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What to Do In Kingston, NY

Photo: Daniel Case [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0]

While there are a ton of guides in various outlets telling you how to spend an upstate weekend, the guides aren’t dedicated solely to our beloved, awesome town in the Hudson Valley. Don’t get us wrong. We fully recommend getting the whole Ulster County experience, and blogs like And North and Escape Brooklyn are wonderful sources for that. Each town has something unique to offer, and all are worth exploring in careful detail. But if you find yourself hopping off the Trailways Bus in Kingston or getting off on Exit 19 with just a couple of days, you can keep yourself busy like a local with all of the wonderful spots we love and enjoy Kingston. If you go to all of these places in one weekend you’ll be stuffed and exhausted, so spread it out over a couple of trips. Then move up here!


Anyhoo, here’s our humble take on this great little city.  

A Few Logistics About KingSton

You may hear people mention different parts of towns with names that sound a bit weird. So what’s all this Rondout/Downtown/Strand, Midtown, Uptown / Stockade nonsense all about? In my opinion, it’s all a bunch of Ponckhockie (look that up!) cooked up by folks to confuse us all, but it’s not that complicated.The gist? There are three main sections that you have to check out while you’re here. They’re all along Broadway and you can hit one after the other. Starting at the river, you’ll find the Rondout, a.k.a. the Strand, a.k.a. Downtown. Travel up Broadway you’ll hit Midtown, keep going up Broadway further and you’ll hit Uptown, a.k.a. the Stockade.

The Rondout

HOPS PETUNIA FLORAL – (Duh) Come to Hops Petunia. It’s lovely. It smells great, and it should be your first stop every trip to Kingston. Also, we love you.


CLOVE & CREEK – Our kind and handsome neighbors extraordinaire, Scott and Michael at Clove & Creek not only have the best coffee in the neighborhood, but they’ve got a great eye for products sourced by local craftspeople. Fun books, ceramics, art, and the occasional ax, they’ve got everything and it's always an inspiration for the eyes.


BRUNETTE WINE BAR – Tracy and Jamie have cooked up the best damn wine bar, serving natural wines, deliciously adorable snacks, an always killer playlist, and their descriptions of wine are also always a treat to read. When you spend money at our shop, we take that money and spend it at Brunette after work. If you’re there on a Sunday, get an egg sandwich and then come up to the shop and pat us on the back for giving you such good advice.


KINGSTON WINE CO – An incredibly thoughtful selection of wines and spirits, you can’t go wrong with anything you choose. If you’re going to a dinner party with nine people, all from different countries, different ages, and the one thing they have in common is a love for cats? Ask Kingston Wine and they’ll set you up with the purrfect wine. (Cat puns! Too easy.) You can also thank them for getting Hops to open a shop in Kingston, I do all the time. 


MILNE ANTIQUES – One of our go-to places for incredible antiques, much of it sourced from Europe, we have adorned a lot of Hops with her furniture. Their garden furniture is also displayed prominently in our courtyard (which is for sale). Rebekah always has new beautiful things coming and going, it's most definitely worth a stop in. 


SKILLYPOT – Such a local gem, and another of my favorite antique stores that happens to be just down the street from the shop. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. My husband likes to go in here to see the hand tools, because he wishes he was a woodworker who built things solely with hand tools. He isn’t and doesn’t. 


SPRUCE – When we first moved upstate, Spruce was over in High Falls and we would go visit “our furniture” regularly. We seriously want everything Jamie and John have. Always. They have the most wonderful collection of MCM furniture and decor, trust us. 


SHIP TO SHORE – Tuna Stack. Martini. Go. Enjoy.  

MIDTOWN KINGSTON

VILLAGE COFFEE – FUCK. Their breakfast is so good. Also their coffee. And the owners are the sweetest. When this place opened last year my life was completed. It also seems to function as “Cheers” in Kingston where literally everybody we know somehow seems to always be there simultaneously. 


