Its distinctive colonial history leaves its mark on more than streets and churches. City founder Roger Williams, who left the Massachusetts Bay Colony in pursuit of religious freedom, went on to carve out a new colony in an area sometimes dubbed Rogue’s Island. That spirit has shaped the local culture and institutions, such as Brown, which is dedicated to diversity and intellectual freedom.
In the state capital, you can find experimental theater next to karaoke, rock clubs around the corner from old Victorian homes, and a skating rink at the mayor’s doorstep. The beauty of Providence is that it keeps its idiosyncratic ways and treasured stretches of colonial architecture, while also embracing the more cosmopolitan aspects of Boston, to the north, and New York, to the south.
The Smallest State
The advantage of living in the smallest U.S. state — only 48 miles long by 37 miles wide — is especially apparent when you go exploring: No Rhode Island destination is more than an hour away. Head down to Newport for great music festivals or sample the Ocean State’s storied coastline, with beaches from Watch Hill to Little Compton. If you prefer spending your time inland, there are local farms, vineyards, orchards, hiking, a drive-in theater, dozens of parks, and numerous towns in which you can experience unadulterated Rhode Island-ness.
Downtown Providence has experienced dramatic growth during the past 25 years, highlighting its emergence as one of the most exciting urban areas in the country.