Part of the fun of coming to Kingston WritersFest is exploring beautiful downtown Kingston. While enjoying the festival, take advantage of the unique pleasures the city has to offer. Steps from the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront, enjoy brunch on the secluded patio at Pan Chancho, and dinner at the legendary Chez Piggy. For fine dining, Le Chien Noir offers an elegant atmosphere and sumptuous fare, or if you’re looking for something simpler, there are many amazing choices: Kingston Brewing Company, King Street Sizzle, The Toucan, The Tango or the Geneva Crepe Café, all within easy walking distance.
In the mood for rustic Italian and Mediterranean food? Try Olivea, a contemporary Italian trattoria, or Megalo’s, with its sophisticated atmosphere and updated Canadian/Mediterranean menu. If you’re just looking for coffee and a quick bite to eat, Sipps Coffee and Dessert Bar offers delicious drinks, wraps, and desserts, or there’s Mug & Truffle Chocolate Café on King Street. Right around the corner from the festival, enjoy authentic Indian cuisine on a waterfront patio at Curry Original. And of course, if you want to stay close to the festival action, there’s The DOX Restaurant & Lounge on the main floor of the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront.
Well-known for its shopping, downtown Kingston offers everything from interesting boutiques and antique stores to all the famous brands you recognize. Check out the organic fare at Tara Natural Foods and Old Farm Fine Foods, or explore the delicious antipasti, olives and fabulous Fifth Town Artisan cheeses at Pasta Genova on Wellington Street. Downtown Kingston retailers are vital supporters of Kingston WritersFest, and we welcome you to browse our list of Gift-In-Kind Sponsors and Author Patrons for other great stops on your exploration of the city. You’ll recognize many downtown business names as supporters of the arts.
Staying in Kingston
For great getaway packages and a range of comfortable lodgings from streamlined hotels with all amenities to historic and cozy bed and breakfasts, to family-friendly motels, visit Stay in Kingston. For more information on the city and its many attractions, visit Kingston’s official visitors website at www.tourismkingston.com
Getting to Kingston
Travelling to Kingston is easy, no matter where you’re from. Kingston can be reached by rail, automobile, bus, air, and even by ferry (for our American guests choosing to cross the border at Cape Vincent, New York). Kingston is located on the Trans-Canada highway with two nearby Canada-US border crossings. Please see the visitors guide links below for more information about travelling to Kingston. (see a Google map)
Parking in Kingston
The Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront offers parking to its overnight and other Festival guests. ($14 per night, per vehicle; $3 per hour, with a $14 maximum fee.)
Several parking lots and garages within walking distance of the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront offer reasonable rates. You’ll find plenty of free parking for our off-site events at Queen’s University and reasonably priced daytime parking at St. Lawrence College. The Grand Theatre is a short stroll from the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront, or you can use the Municipal Chown Memorial Parking Garage on Brock Street, which connects directly to the Grand Theatre Courtyard. Many Kingston streets, just a few minutes’ walk from the downtown core, offer free parking (with some time restrictions). See a map of municipal parking lots (PDF) »
Getting Around in Kingston
Kingston offers convenient, affordable public transportation, and taxis are available throughout the city. Both offer services for clients with special needs. Most of Kingston’s major attractions are within easy walking distance of the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront. Recent improvements to downtown sidewalks have made Kingston more accessible than ever. Visit the City of Kingston’s transportation page to find out about any construction work in the city.
Here’s a perfect green option to get you and your book loving friends and family to the Festival! In support of Kingston’s Culture Days events Kingston Transit offers specially discounted fares from September 28 to September 30.
Residents and visitors can purchase a Visitor Day Pass at City Hall, Visitor Information Centre or the Cataraqui Centre for just $5.50. The pass permits 2 children (ages 18 and under) accompanied by an adult to travel on Kingston Transit all day, on any day of the week. Save your money. Save our planet. Ride Kingston Transit.
Be sure to check out our Free Culture Days Events for kids and adults.
Walking the Festival, Walking the City
Walking is a healthy and enjoyable alternative to motorized transportation. We invite you to make your way to our off-site Festival events on foot. The Grand Theatre is mere minutes up Princess Street from the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront, with great shopping along the way. Queen’s University campus is a picturesque twenty-minute walk or five-minute drive and can also be reached easily by public transportation or by taxi. The Festival venue at St. Lawrence College is a one-hour walk or ten-minute drive along one of the prettiest stretches of waterfront Kingston has to offer. It is also accessible by public transit and taxis will be available for hire at the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront.
- Grand Theatre map for walkers | map for drivers
- Queen’s University (Agnes Etherington Art Centre, University Avenue at Bader Lane) map for walkers | map for drivers
- St. Lawrence College map for walkers | map for drivers
Onstage and Writers Studio Events are wheelchair accessible and every effort is made to accommodate festival-goers with special needs. Kingston offers accessible public transportation and taxis that provide service for clients who use wheelchairs or have other needs. Most of Kingston’s city-owned parking facilities are wheelchair accessible. There are two top-notch teaching hospitals within blocks of the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront.