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8 Things to Do in Providence, RI

Whether you call it Providence or PVD, there’s no denying that this city is unlike any other. Campus spirit and history collide to create a melting pot of one-of-a-kind experiences, many of which are just steps from Graduate Providence. 

Step back in time at the shopping arcade or on a ghost tour, or look to the future at one of Providence’s five universities or the countless bars and restaurants. Take on the town with these eight fun things to do, see, and eat all around downtown Providence.


Symposium Books

Enter Symposium Books and you’ll see shelves packed with books new and old. Though you’ll find everything from bestsellers to classics to local favorites, there’s actually more for sale than their name suggests. 

Pick up a tote to carry around all your new books or select a greeting card to send well wishes back home. This indie bookstore sells both new, used, and bargain books, so you’re sure to find a story that piques your interest without putting a dent in your wallet.

Insider Tip

Symposium Books offers free book delivery for guests of Graduate Providence.

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The Arcade Providence

You won’t find pinball machines or skeeball at the Arcade Providence, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t endless fun to be had. An arcade is actually an indoor shopping mall, popular in the 18th and 19th century as places to spend time on the town. The Arcade Providence fancies itself a neighborhood within a neighborhood, offering shops, restaurants, whisky bars, and more, all housed within an arcade built in 1928. 

Though the arcade is the oldest indoor shopping mall in the U.S., what’s within is as modern as it comes. Peruse goods made in Providence, enjoy a meal, or simply stroll through the mall the way shoppers would have several centuries ago.  

Insider Tip

Rouge Island, located inside the Arcade, serves up brunch every weekend! The breakfast flatbread is a must-try when in Providence

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Sink your teeth into something sweet at PVDonuts, Rhode Island’s first specialty donut shop. No topping is too sweet for PVDonuts, whether that’s a chocolate drizzle, a scoop of cookie dough, or a sugary old-fashioned glaze. They opened in 2016 with their take on New England brioche-style donuts, but you’ll see countless varieties behind the counter. 

Choose from old-fashioned, crullers, fritters, and more, all of which are hand-made each day. They also have rotating seasonal flavors so you can truly taste the changing of the seasons.

Insider Tip

Get there early! PVDonuts closes once they sell out—and they always do. Follow them on Instagram for a live countdown of donuts left each day!

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The Rosendale

Comfort food gets a facelift at The Rosendale. Located directly behind Graduate Providence, The Rosendale serves up mouthwatering meals in a laid-back atmosphere. Dig into loaded nachos, jalapeno poppers, burgers, and even patty melts, paired with signature craft cocktails. 

If you’re craving The Rosendale come morning, head over for their Saturday brunch menu. Breakfast burritos, chicken and waffles, and more are on the menu, ready to kickstart your day on the town.

Insider Tip

The Rosendale has regularly scheduled programming with live music, comedy nights and block parties.

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Providence Ghost Tour

Discover Providence’s East Side by lantern light. The Provide Ghost Tour will take you through the city’s unique stories on a 90-minute tour. Learn about significant moments and enduring residents in Providence’s history. 

Meander through parts of the Brown University and RISD campuses as you listen to creepy tales from the ghost tour guides. Don’t be surprised if you feel your spine tingling—it’s probably just the ghosts.

Insider Tip

Walking shoes are highly recommended for this tour, but it’s well worth it!

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Trinity Brew House

Sip a cold beer or two at one of New England’s oldest brewpubs. Since it opened in 1994, Trinity Brew House has welcomed Providence to relax over cold craft beer and pub food favorites. 

There’s always something refreshing on tap, ranging from classics like red ales and IPAs to the more exotic like the Jamaican Me Crazy tropical stout. Swing by the beer garden for a beer or stay for an entire meal. Savor pub grub like cottage pie, jumbo pretzels, and fresh seafood cakes.

Insider Tip

For a truly local flare, the New England IPA has citrus calming nods + effects to help you relax! Plus, they installed a beer garden directly across the street from Graduate Providence!

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Harry’s on the Hill

High-quality ingredients are non-negotiable at Harry’s on the Hill. CNN recently named Harry’s Bar & Burger the #1 burger in America for their sliders, extensive tap list, and alcoholic shakes. All burgers start with the perfect patty of juicy Hereford beef piled high with toppings like hickory-smoked bacon, fried onion strings, and several kinds of cheese. 

Harry’s on the Hill can also feed the vegetarian in your life with their tongue-and-cheek Fungus Among Us, featuring a portobello mushroom “patty” and truffle aioli.

Insider Tip

Harry’s Burger Bar is known for its sliders, extensive craft beer list and alcoholic shakes!

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Ogie’s Trailer Park

Every meal is served with a side of humor at Ogie’s Trailer Park. Their extensive menu serves lunch and brunch favorites with out-of-the-box names like Granny’s Badass Bacon Burger. Order for the mouthwatering meal or simply to get a kick out of saying your dish’s name out loud. 

Vegans and vegetarians can also enjoy a meal at Ogie’s Trailer Park thanks to their house-made veggie burger, grilled PB&J, and a loaded veggie chili. Don’t miss Granny’s Tots piled high with flavorful toppings.

Insider Tip

Granny Boo’s Mac and Cheese Croquettes with Bloody Mary-Nara are a must try!

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