Home to around 178,000 people, Providence is the most populous city in the State of Rhode Island. It is also the state's capital and one of the oldest cities in the country. It is among the biggest cities in New England, behind only Worcesters and Boston.
Providence has a long history of excellence and economic prosperity. It was one of the first cities to industrialize and then prided itself with excellence in making silverware and jewelry. But more than that, Providence is a great place to have a vacation. So be sure to check out the Creative Capital on a bus rental in Providence, Rhode Island.
Be sure to discover a whole new vacation experience when you get on a bus rental in Providence, Rhode Island to tour the city. There are just a lot of things to do, places to see and attractions that you should not miss. From exploring its rich history to getting to know more of the vibrant and young community, to enjoying all manner of arts and culture, to relaxing in its parks, Providence has a little something for everyone. Be sure to check out:
One of the things that make Providence the Creative Capital is the thriving arts scene here. Is it any wonder that the city has more than a handful of interesting arts and culture attractions?
The good news is that most of these are free to visit and see. Check out the interactive, educational and play friendly exhibits at the Providence Children's Museum. You can get in for free on Metlife Family Friday.
Then you can go to Rhode Island School of Design Museum, where you can see the artworks for the world's finest artists from the masters to contemporary artists. Members and children younger than five years old get in for free, but everybody else would have to wait for the third Thursday of every month in order to save on admission. But even when you have to pay, it is very worth it. The Rhode Island School of Design Museum is the 20th biggest art museum in the country. It has fine collections of ancient art, Asian art, modern art, textiles and costumes, decorative arts, paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and drawings. The museum also gives you the chance to see the works of Rembrandt, Francisco Goya, Mary Cassatt, Pablo Picasso, Julia Margaret Cameron, Aaron Siskind, Claude Monet, Wayne Thiebaud, Edgar Degas, Julia Margaret Cameron, Édouard Manet, Winslow Homer, Chanel, and Andy Warhol.
Further, you can go to the Museum of Natural History & Planetarium, the only one in the state. Here, you could see a wide array of exhibits and activities for both kids and parents to enjoy. Or you can watch the happenings at the Rhode Island State House. Aside from that, you can also admire the building's architecture and go on a self-guided tour.
Meanwhile, you can mix art and history on Benefit Street where you get to see colonial architecture.
Meanwhile, you can join Gallery Night, which happens every Thursday every month. You get on your bus rental in Providence, Rhode Island and make the stops at participating museums, art galleries and shops. Admission is free all throughout!
You could also visit the Annmary Brown Memorial, which is located inside Brown University. The art museum exhibits the independent collection of General Rush Hawkins and Annmary Brown, as well as a wide variety of art of all over the world. The spouses are buried inside a crypt that is also located on premises. Then you have the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, a teaching museum also located inside the campus. You could find the museum's holdings at Manning Hall. The collections here includes close to a million archeological artifacts from the Arctic and Alaska, more than 76,000 objects from all over North America, more than 5,000 objects from Central and South America, more than 3,000 items from Africa, close to 1,000 items from Europe and more than 2,500 items from Asia and the Oceania.
For something that is out of the ordinary, check out Big Blue Bug, the biggest artificial bug in the world at more than nine feet in height, 58 feet in length and 6 feet in diameter. The bug is so famous that it had a five-stop tour a little more than a decade ago. Its official name is Nibbles Woodaway. And there is the sculpture depicting St. Martin de Porres, which is located at Providence College. It is considered to be one of the most famous works of Thomas McGlynn, an artist and Catholic priest.
Apart from these attractions, check out the city's best art galleries, such as the Yellow Peril Gallery, Chazan Gallery, GRIN, Gelman Student Exhibitions Gallery, Bannister Gallery, AS220, Providence Art Club, Just Art Contemporary Art Gallery, and David Winton Bell Gallery.
Performance arts. All visitors should take time out from touring the city and listen to the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra perform at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, a performance venue that can accommodate close to 2,000 people. Other orchestras you should see here are Foundling Inc, Providence Civic Orchestra, and Providence Mandolin Orchestra.
You should also watch the Opera Providence perform at different venues in the city and the rest of the state. One of these is the Providence Performing Arts Center, a multi-purpose performance venue that accommodates at least 3,000 people who like to watch Broadway shows, plays, films, concerts and other performances.
Providence Festival Ballet is a professional ballet company that gives you a wide array of neo-classical, contemporary and classical dance performances. Meanwhile the Trinity Repertory Company, a League of Resident Theatres member, and is among the most respected regional theaters in the United States. The group performs modern and classic works and is very popular with their yearly production of A Christmas Carol. They attract around 120,000 people every year.
You also have the Providence Black Repertory Company, where you can choose from a variety of three main stage performances as well as productions involving new American plays.
Then listen to the Rhode Island Chamber Music Concerts, which gives you the best artists. Performing for more than 60 years are some of the best musicians from the state and all around the world. Meanwhile, the Providence Singers gives you top-notch choral and vocal performances at the Carter Center for Music Education and Performance in East Providence, St. Joseph's Church and Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence, and Immaculate Conception Church in Cranston, among other venues.
