Providence is the capital of Rhode Island, and since it’s also one of the oldest cities in the U.S. and the third most populated city in New England, it has a ton to offer its residents. It has seven colleges, eight hospitals, more coffee shops, doughnut places, and restaurants per capita than any other city in the country, and art festivals throughout the year. It also has college and professional sports teams, award-winning theaters, and a great collection of music opportunities, ranging from the orchestra to underground bands.
Below are some of the most common searches people run for Providence, but if you don't see what you're looking for or you want to narrow the results down even more, you can perform a custom search over here.
Providence has 25 neighborhoods, and they often get grouped together into clusters. There’s the East Side, the West Side, the South Side, the North End, the Jewelry District, and Downtown, and each one has its own personality.
The East Side is the oldest part of the city, and that’s obvious in the architecture scattered throughout the neighborhoods, which are Blackstone, College Hill, Fox Point, Hope, Mount Hope, and Wayland. It’s also home to Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and several private schools for K-12 (including the French-American School, Lincoln School, Moses Brown School, and Wheeler School), and when it comes to restaurants and entertainment, there’s the world-renown RISD Museum, two independent movie theaters (Avon Cinema on Thayer St. and Cable Car on South Main St.), and shopping hubs on Thayer St., Wickenden St., Hope Village, and Wayland Square. Plus, there are more than 15 parks, one dog park, two hospitals, and a seasonal farmer’s market.
Named after the Cranston Street Armory building, the Armory District is also known as the West End (which, just to make it a little more complicated, is really part of the South Side of Providence). Originally built as housing for Providence's Irish, Quebecois, and African American populations, The Armory District is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city, and that’s pretty evident in what the neighborhood has to offer. The Armory is probably the most recognizable part of the community, and it’s really the center for a lot of activity, including a seasonal farmer’s market, food trucks, a dog park, a playground, and sports fields. As for shopping and restaurants, the two big thoroughfares are Westminster St. and Cranston St., but there are places tucked into corners all over the neighborhood. You’ve got hipster-approved bars and restaurants like the Scurvy Dog and Hudson Street Deli, you’ve got Puerto Rican bakeries with donuts and churros, you’ve got a food truck selling authentic Hawaiian poké, and you have a peanut company that was voted the Best Nuts in Rhode Island!
Providence is a very compact city, which means that traveling between neighborhoods is quick and easy. The Jewelry District is just south of downtown, and it’s home to Olga’s Cup and Saucer, Davol Square, the hurricane wall, lots of jewelry designers, and, in the near future, several tech and bio-tech companies. The North End is made up of the Charles, Elmhurst, Mount Pleasant, Smith Hill, and Wanskuck neighborhoods, and it’s where you’ll find Providence College, Rhode Island College, the La Salle Academy, and LaSalle Bakery (one of the most popular Italian bakeries in the city). The South Side (which includes the Armory District above) includes Elmwood, Lower South Providence, and Upper South Providence, and it’s home to the sizable Elmwood Historic District, several small parks and community gardens, Rhode Island Hospital, and Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Next up is the West Side, which is made up of Federal Hill, Olneyville, Hartford, and Silver Lake, and it’s where you’ll find Atwell Ave.’s Little Italy, hipster-friendly Broadway and Westminster Streets, a mobile home-themed restaurant called Ogie’s Trailer Park, and the Neutaconkanut Hill Conservancy (an 88-acre park full of trails, wildlife, and views of downtown). Lastly, we have Downtown, which is home to skyscrapers, Providence Place Mall, the canal, Johnson & Wales University, the Providence Performing Arts Center (locally known as PPAC), and so many restaurants that it’s impossible to list them all.
Fun Stuff to Do
There’s always something happening in Providence, but a few of the annual highlights are WaterFire (a festival that includes bonfires on the canal, music, and gondolas), two Restaurant Weeks, the Eat Drink RI Festival, the Federal Hill Stroll, Rhode Island PrideFest and Parade, Foo Fest, the Rhode Island International Film Fest, Comic Con, and for all you Halloween fans out there, the Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo. And, it probably won’t come as a surprise, but there’s also a lot of history to explore, too, whether it’s the State House (which has the second largest marble dome in the world), the Arcade (which is the oldest indoor shopping mall in the country), the Providence Athenaeum (which is the fourth oldest library in the U.S. and was home to both Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft), and so much more. If history isn’t your cup of tea, though, there’s also lots of theater, music, and sporting events to check out.
Providence has an extensive bus system run by RIPTA, but because it’s so densely packed, a lot of its residents are able to simply walk to work. If you need to commute out of the city, though, I-95, I-195, and Routes 6, 44, and 146 offer direct paths out of Providence, so while you might run into some traffic during rush hours, you’ll have lots of options to choose from.