25 Best Things to Do in Kingston, NY (Hudson Valley)
By VacationIdea Staff on April 17, 2023 - Updated
Courtesy of Hudson River Maritime Museum
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.
1. 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
More ideas: 50 Best Things to Do in the Hudson Valley, New York.
2. Kingston Uptown Historic District
© Courtesy of Nomad_Soul - Fotolia.com
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.
More NY destinations: 15 Best Things to Do in New Paltz, New York.
3. 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
More ideas: 27 Best Day Trips from NYC
4. Rondout Lighthouse
© Courtesy of Zakhar Marunov - Fotolia.com
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
© 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.
74 John St, Kingston, NY 12401, Phone: 845-340-3288
6. 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
7. 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
8. Sushi Makio
© 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
9. 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
10. Hutton Brickyards
© Hutton Brickyards
Hutton Brickyards is located along the banks of the Hudson River in Kingston, less than 2 hours drive from NY City, where it offers a unique and imaginative getaway destination perfectly in tune with nature. A selection of beautifully designed and outfitted cabins with large picture windows and modern luxury touches invite visitors to kick back and relax. The cabins are just steps away from the restaurant and have access to communal fire pit and outdoor lounge areas. The Salt Spa offers all the relaxation and pampering you require, including waterfront saunas. The River Pavilion serves fresh delicious fare, most of which is prepared on the centerpiece wood-fired pizza ovens and grills.
Hutton Brickyards, 200 North Street, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-213-4742
11. Trolley Museum of New York
© 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
12. Yum Yum Noodle Bar
© 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. 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
13. 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
14. Volunteer Firemen’s Hall and Museum
© Volunteer Firemen’s Hall and Museum
Located in the original historic Wiltwyck Fire Station building, the Volunteer Firemen’s Museum strives to collect and showcase historic firefighting artifacts from Ulster County. Admission to the museum is free and visitors of all ages will enjoy admiring the museum’s fine collection of historic photographs, records and fire-fighting equipment, some of which is more than 100 years old. There are several vintage fire trucks to admire and visitors will learn all about the perils of firefighting back in the old days. Upstairs you can see the actual sleeping quarters of the old fire station and see the original firemen’s sliding pole. There is no entry fee but donations are very welcome in order to continue preserving this gem.
Volunteer Firemen’s Hall and Museum, 265 Fair Street, Kingston, NY 12401,
15. Reher Center for Immigrant History and Culture
© Reher Center for Immigrant History and Culture
America’s melting-pot population is made up of immigrants from just about all corners of the globe. Visiting the Reher Center for Immigrant History and Culture will give visitors greater insight into the varied cultures of the thousands of men and women who shaped the destiny of the US. The center is located in the historic Reher Bakery building in the Rondout neighborhood, where it welcomes visitors to come and enjoy a guided tour. You will learn about the Reher immigrant family, their bakery and the vibrant part they and other immigrants have played in the area. You can even pick up an original bread-roll recipe to try at home.
Reher Center for Immigrant History and Culture, 99-101 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-481-3738
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16. Kingston Ceramics Studio
At the Kingston Ceramics Studio you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about ceramics and how to make them. The studio owner has been working in ceramics for over 20 years and is assisted by other very knowledgeable instructors who gain great satisfaction from sharing their collective skills and artistry with avid amateurs. If you are just passing through and would like to increase your skills you can book a private lesson (these also make amazing gifts for anyone interested in ceramics). If you happen to live nearby you can become an Open Studio Member and get to enjoy studio access and inspiration 7 days a week.
Kingston Ceramics Studio, 77 Cornell Street, Studio 309, Kingston, NY 12401,
17. Catskill Mountain Railroad
© marcin kilarski EyeEm/stock.adobe.com
Visitors to Kingston can enjoy an exciting day out when they book a ticket to ride the Catskill Mountain Railroad, which links Kingston to the Catskill Mountains. The railroad started operations in 1982, using the route of the historic Rondout and Osego Railroad which was built in the 1800’s and was used to move everything from quarried marble to food between New York City and the Catskills. Today the Catskill Mountain Railroad offers a year-round calendar of fun railroad adventures using vintage engines and coaches. Excursions include the Easter Bunny Express, the Catskill Fall Foliage Flyer and Pumpkin Express, to name but a few.
Catskill Mountain Railroad, Westbrook Lane Station, 55 Kingston Plaza Rd, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-332-4854
18. Hudson River Maritime Museum
The Hudson River Maritime Museum incorporates the Riverport Wooden Boat School and the Sailing and Rowing School. The Museum is a mine of information about the Hudson River and its extraordinary maritime history. One of the most enjoyable ways of learning all about the Rondout waterfront is to join a Historic Walking Tour, offered on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month (seasonal). There are also a number of exciting Boat Tours to suit all interests from history tours to lighthouse tours and ecology tours. The Boat School is the ideal place to learn how to handle a boat and offers lessons for adults and children.
