Chris Healy

The Providence East Side

About Providence and the East Side neighborhoods near Brown University

Providence . . . a historic city reborn
The national media is abuzz! The NY Times describes Providence as having exceptional food, compelling art and architecture and an inordinate number of very smart people. MSN named Providence to its list of top ten places in America to live, calling it the "most improved city" in the nation. Forbes Magazine named Providence among the top 50 places in the country for business and careers. Similarly, Money Magazine named Providence as the "Best City" in the East for young professionals because of our superb quality of life. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Providence one of the dozen most distinctive destinations in the US. The list of accolades goes on and on!

Downtown Providence has undergone a striking renaissance. An official Arts and Entertainment District has been established, adding a European style to its classic New England beauty. Out-of-State real estate developers have also discovered Providence and have invested more than 3 billion dollars Downtown, building high-rise hotels and condominium towers and transforming Providence's waterfront. The New York Times states, "Providence begins to see its future . . . "

Small City that's easy to navigate - - Providence, with a population of 175,000, is the second largest city in New England and anchors the 36th largest metropolitan population in the country. Providence is a sophisticated city full of beauty, history, good food, intellect, art and culture. The City is also friendly and inviting to newcomers.

Providence's pleasingly compact scale makes it great for residents who prefer walking to driving. Many East Side residents walk to work! If you work outside the City, the State's small size makes it convenient to live in our culturally rich Capital City and work just about anywhere in the State. In Rhode Island, the average commute is only fifteen minutes. When you do need to leave town, the East Side of Providence has direct access to Interstate 95, which can quickly take you to some of the Rhode Island's beautiful ocean spots, or on to Boston, one-hour north, or New York City, three-hours south. Providence also has commuter rail and Amtrak service.
Brown University
The East Side, with 20% of Providence's population, is home to Ivy League, Brown University (founded in 1764), and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and the thriving artistic and intellectual community that these fine universities attract.

Roger Williams, a religious freedoms advocate, founded Providence in 1636, when he purchased the land from the Narragansett Indian tribe. A statue of Roger Williams in Prospect Park, in the East Side's College Hill neighborhood, commands a breathtaking view of the Rhode Island Statehouse and Downtown.

Historic Architecture
Many stately, refurbished Federal period mansions can be found in and around Brown University and College Hill. Benefit Street is a visual treat of New England architectural beauty, complete with 19th-century-style streetlights. Here you will find historic private residences interspersed with historic churches (Baptist and Unitarian), the Providence Art Club, RISD Museum along with many other cultural and historic points of interest.

Great Restaurants
Comfortably fitting into the picturesque East Side neighborhoods are a variety of fabulous small bistros and cafes. Providence is home to the renowned Johnson & Wales culinary and hospitality University, which fuels the City's world-class culinary scene.

The Arts and Creativity
Providence East Side residents not only enjoy fine food, but also have a healthy appetite for the visual arts and design. RISD student artists and graduates are featured in street fairs on Benefit Street and at the RISD Artists Store. The RISD Museum, Providence Art Club and many other venues, give the East Side Community constant exposure to new trends in art and design, and regular opportunities to buy "artist studio direct"!

Providence has been dubbed the "Creative Capital" and tops the list of American Cities that are most appealing to telecommuters and those at the forefront of the new "creative economy". The East Side is the hub, attracting creative individuals whose work allows them the freedom to live most anywhere they choose. Providence, with its exceptional quality-of-life, appeals to this growing group of dynamic individuals. When the need arises to leave town, either for business or pleasure, T.F. Green Airport (PVD) is just a 10-minute drive from the East Side.

Downtown Providence, where three rivers now run, is reminiscent of Venice, complete with romantic gondola rides, river walks, quaint arched bridges, and a waterside amphitheater at Waterplace Park that is the frequent site of cultural events. Providence Place Mall, containing an array of national retailers including Nordstrom's and an IMAX Cinema, is located right across the street from Waterplace Park. Downtown Providence also boasts the country's first indoor shopping mall, The Arcade, circa 1827. A few blocks down from The Arcade is "PPAC", the Providence Performing Arts Center, where many Broadway shows are booked throughout the year. Just down Washington Street from the Providence Biltmore Hotel is the renowned Trinity Repertory, which has a busy schedule of critically acclaimed plays. Thayer Street is home to Avon Cinema, which shows a range of movies but specialize in art house and foreign films.

On designated evenings throughout the year, wood braziers, interspersed along the riverfront between Waterplace Park and Hemenway's Seafood Grille & Oyster Bar on South Main Street, are lit to create the visually stunning WaterFire, which is often accompanied by strolling musicians and other street performers. Nearby are many popular, upscale restaurants, like Capital Grill, New Rivers, Mills Tavern and Al Forno.

Federal Hill, borders Downtown on the West Side and is full of interesting restaurants, boasting world-class Italian food. Marking this community, on Atwells Avenue, is a pineapple sculpture on a granite arch that overhangs the street. On the edge of Downtown bordering Federal Hill sits the Providence Convention Center and the Dunkin Donuts Civic Center, the venue for rock concerts, The Ice Capades and sporting events.

Multiple environments
India Point Park and South Water Street border Downtown Providence on the southeast. The park is a pleasant spot for strolling, dog walking and sailing. South Water Street and nearby South Main Street are home to clubs and restaurants, providing a variety of atmospheres and food to suit many tastes. Just north of India Point Park is the Fox Point neighborhood and Wickenden Street retail area, a strip of trendy independently owned stores, antique shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes. Here you can relax on the porch of The Coffee Exchange, where students and hipsters sip coffees, eat muffins, talk and hangout.

Can't forget the kids!

The East Side of Providence has much to interest children, making it a richly dynamic environment to raise a family. Having many neighborhood parks, biking & hiking paths, nearby beaches, children's museum and Kid's Library, skateboarding park, zoo, sailing, ice skating, nearby skiing and a network of top independent schools, East Side families have plenty of choices for nurturing young minds and bodies and keeping children happy and engaged.

All-in-all, Providence is a welcoming, colorful and charmingly manageable City that is a wonderful place to live life fully. The City is true to its name, "Providence".
Learn about fun things for kids and parents to do!