Providence travel guide

Providence Tourism | Providence Guide

You're Going to Love Providence

Providence is the capital of Rhode Island and the third-biggest city in New England. This former industrial city has undergone a renaissance and reinvented itself as a historic place with great nightlife and excellent open spaces.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Providence

1. Culture

Providence has a host of museums and galleries, from the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University, celebrating the hospitality industry, to the Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History and Planetarium.

2. Architecture

Highlights such as the Rhode Island State House, Brown University, and the 18th- and 19th-century mansions of College Hill make the city a rewarding destination for lovers of architecture.

3. Parks

Roger Williams Park covers more than 400 acres and has seven lakes. It has lots of attractions and is a wonderful place to take a boat ride or a stroll.

4. Live Music

The area around Washington Street and Elbow Street is home to a number of good music venues offering rock, blues, and contemporary bands and DJs.

5. Nightlife

The presence of Brown University helps to create a lively nightlife scene on Washington Street, Richmond Street, and Pine Street.

What to do in Providence

1. RISD Museum: Hosting a Diverse Collection of Art & Design

Comprised of seven galleries, the RISD Museum hosts a plethora of art and design collections. Peruse through the Prints, Drawings & Photographs Exhibit and marvel at the largest collection of late 18th- and early 19th-century British watercolors in the United States. For a taste of Greek sculpture, stroll over to the Ancient Greek and Roman Galleries and be amazed by the B.C. Greek female marble head of an Etruscan bronze situla. Then, check out the majestic Hellenistic bronze statue of Aphrodite. Tune in from your smartphone to RISD's channel app and listen to the diverse perspectives given by various artists, scholars, and designers who have frequented the museum. If you love to draw, take a moment sketch copies of your favorite artworks.

2. Rhode Island Statehouse: The Capitol of Rhode Island

Located in downtown Providence, the Rhode Island State House is the central government landmark of this small state. The Statehouse houses the offices of the governor, secretary of state, general treasurer, and other heads of state. Designed by McKim, Mead, and White, the same architectural firm responsible for renovating the White House in 1902, the building features a magnificent white Georgia marble dome. At the top of the dome sits a statue of Rhode Island's Independent Man. Take a tour of the Capitol's museum and marvel at the original 1663 Colonial Charter for religious freedom granted by England's King Charles II. As you walk around the North Portico, examine the breathtaking cannon used by the First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Battery B, at the Battle of Gettysburg.

3. Benefit Street: The Heart of the 18th-Century Glitterati

Take a stroll down Providence's Benefit Street and revel in the beauty of its urban architecture. In the 18th century, Benefit Street housed Providence's most sophisticated. Take in the view of a gigantic bell created by Paul Revere's foundry and housed in the First Unitarian Church. Visit the Stephen Hopkins House and marvel at the oldest Colonial building, dating back to 1709, then walk over to the Providence Athenaeum. Afterwords, head over to the Philbrick Rare Book Room where you'll be enthralled by the archival photographs, manuscripts, and drawings on display.

4. Roger Williams Park: A Conservatory for Endangered Species

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Roger Willams Park helps to save animals from extinction. If you love animals, this amazing conservatory houses more than 100 species. Learn about the diverse animal habits at the Animal Keeper Talks and then stroll over to the World of Adaptations and meet the beautiful Tawny Frogmouth.

5. Providence Performing Arts Center: The "Jewel of Weybosset Street"

Located in the heart of Providence's arts and entertainment district, the Providence Performing Arts Center was built like a movie palace and boasts an extraordinary 3100 seats. It was host to Broadway classics and has also served as the venue for contemporary artists like Aerosmith and The Bee Gees.

1. RISD Museum: Hosting a Diverse Collection of Art & Design

Comprised of seven galleries, the RISD Museum hosts a plethora of art and design collections. Peruse through the Prints, Drawings & Photographs Exhibit and marvel at the largest collection of late 18th- and early 19th-century British watercolors in the United States. For a taste of Greek sculpture, stroll over to the Ancient Greek and Roman Galleries and be amazed by the B.C. Greek female marble head of an Etruscan bronze situla. Then, check out the majestic Hellenistic bronze statue of Aphrodite. Tune in from your smartphone to RISD's channel app and listen to the diverse perspectives given by various artists, scholars, and designers who have frequented the museum. If you love to draw, take a moment sketch copies of your favorite artworks.

