With entertainment galore in Kingston, the vibrant sports and arts scene heats up during the winter. No deep freeze here – just lots to discover that will make your heart melt as you become an instant fan of the limestone city in winter. We don’t want you to hide inside this winter so we found things to do in Kingston that will warm you up!

1. Check Out The Big Screen

Go beyond the big screen and venture to The Screening Room in the heart of downtown Kingston. This three-screen independent movie theatre plays an intriguing mash-up of genres, in a second-floor locale. Peek inside for art-house, indie, foreign and classic cinema. In fact, The Screening Room hosts Cinematica, a classic film screening series each season! To bring a touch of home to the theatre, tea is served in mugs. Don’t forget the popcorn (it’s cooked in coconut oil and has a reputation as the best in town…)! Keep in mind The Screening Room is cash only.

The Kingston Canadian Film Festival transforms traditional and unconventional venues across Kingston’s historic downtown into a dynamic festival setting from March 3 to 13, 2022. Did you know it’s the largest festival in the world devoted solely to Canadian film? It’s a yearly whirlwind of movies and events that spark curiosity, ignite discussion, and provide a fresh experience of Canadian film. This year, you can attend in-person, digitally – or both!

The annual ReelOut Queer Film Festival is virtual again this year, but plans to whisk viewers away for 12 days from January 31 to February 7, 2022. The theme this year is International Points of View and the 23rd annual festival features stories from 19 different countries and diasporas. Be prepared for an adventure with 22 different Cinematic Adventures and more than 60 films!

2. Try a Kingston Food Tour

No matter the weather, food never goes out of style. And in Kingston’s thriving culinary scene, your tastebuds will be changed forever! Grab your hat and mitts and put on your walking shoes to enjoy the Kingston Food Tour. While exploring the beautiful downtown streets, you will be introduced to local restaurants, all while learning about the history of the city.

Try the Classic Kingston Tour for exclusive tastings at key downtown restaurants locations, paired with local knowledge to create a delicious tale of how Kingston has been reimagined into a destination for local food, heritage and drink. The Tapas Tour includes four stops highlighting small tastings together with a bevvy. Both tours are all around palette pleasers with food for thought and sips for the soul!

Discover more on the food scene with Kingstonlicious, the premiere prix fixe culinary experience at participating restaurants throughout the city. This means that a multi-course meal is offered at a fixed price during the event. Sign us up! Check back in the new year to discover participating restaurants for 2023 edition of the popular culinary event.

The premier prix fixe culinary experience that took the city by storm! Kingstonlicious returns in late January for its second year. From date night to family night, experience the best of the Kingston region on your plate – from three course dinners to lunch for the family. Kingstonlicious offers themed prix fixe dine-in menus and captivating special events. 

Did you know that beer brewing is intertwined with Kingston’s history? The first breweries in the city operated in the 1790s. Rideau Street, in the city’s downtown, was then known as Brewery Street! Further west, Morton’s Brewery and distillery was established in 1832. One of its original buildings is now home to the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning. You can sample some of Kingston’s local brews at bars, restaurants, and festivals across the city. Several beverage makers also offer take-home and delivery options. Here’s an intimate look at the brewers of Kingston!

If you’re interested in learning about the history of craft beers and the brewery scene in Kingston, I would suggest trying their Beer and Bites Tour offered by Kingston Food Tour.

3. Catch A Show At The Grand Theatre

Celebrate winter on stage at this cultural hub known lovingly as the “The Grand”.  The Grand Theatre in downtown Kingston lives and breathes history and the arts, with more than 250 professional and amateur events held each year. Enjoy acts such as ballet, classical artists, musicals and more. Make winter one to remember and see a live performance unfold on stage in a historic setting!

4. Get Your Game Face On

No matter your age, games never go out of style. Gone are the days where you have to sit at home with a gaming system or board game. Welcome the future with some of these fun group gaming experiences!

