However you define it, Providence is a special place we call home. Whether you’ve lived here long enough to remember when Wayland Square had a Newport Creamery or are just unpacking your boxes, our editors share top picks around the city, which at 20.6 square miles, nothing is too far away, making it easy to connect the dots and go from here to there and back again. Help add to our lists by emailing your faves to Marketing@ProvidenceOnline.com and tagging Instagram posts with #heyrhodyphotos
HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE
With so many options for each category, we’ve decided to limit each list but encourage readers to visit us online at ProvidenceOnline.com
to explore even more ways to eat, play, and shop.
One of the most efficient ways to get around is riding the RIPTA, formally known as the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. This system of buses and trolleys provides low-cost transport around the city and state with the hub located smack-dab at Kennedy Plaza. Buses are bike-friendly, and there are vanpool options, handy for commuters. Connecting carriers include departure points for Peter Pan and Greyhound bus lines. Visit RIPTA.com online to easily access maps, or download the WAVE app to buy bus fares with an Earn As You Go feature. For riding the rails, Providence Station (near the RI State House) is served by Amtrak and the MBTA.
Creativity extends to food and drink in the capital city with producers making everything from specialty spirits to craft brews and coffee, and that’s before we’ve even identified acclaimed chefs, nationally recognized eateries, and beloved holes in the walls. Here are some best bets for tasting your way through Providence.
Clementine Cocktail Bar
- Be amazed as the chill bartender at Clementine tops your Bitter-Tai Kiwi cocktail with a single swelling bubble on top, which softly bursts into a dreamy cloud. You may even catch former congressman and owner David Cicilline at the bar.
The Dean Bar
The Industrious Spirit Company Tasting Room
Needle & Thread
The Royal Bobcat
The Walnut Room
The Coffee Exchange
L’Artisan Cafe & Bakery
Little City Coffee & Kitchen
New Harvest Coffee & Spirits
The Nitro Bar
- Grab a cup at the cafe connected to a bike shop, where it all started for the beloved biz which now boasts four locations and merch including a coffee candle. TheNitroCart.com
Rise N’ Shine Coffee Bar
Small Point Cafe
Seven Stars Bakery
Bayberry Beer Hall
Long Live Beerworks
Providence Brewing Company
Revival Brewery & Lost Valley Pizza
Union Station Brewery
The Guild PVD Beer Garden (through October)
Trinity Beer Garden (through October)
Minerva Pizza House
- Pizza Marvin offers hot takes on classic pies with a James Beard Award-nominated chef at the helm of the creative joint. Try everything from pizzas topped with salad greens to Chowdah Pies, plus raw seafood apps and canned cocktails.
Providence Coal Fired Pizza
Feed the Cheeks
Madrid European Bakery and Patisserie
Pastiche Fine Desserts
Tricycle Ice Cream
The Wright Scoop
- Northern RI fave serving up cow-to-cone ice cream made from their own herd of Holstein cows, The Wright Scoop, can be found year-round at the Farm Fresh RI building on Sims Avenue. Ask about their 2024 Test Batch Club! TheWrightScoopRI.com
Casa Azul Taqueria
The Village PVD
Hometown Cafe & Poké Bar
- If you’re new to Indian cuisine, India on Hope Street is your perfect intro. Whether sampling dishes from their eat-in lunch Mini-Buffet or similar Weekend Brunch Thali, you’re sure to return to the elegant restaurant to try their extensive range of specialities, many of which are gluten free and vegan.
Kin Southern Table & Bar
The Capital Grille
Geoff’s Superlative Sandwiches (ask for The Providence Monthly)
Haven Brothers Mobile
Joe Marzilli’s Old Canteen Italian Restaurant
Olneyville New York System
Meeting Street Cafe
The Sandwich Hut
- Feeling hangry? For three generations and “who knows how many meatballs,” The Sandwich Hut has been making “sandwishes” come true since 1963. The vibe is fun and the food is delicious. Three words: oven toasted roll. Their newest spot recently opened on Carpenter Street.
Providence is truly a shopping destination. Providence Place Mall is a great place to shop for the known and national big brands, but may we suggest the unknown? Hundreds of small businesses have set up shops curated with care, and whether it’s something handmade, small batch, or unique, you’re sure to find what you didn’t know you were looking for. Here’s some destination points to get you started.
Berk’s Shoes & Clothing
Hungry Ghost Press
- For 50 years, Green Ink has been synonymous with comfy artisanal apparel, shoes, and accessories in RI. In 2018, the Wickford-based shop and former Rhody Gem opened an expansive location at Wayland Square – a can’t miss for any season.
Queen of Hearts
BOOKS & RECORDS
Books on the Square
Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council
Paper Nautilus Books
Stages of Freedom
Adler’s Design Center & Hardware
The Camera Werks
Frog & Toad
- Since 1930, Rustigian Rugs has been the source for internationally sourced handwoven rugs and luxury carpeting. Look for the red brick building where Governor Street meets Wickenden Street.
Green River Silver Co.
- There are so many reasons to love Green River Silver Co. and among them is their Rhode Island Jewelry line, where a portion of every sale is donated directly to Save The Bay, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and improving Narragansett Bay. GreenRiverSilver.com
Reliable Gold Ltd.
Dash Bicycle Shop
Old as Adam
Rocket to Mars
The Vault Collective
Long before a tourism campaign branded Providence The Creative Capital, this city has prided itself on an innovative art and culture scene. Fom Edward Bannister, a 19th century African American painter who helped found the Providence Art Club, to influential street artist Shepard Fairey whose “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” stickers can still be found around town, art abounds, so keep your eyes open for murals and sculptures; for traditional indoor spectating, provided is a list to get you started, plus other fun points of interest and attractions.
