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Best Things to Do In Providence

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The capital of Rhode Island is located at the northern tip Narragansett bay. It is a charming, compact, varied, and eccentric city. The city’s rich history from its founding by Puritan Massachusetts dissidents to its vibrant contemporary politics may be responsible for its eccentricities. Providence is a fun place to visit because of its rich history (everyone’s neighborhoods are designated historical districts) and artistic highlights.

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Providence’s historic downtown, called Downcity here, is home to a wealth of period architecture. It will please those who love architecture. Art Deco, Beaux-Arts buildings, and late Victorian Terra-cotta facades were spared from the destruction of urban renewal. They retain stunning and well-preserved ornamental details. The The Arcade was America’s first mall built in 1828. It is Downcity’s granite icon. It’s still a popular spot for shopping, with many locally owned boutiques and galleries.

Providence College, Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) have a high-powered student body that keeps Providence young and vital. They also ensure a vibrant arts and intellectual scene. Locals take dining out seriously. Asking locals for recommendations will ensure that you get an informed opinion.

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Roger Williams Park Zoo, covering 40 acres, is not only the oldest zoo in the country but also a model for modern zoo design. This kid-friendly, cage-free zoo is home to a variety of animals including a snow leopard and elephant.

This is the place for you if you don’t like the idea of animals being kept in cages and would rather learn about their habitats and how they live. The zoo offers seasonal activities like the Halloween “Spooky Zoo”, and the pumpkin spectacular, which make it even more enjoyable for children.

The Botanical Center in Roger Williams Park is New England’s largest indoor public display garden. It has 12,000 square feet and includes three main greenhouses, three smaller greenhouses, and an outdoor garden.

Roger Williams Park offers so much more that it’s easy for families to appreciate why it’s a favorite place to visit in the city. The park covers 435 acres and includes gardens and a lake. It also has an amphitheater, a 1915 bandstand and Betsy Williams Cottage . There is also a children’s play area that features a carousel, trackless train rides, and a trackless train ride. The park also contains the Museum of Natural History, which houses fossils, insects, and minerals. It also has the only Planetarium in the state.

Address: 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island

Official site: http://www.rwpzoo.org/



Between mid-May to late November, braziers at the river’s middle are lit by bonfires that illuminate Downcity Providence at least twice per month. More than 80 fires are lit from Waterplace Park to Memorial/South Main Street Park during “Full WaterFire.” The “Basin Fire WaterFire”, events that light 22 braziers at the Waterplace Park Basin, and five toward Providence Place mall, are smaller.

WaterFire is a four-acre festival that transforms Riverwalk and Waterplace Park into a festival of music and arts. Young and old enjoy the city’s cultural vibrancy and revitalization. These and other festivals are some of the most popular free activities in Rhode Island.

Official site: http://waterfire.org/

RISD Museum for Art

RISD Museum for Art

You can find something to satisfy your artistic interests, whether you are a fan of Japanese prints or French Impressionists, or if you have a passion for ancient Egyptian, early American or contemporary design. The museum’s extensive collection will keep you entertained. One of America’s most prestigious art colleges, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) reflects its wide variety of interests in the objects it selects for its museum.

There are many collections that include needlework and textiles, Rodin sculpture, Asian art and videos. There are so many exceptional works here, that each collection could be its own museum.

Address: 224 Benefit Street, Providence

Official site: www.risdmuseum.org

Capitol of Rhode Island State

Capitol of Rhode Island State

The white marble Rhode Island State Capitol is a landmark in Providence. It boasts the fourth-largest self-supporting dome in the world. McKim, Mead & White designed the neoclassical building and it was completed in 1904. The building can be toured on your own, or you can take a guided tour for free.

Inside the dome you’ll find the painting Four Freedoms by James Allen King and Gilbert Stuart’s portrait George Washington. A replica of the Liberty Bell and a gun from Gettysburg are also included.

