Kingston is a city in New York's Hudson Valley, 91 miles north of New York City and 50 miles south of Albany. It is the county seat of Ulster County and was the first capital of New York state. It was ransacked and burned by the British during the American Revolution but has preserved its historical buildings very well from then on. Due to the size and beauty of its historic zones, Kingston is probably one of the best cities in the state for a 1-to-2-day trip if you are a fan of 18th- and 19th-century American architecture.
Kingston is rather extensive but only moderately built up, so its feel is of a medium-sized city as compared to much smaller Rhinebeck across the Hudson but quite different from the impressive though compact historic urban downtown of Troy further north.
- Stewart International Airport, 1180 First St, New Windsor (~40 miles south), +1 845 564-2100. The closest major airport. Allegiant Air, American Eagle, and JetBlue operate flights from Florida and Philadelphia (Mar 2021).
- Albany International Airport 737 Albany-Shaker Rd, Albany (~65 miles north), +1 518 242-2200 (information center). Offers flights to most eastern US cities.
- Westchester County Airport, 240 Airport Road, White Plains, +1 914-995-4860 (airlines). Several counties away, but an alternative to the congestion of the 3 major international airports around New York City. Rental cars available.
- Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark, New Jersey, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport: Livery cars offer service to and from 3 major international airports.
N.Y.S. thruway exit 19.
Trailways has buses from New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal to Kingston that take between 2 hours and 2 hours 10 minutes, with at least 4 departures even on Sundays. Fares start at $27.50 one-way. Buses from Albany take 1 hour, with two departures daily, at 1:30PM and 7:30PM. Fares are $15 for the early bus and $26 for the late bus.
- Amtrak serves Rhinecliff station from New York City's Penn Station and other points. Rhinecliff is across the Hudson River, via the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge, and a little bit to the south. You need to have someone pick you up or take one of the cabs in the parking lot when you arrive at the station.
There are buses and taxis, or you can drive your own car.
Kingston is a good city to walk in, but the distances are too great for it to be feasible for most people to walk between the Waterfront (Downtown) and Stockade (Uptown) Historic Districts.
There are three historic districts and many gorgeous historic buildings in this city:
- Chestnut Street Historic District. This is a smaller area of town than the other two historic districts, along a few blocks of West and East Chestnut Street.
- Rondout-West Strand Historic Waterfront District. Featuring the waterfront onto the Roundout Creek and extending some ways uphill from there, this district comprises the historic downtown area of the city. It's full of 19th-century low-rise brick buildings that were related to industry and river shipping, as well as ornately decorated private houses and numerous churches. Quite a few of the churches and private houses have beautiful multi-colored tiled roofs. You could easily walk through this district for an hour or more, to see all the buildings and the waterfront.
- Stockade Historic District. Called "Uptown" by locals, this district, though smaller as an official historic district than Downtown, is in practice by far the most extensive neighborhood and contains a larger quantity of ornate private houses than the historic downtown, plus the town green, which features grand, larger-than-life statues of important personages for the European settlement and development of New York (explorer Henry Hudson; Governor of New York DeWitt Clinton; and Director-General of New Netherlands, Peter Stuyvesant). This is also the neighborhood that contains the 17th-century Old Dutch Church, the 18th-century Senate House, which functioned as New York State's first capitol, and the early 19th-century Federal-style Ulster County Courthouse. Seeing all of the historic houses and other buildings in this neighborhood in a single day by foot is probably not possible, but walking down several streets is itself rewarding.
- 1 Hudson River Maritime Museum, 50 Rondout Landing, ☏ . May–October, F–M 11AM–4PM. Exhibits on the maritime history of the Hudson River and the regional industries—such as agriculture, brick, and, before the advent of refrigeration, ice—that depended on the river for transportation. Also has collections of paintings and boats.
- 1 Trolley Museum of New York, 89 East Strand (Rondout waterfront), ☏ . Memorial Day Weekend–Columbus Day, Sa, Su & holidays, noon–5PM. Trolley rides Sa & Su, May-October, from the museum to Kingston Point Park.
Hudson Valley Mall
- Rosita's, 86 Rondout Landing, ☏ . Mexican/American cuisine. Waterfront dining, with outdoor patio.
- The lovely, much smaller town of Rhinebeck, with its own selection of historic houses, is across the river and slightly to the south and east.
|Routes through Kingston|
|Albany ← Saugerties ←||N S||→ New Paltz → New York City|
|Albany ← Saugerties ←||N S||→ Milton → Fort Lee|
|Herkimer ← Oneonta ←||W E||→ END|