Providence Rhode Island

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Rhode Island Statehouse 

Image used under Creative Commons from Indirect Images

Providence, capital of America’s smallest state Rhode Island, can be reached in 9.5 hours from Shannon. A great little historic city in its own right but also ideally located just 90 minutes from Boston and other iconic New England locations such as Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, not forgetting Quahog - the fictional city in Newport County where the animated television comedy Family Guy is set.

The T.F. Green Memorial State Airport (PVD) is roughly 10 miles south of Providence with the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) Commuter Rail offering the fastest and most cost-effective direct service to downtown Providence, South Station in Boston and several other locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Alternative transport options include RIPTA buses to/from many locations and a wide variety of shuttles and taxi companies.

History

Founded in 1636, Providence is one of the oldest cities in the United States and now has a city population of 179,154. Rhode Island was the first of the original thirteen colonies of the United States to renounce its allegiance to the British Crown in 1776. By the early 1900s, Providence was one of the wealthiest cities in the United States and was a major manufacturer of industrial products from steam engines to precision tools to silverware, screws, and textiles. Providence today, with its rich cultural and architectural heritage, offers visitors the opportunity of seeing the highest concentrations of Colonial buildings in the country on Benefit Street, the mile-long cobblestone street on the East Side.

Rhode Island is known for its fresh seafood. For a true Rhode Island food experience, head to one of the state's many clam shacks and start with an order of clam cakes, which are small bits of chopped clams surrounded by fried dough - Iggy’s and Aunt Carrie’s in Narragansett serve up the best in town.

Fun for kids

There’s plenty to entertain the kids, including the city’s very own Providence Children's Museum - designed for children ages 1 to 11 that explores the arts, culture, history and science through hands-on exhibit areas and lively programs. Or perhaps the third oldest zoo in the country, the Roger Williams Park Zoo opened in 1872, which boasts a population of nearly 1,000 animals, will go down a treat. A day out at the Alex and Ani City Center - 14,000 square feet of ice in the heart of the city – along with skating lessons will be a day out few children will forget easily. If the ice really takes their imagination, round off the trip to the Dunkin' Donuts Center, home to the American Hockey League team Providence Bruins.

Shopping and Nightlife

Home to one of the best design schools in the country and an Ivy League university, Providence’s shopping scene is heavily influenced by its creative student population from high-end boutiques and vintage to antiques, design and funky book stores. Rhode Island offers a wide array of nightlife activities. Newport offers jazz, nightclubs and classical music while Providence is home to many nightspots, including cocktail bars, live music venues, and large-scale clubs.

Five for free

  • WaterFire

    Providence's signature event is WaterFire, an award-winning fire sculpture installation centred around a series of nearly 100 bonfires that blaze just above the surface of the three rivers that pass through the middle of downtown Providence. WaterFire is held from May to November, typically on Saturday evenings about twice a month. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. More information is available at www.waterfire.org.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Mark Goebel

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    Water Fire - Providence Rhode Island
  • Gallery Night

    Enjoy Gallery Night on the third Thursday of the month (March to November) as a free bus loops throughout the city and stops at participating galleries, art shops and museums, all offering free admission. Tours start from the Regency Plaza at One Regency Plaza and travel to over twenty galleries, museums and historic sites.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Angela N.

    Gallery Night Providence Rhode Island
  • Providence Athenaeum

    The Athenaeum is a unique, independent, member-supported library and cultural centre open to the public. Located off of historic Benefit Street, the library offers varied public programming for all ages, which enriches the educational and cultural pursuits of the community. The Athenaeum is free to visit and admission to its programs is free.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Angela N.

    Providence Athenaeum
  • Providence on Foot

    GPSmyCity offers 8 self-guided walking tours to explore the city at your own pace. Specific themes include Art Galleries, Museums, Religious Sites, Shopping, Architecture and Providence Landmarks. Available for iOS ("Travel Articles, City Maps and Walking Tours") and Android ("Providence Map and Walks").

    Image used under Creative Commons from Timothy Burling

    Providence on Foot
  • The Big Blue

    Rhode Island has numerous beaches with thundering surf and miles of stunning vistas. The more shielded beaches of Narragansett Bay feature “breakwater” barrier protection and may be more suitable for novice swimmers, as well as featuring a more varied, fluctuating surf. They don’t call Rhode Island the Ocean State for nothing so take some time out and visit the many active lighthouses dotted all along the coast.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Joe Bar

    Rhode Island beaches
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