Address: 82 Smith Street Providence, Rhode Island

Federal Hill

Atwells Avenue

Atwells Avenue is located on Federal Hill, the hill to the west from Downcity. It is the heart of Providence’s large Italian American population. Although the community is now widespread throughout the city’s streets and squares, the presence of Italian food shops, cafes and restaurants along Atwells Avenue and the adjacent streets and squares is a result of the times when immigrants were able to connect with each other and share their languages and traditions.

Italian chefs shop in the delis and bakeries for fresh-made mozzarella, pickled cherry peppers, imported meats, and golden panettone. You can enjoy an Italian meal here, including spaghetti and red sauce (called “gravy”) in elbow-bumping hospitality or northern Italian dishes in a linens & crystal setting. You can also enjoy a cappuccino, gelato or a meal at the sidewalk café in DePasquale Plaza or take part in a lively street festival on Columbus Day.

Official site: http://atwellsave.com

Relax at Waterplace Park

Waterplace Park

Although they are still difficult to pronounce the names of Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck, the two rivers that run through Providence, people can now see them. They were not always visible, though. For decades they were obscured by the largest bridge in the world. They were finally revealed again in the 1990s.

The river banks were exposed and lined with walkways and benches. Instead of being a bridge made of traffic congestion and highways, the rivers now have graceful bridges that are modeled after those of Venice.

Waterfire is held in WaterPlace Park. The river lights up with bonfires. From spring to late fall, walkers, bikers and joggers fill the area with people enjoying summer concerts and public art installations.

These waterways can be explored in the morning, during sunset cruises, or during WaterFire. An open-air boat ride gives you a unique view of the city, as well as some sidelights about its history and attractions. The tours include the river and upper Narragansett bay, giving you new perspectives on the city’s skyline and architecture. You can also ride in La Gondola an authentic Venetian Gondola . This is one of the most romantic activities in Rhode Island, especially during WaterFire.

Address: 575 S. Water Street Providence, Rhode Island

Official site: https://www.providenceriverboat.com

Providence Performing Arts Center

The Providence Performing Arts Center, which occupies the former Loew’s Movie Palace, has been a prominent feature of lively Weybosset Street almost a century. George and C.W. designed the stunning Beaux Arts theatre. Rapp of Chicago, who was responsible for many of the most luxurious theaters in the world at the time.

Its interior is just as luxurious as when it opened in 1928. There are marble columns, intricate plaster work and crystal chandeliers. It has undergone periodic renovations to modernize its facilities, but without sacrificing the luxurious interior.

Trinity Repertory Company, a highly-respected venue for musicals and plays, has two theater stages.

Address: 220 Weybosset Street, Providence, Rhode Island

Official site: https://www.ppacri.org/

Walk Benefit Street’s Mile of History

This mile-long street runs along the steep hillside from the river to Brown University campus. Here you will see a glimpse of Providence’s architectural history. The Federal period homes are elegant and restrained. They have been beautifully restored and placed in a neat row near the street. As you continue walking, you will see grand homes on their lawns and Victorian or Arts and Crafts-style homes.

There are many tourist attractions in the city, including the Governor Stephen Hopkins House and its terraced garden. The Athenaeum has Edgar Allen Poe connections. John Brown House is another. The Providence Preservation Society has a great booklet that provides information about the buildings.

Stephen Hopkins House

Stephen Hopkins, a signer of the Declaration of Independence as well as Governor of Rhode Island’s Colony of Rhode Island was the one who purchased this 1707 house at the corner of Benefit Street and Benefit Street in 1743. The original structure was left as an ell and Hopkins added a two-story addition to the front.

Eight rooms are furnished in Hopkin’s style and include original family artifacts. Visitors will also find antiques in the house, including a room that was home to the family’s slaves and the bedroom that George Washington slept in during his trips to Providence. The gallery features a collection of 18 th-century embroidery samplers.

The parterre garden has been restored and is accessible even when it is closed. It offers great views of the city from its terraces.