Festivals. Check out the Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival, a yearly film festival held in the city where you can watch a wide array of thriller, sci-fi and horror films. There are also some documentaries as well as a host of lost and restored films. Some films that have been shown here are Nosferatu, Tales of the Uncanny, Dark Remains, The Fall of the House of Usher, Sea of Dust, Day X and Sudden Death!, among others. The festival happens at the Columbus Theatre.
You can also attend the Rhode Island International Film Festival, which is held in August. The festival is one of the top film festivals in the world, attracting the best independent filmmakers.
Another must-see event is WaterFire, an art festival held in downtown Providence. Join the more than 40,000 people who participate in the activities every night.
Other festivals you should not miss are:
Providence is home to Providence Place, a shopping mall that is located in the heart of the city. The mall has fifteen levels of shopping and dining options. It covers 1.4 million square feet of space and is anchored by Macy's, JCPenney and Nordstrom, among others. You could also find the Winter Garden here that is noted for its architecture. All in all there are at least 160 stores and restaurants that you can visit here.
If you would like to get away from the mall crowds, you have an array of choices. There are the funky boutiques on Wickenden and Thayer, or how about the high-end Wayland Square or the hodgepodge of shops on Federal Hill? Check out the Providence Flea, where you can find great antiques and other second hand items. Another alternative is to go to the Leviathan Exchange.
Women would love the Shoppe Pioneer, Bananas, and Queen of Hearts. Meanwhile, the Rhode Runner is a great place for shoes and sportswear, and on the other hand, you could find the perfect gifts at Frog & Toad.
Further you have Arcade Providence, which is the oldest indoor shopping mall in the world having been opened in the late 1820s. It has more than a dozen stores and restaurants, including environs, Adirah Gallery, Jessica Ricci Jewelry and New Harvest Coffee and Spirits, among others.
Restaurants. Top-notch. World-class. Excellent. These are just some of the adjectives that describe the restaurants here in Providence. The food is delicious and the ingredients come from the land and seas nearby. It would be no exaggeration to say that the city is a dream destination even for the most discriminating foodies.
Two of the absolute best restaurants here are Bacaro and Nick's on Broadway. Bacaro is an Italian restaurant that Brian Kingsford and Jennifer Matta oversee. You can have an informal time on the first floor with cured salami, olives and Italian tapas, while you can have a great dining experience upstairs, complete with a lovely view of the Providence River. The servers can guide you if you get confused by the variety of delicious food here, but we recommend the pan-seared duck breast that is paired with risotto, as well as the pear and walnut crisp tart for dessert. Other Italian restaurants you could try are Al Forno, Angelo's Civita Farnese, Pane e Vino, and Siena.
Nick's on Broadway is yet another must-try if you want a hearty breakfast, a filling lunch and a satisfying dinner. Chef Derek Wagner serves you some of the most delicious food here without fail no matter what time it is. The restaurant has a strict farm to table policy, which means the ingredients are always fresh. What's more, you might want to get a look at what happens inside the kitchen, you can get it if you ask for a seat at the counter.
Other restaurants you should not miss:
There are two golf courses that you can go to when you are in Providence: Button Hole Short Course and Teaching Center and Triggs Memorial Golf Course.
However, if you want to witness some exciting spectator sports, then these are the places to go to:
Providence was a very wealthy city early on, having been a major seaport even before the Revolutionary War. The city is also a staunch believer of preservation. Both resulted in having a wide variety of landmarks and architectural gems that are all well-preserved up to this day.
See the Casino at Roger Williams Park, built in the 1890s. The building has a colonial revival architecture that features Ionic columns, railings and circular porticos. It is currently used for events. You could also visit the First Baptist Church, which is the oldest Baptist church in the entire country. The other historically significant churches here include:
Henry Lippitt was a textile businessman before he became governor. His house, where he lived with his family, is now a National Historic Landmark. Alexander Graham Bell was a prominent visitor, along with other personalities back then. The house is filled with Victorian decorations and woodwork that is considered as one of the finest you'd see in the city. Another house you should see is the Governor Stephen Hopkins House. Hopkins was a signed of the Declaration of Independence.
Other significant houses here include: Esek Hopkins House, Edward Dexter House, Dr. George W. Carr House, David Sprague House, Corliss-Carrington House, Charles Dowler House, Charles Brackett House, Candace Allen House, Arnold-Palmer House, Zachariah Allen House, Woods-Gerry House, William L. Bailey House, Thomas P. Ives House, Thomas F. Hoppin House, Richard Henry Deming House, Plain Farm House, Nightingale-Brown House, Nathaniel Pearce House, Morris Brown House, Matthew Lynch House, Market House, Joseph Haile House, Joseph and William Russell House, John Corliss House, John Brown House, Jeremiah Dexter House, Israel B. Mason House, and George M. Bradley House.
