Things to Do in Kinston, NC
Like any community, there are plenty of great things to do in Kinston, NC. Sometimes these events, attractions and restaurants are well known, while other times it takes a well-trained eye or local guide to introduce you to them. If you are looking for more variety, the more populous cities in North Carolina are certain to accommodate your desires of activities.
Kinston restaurants serve up a tasty mix of regional and international cuisines as well as farm-to-fork fare. Ginger 108 For Asian fusion food that's "authentic, but not traditional," Ginger 108's chef Tripp Sauls incorporates local and global ingredients to achieve innovative, bold flavors. Customers rave about the seared Ahi tuna in ponzu sauce; the grilled flat-iron stake with Thai chimuchurri sauce; and Holly's salmon topped with lump crabmeat.
Attracting artists and creative types to Kinston has been on the city’s agenda for some time. What began years ago with a few projects has now blossomed into a full-fledged arts and cultural district downtown that includes restaurants, music venues, art galleries and public art installations, as well as a housing development designated for artists and artisans.
If shopping is your passion, then Kinston, N.C. offers plenty. From the Lenox outlet to a sportsman’s paradise at Neuse Sports Shop, and everything in between, there’s undoubtedly something for everyone. Downtown and Herritage Landing
Lenoir County offers a front row pass to several interesting cultural attractions, including museums, plays, galleries and historic sites. Lenoir Community College
Go have fun and play in Kinston, where indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities such as sports, swimming pools, training centers and the Neuse River are available to residents. Parks & Rec Programs
Kinston is well-stocked with a number of nearby fishing holes at places including lakes, streams, reservoirs and more. Among the nearby lakes are Ketchum Pond in the Deep Run area and Pine Lake in the La Grange area. Nearby reservoirs include Davis Mill Pond and Hardy Mill Pond in the Seven Springs area, Kelly’s Pond in the Rivermont area, Nobels Mill Pond and Stroud Pond in the Pink Hill area, Walters Mill Pond in the La Grange area and Tull Mill Pond in the Deep Run area.
Opened in 2008, The Peppered Cupcake delivers a delicious twist on the classic cupcake by pairing unusual flavor combinations. The Peppered Cupcake is the fulfillment of owner Tabitha Meready’s lifelong dream of running her own self-sustaining business. She was inspired to create The Peppered Cupcake when she attended a grand opening event catered by another cupcake maker.
Restaurants in Lenoir County serve tasty dishes, ranging from Southern, down-home cooking to upscale and fresh produce options. Whatever your palate desires, there are a number of long-running eateries to visit in the area. Southern Comfort
Variety is the spice of life, and that includes restaurants – especially in Kinston-Lenoir County, where restaurants range from fine dining to more casual places. Chef & the Farmer
The structure that now houses the Caswell No. 1 Fire Station Museum was constructed in 1895 after a widespread conflagration destroyed nearly all the structures in downtown Kinston. This building is the oldest brick structure in Kinston and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The oldest remaining municipal building in Lenoir County, it has served Kinston for more than a century.
Neuseway Nature Park is home to several attractions, including the Neuseway Planetarium, the Lenoir Memorial Hospital Health and Science Museum, and the Exchange Nature Center, as well as a nature park and campground.
The Tap Room is where beer lovers in Kinston go to sample the four types of beer brewed at Mother Earth Brewing. And drinkers here can raise their glasses and toast to preserving the planet. When Kinston natives Stephen Hill and son-in-law Trent Mooring decided to go into the beer brewing business a couple of years ago, an immediate concern was their mother – Mother Earth, that is.
Shoppers who visit the Lenoir County Farmers Market will find everything from asparagus to zucchini, and, since it's open all year long, it's good to the last crop. The market is actually unlike most farmers markets for a couple of reasons. The Lenoir County site on North Herritage Street is open five days a week, from Tuesday through Saturday. It also features three large round bays for selling, plus restrooms, power outlets and running water.
How about some French pastry to go along with your diploma? Lenoir Community College offers a Culinary Technology Curriculum that trains students to become professionals in a variety of food service settings. Those settings can include full-service restaurants, hotels, resorts, private clubs, catering operations, contract food service and health-care facilities. The Culinary Technology Curriculum has been a part of the academic offerings at LCC for the past 27 years.
