What are the five best things to see and do in Providence?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Melanie Nayer

Providence may be best enjoyed in the summer when all its outdoor attractions are open and you can take full advantage of its nearby beaches. With that in mind, check out Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the five best things to do in Providence:

1. Federal Hill. Stroll through Federal Hill, Providence’s Italian district. One of the most famous Italian neighborhoods in the Northeast, Federal Hill is ripe with restaurants, cafés, bakeries, Italian grocers and novelty stores.

2. WaterFire. On display from May to October (though the actual dates can fluctuate based on weather), WaterFire is an arts sculpture-meets-light show on three rivers in downtown Providence. Watch as floating bonfires light up the water and move along the river. The backdrop of the arched bridges and slowly passing flames makes for quite an enchanting scene.

3. Beaches. About an hour’s drive from Providence in nearby Newport, you’ll find some of the best beaches in New England. Take advantage of the soft sand and calm waves at Easton’s Beach, which has a seasonal carousel, skateboard park and free weekly summer concerts.  

4. Explore Narragansett Bay. Narragansett Bay has sailing, boating, fishing, kayaking, swimming and whale watching tours throughout the year. Around the bay are historic little villages where you can dine, shop and explore the history of Rhode Island. We suggest you book a ride on one of the historic schooners and sail into the sunset for a picture-perfect evening.

5. Providence Heritage Trail. This trail offers a look back at three centuries of homes and buildings that have played a key role in Rhode Island’s history. Along the trail you'll see an 18th-century mansion, the nation's oldest Baptist church, one of the nation’s most talked about culinary institutions (the Culinary Arts Museum), and the celebrated Roger Williams Park Zoo.

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