Family-friendly winter activities in Kingston

The Foley girls, Emma and Rose, enjoy some good old fashioned fun in the snow. Photo by Patrick Foley.

Christmas has almost come and gone, and the new year brings long, cold nights and dreary, cold days.  Winter isn’t my favourite season – but there are still a lot of ways to have fun here in Kingston.

The beauty of winter can’t be denied.  Pristine, fresh-fallen snow, frozen expanses of lakes and rivers, and spending time indoors and out with family and friends are all wonderous ways to enjoy this season.  But I think we’ve all experienced the doldrums of winter – when you’re feeling trapped inside, sick of everything at home, and tired of hearing ‘I’m bored!’

I spent some time researching fun activities to do as a family around town. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few things you may enjoy.

Five Family-friendly things to do in Kingston over the winter

Kingston Frontenac Public Library

Did you know the library has programs and events for every age?  My girls and I visit the library every two to three weeks just to get some books (and fill some time on the weekends). We are very excited to visit the Central branch downtown when in re-opens in January after some serious renovations!

Some programs at the library are drop in and others require registration. There are many options for storytime – where you take your young folk and a story is read aloud for everyone to enjoy.  LEGO/Duplo building is a popular program for kids of all ages. There are coding evenings where participants learn how to develop web pages and games. And I even saw a knitting evening with an experienced knitter who will share their expertise.

Visit their programs and events page to see what is coming up soon. Or take a look at their full year calendar for future days you may be looking to visit the library.

Get outside

Even though it’s winter, there are still lots of outdoor fun to be had!  Just be sure to dress warmly and bring a warm drink with you when you head out.

Skating in Springer Market Square – every year the city builds this amazing little rink behind city hall and it is a very lovely spot for a skate. Bring your own skates, or rent some if you’re just visiting.  There’s music playing and bleachers to take a break, or just watch the other skaters – it really is a lot of fun. (Don’t forget to visit a close-by coffee shop after to warm up!)

Tobogganing on Fort Henry Hill – Fort Henry hill is a popular spot to bring your Krazy Karpets or toboggans and have fun swooshing down the hill.  (Disclaimer: I have never done this. I feel like I need to revoke my Kingstonian status!)

Taking a winter walk, hike or ski – Both Lemoine Point and Little Cataraqui Creek have trails available during the winter. Cross country skis and snowshoes are available to rent at Little Cat’s Outdoor center. Bring your birdseed and see how many chickadees you can get to visit your hand!

Rose Foley enjoys a ride down a snowy hill – a favourite Kingston pastime, particularly on Fort Henry Hill. Photo by Jessica Foley.

Feb Fest

Every February Downtown Kingston! puts on a very fun event. Feb Fest usually includes a hockey game or two, a figure skating show, some ice sculptures, and someone from the world of skating and/or hockey stopping by to sign autographs.

Most years they also create snow/ice slides in Confederation Park and my girls love visiting those! They also usually last beyond the busy time of Feb Fest so you may get lucky visiting a week or two after the events are over. This is another event that definitely needs your full outdoor gear!

Emma Foley pauses for a photo while skating at Springer Market Square. Photo by Jessica Foley.

Tett Centre

Every Saturday (from September until May) you can join the Creativity Club at the Tett Center. For a small donation, your kids can create art to take home – all materials included.  We used to go every week when my girls were taking dance lessons on Saturday mornings. They loved it. My best tip is to go early – in my experience it gets busier later in the day!

The Tett Centre also has many events occurring throughout the year. They have PA Day events, and some of the artists welcome children to their workshops. Be sure to visit the Events page to see what’s coming up soon!

Visit the Greenhouse

The City of Kingston opens their greenhouse for visits every year in late February and into March.  The greenhouse is located at 111 Norman Rogers Drive and it’s a beautiful place to visit late in the winter.  I have a post with more info on my blog: A Day in Photos: City of Kingston Greenhouse. We go every year and it does my inner gardener some good to see the beautiful blooms!

The bright blooms inside the City of Kingston Greenhouse can warm up even the coldest winter days. Photo by Jessica Foley.

I hope I’ve inspired you to get out of the house this winter, and find something to stimulate your body or your mind.  I know that by February I am often feeling a bit of cabin fever, and I love getting out and ‘doing’ something to refresh myself. Plus spending time together as a family is a hit any time of year!


Jessica is a busy working mom who enjoys writing, editing, and blogging. She loves raising her family here in Kingston and tries hard to get out to all the amazing events around town.  You can find more of her writing on her blog A Modern Mom’s Life, and see what she gets up to with her family on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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