Are you looking for things to do in Kingston, Jamaica?
With so many beautiful spots to visit in Jamaica, here are six ideas if you were thinking of traveling to Kingston, Jamaica’s capital city.
The center of Kingston is made up of two main areas:
- Historic Downtown Area
- New Kingston Jamaica
Both can be reached from the Norman Manley International Airport.
Table of Contents
Things to do in Kingston, Jamaica
There are various ways you can get to Kingston, whether you’re staying in Ocho Rios or maybe even planning a trip to Montego Bay.
I’ve used the Knutsford Express bus service on many occasions.
You can reserve tickets for the Knutsford Express online. I recommend it for traveling around using Jamaica’s public transport system.
As a tourist, finding activities in Kingston, Jamaica can be difficult.
Is Kingston worth visiting?
The capital of Jamaica is one of the most popular destinations to visit on the island. Especially with those that have family on the island.
You’ll find some fantastic beaches such as Fort Clarence Beach, and also the off-shore Lime Cay which has a more off the beaten path feel.
Those that love nature should also look at visiting Cane Falls, which is set in the forest and is a great day trip from Kingston.
Lastly, Kingston is where to come for all things reggae. Here you can visit the former home of Bob Marley, which has since been converted into a museum, as well as the Bob Marley Statue.
Is Kingston, Jamaica Safe?
Kingston really is a great place to visit. However it can also be quite dangerous, so it’s important to really look up the best areas to stay in and visit around the time you plan to go.
Gang violence and shootings are on the rise, although these are rarely ever directed at tourists (again know where to go so you don’t wander into the wrong neighborhood).
There’s also a rise in ATM fraud, so always use official ATMs inside the banks, and avoid going out alone at night to withdraw cash.
Read this guide on: is Kingston safe? to get more insights on danger.
Things to do in Kingston
The landmarks below will give you a blueprint for your stay in Kingston. Let’s look at some of the best things to do in Kingston.
Bob Marley Museum
Without a doubt, you can’t travel to Kingston and not visit Bob Marley. It’d be rude not to make an appearance at Bob’s house.
Bob’s museum is a popular landmark in Jamaica and one of the best things to see in Kingston, especially related to music and culture.
The museum was Bob’s actual home, which he purchased in 1975. The main museum displays some of Bob’s personal possessions.
This is by far the most interesting tourist attraction in Kingston. You can find out more about the tour here.
During your visit, you’ll get an up-and-close tour, which will make you feel closer to Bob.
There’s also a theater, gallery and gift shop all on-site not to mention the collection of African art and crafts.
💡Smart Travel Tip
A tour lasts around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Look out for the coffee shop where you can sample Marley’s brand of Jamaican Coffee.
Many people wonder if Jamaica is safe for tourists… Emancipation Park is a landmark for tourists to take a walk and chill.
The park is very clean, and you’ll see many fountains and even small running trails for people who like to exercise. Many locals in Kingston like to keep fit and run early in the morning before the sun rises.
There are security guards in the park, so you will always feel safe.
Once inside the park, you’ll see many local trees such as Calabash, Ackee, and Bougainvillea, not to mention many other tropical plants.
The main attraction is the statue that is located right outside the park.
It’s also worth noting that the park is across the street from the famous hotel Barrack Obama stayed when he made his historic visit to Jamaica.
If you’re looking for cool places to chill in Kingston? Hitting the town for a night out is always a great way to celebrate your vacation and you’ll definitely want to hit the Dub Club for that.
Popular tours from Kingston
- City Tour of Kingston Including
- Blue Mountain Coffee and Sightseeing Tour
- Cannabis Shopping Tour with Lunch
It’s a great place for the locals and for the tourists, not to mention it gives you great food and drinks available all night long.
See actual bands performing live as well as some of your favorites through the elaborate sound system. It’s especially perfect if you’re into reggae because that’s what you’re going to get the most of here.
Devon House is one of the sights to see in Jamaica that gives you a classic example of Jamaican Georgian architecture.
The 19th-century Mansion sits on 11 acres of land and is enclosed between sky-scraping palm trees overlooking a water fountain.