Hudson River Maritime Museum, 50 Rondout Landing, Kingston, NY 12401, 846-338-0583
19. Wiltwyck Golf Club
Boasting some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the area, the Wiltwyck Golf Club was established by Robert Trent Jones Sr. back in 1933. Long undulating fairways are bordered by mature trees which test your accuracy while providing a scenic back-drop to your game. In addition, several of the greens are elevated and require a precise approach, as befits a championship golf course. After your round you can enjoy a meal and drink in the clubhouse dining room or on the outdoor Patio. Visitors can book a lesson with the resident instructor to hone their skills and you can find everything you need for an enjoyable round at the Pro Shop.
Wiltwyck Golf Club, 404 Stewart Lane, Kingston, 12401, 845-331-0700
20. Zephyr Float
© Zephyr Float
You can add a new dimension of stress-relief, relaxation and even pain-relief to your Kingston getaway by booking a floating session at Zephyr Float. In case you have never heard of floating, this is how it works. The floatation center has special float tanks which contain a shallow (10 inch) “bath” filled with highly-concentrated Epsom salts which make the water remarkably buoyant. Visitors step into the soothing warm water – the same temperature as your skin – and lie back and relax. With no outside stimuli to disturb your float session, you will emerge totally relaxed, renewed and invigorated. Visitors are advised to book a set of three float sessions to gain the most benefits from the floatation experience.
Zephyr Float, 111 Greenkill Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-853-2400
21. Seed Song Farm
© Seed Song Farm
Seed Song Farm is a non-profit agricultural and educational center which produces a wide range of organic, sustainably grown fruits, vegetables, berries, flowers and more. The farm seeks to educate all members of the community about the importance of taking care of the land, sustainable farming methods and eating good, healthy food. Visitors are very welcome to come and find out all about Seed Song Farm and to stock up on freshly-harvested seasonal fruits and vegetables. They offer a seasonal Pick-your-own facility which children will love. You can also buy plants and enroll your kids for the Summer Camp learning experience.
Seed Song Farm, 160 Esopus Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-383-1528
22. Mariner’s Harbor
© Mariner’s Harbor
Mariner’s Harbor offers prime waterfront dining with loads of atmosphere. Located in an historic building right on the edge of the Hudson River, in what was once the hub of the city, Mariner’s Harbor is a popular meeting place for Kingston locals and visitors. The building dates back to 1851 and has variously been used as an Opera House, Newspaper headquarters and more. Today the restaurant is highly rated for serving a wide selection of delicious popular American fare, including mouth-watering lobster, fresh fish and seafood. Other menu favorites include tasty sandwiches and burgers, steaks, sides and desserts, including Key Lime Pie, NY Cheesecake and a long list of fabulous ice creams.
Mariner’s Harbor, 1 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-340-8051
23. Ship to Shore Restaurant
© Ship to Shore Restaurant
Ship to Shore Restaurant describes itself as a modern American Bistro, with as taste of Old NY Steakhouse. The restaurant is conveniently located on Kingston’s Historic Waterfront, where it is headed up by owner/chef Samir Hrichi, who brings with him a heritage of Moroccan and Latvian cuisine. Starters include fresh seafood favorites like Grilled Octopus, Seared Scallops and Coconut Crusted Shrimp, along with New Zealand Lamb Lollipops, for a change of pace. Entrees include flavorsome dishes from all corners of the globe including satisfying pastas, Roasted Rack of Lamb, grilled steaks, fresh fish and seafood, served with your choice of sides and sauces.
Ship to Shore Restaurant, 15 West Strand, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-334-8887
24. Hoffman House
© Hoffman House
A beautifully restored stone Colonial house, surrounded by pretty gardens, is the setting for Hoffman House Tavern, a favorite meeting place for Kingston locals and visitors in the know. The building was built sometime before 1679 and became the Hoffman House in the early 1700’s – it is a striking example of Early American Dutch rubble architecture. The interior is warm and inviting and there is an outdoor terrace for alfresco dining in summer. Guests can order something from the Lite Fare menu (burgers, sandwiches, salads) to nibble with their drinks or select their meal from the main menu which features classic appetizers like clams, calamari and shrimp cocktail followed by delicious pastas, grills, seafood and Tavern specialties.
Hoffman House, 94 N. Front Street, Kingston, NY 12401, 845-338-2626