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


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 town is fast becoming a hub for creative minds and innovative restaurateurs. With more eateries 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. If you go, 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
Mon, Thurs
 – Sun, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. for brunch

clickity clack

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

Regardless of whether you need new decor 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 shop can you find antique drawers, faucet knobs, bird feeders, and pretty much everything else you can imagine.

27 Hoffman St, Kingston
Sun 1
 – 5 p.m., Wed – Sat 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

1 p.m. – Head to the Hudson River Maritime Museum

See boats big and small as you dig into the history of the Hudson River. Take a peek at the exhibits devoted to the man himself, Henry Hudson, lighthouses of the past and present, and even century-old tugboats  that have been dry-docked outside. Then, get hands-on at a boat-building and woodworking workshop.

50 Rondout Landing, Kingston
Open daily from 11 a.m.
 – 5 p.m.

Area alternatives: View historic trolleys from around the world at The Trolley Museum of New York, then give your feet a rest and hop on a scenic trolley ride through the city.

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
 – Fri 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sat – Sun 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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 trail by foot.

Area alternatives: Book a 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
Sun 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Thurs – Fri 5 – 10 p.m., Sat 12 – 10 p.m.

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 Duo Bistro

Housed in one of Kingston’s charming corner storefronts, Duo dishes up healthy gourmet fare that will make you feel like you’re indulging without the guilt. Kick things off with a cocktail like Poet’s Walk, a blend of Three Meadows peony vodka, lemon, pear nectar, and Prosecco. To eat, treat yourself to the Steak Frites, which are made from Killcoyne Farm Ribeye and served with parm fries, onion rings, asparagus, and mushroom jus.

299 Wall St, Kingston
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 11 a.m.
 – 3:30 p.m., Sat – Sun 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Sun 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. for brunch
Mon, Tues, Thurs 5:30
 – 9 p.m., Fri 5:30 – 10 p.m. for dinner

Area alternatives: Snag some cheap eats from Diego’s Taqueria, or dine within a historic colonial-era landmark, The Hoffman House.

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7:30 p.m. – Catch a show at BSP Kingston

You may know BSP as a modern-day hipster hangout spot – and well, it kind of is – but it’s so much more than that. The building was built in the 1900s as a vaudeville movie house, then known as Reade’s Kingston Theatre. Today, the name still sits atop the proscenium arch, welcoming indie names like Grizzly Bear, Decora, and Escaper.

323 Wall St, Kingston

Area alternatives: Check out The Anchor for live performances practically every night of the week.

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9 p.m. – Spend the night in town

Make yourself at home at cozy-chic B&B, The Forsyth, the waterside Rondout Inn, 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.

Did we miss a spot? Let us know where to go to find the best of Kingston in the comments or by email at edit@hvmag.com.

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