Also, you should go down Benefit Street's Mile of History, where you could find a large number of Colonial homes, churches, and museums.
Then you have the schools: Brick Schoolhouse, Covell Street School, Moses Brown School, and Smith Street Primary School. And the mills, too.
And other commercial buildings as well, such as: Brown and Sharpe Manufacturing Company Complex, Davol Rubber Company, Mechanical Fabric Company, New England Butt Company, Providence Dyeing, Bleaching, Calendaring Company, Providence Gas Company Purifier House, Hay and Owen Buildings, Fleur-de-Lys Studios, General Ice Cream Corporation Building, Jones Warehouses, Merchants Bank Building, Rhode Island Hospital Trust Building, Rhode Island Medical Society Building, Sludge Press House, Fields Point Sewage Treatment Plant, Providence Steel and Iron Company Complex, Providence Telephone Company, Rhode Island Tool Company, Shepard Company Building, and Union Trust Company Building.
History buffs would also love a visit to the John Hay Library, where you could find the rare books and manuscripts collection of Brown University, or the Providence Athenaeum, which has been open since the 1830s and has a lot of history inside its halls. Check out the library that was visited by noted personalities as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Sarah Helen Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, and HP Lovecraft. Then you could find out more about the historic buildings in the city at the Providence Preservation Society.
The Roger Williams National Memorial commemorates the life and work of Roger Williams who founded Providence in the 1630s. The memorial is located inside a 4.5 acre park that was opened in the 1980s. You could also find the Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History and Planetarium here, where you could catch regular showings at the planetarium or see the scientific specimens at the museum.
University Hall at Brown University is the oldest building in the campus having been built in the 1770s.
Meanwhile, the State Capitol has some of the state's treasures and battle flag.
If you want more history, then visit the Rhode Island Historical Society and join their walking tours that take you to the various historic sites in the city. The society is located inside the Nelson W. Aldrich House, another historic house and former home of Senator Nelson Aldrich. You can also find a great number of historic sites in a small area at these historic districts:
Apart from these, you can also check out close to three dozen other historic sites, including Chemical Building, Fields Point Sewage Treatment Plant, Ernest Street Sewage Pumping Station, Hope Block and Cheapside, Providence Lying-In Hospital, Reservoir Avenue Sewage Pumping Station, Return Sludge Pumping Station, Fields Point Sewage Treatment Plant, Statue of Christopher Columbus, Trinity Square Repertory Theatre, Veterans Memorial Auditorium-Masonic Temple, and Washington Park Sewage Pumping Station.
The city offers residents and visitors a wide array of recreational opportunities and green spaces that you could enjoy. Check out the Water Place Park, which is known nationally for its design. You get four acres of space that has a tidal basin at the center. You have amphitheater, boat landings and terraces here. There are also Venetian bridges here that connect the city's historic East Side neighborhood with downtown providence. You can go boating here or ride a gondola. You could also go to the Roger Williams Park and enjoy 430 acres of space. It features several waterways, walking paths, a planetarium, a museum, the Temple of Music and a zoo. It also features the Carousel Village, which has a vintage carousel, miniature golf course, pony rides and bumper boats for kids. You could also play tennis at the only clay courts here, while you can rent a paddleboat or mini-speed boat for a fun time floating on the water. Check out the Botanical Garden for an awesome afternoon surrounded by plants.
Spend time at Prospect Terrace and see the burial ground of Roger Williams, as well as take in breathtaking views of the city. While India Point Park overlooks Narragansett Bay. Go on the bike paths, play area or just enjoy the views of the water here. You can also get sailing lessons and go boating, as well.
Providence also has more than 100 parks in its neighborhood park system, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the quiet outdoors or to play your favorite sport. For example, you have the sailing facilities at India Point Park, and nature conservation areas at Neutaconkanut Park, Canada Pond, and Blackstone Park. Whereas there are canoe launches at the banks of Providence River and Woonasquatucket River. Overall, you get more than 30 ball fields, eight soccer fields, 30 basketball courts, 19 walking trails, handball and tennis courts, five dozen playgrounds, five community gardens, four farmer's markets, and two off-leash dog parks in the city's many parks.
Check out the Roger Williams Park Zoo, where you can find several animals such as crocodiles, frogs, newts, birds, bisons, bears, African Wild dogs, giraffe, otters, kangaroos, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, green anacondas, and others in different exhibit areas such as Alex and Ani Farmyard, Australasia, Fabric of Africa, Feinstein Junior Scholar, Wetlands Trail, Hasbro's Our Big Backyard, Marco Polo's Adventure Trek, North America, and Tropical America. There are also educational and conservation programs here, so you could learn about how to take care of the many animals here.
The Roger Williams Park Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The state of Rhode Island is one of the very few states that have legalized same-sex marriage. And Providence is at the forefront of tolerance, freedom and liberty. The city has no centralized gay area, but, instead, everybody is welcome everywhere. Travel + Leisure magazine has named the city one of the top cities for gay travel, while The Advocate also named Providence as one of the country's gayest cities.
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