2. Rhode Island Statehouse: The Capitol of Rhode Island

Located in downtown Providence, the Rhode Island State House is the central government landmark of this small state. The Statehouse houses the offices of the governor, secretary of state, general treasurer, and other heads of state. Designed by McKim, Mead, and White, the same architectural firm responsible for renovating the White House in 1902, the building features a magnificent white Georgia marble dome. At the top of the dome sits a statue of Rhode Island's Independent Man. Take a tour of the Capitol's museum and marvel at the original 1663 Colonial Charter for religious freedom granted by England's King Charles II. As you walk around the North Portico, examine the breathtaking cannon used by the First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Battery B, at the Battle of Gettysburg.

3. Benefit Street: The Heart of the 18th-Century Glitterati

Take a stroll down Providence's Benefit Street and revel in the beauty of its urban architecture. In the 18th century, Benefit Street housed Providence's most sophisticated. Take in the view of a gigantic bell created by Paul Revere's foundry and housed in the First Unitarian Church. Visit the Stephen Hopkins House and marvel at the oldest Colonial building, dating back to 1709, then walk over to the Providence Athenaeum. Afterwords, head over to the Philbrick Rare Book Room where you'll be enthralled by the archival photographs, manuscripts, and drawings on display.

4. Roger Williams Park: A Conservatory for Endangered Species

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Roger Willams Park helps to save animals from extinction. If you love animals, this amazing conservatory houses more than 100 species. Learn about the diverse animal habits at the Animal Keeper Talks and then stroll over to the World of Adaptations and meet the beautiful Tawny Frogmouth.

5. Providence Performing Arts Center: The "Jewel of Weybosset Street"

Located in the heart of Providence's arts and entertainment district, the Providence Performing Arts Center was built like a movie palace and boasts an extraordinary 3100 seats. It was host to Broadway classics and has also served as the venue for contemporary artists like Aerosmith and The Bee Gees.

Where to Eat in Providence

Rogue Island on Weybosset Street serves good local food and craft beers. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar on West Exchange Street, meanwhile, is an excellent steak restaurant. You will pay around $18 for a meal in a low-key restaurant and upwards of $30 in a more upscale place.

When to visit Providence

Providence in December
Estimated hotel price
$204
1 night at 3-star hotel
Providence in December
Estimated hotel price
$204
1 night at 3-star hotel

Providence has a humid subtropical/continental climate with warm summers and cool winters. It can be wet at any time of the year.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Providence

Plane

Providence is served by T.F. Green Airport (PVD) in the nearby town of Warwick. It has many domestic flights from cities across the US. The bus fare into Providence is $6. The taxi fare is around $27.

Train

There are regular train services operated by MBTA and Amtrak into Providence. The fare from Boston is $10.

Car

The I-95 is the main route from Boston and New York, while Route 146 connects from western Massachusetts. The I-195 comes in from Cape Cod.

Bus

Providence has a number of intercity bus services from operators like Greyhound and MegaBus. The fare from Boston is around $20.

Airlines serving Providence

Lufthansa
Good (1,363 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (2,456 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,902 reviews)
KLM
Good (290 reviews)
Air France
Good (291 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,072 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,653 reviews)
British Airways
Good (933 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (354 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (924 reviews)
Iberia
Good (653 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (625 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (658 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (195 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (365 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (74 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (301 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (201 reviews)
Finnair
Good (442 reviews)
Vueling
Good (260 reviews)
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Where to stay in Providence

Providence Marriott Downtown on Orms Street offers dependable quality in a central location, while Hotel Dolce Villa on DePasquale Square is a boutique hotel in the historic Federal Hill area.

Popular neighbourhoods in Providence

College Hill - this is a handsome neighborhood renowned for its antique stores, galleries, and trendy cafes. It's also home to the Brown campus.

Downcity - this is the downtown district of Providence and is home to many of the city's historic buildings, along with Kennedy Plaza and Capitol Hill.

Federal Hill - this neighborhood is located just to the west of Downcity and is sometimes known as "Little Italy". It has lots of good restaurants and shops, especially on Atwells Avenue.

Where to stay in popular areas of Providence

How to Get Around Providence

Public Transportation

The city bus network, run by RIPTA, is modern and efficient. Fares are from $2.

Taxi

Taxis are plentiful and reliable. Meter drop is $3.50 and then the fare is $2.50 per mile.

Car

The road network in Providence is well maintained and traffic generally flows well. Car rental is widely available from $40 per day.

The Cost of Living in Providence

Shopping Streets

Downcity is the place to go to for the major retail outlets. Thayer Street is good for crafts, arts, and books and has many independent local stores.

Groceries and Other

A quart of milk in Providence will cost $0.92, while a dozen eggs is $3.26.

Cheap meal
$23.23
A pair of jeans
$61.00
Single public transport ticket
$3.21
Cappuccino
$6.14