Providence is the capital of the North American State of Rhode Island, and is located in the County of Providence.
Providence, Rhode Island combines the accessibility and friendliness of a charming New England town with the culture and sophistication of a big city. Known as the Creative Capital, Providence was recently named the #1 City in the U.S. in Travel + Leisure’s “America’s Favorite Cities” poll. The city scored big in categories across the board — ranging from its culinary scene to its level of cool. Providence is filled with world-class restaurants, historic architecture, family-friendly attractions and eclectic shops, all within easy reach of hotels and the airport.
What to visit in Providence
Providence has one of the oldest zoos in the country. Roger Williams Park Zoo occupies more than 40 acres. And although Providence has always been famous for its abundant seafood, the gastronomic scene has become even more impressing in the last few years.
There is nothing quite like this mix of music and bonfires anywhere else in the world. You have to be there to feel the magic: 100 bonfires on the three rivers that curve through downtown Providence; the fragrant scent of wood smoke; the flickering firelight on arched bridges; and torch-lit vessels traveling down the waterways. Binding it all together is music from around the world. Both a powerful work of art and a moving symbol of the renaissance of this historic American city, WaterFire creates memorable evenings in Providence, from June through October. And, it’s free to all.
Roger Williams Park Zoo
The world’s tallest, heaviest and rarest land animals from all corners of the globe are represented in Roger Williams Park Zoo — well over 100 species in all. Go “on safari” and watch the African elephants and giraffes, zebras and wildebeests. In Tropical America, you can spy on free-roaming monkeys in Rhode Island’s only “rainforest” and see giant anteaters. Closer to home, the bald eagle and bison are part of American lore. An annual night time October attraction at the zoo is the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular where you can experience thousands of glowing pumpkins — many intricately carved to depict people, places and scenes from popular culture.
The RISD Museum of Art
When it comes to developing young talent in the arts, RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) is one of America’s leading institutions, and the college’s Museum of Art is the state’s leading museum of fine and decorative art. Right in the city of Providence, see thousands of paintings and sculptures by famous American, European and Asian artists. Renowned for its collection of American Impressionist paintings, RISD (pronounced Riz-dee) is southeastern New England’s only comprehensive art museum and also stages regular exhibitions. (Closed in August).
The gateway to Rhode Island is an unbeatable blend of rural serenity and cosmopolitan energy. Warwick is actually a series of historic villages, including Pawtuxet Village, one of New England’s oldest settlements, dating back to 1642. Located in the center of Rhode Island, home to TF Green Airport and with the addition of international flights, the Interlink and sixteen major hotels, Warwick is Rhode Island’s hub of transportation and offers visitors convenient, ease of travel.
Wrapped around the southernmost edge of Rhode Island, you will find one of New England’s most-loved vacation spots, South County. Blessed by nature, this scenic area is filled with wildlife preserves, protected parks, and lush forests that spill down to a hundred miles of sandy beaches. South County features 20 protected beaches, 17 emerald green golf courses, 18 historical museums and 5 legendary lighthouses. With so much beauty and splendor, South County is the ideal for a magical family vacation, or a romantic escape.
Twelve miles (20km) off the Rhode Island coast, Block Island is like going back in time. Think bicycles rather than cars, miles of free public beaches, sparkling clear waters, and dramatic bluffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The pace is slow, life seems less complicated — relaxation is guaranteed. The island is famous for its miles of beaches, a myriad of outdoor activities, dining opportunities, stores and specialty shops that will satisfy every taste. Reach the island by ferry from Point Judith, R.I., New London, Conn. or Montauk, N.Y. The Nature Conservancy has designated Block Island “one of the 12 last great places in the Western Hemisphere.”
Home to spectacular awe-inspiring architecture, a thriving downtown waterfront, miles of stunning beaches, celebrated restaurants and the legendary Newport mansions of the Gilded Age, Newport, Rhode Island is the quintessential coastal New England enclave. Just three hours north of New York City and 90 minutes south of Boston, Newport is easily accessible yet feels a world away. Considered America’s First Resort, come discover why travelers have been falling in love with Newport for more than 375 years.
One of New England’s great walks, Newport’s Cliff Walk was named one of “50 Places of a Lifetime” by National Geographic Travelermagazine. Following Newport’s spectacular Atlantic coastline, this 3.5-mile walk passes the grand Newport mansions, offering visitors unusual wildflowers, birds, and geology along the way. A National Recreation Trail in a National Historic District, the Cliff Walk is easy walking for most of its length, though the last third is a more challenging walk over the natural and rugged New England rocky shoreline. For a special lunch, stop at The Spiced Pear Restaurant at The Chanler at Cliff Walk, a beautiful hotel at the walk’s starting point.
Nowhere in the USA are mansions so grand, gardens so impressive and reminders of the Gilded Age so strong: think marble and chandeliers, vast ballrooms and magnificent art. Yet, in the late 19th-century, Newport’s oceanfront mansions were merely summer ‘cottages’ for America’s wealthiest socialite families, each trying to outdo the other for opulence in architecture and interior design. Now, anyone can enter 11 of these historic properties that stand on 80 acres (33ha) of gardens. The Breakers, the most imposing of them all, reflects the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial pre-eminence in turn-of-the-century America. Nearby, step into the life of modern-day heiress Doris Duke at her home, Rough Point.
International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum
The oldest grass tennis courts in the world: opened in 1881, Newport’s lawns have been in regular use even longer than Wimbledon’s! No wonder this is the home of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, the world’s largest tennis museum, with the world’s largest collection of tennis memorabilia. Set in the historic Newport Casino, the galleries chronicle the rich history of the sport through lively interactive exhibits, dynamic videos, and popular mementos from famous champions of the past and superstars of today. In Enshrinee Hall, plaques commemorate the great players, coaches, administrators and writers that are inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame each July.
History was made in Pawtucket back in 1793, when Samuel Slater built the first water-powered cotton textile mill in North America. With energy provided by the Blackstone River, Slater Mill was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. Today, costumed interpreters guide you through the mill’s vintage textile machinery that is bathed in light streaming in through large windows. You can imagine the grueling lives of the workers — many of them children — who toiled here. A visit here takes you back to the time when the America of small farmers and craftsmen was ending and a new era, which would see the USA become the industrial leader of the world, was beginning.