Million dollar biscuits? That's what Byrd's restaurant is known for, and people from as far away as Apex, Garner, Goldsboro and Raleigh stop at the landmark Kinston eatery on their way to the Atlantic Ocean beaches.
All hail, Tammy Kelly. The director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension's Lenoir County Center is also the 2011 winner of the Pinnacle of Achievement, an award presented by the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce. The annual award recognizes a top woman business professional in the community. “When I got the email telling me I was chosen, I said, 'What? Why me?'” Kelly says. “It was very nice to be recognized.”
The owners of Chef & the Farmer restaurant in Kinston spent a whopping $120,000 on food purchased from local farmers in 2010. Since opening more than five years ago, owners Ben Knight and Vivian Howard say their 66-seat restaurant in the Kinston downtown district has become a dining destination for a number of reasons. The married couple admits that one of the biggest factors is their farm-to-fork philosophy, buying as much food as possible from local farmers to keep money in Kinston-Lenoir County.
Go for the show, stay for the architecture. The Grainger-Hill Performing Arts Center is housed in one of the last remaining examples of Greek Classical Revival architecture in North Carolina, and is listed in the National Historic Register. The building, which is used as a theater, was constructed in 1925 as a three-story home for 900 students.
If the streets and walls of Kinston could talk, music would be their language. “We have a rich, lengthy history in jazz, blues and gospel,” says Sandy Landis, executive director of Kinston’s Community Council for the Arts. Founded in 1965, the CCA offers exhibits, classes and a host of other activities that make the arts accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages. In 2007, the organization began researching the community’s musical traditions.
From museums and historic homes to outdoor activities and sporting events, Kinston-Lenoir County offers something fun for everyone to enjoy. 1. Try your hand at disc golf during a game at Barnet Park. 2. Visit the Cultural Heritage Museum to learn more about the Civil War through educational displays, presentations, tours and programs.
You couldn't tell from looking at its 32 acres of ponds, landscaping and gleefully bounding dogs, but Kinston's Rotary Dog Park was once a landfill. After exhaustive cleanup of the site, local Rotary Clubs and other volunteers have created a pup paradise. Located along N.C. 11 South near Skinner’s Bypass, the leashless park includes large open areas and enough trees to keep a dog occupied for hours. For extended play dates, be sure to bring water and a dish.
North Carolina is considered a state with great golf venues, and Kinston is lucky enough to be home to four of them. The city courses – Falling Creek Golf Course, Kinston Country Club, Bill Fay Park Golf Course and Cutter Creek Golf Club – will challenge any level of golfer. Falling Creek Country Club, which opened in 1967, is an 18-hole public course that stretches 6,523 yards and is a par 71 from the longest tees. Noted golf course architect Gene Hamm designed the greens.
Outdoor Offerings With 11 parks‚ the Kinston/Lenoir Recreation Department has plenty of offerings – among them golf‚ tennis‚ basketball‚ softball‚ bridge‚ aerobics‚ line dancing and crafts for adults. Kids have options galore‚ with the community hosting several baseball and softball tournaments each summer‚ some with 100 teams‚ according to Bill Ellis‚ the department’s director.
Civil War history abounds in Kinston and Lenoir County, where the first Battle of Kinston took place in 1862.
Kinston, NC is home to numerous unique shopping districts including Vernon Park Mall, Frenchman's Creek, Kinston's Plaza and Park View. These shopping centers provide a mixture of well-known national retailers along with more personal locally owned, independent stores. Distinct within these shopping centers, Vernon Park Mall is home to one of the biggest workforces in Lenoir County with about 300 employees. Its anchoring stores are the well-known retailers Belk, JCPenney's and Sears. Below is a listing of some of the stores available here.
Quick trivia question: Where is the largest display of infant furniture in all of North Carolina? Answer: Kinston. H. Stadiem on North Queen Street has been a shopping staple in downtown Kinston since 1903 with 34,000 square feet of floor space. The store originally sold only men’s clothing but is now a complete independent department store.