The Definitive Guide to Providence (UPDATED!)


Image taken from WSJ “The Perfect Long Weekend”

One of the times I was feeling nostalgic for home and was sitting in front of a keyboard, I realized how pathetic I sounded. Yet, I knew I had a point. Rhode Island is a pretty awesome place, even though most people just know it on a “pass through” basis, as they’re headed to more weathered points north, and publications like WSJ  and Architectural Digest demean us with words like “quaint” and “charming.” While I have a great appreciation for the entire state, I feel most at home in Providence–whether it’s revitalized downtown, more suburban east side, historic college hill, halfway gentrified west side, or anywhere between–this is a place I love. Here is my consolidated (and growing) list of favorite spots:

If you’re looking to spend the weekend:

The Dean // 122 Fountain Street // I would take a staycation just to visit this hotel. I once placed an author there, and he said it was the best place he’s ever stayed.

If you’re looking to get buzzed:

White Electric // 711 Westminster St // Often quiet, you can work in this mostly kid-free zone and enjoy the best brew in the city, it’s also always my first stop when I’m home.

New Harvest // 65 Weybosset Street // Located in the newly-renovated Arcade, this intimate space is shared by microloft renters and business guys.

Chicory // 166 Broadway // Coffee drinks and vegan sweets to-go from one of my favorite eateries, which is attached.

Small Point // 230 Westminster Street // Conscious coffee in a cozy gem, Tibetan flags included.

Coffee Exchange // 207 Wickenden Street // Often too many kids and they take the coffee too seriously, but it’s a great place to feel like you’re getting work done.

Dave’s Coffee // 314 South Main Street // The new kid in the area, the drinks are inventive and spectacular.

If you’re looking to buy something you don’t need, but love:

Clover // 233 Westminster Street //  A well-curated collection of investment pieces, like Vince sweaters and Parker blouses.

Berk’s // 272 Thayer Street // The best shoe selection in Providence, now also stocking quality denim and casual basics.

Noon Designs // 75 Weybosset Street // The perfect spot to pick up hand-dipped seasonal soy candles and hand towels made from upcycled materials.

Books on the Square //471 Angell Street // Providence’s last indie bookstore with thoughtfully handpicked titles and open to animals.

Zuzu’s Petals // 288 Thayer Street // Bringing the best from collections like Milly, Shoshanna, and Nicole Miller.

JMcLaughlin // 182 Wayland Avenue // Year-round preppy staples for both men and women, featured in this bright and summer-like space.

Dugan Custom Jewelers // 174 Wickenden // If you’re looking to rework an old piece or pick out something new, Grace has impeccable taste.

Providence Perfume Co. // 301 Wickenden Street // Leave with one of Charna’s creations or make your own!

If you’re looking to have a meal out, have a nosh, or just look at food:

Julian’s // 318 Broadway // Serving eclectic American noshes all day, this eatery feels like a biker bar but you’ll be pleased to find tofu scramble and kale root on the menu.

Ogie’s Trailer Park // 1155 Westminister Street // Located in a slightly dicey part of town, this converted tire warehouse is part trailer park, part mod dreamworld. Order updated Americana dishes at the counter and take a seat at the towering bar, atop tufted turquoise stools to enjoy a hot toddy.

G Pub // 61 Orange Street // A converted gas company’s facilities, this gastropub lives up to its motto: “speak easy, eat well,” with everything from spiced pistachios to kimchi veggie dogs and local brews on tap. A rustic and raw interior made it a fast favorite.

The Grange // 166 Broadway // Vegetarian hub serving everything from po’ boys to korean bbq tacos. A great spot to catch up with friends, or dine solo.

Haven Brothers // Usually parked near City Hall // Grab a white bread grilled cheese, fries, and chocolate shake after a late-night concert and bask in the Rhode Island family-owned tradition.

Veggie Fun // 123 Dorrance Street // Exclusively vegetarian pan-Asian dishes that please even the traditional carnivores in your life.

DENDEN // 161 Benefit Street // I moved to New York and suddenly my parents were really into Korean food. A casual and industrial space with beer that’s “big in Korea.”

Duck & Bunny // 312 Wickenden Stree // This “snuggery” may look like all fluff, but they take their cupcakes, brunch, and drinks pretty seriously. Stay for afternoon tea or make yourself comfortable in the tufted banquettes on a rainy morning.

East Side Pockets // 278 Thayer Street // The definitive word in falafel. Eat in, if you can find a seat, or take yours to go!

Kabob & Curry // 261 Thayer Street // The first of several restaurants owned by the same family. Casual and delicious.

Nice Slice // 267 Thayer Street // Inventive and classic pies for the pierced crew.

If you want to do something cultural:

RISD Museum // 224 Benefit Street // From exhibits on dandys to cocktails and couture, this museum puts a twist on things.

Avon Cinema // 260 Thayer Street // This is the spot to see the new Wes Anderson or Woody Allen film, but also the more obscure, like Israeli graphic films or something that debuted at Cannes.

The Boulevard // It’s all in the name–a boulevard that stretches from the east side of Providence to Pawtucket, it’s a roughly 2 mile neighborhoodsy stretch.

The Athenaeum // 251 Benefit Street // This cozy, gilded library was founded in 1836 and the area is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe.

Lupo’s // 79 Washington Street // If you’re so inclined, there’s always a great live show slated: from Papa Roach to The Go-Gos, this venue brings a multitude of acts.

Stephen Hopkins House // 15 Hopkins Street // Get a taste for Rhode Island’s Revolutionary history, creeks and all.