Why You Should Visit Providence This Summer  

It’s getting close to summertime, and around this time of year, many people like to travel. This summer, if you are looking to have some fun, a good place you could visit is Providence. Trust me, I just moved here last year for college at Johnson & Wales. (You may also want to visit Providence if you are looking at schools around the area like Johnson & Wales and want to tour. If you want to visit our campus this summer, you should head over to Visit JWU. There you can find more information about scheduling a visit, and you can plan your Providence itinerary around the tour.)

If you’re an incoming first-year student, you may have an extra incentive to visit over the summer. Visit Johnson & Wales prior to September 1 and you could get a JWU Early Visit Grant! This grant is renewable for 4 years. And you can get up to $4,000 ($1,000 annually).

 One of the main reasons I chose to attend JWU is because I love the city and all of the cool activities it has to offer. Providence may be small, but there are tons of fun activities in and around the area. Some free and some paid, these recommendations are guaranteed to make for a fun trip, no matter your budget. Here are a few ideas to help you plan your itinerary so that you have an exciting time in Providence.

Where to stay?

If you plan to stay overnight, I recommend staying at some of the hotels around the downtown area so you are near the attractions. There is The Graduate, which you may have seen if you have been to Providence in the past. You may know it by the iconic “Biltmore” sign atop the building. Other hotels in the area are the Hampton Inn, Hotel ProvidenceThe Dean Hotel, and many more featured on Visit JWU.

Skyline image of downtown Providence

What to eat?

Now that you know where you want to stay, you should probably figure out where you are going to eat. There are many great places to eat around Providence for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


Some places I recommend you try for breakfast are PVDonuts, Bagel Gourmet, and Ellie’s. PVDonuts is a popular donut spot in Providence selling gourmet donuts, with new flavors to try every month. Bagel Gourmet is a bagel place in Providence that sells delicious breakfast sandwiches. Lastly, there’s Ellies. Ellies is a small café that is down the street from Johnson & Wales. I constantly pass by the place on my way to class, and they have delectable baked goods, sandwiches, as well as coffee and tea.

Overhead image of six donuts


If it is later in the day and you are looking for some lunch or dinner, you should try East Side Pockets or Caserta’s. East Side Pockets is a Middle Eastern-style takeout place with foods like falafels and kebobs. Caserta Pizzeria is another popular takeout place in Providence that specializes in pizza. If you’re not into takeout and want to sit down somewhere, you can go to Los Andes. Los Andes is a Peruvian and Bolivian restaurant located in Providence down the street from Roger Williams Hospital. Another restaurant you could try is Andino’s, which is an Italian restaurant located in Federal Hill.

What to do?

Now, what you have really been waiting for. What are you going to do now that you are here in Providence? You have your hotel set and your meals; now it is time to plan your activities.

Go wild at the zoo

You can go to the Roger Williams Zoo which has new, exciting events every season.

Get a taste of Italy

You can do so by walking around Federal Hill (AKA “Little Italy”) or taking an Italian-style boat ride with La Gondola. Photo of bridge over river in Providence

Get cultured at a museum

Into museums? If you are, there are a couple of museums I suggest you visit during your stay.


I definitely recommend going to the RISD Museum(Check for hours) which has great works of art that range from ancient times to the present day. There’s also a great museum here for people who like science and history, which is the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium.


Another museum I suggest you visit is JWU’s very own Culinary Museum. It’s located on the Harborside campus and is an extension of JWU’s library.

For the kids

Lastly, if you’re a child at heart or plan on bringing your kids along with you on your trip I recommend checking out Providence Children’s Museum (check for hours). The Children’s Museum has fun activities for kids and adults alike that you may enjoy.

I enjoy these museums because I love visiting museums and learning new things. Each of these museums has different exhibits to offer but provides visitors with new learning experiences.

Worms-eye view looking up towards buildings in Downtown Providence

Walk around Providence

If you would rather explore and walk around, I recommend visiting Weybosset Street, Thayer Street, The Arcade Providence, and more. They are fun areas to walk around and have a ton of small shops with interesting finds.

Providence Place Mall

Of course, when you visit anywhere you must go shopping! Providence Place Mall is the place to go. There are three floors full of 160 of your favorite stores, such as H&M, Foot Locker, Garage, etc. If you want to watch a movie, there’s an AMC movie theater near the food court. Stop by Dave & Buster’s, where you can eat and play arcade games. This mall also has air-conditioning which is amazing, because you can cool off after walking around campus. You can easily walk there from the Downcity campus at JWU.

Take a short road trip


If none of those interest you and you have a car, you can always drive over to Newport and do the Cliff Walk or visit some of the museums and shops in the area.


Or if you are feeling adventurous, you could drive down Boston for the day and hang out around Newbury Street or Chinatown. You can also visit the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as other museums in the area. Boston is only about an hour's drive away from Providence, so it is not too far to travel back and forth between the two. If you don’t have a car, you could also take a train into Boston through the Commuter Rail.

Image at night of Providence skyline with river

More to do

Visit the Providence Flea Market, which is open every Sunday all summer, from June through September. You also can just walk around College Hill which is an area over RISD and Brown University. It is a wonderful place to walk with interesting architecture and walking up the hill can provide you with a surprisingly good workout.

Image of road in Providence on Colleg Hill. Houses displayed on the right of the image.

Providence has tons of fun and interesting things to do, as well as great places to stay and eat. I have only named a few but from the activities and places I told you about, I hope they inspire you to visit the vibrant city for yourself and participate in what it has to offer.