Downtown Providence, AKA Downcity, is home to many of the Creative Capital’s most acclaimed restaurants, along with nightlife, theater, art galleries, and unique shopping. One of the most unique shopping destinations anywhere is The Arcade (65 Weybosset St.), America’s oldest indoor shopping mall, which is home to hip drinking and dining establishments, and a bookstore dedicated to the city’s own H.P. Lovecraft. On the street parallel, find stylish clothing for women at Queen of Hearts and
Modern Love (220-222 Westminster St.), artful home goods at Homestyle (229 Westminster St.), and more. On the East Side of the city, Hope Street brims with unique boutiques: Frog & Toad (795 Hope St.) sells quirky RI merch, Rhody Craft (769 Hope St.) offers local artisan gifts, and Stock Culinary Goods (756 Hope St.) has everything your kitchen could need. Find more fun on Thayer Street, the commercial strip near Brown U and RISD, and don’t miss Wayland Square for an assortment of unique cafes and upscale shops. An award-winning vintage and indie maker market, Providence Flea (275 S Water St.) takes place outdoors Sundays through September.
Federal Hill is Providence’s famed Little Italy, but over the past decade or so it has become a much more multicultural dining destination. The main drag of Atwells Avenue is still home to many classic red sauce joints like Constantino’s Venda Bar & Ristorante and Trattoria Zooma, but boasts Mexican (Don Jose Tequilas), Thai (Thailand), and Japanese food (NAMI), too.
For dining and nightlife that’s a bit off the beaten path, head over to the West Side, which is clustered around the two main thoroughfares of Broadway and Westminster Street. This area is home to the city’s vanguard of restaurants serving gourmet food in fun, casual settings, and hip cocktail bars, like eclectic brunch at Julian’s (318 Broadway) or clever desserts from Sin (1413 Westminster St.).
The East Side is full of both beautifully preserved history and vibrant young energy. For the former, check out the Benefit Street Mile of History, the most impressive concentration of colonial homes in the country. For the latter, visit Thayer Street, the epicenter of College Hill’s food and nightlife scenes. Home to Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the RISD Museum (20 North Main St.), this neighborhood attracts the bright and creative.
Colorful murals and structures can be spotted throughout the city’s center, most of them courtesy of The Avenue Concept. The cutting-edge public arts program has quite literally transformed the cityscape, including the larger-than-life Still Here (32 Custom St.) installation with acclaimed artist Gaia.
Of course, a trip to PVD wouldn’t be complete without a day at Roger Williams Park Zoo (1000 Elmwood Ave.), which hosts special programming like Breakfast with the Animals events, Sip & Stroll nights, and more.
Explore the city from a different vantage point by paddling with rentals from Providence Kayak (15 Bridge St.). Tour the Providence and Woonasquatucket Rivers, the Pedestrian Bridge, Waterplace Park, and more. Guided tours are also available. Ice skating may come to mind when you think of BankNewport City Center (2 Kennedy Plaza), but during the summer it’s transformed into a Roller Disco Rink every Thursday and Friday. For outdoor concerts, head to Thayer Street for their Summer Music Series most Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Labor Day.
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