced and seasonal fish is the primary focus of the open kitchen, which produces traditional nigiri and maki as well as new-style sashimi. The menu also features an array of appetizers such as Asari clams, sunomono and edamame beans, noodle dishes, classic, signature and specialty rolls, and the chef’s choice of the day. A classic drinks menu features house and cold sake, plum and white wine, and beer.

1088 Morton Blvd, Kingston, New York, Phone: 845-853-8078

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9.Things to Do in Kingston:Old Dutch Church

Things to Do in Kingston:Old Dutch Church
© Old Dutch Church

Officially known as the First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Kingston, the Old Dutch Church was built in 1852 and is home to one of the oldest continuously existing congregations in the country. An institution of the community for more than three centuries, the church has a rich heritage and noble lineage, and it features a 225-foot (69 m) spire, standing as a symbol of faith and stability.

The church holds regular Sunday services, confirmation classes, Sunday School, and a range of faith-based programs, including Sunday adult discussion programs and a "Souper Thursday" program. Two musical groups, the Kingston Community Singers and the Mendelssohn Club of Kingston, call the church home, rehearsing and performing in its hallowed halls.

272 Wall Street, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-338-6759

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10.Trolley Museum of New York, Kingston, NY

Trolley Museum of New York, Kingston, NY
© Trolley Museum of New York

The Trolley Museum of New York (TMNY) was founded in Brooklyn in 1955 to preserve and showcase some of the last trolley cars still working in New York City. Located on the original site of the Ulster and Delaware Rail¬road yards at Mile¬post 1, TMNY explores the rich history of rail transportation in the Hudson Valley through a variety of exhibits, displays, and ed¬u¬ca¬tional pro¬grams. The museum features displays of stationary trolley and subway cars from around the world, and visitors can enjoy a fun excursion ride on a trolley from Down¬town Kingston to the banks of the Hudson River.

Stops along the way include the T. R. Gallo Me-mo¬ri¬al Park and Kingston Point Park, and there are picnic tables available near the river for a relaxing afternoon by the water. The museum is also home to a modern Visitor’s Center that features seasonal and per¬ma¬nent displays, a video viewing area, and a res¬to¬ra¬tion room with windows where visitors can watch the restoration process.

89 E Strand St, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-331-3399

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© Boitson's

Boitson’s is a buzzing American neighborhood bistro that serves comfort food in a casual, easy-going atmosphere. Tucked behind a century-old storefront and featuring exposed brick walls, cork flooring, and marble-topped tables, Boitson’s boasts a vibrant bar that attracts a broad range of patrons from blue collar workers to local suits. Owner Maria Phillipis and Head Chef Kris Roberts present a menu that combines French bistro classics such as steak frites and escargot with traditional Southern fare like fried chicken, biscuits, and gravy.

They also offer crowd-pleasers like burgers and fries, buffalo wings, and good old mac and cheese, while chef’s specials include pan-seared duck breast, pot-roasted beef brisket with horseradish mustard, and stewed red potatoes. You can enjoy your meal inside the cozy dining space or out on the deck against a backdrop of beautiful views. Delicious desserts include chocolate espresso pot de crème, peach cobbler, and thick bread pudding while signature cocktails include ‘the Kingston’ made from honey vodka, lime, and mint syrup.

47 North Front Street, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-339-2333

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12.Yum Yum Noodle Bar, Kingston, NY

Yum Yum Noodle Bar, Kingston, NY
© Yum Yum Noodle Bar

Yum Yum Noodle Bar is a casual eatery that presents a new take on an Asian-style noodle bar that serves belly-filling, healthy cuisine at affordable prices.

The menu features a combination of traditional noodle dishes and modern Asian fare, including miso-sake cured salmon, Korean tacos, pork jungle curry, steamed buns with pickles, and Bimbimbap. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, Yum Yum Noodle Bar serves delicious food that can be enjoyed in-house or taken away for meals at home or for catering purposes.

275 Fair Street, Kingston, New York, Phone: 845-338-1400

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13.The Fred J. Johnston Museum

The Fred J. Johnston Museum
© The Fred J. Johnston Museum

Built in 1812 as a home for New York State Senator John Suydam, the Fred J. Johnston Museum celebrates the life and times of the senator and stands as an excellent architectural example of a home from the classic Federal period. Saved from demolition from Fred Johnston in 1938, the building was restored to its former glory and made into a museum that now features several period rooms with furniture collections from the 18th- and early 19th-centuries.

Located on the corner of Wall and Main Streets, the museum features a collection that also presents impressive collections of American artwork, paintings, fine china, and decorative art, and guided tours are offered on the weekends between May and October.

63 Main St, Kingston, New York, Phone: 845-339-0720

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14 Best Things to Do in Kingston, Hudson Valley