15 Best Things to Do in Kingston, NY

Kingston, NY
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The county seat of Ulster County, New York, Kingston is a city located to the north of New York City, separated by 91 miles.

A blooming town for tourism, Kingston is a popular hub for its historical value and natural beauty.

Uptown Stockade Area, Midtown Area, and Downtown Waterfront area are the three neighborhoods that primarily make up the city.

While Uptown is notable for its quaint feeling with its numerous historical buildings and monuments, the Downtown Area was made famous for being the best place for artists.

Revitalize yourself through a trip to the historic city of Kingston, and partake in the city’s rich and bustling culture.

If you are planning a trip to Kingston, NY, here is a list of things to do while in the city.

Read on for ideas for an unforgettable trip.

Hudson River Maritime Museum

Hudson River Maritime Museum
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Established in 1979, the Hudson River Maritime Museum is dedicated to preserving and researching the maritime history of the Hudson River and its tributaries.

The museum houses a vast array of historic vessels, ship models, and lifeboats.

You can go through its extensive collection of archival records, paintings, photographs, and blueprints on your visit to the museum.

In addition, the museum highlights its collection of machines, ships, and boats from America’s steam era of transportation.

The industries on display include ice harvesting, bluestone quarrying, boat making, among others.

It also hosts several events like Basic Sailing for youths and adults that you can participate in.

Senate House

Senate House
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Rich in historical value, the Senate House was the original meeting place of the New York State Senate.

Through its collection of artifacts, portraits, archives, and furniture, the Senate House portrays a magnificent image of colonial life.

In addition, it hosts a multitude of events, from scavenger hunts to 18th-century educational programs.

You can participate in one of the several tours that the house offers and also become an audience to the historical re-enactment events conducted throughout the year.

There are also several picnic spots on the ground, and you can sit down with your loved ones to have a picnic brunch.

Overall, a visit to the Senate House provides an enriching experience that brings you closer to American history.


A perfect example of Victorian architecture, Wilderstein is a house museum that was once the property of Margaret Suckley, close confidante and cousin of Franklin D.Roosevelt.

Owing to its strong link to American history, the estate is a must-visit if you travel to Kingston, NY.

You can opt for a guided tour across the property and educate yourself on US history through the various exhibits that the house hosts.

Apart from the above, Wilderstein Historic Site also conducts several events and activities like sculpture tours and fundraisers.

In addition, the house has an extensive collection of personal effects like letters, books, photographs, and furniture that speak volumes about the local culture of the place.

Mills State Park

Mills State Park
John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Mills State Park is a memorial site that, coupled with the nearby Margaret Norrie State Park, spans a staggering 1000 acres.

The Hudson River runs along the western boundaries of the park, offering visitors a breathtaking view of the waters.

Additionally, numerous birds populate the area, making the park an ideal site for birding.

The park also has several trails running through it, and you can enjoy a quiet walk or hike while absorbing the stunning views.

Other activities that the park offers are cycling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

You can also indulge in a round of golf in the Dinsmore Golf Course, one of the first public golf courses in the US, located inside the Mills State Park.

Overlook Mountains

The steep cliffs of the Overlook Mountains provide incredible views of the Hudson River down below.

You can walk the quiet trail to the Overlook summit through a gravelly path, and once atop the mountains, enjoy a beautiful sunset or a calming evening with your loved ones.

There is also a fire tower that you can climb if you wish to enjoy a birds-eye view.

Further, you can walk a little away from the trailhead to visit the Buddhist Temple that looks right out of a Tibetan landscape.

Robert Post Memorial Park

A memorial park overlooking the Hudson River and close to the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, the Robert E.

Post Memorial Park is an ideal picnic spot.

The park offers stunning views of the river and its adjacent habitats.

You can spend a lazy day here with your family, picnicking on the several picnic tables that the park provides.

You also have the option of barbecuing and spending quality time with your loved ones.

There are several slides, climbers, monkey bars, and swings to keep the young ones in the group occupied.

The park has a soccer field and a basketball court, among others.

It also has provisions for fishing, so it is advisable to bring your own fishing pole.

Trolley Museum

Trolley at Trolley Museum
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The Trolley Museum is a not-for-profit organization that is among the most popular tourist hubs in Kingston, NY.

It is located on the original site of Ulster and Delaware Railroad yards, and the museum is at the engine house site from before the 1900s.

A train ride in the Trolley Museum offers you a scenic view of the Hudson River Valley.

You can take a ride on one of the rail trolleys, and through the various exhibitions it hosts, learn about the history of the railways and its contribution to the Hudson Area development.

A Visitor’s Centre in the museum offers video viewing facilities and observing centers overlooking the restoration shop.

Catskill Animal Sanctuary

Catskill Animal Sanctuary
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If you are an animal lover, Catskill Animal Sanctuary is the place for you.

The 150-acre area serves as a refuge to 11 species of farmed animals rescued from cruelty and abandonment.

They offer guided tours across its grounds and educational programs for kids.

You can choose between Regular tour tickets and Family tour tickets of 90 and 60 minutes, respectively.

You can explore the sanctuary at your leisure while making friends with the farm animals.