Devon House is famous with Jamaicans for its ice cream pronounced I Scream and this is one of the best places to eat ice cream in Jamaica.
Not only is this one of the best places to visit in Jamaica but as a location, Port Royal played a very important part in Jamaica’s history.
It was the epicenter of all commercial activity for people who entered the island, thus becoming one of the major landmarks in Jamaica.
Port Royal was the pirate trade capital of the new world. This was the stomping ground for notorious British pirate, Henry Morgan.
Between here and San Andres Island he spent his time smuggling rum and trading prostitutes between. As I mentioned earlier, after the earthquake in 1962, most of the old city sank below the surface.
- How much is a trip to Jamaica?
- Jamaica Travel Essentials
- Must See Beaches in Jamaica
- Onwards to: Central America
Rockfort Mineral Bath
For those who want a relaxing vacation on their list of what to do in Kingston, the Rockfort mineral bath is a great option.
You can set up different times to go but you’re going to love just sitting and relaxing in the waters.
The baths themselves are a relaxing way to start your day or to end it and there are plenty of other services that you’ll find in the area.
There are even areas where you can enjoy a nice picnic when you’re done with your bath to prolong that relaxation and those great feelings for a little while longer.
So, where all the best beaches close to Kingston? Hellshire beach is a significant landmark, especially for Jamaicans local to Kingston.
If you like the idea of eating fresh fish, this is the best place to go. Hellshire beach is not like you’d expect on the north or east coast.
However, it’s definitely one of the best things to do in Kingston, Jamaica if you’ve got the time. It’s more than a beach; it’s a cultural landmark.
Hellshire is a place to relax in the day and party in the evening. So if you were wondering how you could connect to the nightlife in Kingston chilling at the beach through to the evening gives you a little taste.
You’ll be offered a place to relax in one of the many restaurants or cook shops that will offer to cook you fresh fish, lobster, and other seafood that you may imagine.
Admittley, yes, it’s a bit differnt from the experience of staying in Ocho Rios or somewhere like that.
However, remember this is a locals beach so don’t expect to see miles of white sand and hoards of like-minded tourists.
If you’re still looking for ideas on what to do in Kingston, and you’re willing to take a good, long walk, Coronation Market is not to be missed.
For me, it is one of the cultural attractions in Kingston that’s underrated. Or, for many, not even seen as an attraction.
Here yo can see plenty of vendors (not to mention pick up some new favorite fruits and specialty items) and you can enjoy the city itself.
If you’ve read some of my other travel blogs, you’ll know I’m obsessed with exotic fruits and juices. Here’s the perfect place to find them.
Not to mention, if you get there early enough you can get the first pick of everything, watch set-up, and maybe even enjoy the sunrise.
There are even some games to play and you can really immerse yourself in what the culture of the area is all about.
This beautiful resort is a place you’re going to want to see for yourself because it’s all about beautiful views and amazing food.
You’ll get a little of everything here and you’ll get to just sit back and relax at the same time.
There’s no need to make your vacation too energetic. Here you’ll get some spa time or you can sit outside and just enjoy the blue mountains views.
If you’re looking for what to do in Kingston you can drive here fairly easily, so remember to book in advance as it gets booked up fast.
There’s nothing quite like Carnival and you can check it out in different countries around the world to get a totally unique experience.
If you can plan the time of your trip right you can get there right in the midst of this celebration.
Best places to stay in Kingston
- Blue Mountain Cottages → Located in paradise
- Raggamuffin Hostel → Cultural activites on offer
- Backpackers Hostel → In downtown Kingston
There’s live music and dancing just about anywhere you go and there are plenty of wild and vibrant costumes available everywhere as well.
Drinking is everywhere and the whole city has a party atmosphere, just like you’re at your favorite club. You won’t have to go anywhere, in particular, to get right into the middle of this experience.
De La Vega (Spanish Town)
It’s also worth noting that Spanish Town was the capital of Jamaica before Kingston and is another ‘landmark’ that shouldn’t be missed.
Spanish Town remained the capital right up to 1872 before it was moved to Kingston.