Address: 15 Hopkins Street Providence, Rhode Island

Official site: http://www.stephenhopkins.org

Rhode Island Children’s Museum

Rhode Island Children’s Museum

The roof is adorned with a large, green dragon that alerts passersby to the fact that this building is not just another brick building. Children aged 1-11 years old can explore the worlds and art of science, art and technology.

These hands-on exhibits have been created to not only entertain but also stimulate curiosity and creativity in children of all abilities. Water Ways is a favourite for all ages. It explores water in all its forms, including mist and ice. The exhibits also explore the immigrant experience and teach how to use common tools. Puzzles are used to explore shapes and space.

Address: 100 South Street Providence, Rhode Island

Official site: https://providencechildrensmuseum.org

Providence Atheneum

The Atheneum, one of America’s oldest libraries, is not only a pleasure for book lovers, but also a place of pilgrimage for Edgar Allen Poe. In its quiet alcoves, the poet met Sarah Whitman.

The collection includes rare manuscripts of medieval origin dating back to the 1300s, editions of works by New England’s most well-known literary figures, a complete Audubon’s Birds of America folio, and early children’s books. In changing exhibits, rare books are displayed. It is open to anyone, even though it is a membership library. The public can browse and read there.

The Atheneum offers a complete schedule of cultural, literary, and musical events. This includes programs featuring well-known authors as leading cultural figures.

Address: 251 Benefit Street, Providence, Rhode Island

Official site: https://providenceathenaeum.org

By boat, explore the Rivers and Narragansett bay

The Providence River Boat Tour can take you on a daytime cruise or a sunset cruise. During WaterFire, you can also explore the river on a 14-passenger open air boat. This gives you a unique perspective of the city as well as some sidelights about its history and attractions. The tours include the rivers and upper Narragansett bay, giving you a new perspective on the city’s architecture.

Green Jacket Shoal is Rhode Island’s largest shipyard. An underwater archaeologist has found 26 wooden-hulled vessels. This tour will be a delight for maritime history enthusiasts. The Seastreak Ferry takes you to Narragansett bay. It is approximately an hour long and departs from Newport.

You can also take the Seastreak to Bristol, stopping at the stop on Main Street. The Providence Ferry Terminal is connected to Providence Station, Kennedy Plaza and the Providence Convention Center by a free RIPTA shuttle.

Address: Providence River Boat at 575 S. Water Street in Providence, Rhode Island

Official site: https://www.providenceriverboat.com

Stroll through Swan Point Cemetery

The 200-acre Swan Point Cemetery is the largest green space in Providence. It was established in 1846 and redesigned as a cemetery park in 1886. Frederick Law Olmsted, a landscape architect, inspired its design. It is on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Landscapes vary from open lawns shady by mature trees to wooded areas and bosky paths that are bordered with laurel, roses, and rhododendrons. The land slopes steeply to the river in some places. There are many elaborate tombs, vaults and Victorian and Art Nouveau figural statues throughout the cemetery. Simple early stones and large family plots that have been walled and landscaped as little gardens can be found throughout the cemetery.

Gothic fiction fans seek the tomb of H.P. Lovecraft, the greatest horror storyteller since Poe. On his grave, “I am Providence” is inscribed. The Swan Point Cemetery Perimeter Loop, a 2.4-mile trail which is popular for bird-watching and walking, borders the river.

Address: 585 Blackstone Boulevard Providence, Rhode Island

Official site: https://swanpointcemetery.com

John Brown House

The 1786 home of John Brown, a merchant, was described by President John Quincy Adams as “the most beautiful and elegant mansion I have ever seen on the continent.” He could look out from the high hillside location at India Point and see his China Trade vessels and warehouses, which were the source of his wealth.

The house’s French wallpapers, original Brown furniture, and finely crafted decorative detail and moldings show that he was a man who valued taste and wealth. This magnificent home offers a rare glimpse into 18th-century Providence life and a chance to see some of the finest pieces made by Rhode Island cabinetmakers.

Address: 52 Power Street Providence, Rhode Island

Official site: www.rihs.org

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