They also host programs to educate the visitors on animal cruelty by sharing stories of how they rescued these animals.

Ferncliff Forest

Ferncliff Forest
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The Ferncliff Forest is a local gem that is known as the second-best old-growth forest in the Hudson River Valley.

The 200 acres of forest area had been home to Sepasco Indians for hundreds of years, and remains of hand-dug wells, old foundations, and root cellars can still be seen.

The forest authorities offer several activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing, fishing, and even picnicking.

On your trip to the Ferncliff Forest, you can climb its main attraction- the fire tower to witness a splendid view of the entire forest.

Further, you can also apply for a camping permit if you are looking to camp a night or two in the forests.

Poets’ Walk Park

Poets’ Walk Park
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Bring out the poet in you during a walk through the serene landscape of the Poets’ Walk Park.

The place has been made famous by writers like Washinton Irving, who frequented the park during his time.

He is rumored to have come up with the idea of Rip Van Winkle by gazing across the moors at the Catskill Mountains.

The musical songbirds in the area, along with the deep ravines and majestic vistas, are sure to inspire you on your visit here.

The landscape hasn’t changed a bit over 170 years, so you can experience the feeling of how it was in the days of old.

During your visit to the park, you can bike, dog-walk, ski, snowshoe, and even wildlife watching.

Kingston-Port Ewen Suspension Bridge

Kingston-Port Ewen Suspension Bridge
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The first north-south automobile highway of New York, the Kingston-Port Ewen Suspension Bridge, is an engineering marvel.

It crosses the Rondout Creek and connects Kingston city to the little hamlet of Port Ewen.

Ever since it was first built in 1921, it has been a prominent landmark in the city, directing traffic in and around Rondout Creek.

Endearingly nicknamed “Old Bridge”, it was built to replace the unreliable Rondout Creek ferry service.

In addition, the bridge offers a scenic ride between Port Ewen and Kingston, offering the visitors an impressive view of the Rondout Creek as it empties into the Hudson River.

If you are an architecture buff interested in bridges, the Kingston-Port Ewen Suspension Bridge is a must-visit in Kingston, NY.

Museum Of Rhinebeck History

Located at the historic site of Quitman House, the Museum of Rhinebeck History aims to collect, preserve, and research the history of the town.

The letters, books, journals, photographs, portraits, and archives in this museum provide a detailed view of local life in the Hudson Valley.

In addition, you can attend the numerous exhibits that the museum hosts to trace Rhinebeck’s history through the ages.

The museum also houses an elaborate collection from the World War I era to commemorate the sacrifice by soldiers from Rhinebeck.

Their collection includes one uniform, airplane propellers, draft registration card, among many more artifacts.

Both you and your young one can have an educational experience examining the items on display in the museum.

Esopus Meadows Lighthouse

Esopus Meadows Lighthouse
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The Esopus Meadows Lighthouse was originally built in 1871 to warn the incoming ships on the Hudson River of the presence of mud paths and dangerous shallows.

It is the only Hudson River lighthouse to remain under the supervision of the US Coast Guard.

Nicknamed “The Maid of the Meadows”, the lighthouse is a quaint little building on the Hudson River.

If its historical significance interests you, you can visit the lighthouse by charting a boat ride from Rondout Creek.

However, the lighthouse is also visible at a distance from the Mills Mansion in the Mills State Park or the Norrie Point State Park.

Catskill Mountain Railroad

Catskill Mountain Railroad
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The Catskill Mountain railroad began its operation in 1982, connecting the Catskill Mountains with the Hudson River Valley.

It is a heritage railroad built to preserve and maintain the railroad corridor around the year.

The Railroad hosts various events for its visitors that ensure a fun ride.

One among them is the Polar Express event, where every passenger gets to meet the Easter Bunny and is served a bag of candy.

Hop on a train from the Railroad to experience the natural beauty of the Catskill Mountains.

You can join in as the train moves through some of the oldest farms in the United States and gradually climbs its way up the Hurley Mountains.

Persen House Museum

The Persen House Museum, named after its longest resident Matthewis Persen, is a residence-turned-museum due to its historical significance.

In a 1999 discovery, the house was found to be constructed in five phases between 1621 and 1922.

A visit to the house gives you an idea of the rich local history of Kingston, how the place developed, and its original inhabitants.

Further, an archaeological dig of the house unearthed 22,000 artifacts dating as early as 1500 BC.

You can spend an entire day studying these items closely and move your way through these relics that include ancient pottery, books, livestock, and clothing.

The Artbar Gallery is the perfect place to visit in Kingston, NY, for the artist in you.

It is a venue of 1200 square feet and is one of the most exceptional art galleries in Hudson Valley.

Majorly contributing to the art scene in the city, the art gallery is famous for hosting several events and exhibitions throughout the year.

The venue is itself a work of art, exuding elegance and taste to the numerous visitors that grace its steps.

Its unique wine bar is famous for sourcing both locally and internationally produced food and wine.

In addition, the gallery features avant-garde paintings, photography, and sculptures, among numerous other artworks.

You can visit Artbar Gallery on your trip to Kingston to steep yourself in art, converse with the artists and other art lovers like yourself.