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- Why Providence?
Rhode Island was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, who was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his extreme views on freedom of religion and speech. He traveled southwest to what is now Rhode Island and purchased land from the Narragansett tribe. He founded Providence on the principles of tolerance and peace. We all think this sounds like a good idea.
Brown University, then known as “The College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” was founded in 1764 and was the first university to accept students regardless of the religious affiliation. It is one of 9 universities founded prior to the American Revolution.
RI was the first American British colony to secede from Great Britain in May 4, 1776, two months prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which was signed in the Original RI State House
The French, under General Rochambeau, landed in Newport in 1780, and Newport became the base of the French forces during the American Revolutionary War.
Rhode Island is considered the birth place of religious freedom.
RI is considered the birthplace of Industrial Revolution. In 1790, the English immigrant Samuel Slater founded the first textile mill in Pawtucket, which revolutionized the textile industry in New England. He is now known as the father of the American industrial revolution.
The Rhode Island State House was built in 1895-1904 and became the model for other state houses around the nation.
At the beginning of the mid-19th centuries, wealthy southern planters began to build their “summer cottages” on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, RI. By the turn of the 20th century, many of the nations wealthiest families, including the Vanderbilts, Astors and Wideners were summering in Newport and had constructed large “cottages,” such as the Breakers and Miramar.
Providence underwent cultural revival in 1980-1990’s with growth of visual and performing arts (fueled by Rhode Island School of Design), and restaurants (fueled by Johnson & Wales Culinary Art School).
Providence and Rhode Island are certainly exceptional in terms of culinary delights. We asked a group of residents and faculty about their favorite places to go eat (or to grab take out). Check it out below!
For more on all Rhode Island has to offer please check out this video from RI Tourism.
- Want a water view? Grab a burrito from Tallulah's Taqueria on the East Side and head down to India Point Park to lounge while overlooking the water. Occasionally concerts and festivals at the park with lots of activity on nicer days.
- Raining? Head to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, a renowned museum with an incredible collection of art.
- Only an evening? Catch a sunset at The Providence Pedestrian Bridge overlooking the city and water. Then grab a drink at the nearby Guild Beer Garden and head downtown for a bite to eat at one of the restaurants below.
- Need a walk? Head to Blackstone Boulevard for a 1.7 mile walk down the beautiful gravel pathway. You can either start or end the walk with a trip to Three Sisters Ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Hungry? Thirsty? We hope the restaurants, coffee spots, and bars listed below lead you to the perfect spot to satisfy your cravings!
Welcome to the Hope section on the East Side of Providence. Here you will experience a blend of quiet living, friendly dogs walking with their owners, and active shops, boutiques and restaurants on Hope Street. It should be said from the start that no happy hour on Hope Street is complete without a visit to Three Sisters is a Providence staple for their multitude of homemade ice cream flavors. As you move down the eastern hill into Blackstone there is Blackstone Blvd and the central trail great for walking, running or biking in the summer. At the northern of the Boulevard is Lippitt Memorial Park which is a must visit Saturday mornings for their outdoor farmer’s market. For commuting the Miriam is within walking distance from most locations while RIH and the VA are short 10 minute drives. – Josh Siner Class of 2021