Bannister Gallery at Rhode Island College
Gallery Night Providence
- On third Thursdays through November, hop aboard for free guided trolley and walking tours of the coolest art spots around the city. Tours are approximately 90 minutes and feel like a fun field trip.
Public Shop & Gallery
AS220 Community Print Shop
East Side Art Center
- Past the restaurants and next door to Nolan’s Corner Pub is former Rhody Gem Gather Glass. Shop for unique items or learn how to make your own! Classes range from one-hour workshops to sessions where you can create a vase, glass pumpkin, pint glass, wavy bowl, and more. GatherGlass.com
The Steel Yard
Ballet Rhode Island
The Columbus Theatre
Providence Performing Arts Center
Trinity Repertory Company
- There’s nothing like seeing each year’s take on A Christmas Carol at Trinity, but powerful shows happen year-round at this nationally acclaimed theater, now in its 60th year. TrinityRep.com
WaterFire Arts Center
Wilbury Theatre Group
Veterans Memorial Auditorium
- Love to shake your groove thing? Don’t miss Soul Power nights with DJ Ty Jesso. Voracious music lover Jesso spins pulsating “old school sounds” ranging from soul to garage on second-Fridays each month. FeteMusic.com
Fete Music Hall
The Scurvy Dog
The Strand Ballroom
The Alley Cat / The Dark Lady
- The third oldest gay bar in the US, in addition to drinks and dancing, Mirabar hosts trivia nights, karaoke, drag shows, and more. Facebook: Mirabar
RELAX & REFRESH
Aruverde for Rosebud Salon
The Bodhi Spa
Claudia Curl Salon
Love Culture Salon
Mariam’s Hair Store & Braids
St. Germain Studio
- While the address is indeed Broadway, St. Germain Studio is set back from the street; just follow the brickway to the luminous salon with services ranging from cut and color to skin and beauty. StGermainStudio.com
The Avenue Concept Public Art Wayfinding Tour
Providence Children’s Museum
- If you’ve raised children in RI, chances are good you’ve spent hours at Providence Children’s Museum, watching kids splash at WaterWays, time traveling at the Coming to Rhode Island exhibit, and meeting new parent pals hanging out at Littlewoods. Check out cool merch featuring their new logo designed by downtown-based ad agency NAIL. ProvidenceChildrensMuseum.org
RI Latino Arts Barrio Tours
RISD Nature Lab
GoProvidence Walking Tours
Providence Ghost Tour
4 DAY TRIPS DEPARTING PVD
1. Bus to the Beach: Whether you want to head to Salty Brine, Lincoln Woods, Easton’s Beach, or others, chart your adventure and enjoy the ride. RIPTA.com/BeachService
2. Ferry to Newport: Skip the traffic hassles and take the ferry on your next jaunt to the City by the Sea. Parking at the terminal is free and right on site, plus there’s a complimentary shuttle bus service between the Providence train station, convention center, downtown, and the Providence to Newport ferry terminal. Seastreak.com
3. Rail to Boston: Headed to Beantown? Take the MBTA! From the station at 100 Gaspee Street, you’ll go from city to city in no time. During football season, the MBTA runs service from Providence to Gillette Stadium. How wicked awesome is that? MBTA.com
4. Train to NYC: A full day in New York City is very doable from our own Amtrak station by taking an early train there and a late train back; there’s also high-speed Acela service which clocks in at two hours and 30 minutes. Amtrak.com
SPECTATE SPORTS & MORE
Some still call it the Providence Civic Center, or “The Dunk” from when it was Dunkin’ Donuts Center, but the Amica Mutual Pavilion AKA “The Amp” is the place to experience large-scale events like Rhode Island Comic Con (November), Disney on Ice (December), Providence College Friars basketball, Providence Bruins ice hockey games, and more. AmicaMutualPavilion.com
PVDFest Moves to September, Extending Summer in the City
Free three-day fest celebrating arts, culture, and food takes over 195 District Park
By Rebekah Swenson
Mark your calendar for music, food, art, and spectacle! Since its debut in 2015, PVDFest has brought a sparkling cultural experience – and nearly 600,000 festival-goers – to the heart of Providence with tallies of 4,800 artists, vendors, and curators. The annual extravaganza takes place once again this year – but with a few twists.
Traditionally in June, PVDFest has moved to the second weekend of September. The change was made to eliminate any competition between other important June celebrations such as Pride and Juneteenth. Says Mayor Brett Smiley, “This year we are bringing together neighborhoods, focusing in on the talented artists that are the core of our culture as a city, and using the Providence River to create a unique waterside festival that highlights everything that makes Providence special. We are excited to work with FirstWorks again to produce an unforgettable festival experience.”
The weekend kicks off on Friday with three hours of sets from DJ stay silent PVD. Saturday’s lineup includes rhythm and rap from Rhody’s own Flawless Real Talk, the musical stylings of Grammy Lifetime Achievement award winner and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, and a full WaterFire lighting. On Sunday, enjoy the 11th annual Afrika Nyaga Drum & Dance Festival. All weekend long, explore funky inflatable immersive sculptures from Rumford-based art and design studio Pneuhaus, and peruse the work of 150 artist vendors while sampling morsels from over 30 food trucks.
Director of the Department of Art, Culture & Tourism Joe Wilson, Jr., promises, “This year’s festival will be one for the books!” September 8-10, PVDFest.com