TUBBY'S – Awesome bar around the corner from Village Coffee. Great drinks, great food, great music. We just saw an intimate little show here a few months back and they nailed it. Not sure why, but for some reason, I really want to drink here when it’s snowing. 


PEACE NATION – Incredible breakfast and lunch spot. They believe in creating a better world through eating local, organic deliciousness and we like to help them in their quest. Delicious, clean and thoughtful food, and a back garden for when the weather’s nice.


TONY'S PIZZERIA – Good pizza. Grab a beer too. It’s an old-school pizzeria with all the charm and has been serving Kingston for a long time. 


ENG'S RESTAURANT – If you love time travel, Chinese food, and tiki drinks, this is the place for you. Definitely feels like you’ve gone back to a kitschier time. They’ve been there since 1927!

UPTOWN KINGSTON

LOVEFIELD VINTAGE – Darbie and Justin have an incredible gift when it comes to sourcing and selling incredible vintage. You can’t go into Lovefield without wanting everything they have, and it's a beautiful store to just be in. Plus they’re great bowlers! 


CATSKILL ART & OFFICE SUPPLY – I like to go in here and pretend that I can paint and to buy pens. They also do a great job framing stuff… not that you’ll be bringing art to get framed on the weekend, but if you do you’ll be set? 


BSP – We are super lucky to have a a venue for shows as good as BSP in Kingston. We’ve seen some classics here, from Yo La Tengo to Damien Jurado, but they’ve also got nights dedicated to dancing your heart out. One thing’s for sure: when you get to town see what BSP has cookin’.


EXIT 19 – Sister store to Spruce, so you know we love it.  


CROWN – This gem of a bar opened last year in an old stone house in Uptown. Wonderfully intimate, with lots of dramatic little nooks to sneak away to, Crown is a relaxing spot with delicious cocktails to enjoy with friends. It’s modeled after the owners’ favorite bar in Paris and it feels like it. 


ROCKET NUMBER NINE - If you don’t like music, you will after you go here. They’ve got a KILLER record collection. I wish all of their records were my records and you will too. 


ROUGH DRAFT – Beer, AND books. And these delicious little savory pies from Down Under Bakery that you seriously will order and go, “Okay. I’d like another.” On the weekends they sell delicious bread from Kingston Bread Lab. Located right down the street from Crown. 


DEISINGS – Just a really, really awesome classic diner and bakery, always filled with locals bellied up to the bar with their coffee and newspaper. You can get a cake shaped like a hamburger if you want one.


STOCKADE - Dark and cozy little spot for cocktails. Good for a pre or post dinner drink, especially on a snowy winters night. They’ve got a fireplace! 


KINGSTON CONSIGNMENTS - They have a really nice eclectic selection of vintage goods, lots of reasonably priced decor items. Vintage German pottery to die for! 


BOITSON'S - Here’s our tip. This place is great. Get a reservation if it’s the weekend. Sit on the back patio, order the wedge salad with steak, and definitely the Devil’s on Horseback. A regular go-to spot for sure. 


PETALOS FLORAL DESIGN – Okay, okay. We know they’re another flower shop so if you go there we’ll probably have to fight (KIDDING!), they’re wonderful and you should pop in and check out their orchid and succulent selection! Brian and crew are just the best.

OTHER SPOTS

SUNRISE BAGELS – THE BIGGEST bagels on earth and equally delicious. Egg sammies are worth the detour for. I would like one of their bagels right now as I’m writing this. 


TEXAS ROADHOUSE – Yep, we said it. NO SHAME. They have giant Coors drafts and it’s super cold, we may or may not go here a few times a year after a wedding breakdown for beer and those ridiculous rolls with cinnamon butter.

OTHER STUFF

Here’s more stuff that I should talk about in greater detail, but you can’t go wrong. Shoot us a note or come by the shop if you want more details!

WHERE TO STAY IN KINGSTON

WHAT TO DO


  • Hiking 
  • Boat Rentals on the Rondout 
  • Rondout / Strand Tour 
  • Historic Stuff 
  • Picnic 
  • Trolley Rides

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