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Know All About Providence, Rhode Island

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Settled by the waters of Providence River and Connecticut River, Providence is a city full of exuberance and life. The eccentric culture, beautiful architecture in Greek Revival, Colonial and Victorian styles, lively atmosphere, great food, diverse attractions and fun loving people all make Providence a perfect travel destination.  It is the best of both worlds’ places that will quench your thirst of sitting alongside the water watching the city and a serene stroll around the historic districts. This place will awe you with its offerings, beauty and hospitality.

Important Locations in Providence
Image By Av9 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

History of Providence

In 1636, Roger Williams founded Providence. Roger Williams got the land from the Narragansett Indians and established a new settlement with a premise on political and religious freedom. It is one of the oldest cities in the US. The land was named as “Providence” to thank God for protecting him when he was banished from Massachusetts. 

Providence started to develop in 1680 with the establishment of a wharf to promote trade. In the 1700s, it was a major port city that made fortunes with whaling, shipbuilding and trade. With increase in trade, the city flourished and grew. The 1939 New England Hurricane destroyed the city with storm and gusts of wind of over 100 miles per hour.  In 1954, Providence again suffered damage due to Hurricane Carol in the Rhode Island. Providence began to grow in the late 1970s with the improvement in infrastructure.  Today, Providence is the largest city in the state. It boasts a thriving academic and cultural community.

Important Locations in Providence

Providence offers plenty of attractions for all ages and interests.  With beautiful parks, foodie culture, eclectic art and cultural scene, museums and historic structures, Providence is an irresistible travel place.

Culinary Arts Museum: Nestled in the Johnson & Wales University campus, the Culinary Arts Museum features an impressive collection of art that focuses on the food and restaurant industry. Highlights include ancient Chinese culinary vessel, vintage menus, 1920s diner, marshmallows beaters, mayonnaise makers and other kitchen appliances. 

Waterplace Park and RiverwalkWaterplace Park and Riverwalk features cobblestone walkways, an amphitheatre and Venice-style footbridges. It is a perfect spot to gather, meet the locals and catch a concert/ open-air ballroom dancing during summer season. This place hosts the popular event “WaterFire”. 

Rhode Island State House: Take a tour of the capitol of the Rhode Island- Rhode Island State House that has one of the largest self-supporting marble domes in the world. It houses George Washington portrait by Gilbert Stuart. The public hall features a Civil War cannon and Rhode Island military units battle flags. The highlight of the house is the original parchment charter of 1663 given by King Charles II to Rhode Island.  

Wickenden Street: Wickenden Street is a perfect place for the young crowd. It houses art galleries, chic cafes, antique stores, independent shops and restaurants. A stroll through the street will reveal a wide array of stores and restaurants worth checking out. People hit this spot as much to browse through the shops as to eat well.

Prospect Terrace Park: Enjoy the stunning views of Providence at the Prospect Terrace Park. It is a hilltop park well-known for its statue of the founder of Rhode Island- Roger Williams overlooking the city. 

Rhode Island School of Design Museum (RISD): RSID  features an amazing collection of fine art, from ancient to modern artifacts and numerous other holdings, including costume and textile.

Roger Williams National Memorial: Roger Williams National Memorial celebrates the life of the founder of Rhode Island- Roger Williams. It features a visitor center, Colonial Kitchen Garden, Native American Garden and several exhibits on the founding of Rhode Island and Roger Williams. Take a relaxing stroll through the parks’ gardens and explore the outdoors!

La Gondola: Cruise the waters at La Gondola. Gondola is a Venice-style boat with Gondoliers who row and sing to their on-board passengers. 

Providence Athenaeum: Housed in a Greek Revival building, Providence Athenaeum is the country’s fourth oldest library. Browse the extensive collection of rare books, current-day bestsellers and century-old manuscripts, and also peruse the local artwork at this library. 

John Brown House Museum: Learn about the cultural and social history of American and Providence in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries at the John Brown House Museum. This museum features how life and culture was in the18th century through beautiful artwork of that period and original furnishings from the Brown family.. It is a National Historic Landmark.

Providence Children's Museum: Explore history, art, science and culture through hands-on exhibits at the Providence Children’s Museum. It includes time-travel adventure, climbing trees, Water Ways where children can play with boats and fountains, children’s garden, Underland where kids can dig for fossils, and much more. 

Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History and Planetarium: The Museum of Natural History  features exhibits on culture, science and nature and shows how there are inter-connected. It features fossils, preserved animals, rocks, plants and ethnographic exhibits. Explore the galaxies at the planetarium, know about African ethnic groups, browse through the archaeological artifacts, and check out many other exhibits that tell the natural history of the state.

Roger Williams Park Zoo: Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoo in the country. It houses an array of animals and river otters in natural settings. Feed the ducks, and get up-close and personal with African elephants, zebras, giraffes and several other incredible animals.  

Roger Williams Botanical Garden: Roger Williams Botanical Garden  features more than 150 varieties of plants from aloe and cacti to several varieties of palm. It also has two greenhouses. 

Governor Henry Lippit House MuseumGovernor Henry Lippit House Museum is a perfect example of the nineteenth-century Victorian-style architecture in Providence. The museum highlights the history of Providence in an interesting way.  It tells about the Lippit family and the people who lived and worked here.

Annmary Brown Memorial: Annmary Brown Memorial  features an impressive collection of American and European art, Civil War memorabilia, collection of manuscripts and rare books and the Hawkins family momentos.

To know in detail about the important locations in Providence, click here.

People and Culture of Providence

Providence is full of culture, style, character and young vibe. With many universities in the city like Brown University, the University of Rhode Island, RISD and many more, the city is ripe with young vibe and spirit. The city’s friendly people and the diverse cultures give the city a character and an inviting feel. The people of Providence are known for their warm-heartedness and exuberance. This is depicted in their culture, their music and their food which is definitely worth experiencing. It has a very unpretentious, yet lively feel that attracts travelers from far and wide.

Time Zone and Phone Code of Providence

Time Zone

Providence follows the Eastern Time Zone

UTC-GMT Offset: Providence is GMT/UTC-5 hours during Standard Time and GMT/UTC- 4 hours during Daylight Saving Time
Daylight Saving Time Usage: Providence uses Daylight Saving Time
Time Zone Abbrev.: EST is abbreviated for Eastern Standard Time and EDT is abbreviated for Eastern Daylight Time 

Phone Code

Area code: 401

Best Time to Visit Providence

The best time to visit Providence is spring and fall season when the city comes to life. Summer is also a good time to visit Providence.  No matter when you plan your visit to Providence, there is always something fun and exciting to do. From world-famous WaterFire to historic tours to performing arts and music events to food and wine festivals, and everything in between, there are festivals and events for every season and every taste.  

Foo Fest  (August)

Important Locations in Providence Map Guide

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