Two feet will always get you far, but in Providence a good walk is your key to the city. Grab a bite, window shop or explore the gems on the edge of town — it’s all doable on foot.
Yeah, you could catch a car or ride a bike, but there’s no better way to connect with a city than by taking it block by block. From West to East End, PVD is filled with things to do. Here are a few front-runners to start your journey.
Located in the heart of downtown, Graduate Providence is a quick step to fine food, culture and a rich and diverse nightlife. Canvas the local area to see its famed street art. Mandatory visits include:
Symposium Books: Two minutes from the hotel’s front door, this shop is packed with new and used reads and curates an amazing selection of art and photography books, vintage editions and local authors.
AS220: Equal parts art gallery, performance space, classroom and restaurant, AS220 is a little bit of everything. Check out their robust calendar to see what events are happening while you’re in town.
Providence Athenæum: A beautiful old-school membership library built in the 1830s. Lit heroes like Edgar Allen Poe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and H.P. Lovecraft walked the stacks of the Athenaeum in their time. Come and get lost in row after row of utterly packed floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. And bring Fido — like Graduate Providence, the library is pet friendly.
Head out the doors of Graduate Providence, cross the river and you land on RISD’s campus. Just up the hill is Brown University, and two other major colleges sit close by. With all those students and the world-class creative programs in the neighborhood, it’s a unique culture of college staples and original one-offs . Don’t miss these gems:
PVDonuts: Worth waking up early for. Arrive later than noon and the doughnuts may be sold-out. The menu rotates monthly, boasting everything from Chocolate Tahini Brownie Brioche to Cereal Milk Cruller. Vegan and flourless options, too.
RISD Nature Lab: PVD’s premier spot to get up close and personal with a taxidermied turkey. Home to nearly 80,000 individual specimens that you can poke and prod, the Nature Lab is a resource for design students that’s fortunately also open to the public.
Next door, the RISD Museum hosts a varied collection, taking you from Renaissance galleries through an 18th century home and into modern video installations. On your way out, grab goods from RISD alums and local artists at the museum gift shop.
FEDERAL HILL & THE WEST SIDE
Make time for a brisk walk to Federal Hill. Fanning out across the west side, the neighborhood is known for remarkable Italian food on Atwells Avenue, plus newer, hipper spots between Broadway and Westminster from Dean to Knight. Stop by Providence Oyster Bar for the classics or one of these fine establishments to begin your West End education:
Ogie’s Trailer Park: Tiki drinks and comfort food in a kitschy throwback package. In warmer months, a second patio tiki bar brings the party outside. If you’re eating (and you should), make sure to add a side of tots to your order.
The Avery: A neighborhood favorite, this dimly lit speakeasy is the perfect spot for a nightcap. The bar’s unassuming exterior is easy to walk by if don’t know what you’re looking for, guaranteeing a solid crowd of locals.
Craving caffeine? White Electric Coffee is your best bet for a latte on the west side of town. Get your coffee to go and continue your walk, or linger a while for breakfast or lunch.
Bucktown: Fried done right. From chicken and waffles to crispy oysters, their menu checks all the boxes. The straightforward setting — counter service and three long tables for dining in — adds to the experience. Grab a seat and focus on the food.