Planning a trip to Kingston, Jamaica? Check out these 5 attractions that will keep you coming back for more
If you haven’t been to the island of Jamaica, now may just be the time to live your best life and book a flight.
My first encounter with Jamaica came after attending Jamaica Carnival, a days-long festival of soca, reggae dancehall and masquerading in Kingston, which takes place every Easter season (see our 2018 Jamaica Carnival video diary to see how lit it was).
But for travelers who like a more relaxing vibe, there are other options too.
Between its beautiful sandy beaches, deliciously savory foods and rich historical landscape, the capital city of Kingston has plenty of wonders to explore.
Grab a friend or get your solo travel on, and check out these special gems for your next trip to Jamrock!
I stumbled upon Emancipation Park staying at the Courtyard Marriot, which is conveniently located right across the street.
The park is perfect for a run and has distance markers all around designated just for people getting their fitness on.
If you walk down the stretch of flat blue water fountains, you’ll see the true draw of the park: the 11-foot-high Redemption Song Monument. The powerful work of art features a nude Black man and woman staring up at the heavens. It breathtaking so much so that I stopped and stared for a good 10 minutes taking it all in.
The monument is said to represent the “spirit of freedom,” a tribute to Jamaica’s newly freed slaves, and it’s something you have to see in person to truly appreciate.
For an amazing cup of coffee…go to Craighton Estate (home of Blue Mountain Coffee)
I love a good trip to the mountains to see the city from a different view. As part of my tour of Kingston, I traveled up the winding roads to check out Craighton Estates, a 300-acre estate in the Blue Mountains where Jamaica’s famous Blue Mountain coffee is farmed.
Coffee-lovers will find themselves one step closer to heaven, as they get a taste of the coveted drink with a nice rum cake to help clean your palettes in between sips.
Craighton Estate tour guides are also very cool about letting you check out the behind-the-scenes coffee bean roasting process (which smells amazing), while explaining how the beans are harvested. The coffee bean originated in Ethiopia- shout out to mother Africa- and is now exported by the tons to Japan.
While I admittedly don’t drink coffee on the daily, I left Craighton Estate actually enjoying the taste of Blue Mountain Coffee and getting some stunning pictures of the city from the mountaintop.
For the love of reggae… go to the Bob Marley Museum
The Bob Marley Museum stands as a living testament to the music icon’s life, because it’s actually the home he lived in. Within it you’ll get to see the studio where Marley created his hits, as well as his numerous awards, including a Grammy.
Be warned that no cell phones are allowed inside, but trust that your lively and hilarious tour guide with keep your attention the entire time. There’s lots of sing-along and participation on the tour, and if you stick it out to the end you can buy souvenirs in the gift shop.
The tour is extensive so eat (and rest) beforehand to enjoy all the knowledge being dropped throughout the journey.
When you’re ready for a bite, make sure you grab food at the official “One Love” museum café, with healthy eats inspired by Bob and his wife Rita’s Rastafarian diet. I absolutely loved the Jerk Chicken wrap topped with Jammin’ Jerk Smokey BBQ sauce. Throw in a green smoothie and you’ll be good to go.
For the love of Black history and the best ice cream ever… go to Devon House Mansion
There’s nothing like seeing tributes to Black excellence. Devon House Mansion, home of Jamaica’s first Black millionaire, George Stiebel, is the perfect spot to see it in person.
Stiebel was a boss businessman, gold trader and property owner in the 1800s, so it makes sense that his mansion is a protected heritage site in Kingston.
When you arrive you’ll be greeted by a tour guide dressed in old-time garb, who will take you around for 20-30 minutes to show you antique photos, furniture and heirlooms (which all will look great in your pics on the ‘gram).
After the tour you can get a taste of the famous Devon House I Scream shop, or try a shaved ice or coconut water instead.
In addition to the Devon House Bakery, there’s a steak house, pizza shop and The Grog Shoppe restaurant, which has a fusion menu of Jamaican and international cuisine.
Before you leave, check out RÊVE Jewellery & Accessories, which offers locally handmade gifts. If Teasea’s in the shop, she’ll show you the latest trendy earrings and can give you the scoop on local events and the latest in fashion.
For the love of sand and sun…go to Fort Clarence Beach Park
I got my first taste of Fort Clarence Beach after the Xaymaca International post-Carnival beach Lyme (a.k.a party) during Jamaica Carnival 2018.
After figuring out I needed a driver to get there since I didn’t have a rental, I forked over $90 for round trip car service for a friend and myself to get from Kingston to Portmore. Considering it’s about a 40-minute drive, it made sense.
Once you arrive, the beauty of Fort Clarence Beach makes the trek totally worth it.
There’s plenty of space to tan, play sports on the sand, or dip in the clear blue waters.
Note that there is an entry fee for the beach and it does close at 6:00 p.m., so arrive early enough to get your money’s worth.
You can also buy fresh fried fish or Festival, which is like Jamaican fried dumpling. Add that with whatever you bring in your cooler and you’ve got the perfect wind-down to enjoy “The Rock.”
This is just a starter list to get you warmed up when you stop into Kingston, but here are a few more places to consider when you visit the Land of Wood and Water:
- Usain Bolt’s Track & Records Restaurant
- Pushpa Authentic Indian Cuisine (small family style dining)
- The Waterfront
- National Gallery of Jamaica