Providence, Rhode Island, is a vibrant and historic city that offers a rich blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. Known as the “Creative Capital,” Providence is home to renowned universities, diverse neighborhoods, and a thriving arts scene. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie, or an outdoor adventurer, there are plenty of exciting places to explore and things to do in Providence.
1. WaterFire Providence
WaterFire is a mesmerizing art installation that takes place on the city’s three rivers during the summer and fall months. The event features a series of bonfires that are lit on the water, accompanied by enchanting music. It’s a truly magical experience that attracts both locals and visitors alike.
2. Roger Williams Park
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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and spend a day exploring Roger Williams Park. This expansive urban park offers something for everyone. From the scenic walking trails and the serene Japanese Garden to the charming Roger Williams Park Zoo, there are endless opportunities to relax, picnic, and appreciate nature.
3. Providence Performing Arts Center
Catch a show or a live performance at the Providence Performing Arts Center. This beautifully restored theater hosts a wide range of Broadway shows, concerts, and other cultural events throughout the year. It’s a must-visit for theater enthusiasts and a great way to enjoy an evening of entertainment.
4. RISD Museum
Visit the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, which houses an extensive collection of artworks from around the world. The museum showcases a diverse range of art forms, including paintings, sculptures, textiles, and decorative arts. It’s a true gem for art lovers and a testament to the city’s commitment to creativity.
5. Federal Hill
Indulge in Providence’s culinary scene by visiting Federal Hill, the city’s renowned Italian neighborhood. This vibrant district is filled with a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries serving delicious Italian cuisine. From classic pasta dishes to delectable pastries, you’ll find an array of culinary delights to satisfy your taste buds.
6. Providence Children’s Museum
If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to visit the Providence Children’s Museum. This interactive museum offers hands-on exhibits and activities that encourage children to explore, play, and learn. It’s a fantastic place for families to engage in educational fun and create lasting memories.
7. The Rhode Island State House
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Take a tour of the Rhode Island State House, a magnificent building that houses the state’s government. Admire the stunning architecture, including the grand marble dome, and learn about the state’s political history. The State House also offers panoramic views of the city from its observation deck.
8. India Point Park
Enjoy the picturesque views of the Providence River at India Point Park. This waterfront park offers walking trails, picnic areas, and a playground, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a family outing. You can also rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the river from a different perspective.
9. The Stephen Hopkins House
The Stephen Hopkins House is a historic landmark located on Benefit Street in Providence, Rhode Island. It is named after its most famous resident, Stephen Hopkins, who was a prominent figure in the American Revolutionary War era and a signatory of the Declaration of Independence.
10. Lippitt House Museum
The Lippitt House Museum, located on the East Side of Providence, Rhode Island, is a stunning Victorian mansion that offers a fascinating glimpse into the Gilded Age. Built in 1865, the Lippitt House is a prime example of High Victorian architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mansion was the residence of Henry Lippitt, a successful textile manufacturer and politician, and his family. It was designed by renowned architect Russell Warren, who incorporated elements of the Italianate and Second Empire styles into the building’s design. The result is a grand and opulent mansion that showcases the wealth and elegance of the era.
11. John Brown House Museum
The John Brown House Museum, located on Power Street in Providence, Rhode Island, is a historic landmark and museum that offers a glimpse into the life and times of one of Rhode Island’s most influential families. Built in 1788, the John Brown House is a fine example of Georgian architecture and is designated as a National Historic Landmark. The house was the residence of the prominent Brown family, who played a significant role in the economic, political, and social development of Rhode Island and the United States.
12. Roger Williams Park Carousel Village
The Roger Williams Park Carousel Village is a beloved attraction located within the expansive Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a charming and family-friendly destination that offers a delightful experience for visitors of all ages.
13. First Baptist Church in America
The First Baptist Church in America, located on North Main Street in Providence, Rhode Island, holds great historical and religious significance as the oldest Baptist church in the United States. Founded by Roger Williams in 1638, it remains an active congregation to this day and stands as a testament to the principles of religious freedom and liberty.
