Only an hour away from Boston on the Commuter Rail, Providence, Rhode Island is a great destination for a day trip. I got the chance to go with some friends this Columbus Day Weekend – here are my top recommendations for things to do, see and eat in Providence:
One of the biggest attractions in Providence is Brown University. In addition to just walking around the beautiful campus, you can always check out the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, which was hosting two exhibitions on drone protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline and Native American efforts to protect Bears Ears when we went. There is also a lot of interesting art work across campus including a gigantic blue teddy bear by Urs Fischer. Around campus is a lot of amazing food options at very affordable prices, including Heng Thai and Rotisserie, which specializes in chicken and Thai street food.
Yoleni’s – Providence’s “Greek Eataly”
Speaking of food, Providence is home to an amazing Greek restaurant, Yoleni’s, which the Boston Globe once called Providence’s “Greek Eataly.” Part grocery store and part restaurant, there are tons of great food options, from multiple flavors of Greek yogurt, with tons of toppings, to freshly baked, savory pitas to fresh salads. It is the perfect lunch-stop to try out some Greek fusion.
Providence is home to a large number of street murals, a few of which we stumbled across while walking around Downtown. They are all very creative and vibrant, lending some color to an otherwise quiet city. We could have spent hours wandering around trying to find all of the murals, but we had other things planned.
The Rhode Island State House
Surprisingly large for such a small state, the Rhode Island State House stands tall above much of the city. Tours are offered for those especially interested in the state’s history, but you can also just walk around the grounds for free, which is what we chose to do. It’s worth visiting just for the grandeur of the building.
From the end of May to mid-November, the city of Providence lights numerous braziers in the river every Saturday evening in an event called, creatively, WaterFire. Though we had low expectations, we followed everyone else to the river, and it turned out to be much better than we hoped. Fire dancers performed on boats sailing around the river basin, performing tricks that looked terrifying, such as hula hooping with a ring of fire. As they sailed around, the river was lit up, creating some very high bonfires.
Rhode Island may be a small state, and Providence an even smaller capital, it can still be a great place to visit for a relaxing day trip. Other sites to see include numerous vintage shops and plenty of artisan donut shops. No matter who you are or what you like in a city, Providence will have something for you that will let you forget the stress of classes or co-op.