Insider Itineraries: Emily Armstrong

By Visit Kingston

I’m the Community Outreach Commissioner for the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) at Queen’s this year and in my fourth year of my undergrad in environmental chemistry. Throughout my time here in Kingston, I have discovered so many places and events that make the city truly unique. I know that more students than ever are brand-new to Kingston this year, so I put together a list of some of our must-sees. All these places have the three things students love most: close location, affordable experiences, and fun times! There are so many hidden gems close to campus that many students don’t get the chance to see during their time at Queen’s and this list is an easy way to make sure you don’t miss out!

Here are my top 10 favourite things to do and places to go within walking distance from Queen’s campus that are perfect for students on a budget.

Springer Market Square

This square is the heart of Kingston and is always filled with people walking through and events throughout the year! The beautiful architecture and the cheerful atmosphere truly make it feel as though you are walking through a movie set. From the farmer’s market that can be found there every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday in the summer and fall months, to the public skating rink in the winter, there is always something going on in Springer Market Square.

Coffee Shops

A Kingston student experience is never complete without a good cup of caffeine. Regardless of your coffee preferences and tastes, Kingston has got a spot for you! Downtown Kingston is filled with many great local coffee shops; try them all and figure out which one is your favourite! Some of the top ones on our list are the Grocery Basket, Balzac’s, Crave, Kingston Coffee House, and the BSE Skate Shop, but there are many more to discover. Grab a cup of coffee and find the perfect study spot in the process!

Live music

Enjoy some amazing food or drinks while listening to live music right here in Kingston. These are great spots to go with friends to get the full concert experience. You can experience live music at Musiikki Cafe every night, and the BluMartini on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The Mansion and the Merchant also have live music on certain nights, so stay up to date via social media!


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Are you looking for an activity that combines shopping, fashion, and sustainability? Then you have to check our Kingston’s thrift stores. You can find thrift stores just a walking distance from campus with Phase 2, YGK Thrift, and Montreal Collective located in downtown Kingston. We cannot think of a more perfect opportunity to update your fall wardrobe on a student budget.

Ice cream at Confederation Park

Located right on the waterfront and across from City Hall, Confederation Park is home to the Kingston sign, a beautiful fountain, the Visitor Information Centre, and a marina. This is ultimately one of the most scenic spots in Kingston to look at the water, enjoy some views, and partake in some great company. While you are there, grab some ice cream from nearby shops such as Mio Gelato, White Mountain Ice Cream, Cook E’s, or Fruit Festival. These must-try spots are the perfect study snack after a long day of class.

Martello Alley

Martello Alley is one of my favourite hidden gems and can be found right off Princess Street. Stepping through the cobblestone streets gives the appearance of entering a secret patio. Check out the work of local artists showcased in the Alley and purchase some beautiful pieces. It’s a beautiful place where you can appreciate local art and take some great photos!

The Screening Room

The Screening Room is THE place to go to watch all the latest releases. Nothing beats the smell of popcorn when you walk into the theatre! Its old-style popcorn machine and décor gives it an artsy feeling. The theatre’s rustic exposed brick adds to the modern and retro aesthetic. Grab a group of friends and turn your Netflix movie night into a full-blown outing. With modest pricing and walking distance from campus, the Screening Room is a must go!

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Want to explore the world of art without having to commute? Located on campus, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre features amazing collections of research-driven art and has innovative exhibits year-round. The best part? Admission is free!

Courtyard Patios

Patio season isn’t over yet and Kingston has many hidden courtyard patios just around the corner! From the Kingston Brewing Company to Chez Piggy, you can experience dining at a courtyard patio no matter what your food preferences are. Some other downtown spots include the Toucan, Amadeus Café, and Black Dog Tavern. Be sure to check them out before the winter hits!

The ASUS offices

I may be biased, but the ASUS house is definitely my favourite place in Kingston! Located on University Avenue right off campus, you’ll spot us by our bright red porch. It houses the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society, a student government that provides supports, resources, opportunities, and advocacy for undergraduate students. Our door is always open if you want to stop by with any questions, to chat or to look at our brand-new vegetable garden located right next to the front steps!

Describe Kingston in three words: Charming, Lively, and Innovative

What would be Kingston’s theme song? Mr. Brightside by The Killers

Kingston makes me feel… Like I’m part of a welcoming and collaborative community.