What to Do in Providence this Spring

Julia Shiels '24 is a sophomore at Johnson & Wales University. Here are her favorite ways to enjoy spring when she's not earning her Graphic Design degree.

The Northeast is notorious for its distinct weather: vibrant foliage in fall, fresh snow in winter that melts to a green spring, and plenty of sunshine and Atlantic shoreline to enjoy the summer. Each season in Providence, Rhode Island has many things to offer, but springtime has always been my personal favorite. The weather gets warmer, the days start getting longer, and flowers and trees start blooming. Whether it’s grabbing a blanket and laying out on Gaebe Commons or sitting out on the park benches to do homework, Johnson & Wales students take full advantage of the nice New England spring weather. Whether you’re in town for a college visit or are studying in the Creative Capital at JWU, Providence has plenty of activities for you. Here are some of my favorites!

Students playing football and relaxing in Gaebe Commons

Take a hike (or bike) on the East Bay Bike Path

As the weather starts getting nice again, what better place to spend your free time than outside? A great way to enjoy the outdoors while also getting some exercise is to go walking, running, biking, or even skating. Located just a six-minute drive from the Downcity campus, the East Bay Bike Path starts in India Point Park and stretches all the way down to Bristol. This 14.5-mile path features beautiful scenery, with views of both the Providence city skyline and the Providence River.

Indulge your inner child and foodie at Roger Williams Park & Zoo

This 427-acre park located just a few minutes from the Harborside campus is another great option for the warmer spring days. This park features a zoo, museum and a lake with paddleboats. Food truck Fridays start in the spring and are set up near the historic Carousel. The zoo is open Thursday through Monday from 10am - 4pm and offers many special activities for kids of all ages. During certain times of the year, the zoo will have special seasonal events such as a Christmas light show and a jack-o-lantern show, so check for spring special events. The park is always open to walk around and enjoy the nice weather.

Providence Performing Arts CenterCatch a show at PPAC

The Providence Performing Arts Center is located right next to Gaebe Commons and offers a variety of productions, from Broadway plays to comedy shows. This 93-year-old theatre is the perfect spot to spend the evening seeing live entertainment with friends and family. It is even located within walking distance to some of the theatre district’s best restaurants, such as Backstage Kitchen + Bar, The Malted Barley, and Circe Restaurant and Bar. Some of the shows the PPAC has put on just this year include Dear Evan Hansen, Ain’t Too Proud, Hamilton, the Blue Man Group, and many more. Being located right next to this jaw-dropping theatre is just one of the luxuries of living on the Downcity campus.

Get your art fix at the RISD Museum

The Rhode Island School of Design Museum is just a 10-minute walk from the Downcity campus. This museum features over 100,000 works of art all the way from ancient times up until today. Some exhibits that are always on display include Ancient Egyptians, Asian Art, 18th and 19th Century American, European, and many more. The museum also offers many featured events for all ages. Not only is the museum located within walking distance of JWU, but it also offers free admission to JWU students! Simply present your student I.D. at the front desk and enjoy the brilliant works of art this museum has to offer.

I hope these ideas spark some inspiration for you to go out and explore what Providence has to offer this spring, whether you are visiting for the first time or are a local. The spring season is the perfect time to go out and explore the city after a long winter indoors. So, this spring, go out and explore the hidden gems that Providence has to offer!

Apply to JWU

Visit JWU