Kingston is the business capital and cultural epicenter of Jamaica. Where it lacks in resorts and beaches, it makes up for in rich cultural and historical attractions. This is by no means an exhaustive list on what to do in Kingston, but a mixture of different activities that can be done within the capital. After all, it wouldn’t be much of a list it was mostly one kind of activity. This is a broad list of top activities meant to appeal to everybody’s tastes.
When thinking of Jamaica, one of the first things that comes to mind is the birth of reggae music, so it’s fitting to start this list with the Bob Marley Museum. This museum documents the life of Bob Marley, his and his family’s contributions to reggae music and by extension, the popularization of Jamaican/Rastafari culture. The museum, fashioned from his old home, takes you through his childhood in Trench Town, early musical career with The Wailers, personal life and influence in and beyond Jamaica. There are also features of his children’s works, as well as his personal artifacts.
Devon House ice-cream has garnered a reputation for being one of the best in the world. However, with the ice cream, there is also a tour of Devon House, a restored Great House from Jamaica’s colonial past. Touring the Great House gives guests insight into the lifestyle of the upper-class in the late 1800s. On the property as well are various gift shops, a bakery and restaurants. Or you could just go for the ice-cream alone and the trip would be worth it.
Marked by a distinct fountain statue of two slaves, Emancipation Park is the jack-of-all trades when it comes to attractions, because it’s never limited to one type of event. Ironically located in one of the busiest parts of Kingston, the park itself is an open space that allows you to enjoy your own personal activities in a serene environment or the scenery of the park itself. Encircled by an exercise track that is definitely well used, the park also has a stage, which over the years has hosted several concerts, fairs and yoga sessions. The list of events that can be held here are ever expanding; if it requires a large open space in a central area, it’s probably happening at Emancipation Park. Perfect for those open to spontaneity in events or want to enjoy personal time in the city centre.
Hope Gardens has gone through a massive renovation in recent years that definitely deserves to be appreciated, especially if you’re a nature-lover. The botanical gardens are two hundred acres of land that is split into smaller gardens, such as the Chinese Gardens. Each garden varies in size but allows for peaceful reflection and an opportunity to appreciate indigenous Caribbean flora. Then there is also the newly renovated Hope Zoo, which is self-explanatory. It boasts an exhibition of animals from Africa, the Americas as well as the Caribbean. Finally, it is home to a plant nursery and several concert events that take place throughout the year.
Surfing is pretty unknown sport in Jamaica; a country where track and field, football and netball dominate the sports scene in Jamaica. But a hidden treasure near the border of St Thomas, is the Jamnesia Surf Club. Operated by the Wilmots, it is the mecca for surfers and wannabe surfers alike. On a clear beach at Bull Bay, you can learn to surf and about surfing in an open ambiance with food, music and like-minded surf-lovers. On the other hand, if you’re not into surfing, then there’s still a clear beach to enjoy regular beach activities.
Loose Canon Tours
What is an island without enjoying the water that surrounds it? With Loose Cannon Tours you can do just that with their yachting tours around Maiden Cay and the Kingston Harbour. Their party tours are inclusive of 3-4 hours with an extensive menu, open bar and fun-loving DJ to keep the party atmosphere alive. They also offer private tours on different sized vessels, catering to private events.
Another aspect that comes to mind when one thinks of Jamaica, or if you’re a Pirates of the Caribbean fan, is Port Royal. The Caribbean’s history of piracy reaches its peak in Jamaica with buccaneers, looting, lewd lifestyles, and finally, an earthquake to destroy what was by then known as The Wickedest Place on Earth. Port Royal also documents Jamaica’s naval history, with the remains of forts and canons, buildings partially affected by the earthquake that still stand, and a small museum full of items recovered from the sea that tell the story of life before the earthquake.
Rockfort Mineral Bath
Found on the margins of Kingston, a few minutes from the Norman Manley International Airport, are the healing waters found at the Rockfort Mineral Bath. Believed to be a product of the 1907 Kingston earthquake having activated a highly mineralized spring, today these waters have proven therapeutic and healing properties. The premises are comprised of several pools (to which the spring pours directly into), snack bars, lockers and changing rooms and a picnic lawn. All of which facilitates enjoyment after leaving the pools. Disclaimer, for health reasons you can only stay in the water for forty-five minutes to one hour but is still worth the trip.
Eight attractions in Kingston, meant to appeal to a variety of interests. Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list and there are a ton of things to do in Kingston. But, whether you’re a nature-lover, aquaphile, music fan, adventurer, history buff, museumgoer or party animal, or just like variety in your explorations, this list is meant to give you a taste of something you’ll love to do in Kingston.