Providence: 10 Things to Do & 5 to Avoid
Providence, Rhode Island, is the capital city of the state and the third largest city in New England. It is home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, numerous restaurants, great shopping, and plenty of outdoor activities. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an adventure with the family, Providence has something for everyone. Here are 10 of the best things to do in Providence and 5 to avoid.
1. Visit the Roger Williams Park Zoo
The Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the country, and it remains a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike. The zoo features animals from around the world, including elephants, giraffes, and many other species. You can also explore the historic carousel, the botanical gardens, and the interactive exhibits.
2. Explore Waterplace Park
Waterplace Park is a four-acre urban park located in downtown Providence. It features a series of canals, walkways, and bridges that connect the park to the Woonasquatucket River. The park is a great spot for a leisurely stroll, and it’s also home to many festivals and events throughout the year.
3. Take a Tour of the State House
The Rhode Island State House is the seat of the state government and one of the most iconic buildings in Providence. Guided tours of the building are available, and visitors can learn about the history of the building, its architecture, and the many artifacts inside. The building is also home to the Rhode Island Historical Society.
4. Shop at the Providence Place Mall
The Providence Place Mall is the largest shopping mall in Rhode Island, and it features more than 200 stores and restaurants. You can find everything from high-end fashion to popular electronics, and there’s also a movie theater on-site. Whether you’re looking for a bargain or a luxury item, you’re sure to find something at the Providence Place Mall.
5. Enjoy the Nightlife in Federal Hill
Federal Hill is a historic neighborhood in Providence that’s home to some of the best nightlife in the city. There are dozens of bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from, and the area is known for its lively atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening out or a wild night on the town, Federal Hill is the place to be.
6. Visit the RISD Museum
The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum is one of the leading art museums in the country. The museum features a wide range of artwork and artifacts, from ancient Egyptian sculptures to modern paintings. The museum also hosts special events and exhibitions throughout the year.
7. Explore the East Side of Providence
The East Side of Providence is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood that’s home to some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and shops. You can explore the historic streets and buildings, visit the local boutiques, and enjoy the eclectic mix of cultures. The East Side is also home to Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design.
8. Visit the John Brown House Museum
The John Brown House Museum is a historic house museum that showcases the life and times of John Brown, an influential figure in American history. The museum features period furniture, artwork, and other artifacts, as well as guided tours and educational programs. It’s a great way to learn about the history of Providence and the United States.
9. Spend a Day at Narragansett Beach
Narragansett Beach is a popular beach located just outside of Providence. It offers plenty of activities, including swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. There are also several restaurants and bars nearby, making it a great spot to spend a day or an evening.
10. Go Hiking at Lincoln Woods State Park
Lincoln Woods State Park is a 2,700-acre park located just north of Providence. The park offers miles of trails perfect for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. It’s also home to a beautiful lake and several picnic areas, making it a great spot for a family outing.
Things to Avoid
1. Avoid Going Out Alone at Night
Although Providence is generally a safe city, it’s best to avoid going out alone at night. Stick to well-lit areas, and make sure to stay in groups when possible. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts if something doesn’t seem right.
2. Avoid the South Side After Dark
The South Side of Providence is a mostly residential area, but it can become dangerous after dark. Stick to the main streets and avoid any dark alleys or side streets. It’s also best to avoid walking alone at night in this area.
3. Avoid Unlicensed Taxis
There are plenty of licensed taxis in Providence, but it’s best to avoid unlicensed ones. These taxis may not be insured, and they can often charge more than the legal rate. Make sure to take a licensed taxi to ensure your safety and avoid being overcharged.
4. Avoid the West End at Night
The West End of Providence is a mostly industrial area, and it can be dangerous after dark. Avoid walking alone in this area, and stick to the main streets. If you must go out at night, make sure to stay in groups and be aware of your surroundings.
5. Avoid Unregulated Food Trucks
There are plenty of food trucks in Providence, but it’s best to avoid the unregulated ones. These trucks may not meet health and safety standards, and their food may not be up to par. Stick to the regulated food trucks for the best experience.