I would describe Wayland Square as a hipster family vibe. There are always activities (fireworks, festivals etc throughout the summer) but at night it’s quiet, for sleeping. It has a bunch of small businesses, restaurants, and yoga studios. Quite a few residents live in this area and I think we were all attracted to how close it is to Rhode Island Hospital (8 minutes from my home parking spot to the hospital parking lot). I also love that it’s fairly walkable- I can get to 2 grocery stores, CVS, a bunch of restaurants and the Brown gym without my car. However, I do end up driving anywhere outside of a 10 block radius. My favorite things are definitely the variety of food choices. If I'm leaving the hospital late I can always find something good either at Tallulah's, any of the College Hill spots, even the East Side market grocery store around the corner. Also, a lot of the big donut places (PVDonuts, Knead) are nearby, as well as Three Sisters (best ice cream I've had). I live in an apartment building, but there are a lot of houses for rent here as well. My building is full of "young professionals", people my age who have started their first or second job (which is what I was looking for). – Shaliesha Hinds Class of 2021
The East Side of Providence, best described as “urban residential,” is comprised of beautiful, historic neighborhoods. It offers all the benefits of an urban environment: ample walking, plenty of window shopping, delicious restaurants, great bars and yet, maintains an open-air residential vibe. It has plenty of old New England homes, open-spaced parks, and also is home to the Brown undergraduate campus. Individual neighborhoods include Summit, College Hill, Wayland Square, and Fox Point. Personal favorites include the summer farmer’s market at Lippitt park, jogging Blackstone Boulevard (a 2 mile tree-lined path), dinner at Red Stripe, and nitro coffee from Stock PVD. The commutes to the hospitals are short and on any given day, I can get to all three of our hospitals in under 10 minutes. – Matt Austin, chief resident 2018
West Side of Providence
I live in the Federal Hill area at a refurbished cotton textile mill called Grant Mills. It has beautiful brick, tall warehouse windows, and is located in a young, hip area. I am walking distance from several of my favorite restaurants and cafes, like Seven Star Bakery or Broadway Bistro. Love to wake up and walk to Julian's for their brunch and hash. I visit Bucktown weekly to get a taste of southern home cooking. Federal Hill is stuffed with delicious Italian food, and you can’t forget about Pastiche for dessert! I live a short 6 minute drive to Rhode Island Hospital and about 12 minutes to Miriam Hospital. I chose my place because of its central location, great price, central heat and air, and most importantly an in-unit washer and dryer. I love the laid back vibe of my area, with its small roads and cute old homes. – Grant Cagle Class of 2021
I live on the West Side in a neighborhood called Smith Hill, a diverse neighborhood just northwest of the city center. My building is relatively new (built in 2000s), and my apartment is situated above a local business. In terms of transportation, I can get to any of the 3 hospitals in under 10 minutes! Though I mostly drive, I'm within walking distance to a coffee shop, music venue, soul food restaurant, and authentic South American restaurant. I chose to live here for the more affordable rent, the diversity of the community, and the access to major highways. – Jared Giordano Class of 2021
Living in the historic West Side of Providence has many perks. For example, I enjoy a convenient 4 minute commute to RIH (7 min to TMH and 5 min to the VAMC) in addition to a lively neighborhood in the midst of an impressive revival. There are numerous restaurants, coffee shops, bars, gyms, yoga studios, hair salons, theaters, and parks within walking or biking distance. There's no shortage of fun things to do or eat on the West Side--it's the best side for anyone who wants affordable rent, short commutes, and opportunities to participate in the diversity and richness of authentic PVD cultural life. – Chiazotam Ekekezie, chief resident 2019
My wife and I live in The Promenade, a renovated factory apartment building with everything you need (laundry, gym, pool, package service, BBQ grills, community garden, covered parking, etc). High ceilings, exposed bricks, and concrete-painted walls really give off the industrial modern yet cozy vibe. Work is 5-10 minutes away by car and I love how accessible all neighborhoods are (maximum 30-minute walking distance from the apartment) yet the location is in a quiet neighborhood. On nicer days, you can just hop on the JUMP bike (semi-electronic bike sharing service) to get to the park. Both the location and condition of the apartment suit my needs perfectly. – Han You Class of 2021
