Kingston is the capital city of Jamaica; this vibrant city is home to over 500,000 people and is the central business hub in Jamaica. This City has much more that meets the eye and is divided into two sections; New Kingston and Downtown Kingston. Downtown Kingston is deemed as the heartbeat of Jamaica and there is nowhere else on the Island that is busier than these streets.
Downtown Kingston is filled with History and attractions that takes you all the way back to 1872 when it became the capital city of Jamaica. Today, we will not be journeying to the North or West Coast but to the Beautiful Streets of Downtown Kingston.
Provided that you have already booked your Hotel, you are probably wondering “how can I get a true vibe of Kingston like a local”?All you need to do is jump in a Cab or on a bus and believe it or not, they will take you downtown just like that! First of all, more than half of the buses in Kingston have downtown as their final stop, so getting there is no hassle. There is a downtown dress code which is highly recommended which is as simple as you can, do not draw any attention to yourself. Also, do not just stand in the street like you are lost,that again might draw unwanted attention to you. Below are a few things to do downtown.
Shopping in Kingston
The Shopping downtown is amazing, this is the reason why people from various parishes leave to go there just to get a good deal. The atmosphere is kind of like a gigantic outdoor mall. While there are several stores, there are even more street vendors with items from almost any brand you can think of. If you are looking for some of the latest Trends, you might want to purchase it from the Street Vendors because believe it or not they travel to South America (where items are cheap) so you get the latest trends and you get them cheap. Another great plus about shopping from these Street Vendors is that you get to bargain with them at a price that suits you both. Do not let the term Street Vendor fool you as they do have quality items.
In all this shopping one must get hungry; a favourite downtown treat is from Mother’s Patty; just grab a patty and continue on your journey.
Historical Sites in Kingston
A little before you get into the heart of downtown is National Heroes Park. In Jamaica, there are seven heroes who fought for freedom from slavery and also for Jamaica’s Independence. It is the resting place of: Marcus Garvey, Sir Alexander Bustamante and Norman Washington Manley. Another important place to visit is Ward Theatre, this is Jamaica’s first Theatre established in 1777. This magnificent building is reminiscent of a European styled Theatre in the Columbus era. An important event that takes place here each year is the National Pantomime on December 26th (rain or shine).
The Bustamante Park is right at the entrance of Downtown and is usually used as a walk through to get to the central point or as a resting place for Shoppers. This Park was built to commemorate the contributions of Sir Alexander Bustamante to Jamaica. Throughout the park, there are monuments and marble scrolls.
If you go downtown you must go to Kingston Harbour. This is one of the most protected and largest Harbours in the world; not Jamaica, the world! Who wouldn’t want to see that? The Harbour provides a Port and Harbour Facility. Not far from the Harbour is the Water Front, this place is simply breathtaking. This place is famous for Fireworks at Christmas and it’s just a great place to relax and unwind and forget about your troubles. The City of Port Royal is not too far away from here, back in the day there was a Ferry that transported passengers from the Harbour to Port Royal. Today, there is a Road called Port Royal Street that takes you there.
Outdoor Coronation Market
This is one of the largest and oldest Markets in the Caribbean and has become a Tourist attraction. This Market has the freshest food items like Carrots, Scallions, Tomatoes and so many other items you can think of. Farmers and Vendors leave their homes in the more rural parishes each day or week to come to Kingston to sell their crops. Each vendor will boast that they have the best produce (some of them do) while some of them will boast the best prices. If you want some of the best items, get there early; as early as 6 in the morning. Because of the large volume of crops and the popularity of the market, this place is pretty overwhelming, if you don’t like crowds or hate walking, this is not the place for you.
It is always great to visit the “Heart” of any City of a new place if you can. Downtown Kingston has so much to offer and is filled with potential. If you are a travelling to the City of Kingston, be sure to head downtown.