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Here's how to spend the perfect weekend in Kingston

If you're looking for a cute, fun-filled day trip or weekend getaway from Toronto, you're going to want to add Kingston to your list of nearby destinations.

Perhaps once best known as the home of Queen's University, Kingston is much more than just a college town or a stop on the way to Ottawa — it's filled with bars, restaurants, venues, shops, museums and history to explore when you want something different than your favourite T.O. hangs and haunts.

Here are just a few ideas for how to spend the perfect weekend in this walkable, historic locale that is less than a three-hour drive (or quick train ride) from the 6ix, so make sure to book your trip this season!

9 a.m. Saturday - Breakfast at Toast & Jam Cafe

Start your morning off with a handcrafted latte, some freshly squeezed juice and a gourmet breakfast at this adorable cafe, which is the sister restaurant to the bakery next door, Bread & Butter, featuring baked goods throughout the menu.

Start light with a croissant, fruit bowl or quiche, or go a bit bigger with some eggs Benny or pancakes. Vegans can also enjoy a hearty breakfast of their own — a rarity when dining out — with the "almost huevos," made with scrambled tofu.

11 a.m. - Stroll through downtown, explore the winter lights and skate at Springer Market Square

Now that the city is decorated for the season, a meander through Kingston's streets and alleys is extra charming, with tons of holiday decor, lights and other installations to enjoy (and take the perfect Instagram pic with).

visit kingstonAnd, of course, you've got to head to Spring Market Square behind the iconic Kingston City Hall after your walk to get some skating in — it's the perfect way to get active and feel extra festive.

1 p.m. - Lunch at the Black Dog Tavern

Casual but upscale, this restaurant is the perfect place to fill up and maybe even grab a midday drink before you venture onward into all that Kingston has to offer.

The chefs work to feature local ingredients in dishes like fire-roasted eggplant dip, burrata, steak frites and charcuterie.

3 p.m. - Check out some art at Martello Alley

This unique spot is the province's only art gallery in an alley, and features a ton of work in many different mediums both inside and out.

Stained glass, photography, paintings and more are displayed throughout the alley, with an adorable little patio snuck in as well. It's giving a little Harry Potter and we're here for it.

4 p.m. - Bookstore tour

This city is full of bookstores, whether it's visiting the decades-old Wayfarer Books, picking up some new-to-you books at Bookland or wandering through the specialty We Have Issues, which is full of vintage and new comics and toys.

visit kingstonGrab something brand new from Novel Idea or something old and rare from Berry & Peterson Booksellers.

5 p.m. - Warm up and recharge at the Glow Spa Retreat

After all that activity and time outdoors, you'll want to unwind and chill out before dinner — and what better way than at a soothing spa retreat, a new experience at Glow Kingston.

Get warm in the hydrotherapy pool before cycling through a Nordic-style thermal cycle of heat and cold, utilizing the facility's cold plunge pool, sauna and eucalyptus steam room for the ultimate in relaxation.

If you want to up the self-care, you can select a package that also includes a luxurious facial and/or body treatment.

8 p.m. - Dinner at Atomica

Load up on pizza, pasta and other dishes at this Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, which has a ton of vegetarian and vegan options for everyone to enjoy.

Enjoy with a nice bottle of wine, or some to-die-for cocktails to prep you for your night out.

9:30 p.m. til late - Brewery hop

After taste-testing what's on tap at some local spots, you can try some flights from your favourites, with Spearhead, Riverhead, Daft Brewing, Skeleton Park, Fine Balance, Kingston Brewing Company and more to choose from.

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Overnight stay at the Frontenac Club

With luxurious accommodations and killer views, the Frontenac Club is in the centre of it all, making it the perfect home base for your Kingston weekend.

10 a.m. Sunday - Antiquing on and around Princess Street

Kingston is super pedestrian-friendly and full of beautiful old architecture, which means you won't mind spending a few hours meandering around the many antique and vintage shops along Princess Street, where you're sure to find some one-of-a-kind clothing items and pieces for your home.

Be sure to stop by the Antique Emporium, Old Tymers, Antique AlleyYGK Thrift, ClosettCandyy Consignment and What I'll Wear, for starters.

12 noon - Brunch at AquaTerra

AquaTerra's brunch menu is perfect for the hungry, and it's an exclusive feast, reserved for only two hours on Sundays.

You can get classic dishes like a croque madam or Belgian waffles, or try something more innovative, like the acorn squash and quinoa smash, pumpkin French toast or an elevated bagel BELT with goat cheese and arugula.

An added perk is that this is yet another Kingston spot where you get a view of the lake from the dining room.

Tip: If you can't manage get a seat for this very in-demand meal, you can head to a Kingston Food Tour instead — the signature guided Classic Kingston Tour, which comes with exclusive tastings at all the best spots, starts at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday!

2 p.m. - Get adventurous at an escape room

Put your problem-solving skills to the test at one of the many escape rooms in Kingston from Improbable Escapes.

The games will test your wits, tact, courage and patience, with a choice of indoor, outdoor and even online tasks inspired by movies (at Improbable Escapes HQ) and fairy tales/storybooks (Improbable Escapes Wonderland).

The physical design and technological effects will wow and challenge you. Plus, you can buy some games to take home and have a post-mortem at the retail store and board game cafe afterwards (at Wonderland location only).

4 p.m. - Coffee at the Elm Cafe

Sink into a comfy chair and have a chat over coffee and homemade treats at the Elm, where you may even find a kitty cat in your latte art!

5 p.m. - Stop in at some shops and boutiques

Kingston is chock full of indie shops featuring local goods that are perfect for gifting to a loved one or yourself! Stop in Midori Gifts, Happy Thoughts, General Brock's Commissary and more for some necessities and knick-knacks for you and yours.

6 p.m. - Dinner and drinks at Miss Bao

Bao isn't the only thing on the menu at this restaurant, which was the first zero-waste eatery in the city.

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There are a ton of delicious noms here, from wontons and karaage to Korean BBQ pork and red curry. (Of course, the bao sampler is highly recommended.) Vegans, vegetarians and celiacs have options to enjoy, and given that this restaurant's ethos lies in being sustainable and sourcing local, you can feel good about eating here.

Plus, the cocktails are marvellous, experimenting with Asian flavours for some delicious, beautiful combinations. All can also be veganized.

So there you have it: one perfect weekend in Kingston, Ontario. With so many things to do, we're sure you'll be back for more!

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Visit Kingston


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