The Best Things to Do in Kingston, Jamaica

A visit to the magnificent Devon House is among the best things to do in Kingston
A visit to the magnificent Devon House is among the best things to do in Kingston | © agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lola Mendez
10 August 2020

Jamaica is a dream destination for many travelers from across the globe. The best place to learn about the island’s vibrant culture, enjoy its spectacular architecture, sample local delicacies, jam to world-famous music and relax on top-notch beaches is the capital city of Kingston. Here, Culture Trip has gathered the best things to do in Kingston.

Bob Marley Museum

Museum, Shop
Map View
Tourists visiting Bob Marley's former house, now a Museum dedicated to the musicians life, Kingston, Jamaica. Image shot 1997. Exact date unknown.
© Howard Davies / Alamy Stock Photo
The house where Bob Marley lived from 1975 to 1981 has been refurbished into a museum about Jamaica’s most famous musical icon. At the Bob Marley Museum, you’ll learn about the life of the King of Reggae during an hour-long tour. The museum is equipped with rare memorabilia from his celebrated career, including his favorite guitar, gold and platinum records and recording studio. Dine at the on-site One Love Café, which features many of Marley’s favorite dishes.

School of Vision

Historical Landmark
Map View

Learn about Rastafari culture in Jamaica at this active commune in Kingston. To reach the School of Vision, you’ll have to trek up the side of the mountain, but the cultural enclave that awaits is well worth the effort. It’s best to visit on Saturdays during Sabbath, which is celebrated with Nyabinghi music, dancing and drumming. Be sure to wear all white, as that is the cultural norm.

Devon House

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
Devon House, Kingston, St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica, Caribbean
© Jon Arnold Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo
This Georgian-style mansion in Kingston is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. George Stiebel, Jamaica’s first black millionaire, lived in Devon House. The 19th-century mansion sits on 11 acres (4.5 hectares) of gardens. It’s a spectacular place to visit, with welcoming green lawns dotted with exotic flowers, palm trees and a soothing water fountain. The historic house is operated by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust and has been reimagined as a gastronomic destination that includes the world-famous Devon House I Scream, best known for its rum and raisin ice cream.

Emancipation Park

Park
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Redemption Song
© Sabena Jane Blackbird / Alamy Stock Photo
Kingston has many incredible parks and gardens. The most famous is the 7-acre (2.8-hectare) Emancipation Park in the heart of New Kingston, which serves as a “Tribute to Freedom.” The verdant park grounds feature three water fountains, lush gardens and magnificent stonework. One of the most popular attractions to visit in the park is the 11ft (3m) bronze sculpture, Redemption Song.

National Gallery of Jamaica

Art Gallery
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Get your art fix at the National Gallery of Jamaica. Established in 1974, it’s the oldest public art museum in the Anglophone Caribbean, and also the largest. Browse the massive collection of art, which ranges from the Taino culture to the present day and features outstanding pieces created by Jamaican and other Caribbean artists. Don’t miss sculptures by Edna Manley and the Art in Jamaica permanent exhibition.

Port Royal

Museum
Map View
View of cannons and tower in courtyard of Fort Charles, in Port Royal, across the harbor from Kingston, St Andrew, Jamaica.. Image shot 2010. Exact date unknown.
© Anthony Pidgeon / Alamy Stock Photo
In the 17th century, Port Royal was one of the richest cities in the world. In 1692, an earthquake destroyed many buildings and submerged a significant part of the city. You can go diving to see the sunken city that rests 40ft (12m) under in the sea. On land, visit Fort Charles, which was built in the mid 1600s by the English after they took the island from the Spanish. View lined cannons on the exterior walls and visit a small museum inside the fort.
These recommendations were updated on August 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.