14. Roger Williams National Memorial
The Roger Williams National Memorial, located on North Main Street in Providence, Rhode Island, is a historical site and park dedicated to the memory of Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island and a champion of religious freedom in America. As the first National Memorial in the United States dedicated to an individual, it serves as a tribute to Williams’ enduring legacy and his contributions to the principles of liberty and religious tolerance.
15. Museum of Natural History and Planetarium
The Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, located within Roger Williams Park in Providence, Rhode Island, is a fascinating destination that combines natural history exhibits with an immersive planetarium experience. The museum offers visitors a chance to explore the wonders of the natural world, from ancient fossils and artifacts to the mysteries of the universe.
16. Temple Beth-El
Temple Beth-El, located on Orchard Avenue in Providence, Rhode Island, is a vibrant and inclusive Jewish congregation that serves as a spiritual, educational, and community center for its members and the broader community. Established in 1855, Temple Beth-El has a rich history and plays a significant role in the religious and cultural landscape of Providence.
17. WaterFire Arts Center
The WaterFire Arts Center, located in Providence, Rhode Island, is a vibrant cultural hub and a testament to the transformative power of art. It serves as the headquarters and creative space for WaterFire Providence, an internationally renowned arts organization known for its captivating fire sculpture installations along the city’s rivers.
18. Nightingale Brown House
The Nightingale-Brown House is an impressive example of Georgian architecture and has a significant historical background. The house was constructed in 1792 and served as the residence of several prominent individuals throughout its history. One notable resident was Nicholas Brown Jr., a wealthy merchant and philanthropist who played a significant role in the founding of Brown University.
19. Woods-Gerry Gallery
The Woods-Gerry Gallery is a renowned art gallery located in Providence, Rhode Island. It is housed within the historic Woods-Gerry House, a beautiful mansion on the grounds of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
20. Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul
The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, located in Providence, Rhode Island, is a magnificent Roman Catholic cathedral and an architectural gem of the city. It serves as the mother church of the Diocese of Providence and holds a prominent place in the religious and cultural landscape of the area. The Cathedral’s construction began in 1873 and was completed in 1886. Designed by the renowned architect Patrick Charles Keely, the cathedral showcases a blend of Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles.
21. First Unitarian Church of Providence
The First Unitarian Church of Providence is a historic and progressive religious institution located in Providence, Rhode Island. It is one of the oldest Unitarian churches in the United States and has a rich history that dates back to the late 18th century. The church’s physical location has changed over time, but its commitment to Unitarian Universalist principles and social justice has remained steadfast.
22. Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology is a notable museum located in Providence, Rhode Island. It is affiliated with Brown University and is dedicated to the preservation, research, and exhibition of cultural artifacts from around the world. The museum was established in 1955 and named after Rudolf F. Haffenreffer, a philanthropist and collector of Native American artifacts. The Haffenreffer Museum has since grown into a prominent institution, housing a diverse collection that spans continents and centuries.
23. Burnside Park
Burnside Park is a vibrant public park located in the heart of downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Situated adjacent to Kennedy Plaza, it serves as a central gathering place for locals and visitors alike. The park offers a variety of amenities and activities, making it a popular destination for relaxation, community events, and recreational opportunities.
24. Cathedral of St. John
The Cathedral of St. John, also known as St. John’s Cathedral, is a prominent religious landmark located in Providence, Rhode Island. It serves as the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island and holds a significant place in the city’s religious and architectural history. The construction of the Cathedral of St. John began in 1810 and was completed in 1811, making it one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States.
25. The Old State House
The Old State House is a historic building located in Providence, Rhode Island. It holds significant historical and architectural value and stands as a testament to the state’s rich history and democratic heritage. The architectural style of the Old State House reflects Georgian and Palladian influences, characterized by its symmetrical design, elegant proportions, and decorative detailing.
Whether you’re seeking history, culture, outdoor beauty, or gastronomic delights, Providence, Rhode Island, offers an enriching experience for every visitor. With its charming neighborhoods, vibrant arts scene, and welcoming atmosphere, the city is sure to capture your heart and leave you with lasting memories.
Places and Things To Do