The Promenade is a great place to live during residency. Located right behind the Providence Place Mall, the Promenade is a large managed property with two gyms, an indoor pool and jacuzzi, private vegetable garden plots, a movie theater, and two business / printing centers. It also has covered, gated parking. The community is the best part - lots of co-residents and physicians live in the building, which is a quick 5 minute drive from Rhode Island Hospital. Some of the best hidden perks include free coffee, community socials (including annual Halloween and Holiday parties), and prompt maintenance response times. My wife and I chose to move here from College Hill mainly for the convenience of the parking, indoor gym and proximity to the hospitals. While on the pricier end of rentals in Providence, the Promenade has been a great place to live and we highly recommend it. – Anshul Parulkar Class of 2021
Downtown is no more than a 10 minute drive maximum to all the hospitals. Great area for biking around and it's very easy to get to the East Bay Bike path (or the East Side or Federal Hill). Movie theater and Providence Place Mall are nearby (easily walking distance). Favorite places for after work food and drinks are Trinity Brewhouse, Malted Barley. For a good vegetarian place, check out Veggie Fun. One of the great things about living downtown is that it's just a short walk to the river for nights when Waterfire is going on over the summer. – Lolita Nidadavolu Class of 2018
I chose to live in the Pearl Street Lofts in the Upper South Providence neighborhood when I moved to Providence. I live in the neighborhood that surrounds Rhode Island Hospital and it is a busy, bustling, diverse place. I enjoy living in the neighborhood where many of our patients live. It's a very urban environment next to the three major high schools. I am only a short walk to Federal Hill/Broadway St region, Ogie's Trailer Park (bar), and downtown. If you hate driving or commuting, I am even a shorter walk to RIH or about 2 minute drive down Pearl Street - I usually only walk during elective months. I think this neighborhood is overlooked by many, but I have loved living here and I even extended my lease and will be here through residency. As a plus, Rock Spot climbing gym moved into the complex next door. – Alexis Sherman-Roe Class of 2021
I live in Cranston, one town south of Providence. My husband and I wanted to have a driveway and a little more space for a little less money. I’m still within a 15 minute drive from all three hospitals (even shorter early in the morning). An Uber into downtown Providence is affordable. I’m near the Garden City Center (large outdoor mall), Dave’s Market (local slightly upscale grocery store with lots of prepared foods), Target, Whole Foods, Revival (brewpub that you can go to for the great food or the great beer, both menus updated weekly). Fun fact: Cranston is also the original home of both RI local favorites Narragansett beer and Del’s lemonade. – Lauren Conner Class of 2021
I live in quiet Plainville, MA, in a newly built smart home apartment, a 20-30 minute drive away from Providence. I chose to live there because it is located in between Boston and Providence, so it is a great location for splitting the commute with a significant other. I enjoy living there because it's not a busy place but you always have the option of going to nearby Providence for a city experience. It's nice to get home to a calm place not too close to the hospital we work at! – Danni Fu Class of 2021
Best Ice Cream
Best Italian Food
Best Food Trucks
Best East Asian
Best Study Spot Where You'll Actually Spend More Time People Watching
Rhode Island boasts a growing number of great microbreweries that are worth a visit
Best Dive Bars
Best Hipster Bars
Best Classy Bars
Best Bar on the Water
Best Rooftop Bar
Best Bars with a Cool Set-up/Ambience
Best Karaoke Bars
Best German Bar
Best Irish Pub
Best Punk/Metal Bar
Best Wine Bars
Best Bars for Live Music
Sailing - Whether you are a seasoned sailor or looking to learn the ropes, Rhode Island has it all when it comes to sailing.
Kayaking - Rhode Island offers numerous places to rent or put-in your own boat.
Hiking and State Parks - Though Rhode Island may not have much elevation to offer, there is no shortage of places to get your nature-fix.
Block Island- Rhode Island's beautiful and iconic coastal retreat, Block Island, is an hour's ferry-ride from Southern Rhode Island. Bring your bike and sunscreen! Whatever you are searching for, Block Island has it: art galleries, beaches, sailing, hiking, fishing, bars, food and shopping are all available within arm’s reach, and you’ll be no farther than a 20-minute bike ride from the southern and northernmost points of the Island.
"Providence is the lively urban travel experience - without the constant crush of crowds - we've been craving after a prolonged shutdown."
"The smart and urbane college town in Rhode Island is wonderfully weird in a variety of ways."(fun note, the woman pictured at Al Forno is the founding Program Director for our primary care residency and current Senior Associate Dean)
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