Providence is the largest city in Rhode Island and it is also the state capital. Founded in 1636, Providence is an old city by any standards, and you'll have plenty of opportunities to take in a list of historical sites during your visit. The East Side is a joy to explore for those who are interested in the rich architectural heritage of the city, and walking tours of the College Hill district are certainly recommended. The College Hill district in Providence Rhode Island dominates the East Side, and it is home to three of the city's twelve schools of higher learning. Rhode Island College, which was founded in 1764, can be found here, as can the Rhode Island School of Design. Atop College Hill is also where you will find the main campus of Brown University, which is an Ivy League school and the seventh oldest institution of higher learning in the country.
The colleges and universities in Providence Rhode Island contribute significantly to the city's cultural scene, and they also influence the city's complete dining and nightlife scenes. When you're not taking in museum exhibits or cultural performances at one of the East Side schools in Providence, heading over to Benefit Street to study the immaculately-preserved buildings is worth considering. Benefit Street is one of the top attractions in Providence, as it boasts a number of historical homes that any architectural buff will relish in. Even if you don't consider yourself an architectural buff, strolling among these historic homes is always worth adding to your list of things to do in Providence. Benefit Street is also home to the Providence Athenaeum, which is one of the top cultural attractions in Providence. All kinds of special events take place at the Athenaeum, so you might consult its schedule while making your Providence travel plans.
Rhode Island boasts plenty of excellent museums, and the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design is one of the state's best. Greek statues and French Impressionist paintings are among the things on display at this renowned museum, and there is also an American wing that features works by artists like Gilbert Stuart and John Singer Sargent. Two other museums you might add to your Providence travel itinerary include the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum and the John Brown House Museum. The former is an immaculately grand Victorian era mansion that figures prominently among the College Hill attractions, while the latter is a Georgian-style gem of a home that is among the more notable structures on Benefit Street. You can arrange tours of both of these stunning homes by appointment, and they offer terrific insight into how the city's wealthy elite once lived. Other historic Providence Rhode Island buildings that are open to the public throughout the year include the Rhode Island State House (capitol), the Arcade, and the First Baptist Church in America, among others.
Because there is so much to see and do in Providence, you can easily spend at least a few days here during your Rhode Island vacation. A trip to the Roger Williams Park Zoo is something that families will especially want to consider adding to their Providence travel agendas, and the Providence Place Mall is a terrific place to shop until you drop. You can also catch an IMAX movie at the Providence Place Mall, or you can simply enjoy a little people watching, as it's usually a very lively place with a lot going on. For those who are interested in exploring the delicious dining scene in Providence Rhode Island, the Federal Hill district is a good place to start. You'll find more Italian restaurants along Federal Hill's mile-long stretch than you will in the Manhattan neighborhood of Little Italy! The Downtown Arts District, which like many things in Providence is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, boasts some great restaurants too, among other things.
When you're not enjoying the long list of attractions in Providence, you can always branch out and visit some of the other smaller cities that are found within the far reaching Providence Metropolitan Area. Heading to nearby Pawtucket to enjoy attractions like the Slater Mill is among the things that you can add to your Providence travel plans, and you might also consider visiting the upscale city of Barrington to see its famed lighthouse and take in its other historic sites. Warwick, which is home to the main airport in Rhode Island, is where you'll arrive when flying into the Providence area, and you can always take a look around there.
Rhode Island is small, so branching out to enjoy nearby destinations is always recommended no matter where you find yourself in the state. You'll certainly want to spend at least a little bit of time in Providence before heading on to other destinations in the state, especially if you enjoy cultural attractions and historic sites. There are Providence hotels to fit most budgets, which is just one more reason why the capital city deserves a look when visiting Rhode Island.