Between the thriving arts community, incredible history, gorgeous parks and delicious eats, Providence, Rhode Island is the place to be. Home to the Ocean State capital, Providence combines the accessibility and charm of a small town with the diverse culture of a hip and vibrant city. The abundance of locally owned stores, low-stress lifestyle and beautiful architecture, easily puts Providence on the list of America’s top ten coziest cities. Keep reading to find out why you should move to Providence.
Art galleries, studios and performance venues galore
Known as “The Creative Capital,” Providence is every art enthusiast’s dream come true. Between the Tony award-winning theater group Trinity Repertory Company, the Festival Ballet Providence, and the Providence Improv Guild, you can catch a live performance every night of the week. And you won’t want to miss Big Nazo Lab, an international performance group where giant, wearable puppets come to life.
You can also get your fill of live music at great local venues like the Columbus Theatre, The Strand, and The Met. If you prefer listening to music under the sun then you can check out several local music festivals, including Foo Fest, PVD Fest, and Pronk (Providence Honk Fest).
If performance art is not your thing, you can view over 100,000 objects of art and design at RISD Art Museum—part of one of America’s top art colleges. Burgeoning artists can also find their place at AS220, an affordable artist-run organization, where artists of every level can take classes in everything from comic book illustration to ballet.
Charming, historic architecture everywhere you look
Get swept up in the historic architecture as you walk along Providence’s cobblestone streets. Start at the top of Federal Hill—known as Providence’s Little Italy—where you can enjoy all the Italian delis, bakeries, and free entertainment courtesy of the neighborhood’s street performers. Walk down Benefit Street and drop in to visit the Rhode Island State House for free. You can take a look at Rhode Island’s Royal Charter, handwritten in 1663, check out the original portrait of George Washington found on the one dollar bill, and see the fourth-largest self-supported marble dome in the world. Continue down the street to Providence Athenaeum, where you can get a free tour of the special collections housed in one of America’s most spectacular libraries.
If that’s not enough history for you, then head over to Slater Mill to learn about the industrial revolution, visit the complete collection of U.S. postage stamps at Brown University’s library, wander through a Victorian-era mansion at the Lippitt House Museum or check out the stunning Newport Mansions and Cliff Walk.
Explore the gorgeous New England scenery
Get outside to explore Providence by taking a walk through Swan Point garden cemetery or enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of the city at Prospect Terrace Park. Check out the massive 435-acre Roger Williams Park where you can feed a giraffe at the zoo, go boating on the lake, ride the carousel, visit the Museum of Natural History, and warm up by visiting the indoor botanical gardens.
You can also get outside the city and bicycle over miles of oceanfront views, down an old rail line or through the woods. And don’t miss taking a quick bus ride to the beach where you can enjoy the sandy ocean shores and hop on a ferry to check out Block Island.
Stunning Light Displays That Will Warm Your Heart
Experience the award-winning and enchanting WaterFire installation. Made up of over 80 bonfires that burn on vessels atop the three rivers that pass through the middle of downtown Providence, the fire sculpture attracts tens of thousands of people every year between October and May.
You can also help spread joy by participating in a magical spectacle known as Goodnight Lights. Every night at 8:30pm, restaurants, hotels, Brown University, Police Departments and an assisted-living community join together to flicker their lights across the city to say goodnight to the children at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
Unique Foods and Delicious Eats
Wander up to Federal Hill, one of the top culinary destinations in the country, to get your fill of Italian food. Eat your way through the Food Truck Market in Kennedy Plaza and stop for a drink at Arcade Providence, the nation’s oldest shopping mall. Plus, don’t miss out on trying the 6 foods found only in Rhode Island: Stuffies, New York Weiners, Clam Cakes, Johnnycakes, Coffee Milk, Cabinet and the Awful Awful.
To get your fill of nutritious food, check out Providence’s thriving farmers' market and local food scene that is working to increase the availability and affordability of sustainable, locally-sourced food.
And, if that’s not enough to satisfy your taste buds, Boston, Plymouth, Cape Cod, New Haven and New York City are just a short train ride away.
24,000 incredible students who need your support
The best part about Providence is not the food or the history, the parks or the art, it’s the 24,000 students who need your support to help them reach their full potential. By applying to serve with City Year Providence as part of a diverse AmeriCorps team, you can experience all the joys of living in Providence and make a powerful and lasting impact on the lives of the students you serve.