Being born in Kingston, the capital and largest city of the Caribbean island-nation of Jamaica, gives one a unique view of life in the city. In this article, I will share with you some facts as well as some of the more popular spots to visit.
- Kingston is the capital of Jamaica and is located on the southeastern coast of the island. The city itself is composed of the Parishes of Kingston and parts of St Andrew.
- The population number was, based on 2011 estimates, 937,799.
- The city was founded after the 1692 earthquake for the people who survived the Port Royal earthquake.
- The city is the seat of government in Jamaica. Spanish Town was the original capital up until 1872, when an act was passed to transfer the government offices to Kingston.
- Kingston is the business capital of Jamaica. The financial center of Jamaica is New Kingston, which is the main area of business in Jamaica. Downtown Kingston is also a major business area and the location of Coronation Market, which is a large area where local agricultural produce are sold.
Kingston has its share of American franchises such as Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dominos and Wendy’s. These eateries can be found in the downtown area, New Kingston and Upper St. Andrew in the Liguanea area. However local eateries include the following:
- Tastee, a restaurant famous for its patties. A patty can be eaten on its own or like the meat part of a sandwich such as cocoa bread. The Tastee patty has been a staple lunch item for many Jamaicans over the years. Personally, I have downed six during one sitting; however that would be a drop in the bucket for some local eaters! It is generally eaten while fresh out of the oven. Tastee is not hard to find as it has several locations all over the city and across the rest of Jamaica.
- Juici-Beef is another patty restaurant known for its patties can also be found in various parts of the city. I can testify that they also make a good patty, but not quite in the league of the Tastee patty.
- Mother’s is yet another restaurant famous for its patties. Their patty is not bad but their other products make up somewhat for the shortfall in quality.
- Devon House is a National Heritage site best known by locals for its ice cream. Even the lactose intolerant such as myself are tempted by the ice cream made at the area of this mansion called “Devon House I Scream.” There are 27 flavors made at this store, which has become a household name in Jamaica.
- Susie’s Bakery and Coffee Bar is a place where pastry lovers and coffee drinkers can enjoy the various types of coffee drinks, plus freshly-baked breads, sandwiches, and other pastries. The atmosphere is very relaxing and the service is top class. It is located off Constant Spring Road in South Plaza.
- Other recommended eateries include: Terra Nova Hotel Restaurant, Strawberry Hill, Redbones Blues Cafe, Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records, and Cuddy’z Sports Bar.
For those interested in night entertainment, the following spots are popular:
- The Quad Night Club. The Quad has four different clubs located in the same building. It is located in New Kingston.
- Asylum is another dance club located in New Kingston.
- The Jonkanoo Lounge located at the Hilton Hotel on the outskirts of New Kingston.
- Half Time Sports and Grill is a sports bar also located in New Kingston.
- Fiction Lounge located in the marketplace on Constant Spring Road.
- Mingles Pub and Pool Bar located at the Courtleigh Hotel.
Some of the more popular attractions include:
- Hope Botanical Gardens and Zoo, known locally as Hope Gardens is the largest green space in Kingston. It is known for its plants and trees, especially some rare varieties.
- The Bob Marley Museum
- Devon House Heritage Site
- Emancipation Park
- The National Gallery of Jamaica
- Trench Town Culture Yard
- Institute of Jamaica
Places to Stay
These would include, but are not limited to: Altamont Court Hotel, Knutsford Court Hotel, Indies Hotel, Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, and Courtleigh Hotel and Suites.
The north coast of Jamaica is generally the area the visitors to the island are drawn to, but Kingston cannot be overlooked as an area to visit. Whether you are a foodie like myself, a nightclubber, or a lover of historical sites, Kingston is a destination that cannot be overlooked.
Lawrence Wilson is a freelance writer from Jamaica, who has blogged on Article Document and Odesk. He has done quite a bit of travelling around Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.