Devon House - the former residence of George Stiebelin, Kingston

Things to do in  Kingston

Feel the rhythm of Jamaica’s capital

Jamaica’s capital city is often passed over in favor of beachier destinations in the northern part of the island. But for fans of reggae music and anyone wanting to get their finger on the pulse of Jamaican culture, a visit to Kingston is a must. You can learn about the evolution of reggae music in Trench Town and at the Bob Marley Museum, immerse yourself in art at the National Gallery, and sample tasty jerk cuisine before nipping off on an excursion to the lush Blue Mountains.

Top 11 attractions in Kingston

Bob Marley Museum

Housed in the former home and recording studio of reggae king Bob Marley, this museum is among the most popular attractions in all of Jamaica. Here you can see Marley’s gold and platinum records, articles of his clothing, and his favorite guitar still resting beside his bed, as well as reminders of a 1976 attempt on his life.More

Devon House

In the capital of Kingston, the 19th-century Devon House mansion is not only unique on the island, but also throughout the Caribbean, as it was the home of George Stiebel, Jamaica’s first black millionaire, offering a rare glimpse of West Indian high society. When you visit the Georgian-style home, you can explore rooms furnished with 19th-century Jamaican and Caribbean antiques, along with original features like the English chandelier bought by Stiebel that still hangs in the ballroom. Today, the house sits on 11 acres of gardens within the city, and the surrounding buildings, including the stables and the kitchen, have been repurposed into shops, art boutiques and cafés. Don’t forget to stop in the courtyard, where you can find a sweet treat at the original location of the now-popular island chain Devon House I Scream.More

Club Kingston Airport Lounge

The Club Kingston Airport Lounge at Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport gives passengers access to numerous lounge facilities on arrival and departure. This uniquely Jamaican first-class lounge experience allows you to escape the stress of security lines and busy gates to a place where you can relax or work undisturbed.You can book a Club Kingston Lounge and concierge service as an arrival or departure service—or both. Upon arrival, you can take advantage of fast-track access through security, customs and immigration, and enjoy the convenience of being greeted by a Club Kingston representative holding a personalized sign.If you’ve got time to kill before departing Kingston, the lounge gives you access to unlimited fresh fruit, bar snacks and drinks, plus complimentary WiFi, use of Samsung Galaxy tablets, shower facilities and duty-free shopping, all while immersed in typical Jamaican hospitality.More

Emancipation Park

Emancipation Park is a 7-acre swath of green space in the New Kingston area of the Jamaican capital. It’s a popular spot for picnicking and has a jogging path around the perimeter, fountains, and gardens featuring a mix of native and imported plants, as well as several particularly worthwhile public art installations.More

Craighton Estate

Imagine enjoying a tasting of some of the world’s most expensive coffee, while strolling through the lush, Jamaican highlands just 45 minutes from Kingston. That’s the scene at the Craighton Estate, where you’ll tour an exquisite, Georgian style home that was constructed in 1805, and hear how this coffee is sold in Japan for hundreds of dollars per bag. The coffee that’s grown in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains is arguably the best in the world, and a guided tour of the Craighton Estate allows you to not only sample some of the smooth Arabica taste, but also learn how coffee was originally planted up on these slopes.The rich taste of the coffee aside, the Craighton Estate also provides sweeping views of the valleys leading towards Kingston, as well as the magical, mist-shrouded mountains that stoically rise above town.More

Blue Mountains

The highest peak, the longest range, the best coffee—Jamaica’s Blue Mountains rightfully claim a handful of superlatives. The mountain range spans 28 miles (45 kilometers) across the rugged eastern portion of Jamaica and offers views of the island’s north and south coasts, and on a clear day, even all the way across the Caribbean Sea to Cuba.More

Trench Town

The Trench Town neighborhood of Kingston—and, more specifically, the Trench Town Culture Yard—is most famous as the home of reggae legend Bob Marley, who spent much of his youth living and creating music here. The neighborhood is also considered the birthplace of reggae itself, with many other artists originating here, too.More

