The 10 Best Things To Do In Providence

Ah, Providence! This charming New England city might not be the first place that pops into your mind when you think of a travel destination, but let me tell you, it’s a hidden gem that’s brimming with culture, history, and some of the most delightful activities you could imagine. Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, or just looking to soak up some local color, Providence has got you covered.

1. Wander Through the Rhode Island School of Design Museum

Let’s kick things off with a dose of culture. The RISD Museum is a treasure trove of art and design, showcasing works from ancient times to the modern era. You’ll find everything from French Impressionist paintings to contemporary multimedia installations. It’s a feast for the eyes and the soul, and you could easily spend hours here getting lost in the creativity.

2. Stroll Along the WaterFire Art Installation

WaterFire is an experience that’s hard to put into words. Imagine over eighty bonfires blazing above the surface of the Three Rivers that pass through downtown Providence. This award-winning sculpture by artist Barnaby Evans is best enjoyed on a cool evening, as you take in the flickering flames, enchanting music, and the aroma of wood smoke. It’s truly mesmerizing.

3. Savor the Flavors at Federal Hill

Foodies, rejoice! Federal Hill is Providence’s very own Little Italy and a culinary hotspot. You’ll find authentic Italian restaurants, bakeries, and markets that have been serving up mouthwatering dishes for generations. Don’t miss out on the chance to try some homemade pasta or a cannoli that’ll make your taste buds sing.

4. Explore the Providence Athenaeum

book lovers, this one’s for you. The Providence Athenaeum is an independent, member-supported library that’s been around since 1836. It’s a cozy spot to curl up with a good book among the stacks of this historic institution. With its Greek Revival architecture and a sense of tranquility, it’s a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle.

5. Take a Gondola Ride on the Providence River

For a touch of romance or just a unique way to see the city, hop on a gondola. Glide along the Providence River and under the city’s picturesque bridges. It’s a peaceful experience that offers a different perspective of the city’s architecture and skyline. Plus, the gondoliers might even serenade you if you’re lucky!

6. Visit the Roger Williams Park Zoo

Animal enthusiasts will love the Roger Williams Park Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the country. It’s home to creatures from all over the globe, including giraffes, snow leopards, and red pandas. The zoo focuses on conservation and education, so you’ll leave not only entertained but also informed.

7. Catch a Performance at the Providence Performing Arts Center

The Providence Performing Arts Center, or PPAC, is a stunning venue that hosts Broadway shows, concerts, and other performances. The opulent interior, complete with a grand chandelier and ornate details, makes any event here feel extra special. Check their schedule in advance; you might just catch a Tony-winning show!

8. Shop and Mingle at the Providence Flea

If you’re in town during the warmer months, the Providence Flea is a must-visit. This open-air market features a curated selection of vintage goods, artisans’ creations, and local food trucks. It’s a great place to find a unique souvenir and support local businesses while you’re at it.

9. Tour the Rhode Island State House

History buffs will appreciate a tour of the Rhode Island State House. This impressive building boasts one of the world’s largest self-supported marble domes. Inside, you’ll find beautifully restored chambers and an array of historical artifacts. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the state’s political past and present.

10. Relax in the Providence Parks

Last but not least, take some time to unwind in one of Providence’s many parks. Roger Williams Park, not to be confused with the zoo, offers a tranquil setting with its beautiful lakes, gardens, and walking paths. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon picnic or a serene boat ride.


  • When is the best time to visit Providence for WaterFire?

    WaterFire typically runs from May to November. For the best experience, aim for a night that’s not too chilly—you’ll want to stroll along the riverbanks comfortably.

  • Are there any free things to do in Providence?

    Absolutely! Many of Providence’s parks are free to explore, and the WaterFire installation can be enjoyed at no cost. The city also hosts several free festivals throughout the year.

  • Is Providence walkable?

    Yes, Providence is quite walkable, especially downtown and the areas around Brown University and RISD. It’s a great way to discover hidden gems and soak up the local atmosphere.


In conclusion, Providence may be small, but it’s packed with activities that cater to all interests. From the artistic allure of the RISD Museum to the culinary delights of Federal Hill, and the enchanting WaterFire installation, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re taking a leisurely gondola ride or exploring the historic Providence Athenaeum, you’re sure to fall in love with this city’s unique charm. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the 10 best things to do in Providence—you won’t be disappointed!

Remember, this list is just the tip of the iceberg. Providence is a city that loves to surprise, so don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and make your own discoveries. Who knows what hidden treasures you’ll find?

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.