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What to Do in Kingston: How to Spend a Day in NY’s First Capital

West Strand Street in Kingston, New York. Wikimedia Commons / juliancolton

If you’re in search of a spectacular day of dining and shopping in Ulster County, look no further than this comprehensive Hudson Valley itinerary.

By Zarah Kavarana and Sabrina Sucato

Kingston is a charmer. Tucked in the heart of the Hudson Valley, the riverside town is a hub for creative minds and innovative restaurateurs. With more eateries, shops, and community spaces filling the brick facades and artsy streets than ever before, a day trip is the only way to truly experience all the area has to offer.

P.S. If you go, don’t forget to tag us @hudsonvalleymag on Instagram! We may just regram you.

10 a.m. – Binge on brunch at PAKT

PAKT proudly dubs itself as a “whistle-stop meets Wi-Fi” on its website, and honestly, we can’t think of a better way to describe it. This southern joint is amped up with eccentricity, making it a fun choice for a first-stop-of-the-day feast. Its menu offers down-home tastes of the country with twists that are truly OMG-worthy. Place a to-go order and try the B.L.T. Benedict with peach habanero bacon, a fried green tomato, and lettuces (available weekends only), or the brunch burger, topped with bacon, egg, and cheese — all sandwiched between a fluffy buttermilk biscuit.

608 Broadway, Kingston

clickity clack

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11 a.m. – Scope out the antique scene at Zaborski Emporium

Regardless of whether you need new décor for your apartment, a vintage treasure for a friend’s birthday, or an excuse to walk off breakfast, you’ll love wandering through the charming chaos that is Zaborski Emporium. A veritable treasure chest, the antique warehouse has everything. No, seriously. Only at this funky Hudson Valley shop can you find antique drawers, faucet knobs, bird feeders, and pretty much everything else you can imagine.

27 Hoffman St, Kingston

1 p.m. – Head to the Trolley Museum of New York

View historic trolleys from around the world at The Trolley Museum of New York. Located in downtown Kingston on the Rondout Waterfront, visitors can see trolley cars that are being housed and restored right on site. After perusing through the collection of trolley cars, you can give your feet a rest and hop on a scenic trolley ride through the city.

89 East Strand St, Kingston

3 p.m. – Stop by Outdated Café for coffee, a smoothie, or a snack

This isn’t exactly a coffee shop (you seriously should consider stopping by for breakfast or lunch) but, real talk, the organic and fair trade coffee will give you life. And if you’re not in the mood for a caffeine jolt, Outdated’s selection of pressed juices, vegan smoothies, and infused sodas will hit the spot. Pick up a house-made donut or scone and browse through the vast for-sale antique selection.

314 Wall St, Kingston

Area alternatives: Monkey Joe Roasting Company and Clove & Creek will also satiate any caffeine cravings.

Courtesy of The Kingston Murals

3:30 p.m. – Take a walking tour of Kingston’s unreal street art

Though Kingston is home to many great galleries, the sweetest art in the area is the most easily accessible. All thanks to the annual O+ Fest, where artists trade their talents for healthcare services (more on that here), Kingston is rich in permanent public murals and street art installations. If you’re looking to see as much as you possibly can, use the map above to navigate the Hudson Valley trail by foot.

Area alternatives: Download a self-guided walking tour of the city’s four historic districts through Friends of Historic Kingston, or download the Arrivals: Kingston app, an audio tour of Kingston’s Rondout Creek.

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5 p.m. – Grab a drink at Brunette Wine Bar

You’ve probably spotted this trendy drink destination on Instagram, or maybe even in your dreams (yeah, it’s literally that cute). The aesthetic is millennial pink meets marble, making for a fresh vibe that doesn’t distract from the menu. Down for some rosé all day? The selection is pretty great, though we highly encourage you to try the orange wine, too. Didn’t know that was a thing? Read more about it here.

33 Broadway, Kingston

Area alternatives: In case you’re not into wine, hit up Stockade Tavern for a mean craft cocktail (spring for an Old Fashioned), or Keegan Ales for the ultimate brewery experience.

Upstate for the weekend @duobistrokingston #thepicurist

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6 p.m. – Dine at Diego’s Taqueria

Snag some cheap, delicious Hudson Valley eats from Diego’s Taqueria. At this taqueria, serving up “street-style tacos our way” means from scratch and with as many fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Enjoy a spin on traditional favorites and make a reservation for outdoor dining. 

38 John St, Kingston

Area alternatives: Dine within a historic colonial-era landmark, The Hoffman House.

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9 p.m. – Spend the night in town

Make yourself at home at cozy-chic B&B The Forsyth or Church des Artistes, a former church (above), complete with original stained-glass windows.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option, check out this Airbnb apartment in the heart of the Stockade District, or this rustic spot that’s close to pretty much everything.

Related: This Is the Best Way to Spend a Day in Poughkeepsie

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