We can all get stuck in routines, it's easy. You wake up, go to the same coffee shop, have the same lunch, go to the same bars - same story different day. You refuse to turn your life into a sequel of Groundhog Day. That's right, you're ready to find the cool spots and be that person whose got the in on the hippest spots in the 613.
From coffee shops with amazing vibes to underrated pockets of our city you may have walked by a million times, there's so much to enjoy in Kingston once we step outside the box. Kingston may be small, but we got a lot going on. Don't believe us? Check out these amazing places in the 613 that are keeping the royalty status of Kingston on point.
1. Martello Alley // 203 B Wellington St.
Once you stumble upon this Wellington St. gem it's not likely you're gonna forget it soon. Inspired by the magic of La Rue du Tresor in Quebec this alley displays local artists works and unique crafts. It feels like you are transported into an artistic world in another one of Kingston old stone alleys, a must see experience.
2. Coffee Way Donuts // 472 Division St.
Finally, a place that proves that the best things in life keep it simple. It's the quintessential diner, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The thing that truly sets it apart? Their unreal donuts! The donuts are hand-made daily, using the same recipes they've used for 25 years. Even if you get there at 3am you're guaranteed to have a donut that just came out of the oven. We recommend the apply fritter, cinnamon twist, and chocolate donut. And if you want to step away from donuts? Get the toffee cake. They also have hot drinks, sandwiches, pies, and other delicious baked goods available.
3. Window Art Gallery // 647 Princess St.
Unlike the mainstream athlete WAGs, this one is likely to stick around for awhile. The WAG is a not-for-profit volunteer run community gallery by the Kingston School of Art, so they have the creds. For the art? In their bright and open gallery, they display diverse local and regional artist's works that'll blow you away. And because the best things in life are free, it'll cost you $0 to get in and check out the amazing art for yourself.
4. Sterling Jewellery // 77A Princess St.
Its small exterior makes it easy to pass by without realising what you just missed. And that just so happens to be a stunning collection of jewellery ranging from gold and silver pieces to unique costume jewellery. Make your way down this narrow space and search through these curated pieces to find your own gem to take home.
5. 4Cats Kingston // 759 Gardiners Road Unit 4
Feeling like unleashing your inner Picasso? Head to this seriously underrated West End art studio. Inspired by the Els Quatre Gats cafe in Barcelonia (where Picasso actually spent time), these guys aren't your basic studios. Try unique workshops like pouring, crafting, clay sculptures that show you how to make adorable designs. Some classes run for a couple weeks, and some are one time things - perfect for a way to switch it up. Check out the winter schedule here, and the spring one here.
6. Cooke's Fine Foods // 61 Brock St.
When I first moved to Kingston, my grandpa who lived there in the 50's told me the first stop I had to make was to this food store, and for good reason. It's THE spot for anyone feeling extra boujee who is looking to enjoy their world famous cheeses, bring home a handmade gift basket, or just bask in the aroma of their coffee corner. They also important sweets from around the world and offer gourmet chocolates. No wonder these guys have been a favourite of the 613 since 1865. (They have two other locations in Kingston which can be found here.)
7. Wok-In // 30 Montreal St.
This is THE place to go for Thai/Cambodian food that is done oh so right. It's a hole in the wall restaurant you've probably passed by before, but better give this place a double take next time. A dream team wife and husband duo make up amazing dishes using only fresh ingredients. You have to try the Shrimp Curry, their #4 combo (noodles and spring rolls), and the legendary Pad Thai. Bonus, you'll also get enormous portions for a reasonable price. Small but mighty, a place not to be missed in the 613. Cash only, closed Sunday and Mondays.
8. The Mansion Live Music // 506 Princess St.
The Mansion's live music scene is almost unparalleled in the 613. From Queen's Players to acts such as Kasador, Lost Cousins, The Nude Dogs, The Pick Brothers and even poetry slams; they feature authentic talent that'll blow you away. Their specials like $4 shots of Jack Daniel's on Monday, daily $8.25 Schooners and $4 caesars on the weekend are just a bonus to this gem. The Grad Club is another spot you HAVE to check out if you can't get enough tunes.
9. The Elm Café // 303 Montreal St.
Looking to have your afternoon coffee somewhere other than the same chain place you always go? Head to this family run cafe in the Inner Harbour. They serve up amazing gourmet and locally sourced sandwiches (curry chicken salad, apple, mango chutney please), soups, salads, and baked goods (hello dark chocolate peanut better hemp heart squares and priced ginger molasses cookie), along with some speciality items depending on what's available locally. Grab a delicious cup of coffee and embrace this cafe that loves their community as much as we love their legendary hot chocolate!
10. Big Sandy Bay // Wolfe Island
'Hidden gems' are supposed to be rare right? Well, this is literally living up to that definition with their rare coastal ecology, local birds, plants, and amazing views you won't be able to see often! Enjoy the chill 1.3km walking trail, to get to your oasis! Soak in the sun at the secluded sandy beach to feel like you walked into a scene out of the movie. Enjoy the dunes and expansive views of Lake Ontario in front of you for an ideal date, squad, or self-care afternoon.
11. Bella Bistro // 4050 Bath Road
This casual bistro is anything but basic, this is one of those places that many people stumble in on a whim, and they're always glad they did. It's a cozy, casual spot serving up fresh and flavourful pizza, paninis, pasta, fish and more. They're so committed to keeping it fresh that their menu can vary based on what is available locally. Craft beers (Stone City Ales, Mackinnon Bros etc.) and their international wine menu taste great alongside your fresh baked bread, they also offer a BYOW (bring your own wine) option for a 15$ corkage fee. Some must tries? Whatever fish they have available, it's local and insanely fresh, the Bella Burger with a side poutine, the mussels, and anyone of their pizzas! (On Monday they have a pizza special, buy one get one half-off with the purchase of 2 beverages).
12. Lemoine Point Conservation Area // Collins Bay
Let's conserve this for A LONG time okay?! This stunning piece of land is perched right beside Lake Ontario with hiking trails that'll give you a great view. Not just a one-stop shop, though, they also have swimming, cycling, picnicking, fishing, and x-country skiing options for any nature lover to enjoy.
Pro tip: if you're there between March 11th-19th make sure to check out Maple Madness in the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area. Sweet tooth? This is a must.