Many cheap things to do in Kingston, Jamaica, whether locals or tourists exploring the capital city. Some are free, but you will have to pay a minimal cost for others.
These places are popular with locals, giving you an authentic feel of the Island’s culture. Some are my favorite which I have visited many times with friends or family.
- Chill At Hope Garden
- Tour The Hope Zoo
- Go For Ice Cream At Devon House
- Relax At Emancipation
- Learn About Jamaica’s National Heroes
- Visit Bob Marley Museum
- A Trip To The Peter Tosh Museum
- Learn About The History Of Money At The Bank Of Jamaica Money Museum
- Show Appreciation For Jamaica Art At The National Gallery Of Jamaica At The Kingston Mall, Down Town
- Shop At The Kingston Craft Market
- Watch The Sunset At Kingston Waterfront
- Go For A Jog At The Palisadoes
- Explore The Old Pirate City _ Port Royal
Chill At Hope Garden
Chilling at Hope Garden is one of the many cheap things to do in Kingston, Jamaica, during your downtime. This 200-acre property has been a favorite for Kingston residents for decades.
Depending on the vibes you want to create, you have many options, but a picnic in the Garden is my favorite. It is perfect for couples or families with young children; the children will enjoy playing on the green manicured lawns.
The Annual Garden provides the perfect backdrop to take amazing photos surrounded by beautiful flowers. But my favorite of the five gardens is the Chines Garden. Its oriental design mixed with the landscape gives it a unique look and feel found nowhere else on the Island. You might have to pay a minimal cost to tour this Garden.
There is always activity at the park, weddings, photoshoots, cooperative functions, or entertainment events.
Hope Botanical Garden is the largest park in Kingston. It can comfortably cater to large gatherings without being camp, but it’s best to visit on weekdays to enjoy the peace and serenity.
Although the entrance is free, you will have to pay for parking which costs about Jm$200.
Tour The Hope Zoo
Hope Zoo is on the same property as the Hope Botanical Garden; it is the perfect place to view exotic animals. However, it cost 1500 Jamaican dollars to enter.
The largest zoo in the English-speaking Caribbean has animals from around the world. Favorite among them are the lions and ostriches. It is also a conservation of local wildlife. Most notably, the Jamaican iguana, which they saved from the brink of extinction.
The Jamaican boa is another indigenous animal you will see at the zoo, along with our crocodile.
A petting zoo on the property allows children to get close to some animals.
Like the Botanical, there is space at the zoo for picnics and functions. Also, there are snack shops and a restaurant that opens late.
Go For Ice Cream At Devon House
Devon House, a historic site on the Island, is known for its delicious ice cream. A favorite stop for tourists on the city Kingston tour. Locals also love this landmark for its ice cream and its historical significance.
Devon House was the home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire George Steibel, who made his fortunes from the gold mines of South America. It has since become a Jamaica National Heritage site.
Apart from feasting on the many exotic ice cream flavors, you can tour the mansion, grab a meal at one of many restaurants, or purchase souvenirs at the gift shops.
The goat patty or the devon house chocolate is worth trying.
Devon House is always busy so prepare for long lines at the ice cream shop on weekends or holidays, especially at the month-end.
The best time to go is on weekdays.
Ice cream prices range from Jm $550 upwards, and entry to the property is free; you can sit on sections of the lawn or benches under the trees.
Relax At Emancipation
Relaxing at the little oasis in the city, Emancipation Park, is another cheap thing to do in Kingston, Jamaica.
Its construction in 2002 to celebrate the Island’s strength and freedom was timely. They completed it just in time for the emancipation celebration, entirely by locals.
Emancipation Park is the best-kept park on the Island and the city’s pride. It is a great place to meet with friends, do yoga, jog on the trail, play ping pong, take photos or relax.
There is no cost to the entire. Security is on the property, so there is order. No vending is allowed, so no one bothers you.
Learn About Jamaica’s National Heroes
The Jamaica National Heroes Park is a great place to get a glimpse of shrines honoring our national heroes. It is on a massive property at the Heros Circle, including the JDF Honor Guard, the Ministry of Finance parking lot, and a sports complex.
Marcus Mosia Garvy’s grave is on site. While there are shrines for all the other national heroes.
It is also the burial ground for all of Jamaica’s Prime ministers and distinguishes Jamaicas like Miss Lue and Denis Brown.
The property is well maintained, and the Jamaica Defence Force Honor Guard provides 24-hour security.
Each Monument gives a sneak peek into the Island’s history and nation builders.
National Heroes Park is an excellent picnic spot with giant trees which protect you from the sun. In addition, the sea breeze coming from the Kingston Harbour makes it an ideal escape from Kingston’s midday sun.
Parking and entrance are free.
Visit Bob Marley Museum
A visit to the Bob Marley Museum on Hope is one of many cheap things to do in Kingston, Jamaica.
It only costs JM$2000 for locals and US$25 for foreigners.
You will better understand the man behind those classic Reggae hits. His life challenges, philosophy, and people contributed to his success.
Bob Marley’s studio produced some great music; standing in the studio where the magic happened is a fantastic feeling.
Good and evil are constantly at war; a riffle bullet hole at the museum’s exit is a reminder—Thats where the great musician almost met his demise at the hands of his enemies.
Authentic Bob Marley souvenir is sold at the property, also natural foods and shakes if you need to grab a bite.
Check out this post for a guide on the Bob Marley Museum.
