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Discover Providence, RI

by Our Editors
PVD Mural Summer 2019 (Photo by GoProvidence)

With a thriving arts district and a commitment to historical preservation, Providence offers a variety of entertainment options and unique venues.

PVD Mural Summer 2019 (Photo by GoProvidence)

Providence, Rhode Island, was founded in 1636 on the principles of freedom, independence and acceptance.

That spirit is still alive today in this bustling city, which is home to a thriving, diverse and dynamic LGBTQ+ community. Mixing the urban sophistication of a big city with the graceful charm of a small town, Providence is known for its easy accessibility, fabulous restaurants and sophisticated arts scene. Providence is easy to get to by car, train or plane, with its convenient location between New York City and Boston.

While the city has a rich history and scores of immaculately preserved houses, it is also modern and vibrant. Eight college campuses give Providence a youthful vibe and a myriad of public art installations around the city add color and creativity. The red-hot restaurant scene mixes fine dining with food trucks and everything in between.

WaterFire (Photo by GoProvidence)

WaterFire (Photo by GoProvidence)

From authentic Italian cuisine on Federal Hill to seafood fresh from Narragansett Bay, Providence offers a dazzling array of restaurants that will delight even the most discerning palate. The city’s chefs are known for employing innovative techniques, while at the same time embracing the culinary traditions of the varied cultures that immigrated to the area over the centuries. And as home to the world’s largest culinary educator, Johnson & Wales University, Providence reaps the rewards of having many of the school’s alumni and students demonstrate their culinary talents in local restaurants.

Each of Providence’s diverse and varied neighborhoods has its own distinct personality. The compact streets of downtown provide a busy hub of restaurants, shops and theaters, while the Fox Point neighborhood has a much more relaxed atmosphere, with a mix of cool vintage shopping and modern dining. Federal Hill, recently named “One of the Five Best Little Italy Neighborhoods in the U.S.” by Travel + Leisure, is known for its Italian influence, while the Broad Street area features a more varied flair with a concentration of international markets, bodegas and restaurants. Hang out with the students on College Hill, Benefit Street and Thayer Street or take a stroll along the RiverWalk and enjoy the scenery, parks and shops along the Providence River. For a unique experience, glide along the rivers of downtown in an authentic Venetian gondola.

Dusk Gondola (Photo by GoProvidence)

Dusk Gondola (Photo by GoProvidence)

Providence’s vibrant nightlife features a variety of bars and clubs, where you can hit the dance floor or relax and catch up with friends. Channel your inner rock star at karaoke or show off your smarts at a trivia night. Providence offers a diverse music scene, so there’s always a cool show lined up. For something fun(ny), head to the Comedy Connection of Rhode Island for a night of giggles.

With a thriving arts district and a commitment to historical preservation, Providence offers a variety of entertainment options and unique venues. Tony award-winning Trinity Rep draws throngs of theatergoers into the city, while the Providence Performing Arts Center hosts concerts, comedians and tours of Broadway’s hottest shows. For museum lovers, the RISD Museum at the Rhode Island School of Design houses more than 100,000 works of art, ranging from Greek sculpture and French Impressionist paintings to contemporary multimedia art. The Museum of Natural History and Planetarium serves as a unique educational and culture resource with exhibits and programming designed to inspire an enjoyment of the natural world.

Providence RISD Museum (Photo by Photo by GoProvidence)

Providence RISD Museum (Photo by Photo by GoProvidence)

One of Providence’s most popular cultural events is WaterFire, a multisensory art installation, highlighted by a series of bonfires installed on the three rivers of Downtown Providence. Illuminating nearly two-thirds of a mile of public spaces, the event features a flotilla of performers traveling the river in torch-lit vessels. Typically held from May to October, WaterFire has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city. The combination of aromatic wood smoke, flickering firelight and enchanting music creates a truly singular experience.

WaterFire Drone View (Photo by GoProvidence)

WaterFire Drone View (Photo by GoProvidence)

In addition to WaterFire, Providence is home to several annual festivals and events that mean there’s almost always something happening. During the summer, Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival brings together independent films of every format and genre to Providence for a week of screenings, industry meet-and-greets and filmmaking seminars. RI Comic Con in November features guests from all the hottest fandoms for a weekend of celebrity sightings, autographs and cosplay. PrideFest and PVDFest fill the streets each summer with celebrations of Providence’s unique personality. Seasonal events like the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo in October and Providence’s Three Nights of Lights in December provide the perfect way to experience the city during the holidays.

Roger Williams Park Zoo and Carousel Village is one of the oldest zoos in the country and home to more than 100 different species of animals. In addition to the live animals, this spring and summer will feature an exhibit of Dragons and Mythical Creatures, including unicorns and the mysterious Loch Ness monster. Other family-friendly activities include ice bumper cars at the BankNewport City Center, Providence Ghost Tour’s spooky walking tour of Providence’s not-so-departed residents.

With so many options in Providence, you can curate a getaway that is uniquely yours.

Plan now at GoProvidence.com.

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