Before the English conquered Jamaica in 1655, it was called De la Vega. It was the English that renamed the settlement as Spanish Town.
The actual landmark to visit is called St. Jago de la Vega Cathedral; it is located in the square of De la Vega. Imagine a typical colonial Spanish plaza reminiscent of what you see in other parts of Latin America.
In this case, the buildings were not actually finished, and all that remains are the facades.
Another landmark that is worth visiting is the site of a cast-iron bridge designed and manufactured in Rotherham, England, which is surprisingly close to my hometown in England.
This bridge, erected in 1801, has been declared a Nation Monument placed on the UNESCO list of endangered world sites (1998-1999).
Before being restored in 2000, it was one of the oldest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere and is the first cast-iron bridge in the Americas.
Kingston Travel Tips
See these travel tips for Kingston to ensure you have the best stay whether you’re on vacation, backpacking, or traveling with friends.
⤵️ Dan’s Travel Tips For Kingston:
- Be sure to try some Fried Fish and festival at Hellshire beach. It’s legendary. Also, Hellshire is the best place for enjoying the nightlife in Kingston. Great music, art expressions and all-round good vibes.
- If you’ll be arriving to Kingston from Montego Bay make sure you have your accomadation booked before you arrive.
- Credit cards are accepted in many places, but as usual, when traveling, cash is needed. The US Dollars are widely accepted.
- Be prepared to tip around 10-15% for good service.
- I don’t recommend renting a car. In Jamaica you drive on the left side, there are many potholes in roads, and it’s common to find approaching cars without lights at night. Renting a car is for experienced and careful drivers.
- You’ll find that street food in Jamaica is very common and some of the best food on the island.
- Buy a bag of Blue Mountain coffee which is some of the world’s best coffee (it can be expensive) and it makes the perfect gift.
- If you are a solo female traveler, you should know that men will see you constantly, and even try to talk to you. So, take more precautions than usual. Also, don’t be afraid to make an scene if you feel unsafe.
- Bringing a dry bag, repellent, and sunscreen are essential.
- Have your Jamaican currency at hand when paying for things on the street.
- Keep universal safety rules in mind to stay safe. Don’t flash valuables, carry the cash you’ll need, avoid walking alone at night, etc.
- Remember that the Knutsford Express bus service is highly recommended. You can book online and have an excellent experience.
Kingston was founded in 1692, and was the first refuge for the survivors of the earthquake, which left the area uninhabitable.
Before the earthquake, Kingston was an agricultural area, and the survivors of the earthquake began to build communities.
Not long after pirates burned down Port Royal in 1703, Kingston quickly became the biggest town on the island.
Kingston is home to half of Jamaica’s 2.7 million people.
While statistics show that Kingston’s crime rate is high, the chances of you experiencing any of this crime is very little.
Best time to visit Kingston?
For the hottest weather, consider going between June and October. Averages hover between 82-84°F this time of year, with highs of up to 89°F and lows of 78°F.
Rainfall during this season is at its highest during the year, with between 1-3.5 inches each month (October is the wettest time to visit). November until May brings more comfortable temperatures, with an average of 79-81°F.
Highs can reach up to 87°F, with lows of down to 74°F (January being the coolest month of the year). Rainfall is lower during this time of year, ranging from 0.5-1.5 inches (with February being the overall driest month)
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Things to do in Kingston, Jamaica
So, you know what to do in Kingston, and having the option to travel further afield to see other beautiful spots, why leave Kingston out?
As you may know by now I live in Jamaica for a part of the year. Every time I go back I try my best to discover a new place.
Kingston is not only for the rugged traveler and if you need to get back to or if you’re planning a trip to Montego bay there are various ways you can get to and from Kingston.
If you’re still wondering what to do in Kingston. Or looking for other fun experiences let me know, I’m happy to share tips with you personally.
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johnny wood says
Hi love your article about Kingston is there more I will be there for 3 days in July 18 to 20th also food places you can recommend thanks
Daniel James says
Hi Johnny! Yes, if near Constant Spring Road, check out Mi Hungry Now or even Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records if looking for late-night food.