Improbable Escapes

Forget about reality and take the ultimate test of trust and teamwork at an Improbable Escapes escape room. You and your pals are locked inside a uniquely-themed room for one hour with the task of finding your way out through puzzles, rhymes and stories. It’s tougher than you’d think. Can you beat the clock?

Wonderland Escape Rooms and Lounge

Fun and adventure intertwine at Kingston’s newest addition by the owners of Improbable Escapes. Immerse yourself in a seven-dwarf themed escape room to help destroy the infamous evil apple. Get competitive (or co-operative) in their board game lounge with more than 450 games on site! While you’re playing enjoy coffee, tea, a pint or a pinot, and nosh on a bistro-style menu. We like the shareables like the charcuterie board and candy spreads!

Sherlock’s Escapes

Crime buffs unite for this Sherlock Holmes escape challenge. Perfect for groups as teamwork is essential, follow the story of the missing Sherlock, and meet well-known villains as you navigate your way through the room with the goal of escaping and solving the mystery to find Sherlock Holmes!

Kingston Axe Throwing

Drop-in, plan a party or join a league and warm-up that throwing arm! The energetic, fun staff will teach you different styles and techniques for throwing and you will expel any pent up stress you’ve built up over the holiday season. Can you hit the bullseye?

5. Get Inspired

Martello Alley is a little slice of Quebec tucked away in Kingston! It’s truly a gem, packed with vibrant colours and rich imagination brought to life. Martello Alley is an artist collective featuring eclectic original artworks and prints – it’s also the only art alley in Ontario and its open year-round! After finding your way into the peaceful space, wind up at the Atelier where a gallery awaits with artists and works in progress. Martello Alley is a living example of how creativity can transform a space. From mosaics made from upcycled materials to metal clay and jewellery to acrylic painting, the artist mediums vary greatly but somehow achieve a unified vibe.

Visit some local makers to warm your heart and find one-of-a-kind art. Dive into the process at The Kingston Glass Studio and Gallery, or be impressed by the artistic versatility at Black Dog Pottery. Visit Studio22, overlooking historic market square, showcasing emerging and established professional contemporary Canadian artists. Lastly, take a stroll through the Kingston School of Art’s Window Art Gallery which provides affordable exhibition space for culturally diverse local and regional artists.

6. Skate Downtown At Market Square

Lace-up and rediscover the magic of outdoor skating at the Springer Market Square rink. The square is historic in itself: the market has been on-site in warmer months since 1801. During the winter, this space becomes a public rink that welcomes people to enjoy the colder temps. It’s the perfect place to rekindle your love of winter – especially when the snowflakes start falling all around. Magic!

The rink is well lit and public restrooms, a warming area and lockers are available in the lower level of City Hall. Afterwards, warm up over dinner and drinks at one of the neighbouring restaurants in the downtown core.

7. Check Out The Local Music Scene

The time of year has no impact on the magic that is music. Kingston is a hotbed for talented local musicians, who are dedicated to sharing their art no matter the weather. Luckily, Kingston’s local bars and restaurants recognizes talent, and ensures that they feature local artists throughout the week any time of the year. We’ve mapped out some great spots to check out on your next night on the town. You can also check out more on the Visit Kingstons’ Soundcloud. 

8. Explore Museums & Workshops

History comes to life when you explore a museum. Seeing artifacts and listening to stories can make learning about the background of the beautiful limestone city exciting and lively! While South Eastern Ontario offers over twenty museums and historic sites, we have gathered some in Kingston for you to explore this winter. We’ve mapped out some museums to visit below in our Google Map.

9. Catch A Kingston Frontenac’s Game

Winter means exciting action in Kingston as the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs take to the ice! The Fronts play teams from all over Ontario and old rivalries make for exciting home games, typically on Fridays. The Kingston team has a loyal following and fans of all ages show their Fronts colours on game days. Put those winter blues on ice, get your foam finger ready and spend a Friday night cheering on the home team!

