The state capital of Providence has some of the most well-preserved
and spectacular architecture from every era of our history.
It's a city which has grown, not replaced itself. With
careful planning, preservation and restoration, a trip
through Providence is a trip through American history itself.
was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams when he crossed the
Seekonk River to what is now the East Side of Providence
in order to escape religious and political persecution
in Massachusetts. His philosophies have stood the test
of time as Providence is lively mix of all religions, boasting
some of the first churches for various demoninations in
the country including First Baptist Church in America and
First Unitarian Church in America. There is an extremely
lively political scene, boasting many independent and fringe
parties. And Providence is known as a gay mecca, the San
Francisco of the east.
The East Side of the city is the home of two ancient and
magnificent colleges, the Ivy League institution Brown
University and the world reknowned Rhode Island School
of Design. The attendant shops, cafes, restaurants and
bars rival Greenwich Village as a Bohemian center.
The State Capitol building is the second largest marble-domed
structure in the country - only the U.S. Capitol in Washington,
D.C. is larger. Rhode Island's capitol is often used by
film companies to stand in for the U.S. Capitol! The building
is rich in history and open to the public for tours.
Shopping is an adventure in Providence. Within a one-mile
radius, one can visit The Arcade, built in 1928 and the
oldest indoor shopping mall in America in the heart of
the business district in Downtown or as the natives call
it "Downcity". From there, it's a hop, skip and
jump to Thayer Street in the heart of the East Side which
serves the Brown and RISD college communities as well as
the artist and intellectual set at large. And then it's
over to the Capital Center which boasts one of the newest,
largest and most diverse malls in the country - the spectacular
Providence Place. From the incomparable shopping with New
York anchors and niche stores galore, to a multiplex first
run complex and an IMAX theatre, to a fabulous array of
dining for all tastes and budgets, a visit to Providence
Place is an event in itself.
For the more adventurous eater, there's Federal Hill right
up the street, the city's "Little Italy". "The
Hill", while still hosting venerable and world-class
Italian restaurants, has become diversified in the last
couple of decades and offers and veritable world tour of
fine dining to fit every budget including Asian, Mexican,
Japanese and seafood.