A Trip To The Peter Tosh Museum
Bob Marley is the face of Reggae music, but equal in status and talent is the great Peter Tosh. Although sharing the same philosophy, Bob Marley’s former bandmate is more radical and uncompromising, which prevents him from being accepted in the mainstream.
The museum opened officially to the public on November 1, 2016, and ticket prices are $ 2,000 JMD for locals, US$20 for foreigners, and $ 500 JMD for local students in groups of 10 or more.
Opening hours are Mondays to Fridays from 9:30 am–6 pm and Saturdays from 10 am–6 pm.
On display at the Trafalgar Road museum in Kingston is his infamous M16 Guitar, which signifies his revolutionary stand against the system also his unicycle.
See his greatest hits achievement and learn about his lifestyle and how it influences his music.
Visiting the Peter Tosh Museum gives you a clear picture of Bob Marley because he was influential in his early development and success.
Learn About The History Of Money At The Bank Of Jamaica Money Museum
Money is essential to everybody living in modern society, but how was it created? Learn the history of money in Jamaica and the rest of the plannet. See how it evolved from shells to coins and paper, now digital.
Understand the role BOJ plays in the island’s monetary system.
It is another cheap thing to do in Kingston, Jamaica, because it is free entry to the Money Museum at the Bank of Jamaica.
The museum is open from Monday – Friday, 10 am – 4 pm; you might need to call to make a reservation at (876) 922 0750.
Show Appreciation For Jamaica Art At The National Gallery Of Jamaica At The Kingston Mall, Down Town
The oldest and most extensive gallery in the English-speaking Caribbean is at the Kingston Mall near the Waterfront in Down Town Kingston. It was created in 1974 to showcase Jamaica’s artistic expression.
The work of some of the Island’s most revered artists is on permanent display. In addition, there are regular exhibitions of local and international artists.
The National Gallery Of Jamaica is a great place to experience another aspect of our culture and appreciate the Island’s artistic expression.
The cost for entry is minimal; souvenirs are available, so you can purchase something to remember this experience.
Shop At The Kingston Craft Market
The Kingston Craft Market Down at the Waterfront is hidden in plain sight. So many people know of it but pass by daily without thinking of going inside. I always thought it was for tourists, and their prices were ridiculous.
My recent trip proved me wrong; their prices were reasonable and catered to everybody. In addition, the place is clean, and the shops are organized. So it’s safe to shop for craft items and Jamaica theme souvenirs.
Watch The Sunset At Kingston Waterfront
In every major city, the waterfront is a kool-place to hang out. Kingston is no different but even more special. Located at the world’s fifth-largest natural harbor, it offers fantastic views.
Cargo ships flow in and out of the harbor, and planes landing and taking take at the Norman Manley Internation Airport; there is always something to catch your attention. But, the most beautiful of all is to watch the sunset with the Saint Catherine hills in the backdrop.
Feel like taking a stroll; you can safely walk from Victoria Pier to Ray Town, a small fishing village Downtown.
Sightseeing is not the only thing to do. Numerous shops and restaurants at Victoria Pier sell everything from ice cream to seafood.
You can plan for an entire day of activity in Downtown Kingston; the National Gallery, The Money Museum, and The Kingston Craft Market are within walking distance from each other. You could even go shopping in the market district.
Go For A Jog At The Palisadoes
Palisadoes link the Norman Manley International Air and Royal to Kingston; this tiny strip of land is the only access to these areas.
Frequently made impassable after hurricanes, they did extensive work to protect this corridor.
Huge boulders break the waves, and a high wall overlooks Kingston Harbour. The strip of land between the sea and harbor gives a unique view.
The Palisadoes have always been a popular jogging spot for people in Harbour View and the Eastern section of Kingston. As a result, it is common to see health-conscious individuals running or walking along that stretch.
Also is flok by folks sightseeing, looking across the harbor at DownTown Kingston, observing ships navigating the port, and watching the sunset. Fishing from the beach or harbourside is another activity many locals do at Palisadoes.
Explore The Old Pirate City _ Port Royal
Port Royal’s exciting history influenced Hollyhood’s mega film, Pirates of the Caribbean. It is a surprise that a place with such a fascinating story is not buzzing with tourists.
Luckily, you can enjoy it free or at a minimal cost; exploring it is another cheap thing to do in Kingston.
The town’s people are warm and friendly. Its design is unique; I have never seen it anywhere like it in Jamaica.
Although more than half the town is underwater, what reminds seems to maintain its original design of that period.
Apart from wandering around town, visiting Fort Charles and eating seafood at one of two Gloria’s restaurants is recommended.
At Fort Charles, get a glimpse of Port Royal’s history and some artifacts. Entry cost for locals is JM$1500 and US$ 20 for foreigners. A guided tour will cost a bit more.
You cannot visit Port Royal without eating seafood at Gloria’s. However, there are options, one close to the entry of the other closer to the fishing dock. Both offer great-tasting food at reasonable prices, but I prefer the restaurant in the town with upstairs dining overlooking Kingston Harbour. The night view is fantastic.
Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, has many cheap things to do. Some are free, others at a minimal cost. Surprisingly, many in downtown Kingston have a reputation for being unsafe. However, that is changing because the waterfront is slowly becoming a place for families to hand out. On any given day, hundreds of people enjoy the view of Kingston Harbour or dine at the restaurants at Victoria Prier. Not only locals but also foreigners.
With plans to make Kingston the cultural center of the Caribbean, expect to see many new places and things to do in the city.