Providence, Rhode Island, is a hidden gem that often flies under the radar when it comes to travel destinations.
Affectionately known as the Creative Capital, this charming city is brimming with history, culture, and a vibrant arts scene. Whether you’re a foodie, history buff, or outdoor enthusiast, Providence has something for everyone.
Here are 15 must-do activities to make the most of your time in this captivating city.
1. WaterFire Providence
No visit to Providence is complete without experiencing the enchanting WaterFire. This unique art installation combines the flickering glow of bonfires with soothing music, transforming the rivers of downtown into a breathtaking spectacle.
As the sun sets, take a leisurely stroll along the water’s edge and immerse yourself in the magical ambiance created by the fire-lit braziers.
2. Roger Williams Park
Escape the urban hustle by spending a day at Roger Williams Park, an expansive green space in the heart of Providence. Boasting botanical gardens, a zoo, and a picturesque lake, the park offers a serene retreat for nature lovers.
Rent a paddleboat, explore the walking trails, or simply relax with a picnic surrounded by the beauty of nature.
3. Federal Hill
Known as Little Italy, Federal Hill is a foodie’s dream. Wander through the charming streets lined with Italian restaurants, bakeries, and specialty shops. Indulge in delectable pasta dishes, authentic cannoli, and other Italian delights.
The vibrant atmosphere and rich aromas will transport you straight to the heart of Italy.
4. RISD Museum
The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum is a treasure trove of creativity, featuring an extensive collection of art spanning centuries and cultures.
Explore the galleries filled with masterpieces, contemporary works, and thought-provoking exhibits that showcase the city’s commitment to the arts.
5. Benefit Street
Embark on a journey through time by walking down Benefit Street, a historic district lined with beautifully preserved 18th and 19th-century homes. Marvel at the architecture and learn about the city’s history through informative plaques.
Don’t miss the John Brown House Museum, a stunning mansion that provides insight into Providence’s colonial past.
6. Providence Performing Arts Center
For a night of entertainment, head to the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC). This historic venue hosts Broadway shows, concerts, and other live performances.
Immerse yourself in the magic of the performing arts in an elegant setting that adds to the overall experience.
7. The Hot Club
Experience the laid-back charm of Providence’s waterfront at The Hot Club. This iconic spot offers outdoor seating along the river, making it the perfect place to enjoy a casual meal or refreshing drink while taking in scenic views.
The relaxed atmosphere and friendly locals make it a favourite hangout for both visitors and residents.
8. Providence Ghost Tour
Delve into the city’s darker side with a Providence Ghost Tour. Led by knowledgeable guides, this walking tour explores haunted sites and shares spine-chilling tales from the city’s past.
Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, the ghost tour offers a unique perspective on Providence’s history.
9. India Point Park
Discover tranquility at India Point Park, a waterfront oasis offering stunning views of the Providence skyline. Take a leisurely stroll along the riverwalk, rent a kayak, or simply relax on the grassy lawns.
It’s a peaceful retreat that provides a welcome escape from the urban bustle.
10. Brown University
Explore the vibrant energy of College Hill, home to the prestigious Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Wander through the historic campus of Brown University, founded in 1764, and appreciate the architectural beauty of its buildings.
Don’t miss the iconic Van Wickle Gates, a symbol of academic tradition and a perfect spot for a memorable photo.
11. Thayer Street
Adjacent to Brown University, Thayer Street is a lively thoroughfare buzzing with student life. The street is adorned with eclectic shops, cozy cafes, and bookstores that cater to the academic community.
Grab a cup of coffee at one of the local cafes, browse through the bookshops, and feel the pulse of a neighbourhood where education and creativity thrive side by side. It’s a unique atmosphere that adds a touch of academic charm to your Providence experience.
12. Providence Flea
For those with a love for all things vintage, the Providence Flea is a dream come true. Held seasonally, this outdoor market features a curated selection of antiques, handmade crafts, and eclectic finds.
It’s a treasure trove waiting to be explored, and you might just stumble upon a one-of-a-kind gem.
13. La Gondola Providence
Indulge in a romantic experience with a gondola ride along the Providence River. La Gondola Providence offers private cruises with a Venetian touch, complete with a gondolier who serenades you as you glide through the picturesque waterways.
It’s a perfect way to add a touch of romance to your Providence visit.
14. East Side Pockets
Satisfy your hunger with a visit to East Side Pockets, a local favourite for mouthwatering Middle Eastern cuisine. From falafel wraps to savoury shawarma, the menu is a delightful blend of flavours.
The casual atmosphere and friendly staff make it a go-to spot for a quick and delicious meal.
15. Providence Riverwalk
Cap off your visit with a leisurely stroll along the Providence Riverwalk. This scenic path winds through the heart of the city, offering views of historic landmarks, modern architecture, and the serene river.
It’s a peaceful way to reflect on your time in Providence and soak in the beauty of this captivating city.