National Heroes Park

Kingston’s largest green space, National Heroes Park is a 50-acre (20-hectare) former horse track that now houses the tombs of numerous important figures from Jamaican history and a war memorial to Jamaicans who died in World War I. The park was also the venue for Bob Marley's famous 1976 Smile Jamaica concert.More

National Gallery

The National Gallery of Jamaica is the largest and oldest public art museum in the British Caribbean. Opened in 1974, it features an impressive collection of Jamaican art, with a large permanent collection as well as temporary exhibits that showcase contemporary artists.More

Port Royal

Situated at the end of Kingston Harbour, Port Royal is a small town dating back to 1518. Among the largest cities in the Caribbean during its prime, it was largely destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami in 1692, leading to its decline. Today, the area is best-known for its star attraction: the 17th-century Fort Charles.More

Fort Charles

Originally built as Fort Cromwell in the mid-1650s, Fort Charles was one of the few structures that survived the 1692 earthquake that sent much of Port Royal into the sea. The fort was rebuilt after the earthquake and continued to be used by the British. Today it houses the Fort Charles Maritime Museum.More
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All about Kingston

When to visit

The best time to visit Kingston is between December and April/May, when there’s less rainfall and slightly cooler temperatures than during the rest of the year. The rainy hurricane season runs from June through November. If you like reggae, come for the annual Bob Marley Week, which takes place over the first week of February and includes concerts, exhibitions, and other festivities.

Getting around

Kingston has a well-developed public transportation system, the Jamaica Urban Transport Company, which runs air-conditioned buses throughout the city. Traditional taxis, rideshares, and route taxis (shared taxis that pick up and drop off passengers along specific routes) are also widely available. If you’re traveling from the airport into the city, you can pre-book a transfer or arrange a taxi after you land.

Traveler tips

Jamaica is known for its “jerk” style of cooking, which involves seasoning meat (usually chicken) and sometimes veggies with fragrant herbs and scotch bonnet peppers. One of the best places to try this traditional style of cooking is at the Chateau 7 Jerk Centre, a simple, unassuming roadside spot that’s considered one of the best jerk spots in the country—and it’s just a 10-minute walk from Emancipation Park.


People Also Ask

Is Kingston Jamaica worth visiting?

Yes, Kingston is absolutely worth visiting. The capital of Jamaica is often overlooked in favor of beach destinations elsewhere on the island, but anyone interested in music or history should make a stop in the city, if only to see Bob Marley’s former home and the extensive art collection at the National Gallery.

What is Kingston, Jamaica known for?

Kingston is known for its cultural institutions, parks, dining, and nightlife. The city’s best-known attractions include the Bob Marley Museum (housed in the former home of the celebrated musician); Trench Town, where Marley spent much of his younger years; and the 17th-century sea-facing Fort Charles.

Is Kingston better than Montego Bay?

No, Kingston is not better than Montego Bay—it just offers a very different experience. While Montego Bay is a great spot to visit if you want to spend time at the beach, Kingston is a better option for travelers more interested in museums and history.

Do people vacation in Kingston, Jamaica?

Yes, people vacation in Kingston. There’s plenty to do in the city, from checking out museums, restaurants, and nightlife right in town to taking a day trip to the nearby Blue Mountains area, known for its beautiful scenery and delicious locally grown coffee.

Is Kingston, Jamaica walkable?

Yes, parts of Kingston are walkable, particularly in the downtown area and around Emancipation Park. Trench Town is better visited with a tour guide, for safety reasons; and the Bob Marley Museum, while in a perfectly safe area, is too far from downtown to easily reach on foot.

How many days do you need in Kingston?

You can get a good feel for Kingston and its attractions with just two full days in the city. This will give you enough time to visit the Bob Marley Museum, take a tour of Trench Town, and check out the fantastic collection of art on display at the National Gallery of Jamaica.

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