Downtown Providence, also known as Downcity, is the economic and cultural hub of the city. In this post-industrial neighborhood, you will find the most delicious restaurants, gorgeous historic landmarks, and a thriving arts community. It’s an ideal place to live, work, and play where there are always great events and new places to explore. Here are fifteen of our favorite Downtown Providence spots to check out:
A one-of-a-kind experience, WaterFire is an award-winning interactive sculpture by Barnaby Evans. In the evenings, Downtown Providence’s Three Rivers are transformed into a free public art exhibit with eight braziers floating just above the surface of the rivers. The exhibit offers an incredible experience with music, dancing firelight, and engaging nighttime stroll. If you want to experience the event even closer, you can take a guided gondola ride through this world-famous exhibit.
A private social club in the heart of the city, University Club dates back to 1899. University club offers a unique historic atmosphere, fine dining, and athletic facilities. The club hosts a variety of events and is the perfect place to meet and network with your downtown neighbors.
If you are looking for a relaxed dining experience with high-quality food, Figidini is the perfect destination. Offering a menu of wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, small plates, and seasonal salads there is something to tempt anyone’s palate. Figidini’s also offers craft cocktails and a wide variety of local microbrew beers.
Located in the historic Charles Tanner building along the riverfront, Bacaro is a split concept restaurant. One the first floor, you will find the wine bar and salumeria with an extensive selection of house-cured meats. Upstairs you will find a more traditional sit-down dining experience. The menu features a range of farm-to-table Venetian dishes including both small plates known as “ciccheti” and large entrees.
The Red Fez is a classic-style pub featuring a menu of upscale Americana with a twist. The menu changes seasonally with a few exceptions of the house favorites, so there’s always something new to try. The warm atmosphere is the perfect place to meet up with friends and have a lively debate over cocktails or a local craft beer.
Originally opened in Athens, Greece, Yoleni’s is a Grecian style grocery and eatery. Located in the historic Tilden-Thurber building, it’s a great spot to stock up on pantry essentials like flatbread, hummus, and olives. You can also grab a bite to eat at their Topos restaurant before you shop.
Gracie’s is the premiere farm-to-table restaurant in Downtown Providence. Offering delicately prepared innovative cuisine and an impressive wine list, you’ll be able to experience a new taste sensation every visit. The staff is known for being extremely personable and offering a high level of service.
The Arcade Providence is a national historic landmark that has been upgraded for modern use. It is the oldest shopping center in the country and the first floor still features a unique retail experience for its guests. The second and third floors offer micro-lofts for 48 residents. The Arcade is truly unique.
Providence City Hall:
The center of the local government, Providence City Hall is an architect lover’s dream. Built in 1898 in Second Empire Baroque style, this iron and brick building is as stunning on the interior as it is on the exterior. Whether you take a tour of the inside or just admire it on a neighborhood walk, this unique building is a sight to behold.
The State House is the Capitol building of Rhode Island and is located on the border of Downtown and Smith Hill. Built in 1895 in a Neoclassical style, the State House is clad with white marble and has the fourth largest self-supporting dome in the world. Inside the dome is a gorgeous bronze statue of the Independent Man. The best time to visit is during the holiday season when the State House is decorated with cultural holiday displays.
During the mid-1800s, Providence was home to the largest jewelry manufacturing industry in the country. The district is on the national historic registry and features beautiful buildings in the Greek Revival and Federal styles. The district is full of must-see landmarks including the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier, the South Street Power Station, and Inda Point Park. Make sure to also visit Collier Point Park when you are in the area.
The Providence Athenaeum is a publicly funded library that houses a large collection of historic and modern books. The library is inside a massive Greek Revival-style building designed by architect William Strickland. In 1914, the building had a third story addition built by Norma Isham. The Providence Athenaeum is a gorgeous building with a unique literary history with such notable authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and H;.P. Lovecraft frequenting the library.
One of the oldest skyscrapers in New England, the Turk’s Head Building was completed in 1913. This 16-story building was inspired by the Flatiron Building in New York and features the unique curvature. The building is named for the unique exterior stone sculpture of an Ottoman Warrior. The sculpture was inspired by a wooden ship’s head taken from the Sultan and mounted by a shopkeeper. After the wood sculpture was lost in a storm, it was replaced with the more permanent fixture.
AS220 is a non-profit live/work studio space housing 24 artists. There are also size exhibit spaces, a stage, a theater, and a variety of other creative spaces. Founded in 1985, this center is a great place to see the work of local artists. Programs include performance art, music, fashion shows, paintings, and films. The space also has a “no cover” policy, so all exhibits are free and open to the public to enjoy.
A gorgeous green space in the heart of the urban center, Burnside Park offers residents an escape to nature. The park is home to the Bajnotti Fountain, a gift to the city from an Italian diplomat sculpted in 1902 and the Burnside Statue, a bronze sculpture featuring Governor Ambrose Burnside on horseback. With tree lined sidewalks and lush green lawns, Burnside Park is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Living in Downtown Providence gives you access to all of these great destinations and more. If you’re interested in exploring this community further, give us a call and we’ll show you why this is one of the best communities to live.