10. Catch the Holiday Spirit 

What’s better than the charming red Kingston Trolley Tours? The Kingston Trolley Tour: Christmas Light edition! Hop on the iconic tour trolley and see thousands of sparkling lights and displays throughout the city’s core. Carol along from inside the trolley as you view houses, streets, businesses and landmarks decked out in their holiday finest. It’s definitely a festive spirit booster leaving visitors with a twinkle in their eyes!

11. Treat Yourself to Self Care

Serene, calming, social, pampering and celebrating. This spa and social house offers full esthetics to help you feel your best. The Refinery is a modern space with stunning views of the city, led by an experienced team providing thoughtfully designed spa services.

The professionals at Glow Skincare Co. take your health to heart. Looking for some rejuvenation and relaxation? This is the place for that essential refresh, fostering a positive impact on your overall confidence and health. Full-day and half-day spa packages available with facials, body treatments and even a charcuterie board! Be sure to check out the spa retreat as guests enjoy all-inclusive access to the indoor large hydrotherapy pool, cold plunge pool, sauna and eucalyptus steam room. Sign us up!

12. Shop ’til You Drop

Kingston is a treasure trove for finding unique little gems at boutiques and shops with loads of character and style. The city is a haven for independent retailers – and we’re reaping the benefits! Look to indie fashion boutique, Agent99, for forward-thinking fashions, or spin some vinyl from Something Else Records; think HappyThoughts and explore this darling store full of colourful prints, fun jewellery and witty stationery, while dreaming of luxurious lathers from the 1000 Islands Soap Company. Next, please your palette with TheKingston Olive Oil Company and be prepared to find the newest must-have for your wardrobe and home at WHIT Kingston. The cure for the winter doldrums is in the bag!

13. Strap Those Skis On

Cross country skiing at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area is a great way to ward off those winter blues. Exchange the blahs for woes and take in marsh, field and forest habitat during the peacefulness of the snowy season. The chickadees are hungry and will even feed from your hand here! Be sure to check on trail conditions before heading out.

14. Light Up Your Life

Downtown parks and public spaces are aglow with special installations. Kingston City Hall is lit up each night with blue and white snowflake projections and from Jan 20 to Feb 20, take a turn on the giant illuminated teeter-totters in Market Square. Look for the illuminated “Love” sign in Confederation Basin, snap a selfie in a big bright picture frame and pose next to the glowing heart next to the Kingston sign at the Visitor Information Centre.

15. Enjoy High Tea

Experience the exceptional this winter at the exquisite Secret Garden Inn’s High Tea or fondue! If you enjoy homemade treats and a bit of extra class then this is the event for you! Book now for your next special occasion, or just to spoil yourself and your friends during the frigid months.

16. Enjoy Local Eats


Stellar water views paired with every meal! AquaTerra entices from plate to surroundings. Enjoy globally inspired dishes and an extensive local, regional and international wine list here. The menu focuses on freshly prepared dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible


This elegant, eclectic gourmet restaurant is an instant pick-me-up in downtown Kingston. Embracing the themes of Earth, Fire & Water, they present fusion gastronomy combining complex flavours and a variety of global styles. The menu here changes often and much of it is shared in person at your table. A true dining experience!

The Bank Gastrobar

The Bank at the Frontenac Club is an upscale lounge and gathering place for both accommodation guests and for neighbours who are keen on finding a comfortable, vibrant environment to unwind and socialise. Featuring hand-crafted cocktails, select whiskeys and unique wines, every patron will find an excuse to make extra trips to The Bank.

Pizza Monster

Nom nom nom! Pizza Monster is a small capacity, high quality, neighbourhood pizzeria located in Kingston’s Inner Harbour. This is the real deal – the sky’s the limit on these pies. From marinara to pineapple to salami to buffalo chicken, these are legit delish. Look here for gluten free and vegan options, too!

Shake off for your winter doldrums, grab your besties and venture to Kingston to get a new and exciting perspective on winter.

Edited & Updated By Rosanne Lake and Lindsay Medeiros