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

If you’re in search of a spectacular day in New York’s first capital, look no further than this comprehensive itinerary.

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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.

Kingston is a charmer. Tucked in the heart of the Hudson Valley, the riverside city is a hub for creative minds and innovative restaurateurs. Serving as the first capital of New York State in 1777, Kingston has a long and rich history that can be seen in its beautiful historical districts today. 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.

Without further ado, here are our top picks for things to do, eat, and see in the Ulster County city.

10 a.m. – Enjoy brews and books at Rough Draft


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Rough Draft is a bar and bookstore located in the picturesque uptown Stockade District. Lovers of brews of all kinds will fawn over the coffee and beer selection. Enjoy a hot cup of Counter Culture coffee and a warm pastry as you dive into a new book. If you decide to visit Rough Draft later in the day, you can also enjoy hoppy local beers like the Domicile sour IPA, a collaboration between Hudson Valley Brewery and Arrowood Farms containing all New York State grain, peach, and sage.

11 a.m. – Scope out Kingston’s antique scene at Zaborski Emporium

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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 anything else you can imagine.

12 p.m. – Taste the Hudson Valley at Ship to Shore


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Enjoy the delicious bounty of our region at Ship to Shore, a restaurant dedicated to locally sourced food (which is so good, it won the eatery a Best of Hudson Valley award in 2017). Try the famous steak with steak frites, rich garlic butter, and fresh asparagus. Conversely, feel free to keep it simple with the “just simple steamed clams” complete with a dozen little neck clams perfectly paired with roasted garlic, white wine, country butter, and mixed greens. Ship to Shore is located right along Rondout Creek, affording outdoor diners a beautiful view of the marina.

Related: Tanma Ramen Hits the Comfort Food Spot in Kingston

1 p.m. – Brush up on Kingston history at the Senate House

Travel back in time with a visit to the Senate House State Historic Site. A guided tour of the Senate House will take you through the life of an 18th-century family and their beautiful Dutch home with period tools, furniture, and art. Kingston is an important foundation of the New York State government, and the Senate House offers visitors a peek into that rich history. 

2:30 p.m. – Grab a drink at Keegan Ales

There is always something to do down at Keegan Ales. Enjoy the craft beers, which are brewed and bottled right here in the Hudson Valley. Sample the award-winning “Mother’s Milk,” a dark milk stout renowned for its creamy, smooth texture and featuring notes of chocolate, roasted barley, and oatmeal. Keegan Ales is a community hub for sure and, often, the brewery is alive with live music, trivia night, or other fun events.

4 p.m. – Take a walking tour of Kingston’s 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.

Related: Pinkwater Gallery Celebrates Local, Female Artists in Kingston

5 p.m. – Wine and dine at Sonder


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Enjoy a few sips and snacks at Sonder, a Kingston wine bar that offers guests with a swanky atmosphere, an excellent selection of wine, and sharable bites. At the center of Sonder is a robust wine program with an emphasis on variety; currently, the wine bar offers over 30 vinos from Italy, Bosnia, Chile, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Portugal, and the United States. “There’s not a wine on our list I don’t like,” boasts owner Daniel Bagnall. An alum of the Culinary Institute of America, Bagnall seeks to create a casual dining experience and foster community in Kingston via food and drink.

7 p.m. – Eat your heart out at Lola Pizza


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Be warned: If you dine at Lola Pizza, it’s quite likely you’ll be returning to Kingston again and again for more. You really can’t go wrong when ordering off of the everchanging menu, which features appetizers, pizzas, pastas, entrees, and a wine list of red, white, orange, and pink vino by the bottle or glass. We tend to order simple Italian staples like the rigatoni alla vodka or cacio e pepe, as Lola Pizza truly takes its dishes to the next level.

9 p.m. – Spend the night in Kingston


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Make yourself at home at cozy-chic B&B The Forsyth, or rest your weary head at Church des Artistes, a former church 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 Kingston Home Received a Design-Centric Update

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