Rhode Island’s capital and New England’s third-largest city, Providence combines big city amenities with small town livability. The city’s transformation into a destination for smart, passionate artists and artisans sees it regularly outperform cities like Boston and New York in quality of life--whether that’s outstanding food or internationally recognized arts events. Providence’s storied history, thriving arts scene and robust nightlife make it a strong draw for creatives of all stripes, and its world-class schools—including Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design—ensure the constant influx of new and exciting people and ideas. Life in Providence apartments is truly an experience to be had!
One of the oldest cities in the United States, Providence, RI, boasts architectural and cultural treasures from every major period of American history. Providence is home to the oldest enclosed shopping center in the country, the oldest Baptist church in America, and the fourth oldest library in the nation. Providence’s jewelry industry once accounted for 25% of all jewelry produced in the United States. The former Jewelry District is now a trendy neighborhood, with plenty of converted offices, restaurants and some of the best apartments in Providence.
Providence has a humid continental climate of warm summers, cold winters, and year-round humidity. While its location on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean mitigates temperatures throughout the year, winter precipitation can be heavy, with powerful Nor’easter storms sometimes contributing to significant snow accumulation.
Getting Around Providence
Providence’s T.F. Green Airport is an outstanding alternative to Boston’s Logan Airport, with regular flights on several major airlines and budget carriers. Amtrak’s popular Acela Express line runs through Providence Station, along with commuter rail service to Boston. Some 71,000 local commuters make daily use of Providence’s extensive public bus network. Most traffic passes through downtown’s Kennedy Plaza. In addition to being one of the most car-friendly cities in the northeastern US, with ample public lots and metered spaces, Providence’s compact layout makes it a walkable and bike-friendly city.
Commuting in Providence
Providence is connected to three main highways. I-95 runs through the city and connects to Boston to the north. I-195, the subject of Providence’s own ‘Big Dig’, has reduced traffic congestion during rush hours. Commuters making their way from one end of the city to the other can make use of the ring road, I-295. The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority offers unlimited ride passes at a reduced cost, and a carpooling service that gives participants discounted parking.
Providence has standout radio stations like WPRO-92.3 FM (contemporary pop) and WWBB-101.5 FM (classic hits). Talk-radio stations also are present, including all-news station WPRO-630 AM. The local paper of record, the Providence Journal, is the oldest continuously-published daily in the US. Popular alternatives include the Providence Business Journal and Rhode Island Monthly.
Providence is one of the most dynamic, affordable cities on the East Coast. Its location means you can work in downtown Boston but live in Providence apartments at a fraction of the price--and still have a shorter, easier commute than many Boston residents! Its food scene is consistently ranked among the best in the nation. The culture is as exciting, diverse, and fun as you could expect from a big city. And whether you know it or not, Rhode Island has the best beaches in New England (yes, they’re even better than Cape Cod)!
Historic Federal Hill is known for its restaurants, many offering a great al fresco dining experience. Thayer Street caters to students and young professionals with its more eclectic options. Benefit Street connects the two, and its stunning architecture makes it the perfect place for a walk. The Providence Athenaeum is a must-see. Its dull grey exterior belies the gorgeous and cozy interior, and fans of Edgar Allan Poe appreciate the site’s importance to literary history. Literary fans also make it a point to visit Swan Point Cemetery, a beautiful 200-acre garden that houses the final resting place of H.P. Lovecraft and many other notable Rhode Island citizens.
Things to do in Providence
Providence is a New England cultural capital. The Providence Performing Arts Center provides a world-class venue for Broadway shows, concerts and other events. There are dozens of smaller venues and art galleries. Nature lovers shouldn’t miss the Riverwalk and Prospect Terrace, with its can’t-be-beat views of downtown Providence. In the winter, the Alex and Ani City Center offers up an ice skating rink more than twice as big as New York’s Rockefeller Center rink. Family-friendly options include the Providence Children’s Museum and the world-renown Roger Williams Park Zoo.
The one can’t-miss event every year in Providence is WaterFire. What began as 11 fire pits in the Woonasquatucket River now includes over 80 braziers across Providence’s three rivers, with street performers, musical acts and art installations along the Riverwalk. Visitors can even take a private gondola ride. For Providence’s comics lovers, there’s Rhode Island Comic Con, held in November at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Providence Vacation spots
Providence is perfectly situated near plenty of vacation opportunities. Vacationers can travel down to nearby Newport, Rhode Island, and spend the day touring seaside mansions. They can make the short trip out to Massachusetts’s Cape Cod for a relaxing weekend on the beach. For nature lovers, Melville Ponds Campground is one of the best in the nation, with extensive hiking trails and beautiful shorelines.
Where to move in Providence
There are apartments in Providence to suit every taste. Those looking for a taste of Williamsburg flock to the Jewelry District’s converted lofts. Those longing for something out of New England’s commercial and intellectual past feel at home in College Hill’s stately Victorian mansions. New arrivals expecting the diversity of city life flock to the waterfront neighborhood of Fox Point. And Boston’s North End or New York’s Little Italy would have a hard time competing with Providence’s Federal Hill when it comes to amenities like green spaces, restaurants, and quality schools.