Guide to Providence R.I.

When I met my boyfriend 3 years ago at a bar in Chicago, he told me he was going to law school either in NYC or Providence RI.  I could tell that I liked him immediately and tried to sway him to choose New York, knowing I would be moving back there soon.  However, he didn’t listen to me and chose Providence.  

At first I was bummed and didn’t really want to get involved with someone new who would be living so far away but I decided to take a risk and see if it was worth pursuing.  Now it has been 3 years and Will is officially done with school next month. Doing long distance has definitely come with it’s fair share of ups and downs but I couldn’t be happier that he introduced me to the little city called Providence Rhode Island.  

Providence is like all the charming parts of Boston, New York and Chicago combined into one quaint city.  There is beautiful architecture, incredible restaurants and interesting things always going on without the “scene” of a big city, making it the perfect place to escape to on a weekend vacation.  

There is so much that I love about Providence but to start, I love the architecture and history of the city.  The houses and buildings are so old and beautiful and make even going for walks around the neighborhood a fun activity. Especially in the fall with the leaves changing and the crisp New England air, it’s like stepping right into a movie.

Where to Stay:

I always stay at my boyfriends but I’m sure there are amazing Airbnb’s at a low price.  Also we’ve been to The Dean Hotel and it’s sooo cute (not just because of it’s name. 😉

How to Get There:

If you’re coming from NYC, I suggest using a car if you can.  It’s only a 3.5 hour drive from the city!  If you can’t get a car, I recommend using GO BUS.  It’s super clean, usually pretty empty and you don’t have to deal with Port Authority.  Once you’re there, you can pretty much Uber everywhere since the city is so small. 

What to Eat:

1- Loie Fullers.  This is the first restaurant that my boyfriend and I ever went on a date at and it will always hold a special place in my heart.  The food is so so good and the interiors of the place are out of a movie.  Think Harry Potter meets Parisian club from the 20’s.

2- Plant City.  This is the USA’s first plant based food hall that opened this summer and we have been obsessed with it ever since the first time we had it.  It’s all vegan and divided into a Mexican restaurant and Italian restaurant on the top floor and then a market, coffee shop and burger bar on the bottom.  Everything is so delicious and healthy that you don’t even remember that it’s vegan.  We love the enchiladas and plantain chips from the Mexican restaurant Bar Verde. 🙂

3- Malachi’s.  This is probably my favorite breakfast sandwich place ever.  Like, even better than anything I’ve had in NYC… This place is the epitome of everything I love about Providence.  It’s not trendy or try hard like so many new restaurants catered to millennials but it is still always packed with people eating great food.  I recommend the spinach bagel with bacon egg and Swiss cheese. 🙂

4- Il Massimo.  This place is so good and perfect for brunch.  For some reason, anytime I’m at brunch at an Italian restaurant, I always order pasta. I mean why would you order eggs when you know the pasta is going to be SO much better?!  The Short rib gnocchi and Carbonara pasta are the way to go. 

5- The Grange.  I love this place for brunch AND for dinner.  The inside is decorated so well and the food is even better.  It’s a vegetarian restaurant that is inspired by cuisine from all over.  Also the cocktails are delicious!

Where to Drink:

1- Justine’s.  God I love this place.  It’s a speakeasy and disguised as a lingerie shop but leads into a cute Victorian Era inspired cocktail bar.  The lights are low, the drinks are yummy and the vibes are excellent. Definitely recommend for a cute date!

2- The Dean Bar. As I’ve mentioned, I love the Dean Hotel.  Inside, there are 2 bars with 2 completely different vibes.  The Dean bar is super chic and European and great for an intimate night while the other is….not. Which leads me to-

3- The Boombox. This is the other bar in the Dean Hotel and it is SUCH a good time.  It’s a karaoke bar so I suggest making this the last stop of the night that way you have a few cocktails and some liquid courage to do your thing up at the mic. Great place for sake and a group of friends. 🙂

4- Ogies Trailer Park. This is another great bar for a group of people or on a date!  It’s a kitschy 70’s trailer park themed bar serving great tiki cocktails and draft beer. 

5- Diamond Hill Vineyard. One thing that Will and I have grown to love doing in Rhode Island is checking out local vineyards.  Is the wine as amazing as the wine from California or France? I’ll let you be the judge of that.  One that we love is Diamond Hill Vineyard.  It’s owned by the sweetest family and the house is taken right out of the movie Steel Magnolias.  We especially love the cranberry wine and blackberry! Definitely recommend checking it out. 🙂

Where to Shop:

1- Rhode Island Antique Mall. Every time I am in Rhode Island, I make a point of stopping here. It is packed with different vendors all selling wonderful things from the past.  

2- Lore. This is SUCH a cute store!  It is full of artisan candles, decor and clothing.  This is a great place to find someone a perfect gift.  Last time I was in Providence, I found the cutest Christmas decorations. 🙂

3- Nostalgia Antiques. This is another favorite stop of mine in Providence.  It is 3 floors of awesome antiques and treasures.  It is conveniently located on Wickenden which has great restaurants, coffee shops and bars!

4- Rocket to Mars. This is such a fun retro vintage store.  It specializes in toys and clothing from the 60s and 70s!  It’s also located a few blocks from The Grange making it the perfect stop after a great meal.

5- RISD Gift Shop.  After checking out the RISD Museum, the gift shop is just as fun.  It’s full of unique, modern pieces that you can’t find anywhere else.  

What to Do: 

1- Stroll around Brown University.  Providence is absolutely stunning and Brown University embodies it completely.  The buildings are so historic and beautiful and covered in ivy.  There’s a nostalgic vibe walking around that makes my heart very happy. 

2- The Avon Movie Theater.  This a local arts theater located on Thayer st that plays one movie for about a week at a time. The velvet seats and throwback intro at the beginning of every movie make you feel like you time travelled back to the 1930’s.

3- Providence Ghost Tour.  This was something me and my boyfriend stumbled upon this summer that ended up being such a cool, unique experience.  You sign up online and meet at a park overlooking the city at dusk.  From there, your tour guide walks you around the historic neighborhood by lantern and tells tales of true ghost encounters. I loved this because it’s something different to do rather than the usual date. 🙂

4- RISD Museum.  This museum has a really eclectic collection and I discover a new favorite every time I go! I also enjoy Bolt coffee located there. In this museum you’ll find work from Rothko, Picasso, as well as RISD student pieces.

5-  Newport International Polo Match.  This event happens from June to September every year. It is a great opportunity to dress up, drink champagne and enjoy the beautiful horses!

So there you have it. I have spent the last 3 years visiting this city once a month and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve had some amazing times and I hope this post inspires you to travel to Providence and create some memories here as well. 🙂

Ciao for now,

Dean

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