Providence is the capital of Rhode Island and one the oldest city in the United Stated, founded in 1636 by the famous Roger Williams. It is the third largest city in New England after Boston and Worcester. The city population is around 179 000. It is not a big city none a small one just a perfect mix for me who was living in Grenoble France.
As it is one of the oldest city in the country, Providence has lot of historical architecture and numerous 19th-century mercantile buildings in the Federal and Victorian architectural styles, as well as several post-modern and modernist buildings
The city is not built like New York as a grid pattern but looks more like an European city as well as Boston and for this reason it is really pleasant to live here
—————– East Side – College Hill ——————-
East Side is a district where we can find a lot of historical buildings and it is also the most trendy district of Providence to live, in particualr for the numerous private schools located right there.
But before walking in the East Side, we cannot not avoid the most impressive and the biggest building of Providence, the State House. The State House is one of the biggest State house of the United States, funny for the smallest state. Just to have an idea of how big it is, I put a picture of the Washington Capitol and the Rhode Island State House 🙂
When you walk on North Main Street from the State house you cross the Roger Williams Memorial ( don’t worry, the name of Roger Willians is everywhere !) We can learn about this religious man who was expelled from Massachusetts by the puritans afraid of his new and dangerous ideas. By founding Providence Roger Willians wanted to create a community where people could think and act freely without fearing the government prosecution. And that’s how you ends with a small state and a big personality !
If you follow Main Street you will cross the oldest Baptist Church of the United States founded by the one and only Roger Williams ! Brown University was a Baptist college at the beginning.
Do not miss in Main Street the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and the school of design . RISD is well known all over the world as a leader in art and design education.
The Museum has really nice exhibitions and also sutdent exhibitions which are sometimes really weird. The Museum is free on Sunday so let’s go !
When you walk up to Benefit Street ( yes there’s a hill called “College Hill”) you can enter into the Athenaeum of Providence, a really small and nice library.
Obviously you can not visit Providence and don’t go to the Brown University campus from Benevolent Street to Hope Street. Brown is one of the 8 Ivy League universities . The College philosophy states that students, who are free to design their own curriculum, are “the architects of their own course of study.” This is again an idea of Roger Williams ! The Campus is gorgeous like Yale or Harvard. Thayer Street is the most entertaining street of the campus , you can cross a lot of students , a old fashion movie theater The Avon with old seats really not cosy, lots of restaurants and trendy shops. Around Brown University there are a lot of private schools such as Moses Brown, Wheeler, The French American School, Lincoln etc.. This is one of the reason a lot of families lives in this area.
You can also visit in East Side:
——————— Downtown Providence ————————
Near the State House we have a big shopping center the Providence Place but also we can walk in the Financial District on Westminster Street or go to the cute Arcades. Downtown Providence has more restaurants than shops but it is starting to grow, still it is a very nice district to visit.
At the Providence Performing Art Center you can watch Broadway’s musicals, dance shows or music concert , the venue is splendid and classified at the National Registry of Historic Places.
At least in the West Side of Providence we have a lot of restaurants on Broadway Street and the Italian district known as Federal Hill on Atwells Avenue. You can find really good food and products.
Now we can choose among the numerous very good restaurants in Providence !
———————— The WaterFire ——————–
From May to end of October we can go watch the Providence Waterfires every 2 weeks on Saturday evenings . Hundreds of fires are lighted on the river at the sunset , you can take a ride on a gondolas ( yes gondolas!) and watch shows around the river.
The Waterfires have been created by Barnabe Evans in 1994 to celebrate New Year’s Eve and since it has became a cultural event in Providence . It is a free event so it is a good activity really unusual. We can eat in a restaurant with view to the Waterfires which is fun.