Rhode Island's capital city of Providence offers a rich cultural and architectural heritage that stretches back to 1636 when it was founded by Roger Williams. In recent years its amazingly diverse treasures have been discovered by more and more visitors. That's no surprise because it has one of the largest and most diverse concentrations of preserved architecture and landmarks in America, a nationally recognized restaurant scene, a vibrant art community, world class museums, top notch theatre, great shopping and much more. It Water Place Park and River Walk, home to the acclaimed WaterFire have come to symbolize the City's rebirth.
The Providence Arts & Cultural Trail is so filled with enriching things to do and see that you'll be busy day and night. You'll visit museums and galleries with works by old masters, Impressionists and contemporary artists. See our stages light up with a full calendar of exciting theatre, music and dance. Explore an 18 th century Athenaeum where Edgar Allen Poe and Sarah Whitman courted. It's a trail that you never want to end.
Providence Performing Arts Center
Historic landmark theater built in 1928 as a Loew's Movie Palace. Rhode Island's home for Broadway productions, children's shows and other popular entertainment. Free theatre organ concerts Spring and Fall. Big screen movie series. Box Office, Mon-Fri, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. ; Sat, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. 220 Weybosset Street, Providence ; 401-421-2787; www.ppacri.org
Rhode Island Black Heritage Society
"Creative Survival," permanent walk-though museum of 19th century black life in Providence. Periodic displays of Black history and culture. Archives and Gallery. Mon-Fri, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ; By appointment. 65 Weybosset Street , Providence ; 401-751-3490; www.providenceri.com/RI_BlackHeritage/
Rhode Island School of Design's Woods-Gerry Gallery
The Gallery, which is open to the public, features student and faculty work in ever-changing exhibitions. It is located in the Woods-Gerry Mansion, a three-story house designed by Richard Upjohn in 1860. The house is an important example of the city's 19th century residential architecture and houses RISD's administrative and admission offices. Mon-Sat, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ; Thu, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. ; Sun, 2 p.m.-5 p.m. 62 Prospect Street , Providence ; 401-454-6142; www.risd.edu
The RISD Museum
The RISD Museum was founded as part of the Rhode Island School of Design in 1877. Today, its permanent collection consists of more than 86,000 works of art from diverse periods, cultures, and genre. Located on the edge of downtown Providence , the museum showcases an array of ever-changing exhibitions, which encompass a range of areas and periods of world culture, and offers a wide variety of public programming. Tue-Sun, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. ; 3rd Thu of the month, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. 224 Benefit Street , Providence ; 401-454-6500; www.risd.edu/museum/cfm
Rhode Island College
Established in 1854 as the Rhode Island Normal School, RIC is the state's oldest public institution of higher learning. Serving nearly 10,000 students, it is a comprehensive college offering a variety of liberal arts and professional programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Performing and Fine Arts programs include world renowned entertainers in music, theatre, dance and the fine arts. 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue , Providence ; 401-456-8000, 800-669-5760;www.ric.edu/pfa
Trinity Repertory Company
Award-winning classical and contemporary theatrical productions. Performances Thu-Sat, 8 p.m. & Sun matinees at 2 p.m. 201 Washington Street , Providence ; 401-351-4242; www.trinityrep.com
VMA Arts & Cultural Center
Built in 1928, the Auditorium is among the oldest arts venues in Rhode Island. Completely restored in 1990, the ornately-designed 2,100 seat concert hall houses the largest theater stage in Rhode Island and features a gilded proscenium arch, allegorical and heraldic ceiling murals and the finest acoustics in the region. VMA hosts the most diverse audience in the State through a broad range of events each season, VMA offers a variety of performances, rehearsals, exhibitions, educational offerings, meetings, and special event opportunities. Avenue of the Arts, Providence ; 401-222-1467, 800-919-6272; www.vmari.com
The Providence Black Repertory Company
The Providence Black Repertory Company fosters a creative environment that celebrates the artistic contributions of black artists throughout American history. 276 Westminster St. , Providence ; 401-351-0353; www.blackrep.org
David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University
Located in the List Art Center , an imposing modern structure designed by Philip Johnson, the Gallery presents exhibitions of contemporary art in all media. Mon-Fri, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. ; Sat-Sun, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. 64 College Street , Providence ; 401-863-2932; www.brown.edu/bellgallery
Providence Art Club
Nation's second oldest art club, founded in 1880. Clubhouse and galleries in two Colonial buildings. Features changing exhibits monthly. Mon-Fri, 12 p.m.-4 p.m.; Sat-Sun, 2 p.m.-4 p.m.; Dodge House, Mon-Fri, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. 11 Thomas Street, Providence; 401-331-1114; www.providenceartclub.org
One of America's oldest subscription libraries (1753) and cultural centers. Housed in a granite Greek Revival structure designed by William Strickland of Philadelphia , with additions by Norman Isham and Warren Platner. Stephen Hopkins, Moses Brown, and Silas Downer (who served as a librarian) were all active in the library in the 18th century. Legend has it that in the 19th century, Edgar Allan Poe and Sarah Whitman carried on their courtship here. Changing exhibitions of rare books, and local artists works are on display in the Charles and Deborah Philbrick Rare Book Library. Mon-Thu, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri-Sat, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Summer Sat, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 251 Benefit Street, Providence; 401-421-6970; www.providenceathenaeum.org
Providence Visitor Information Center
RI Convention Center Rotunda
1 Sabin St.
Providence, Rhode Island
Great spots for snapshots.
Great side trips for outdoor fun:
Side trips for that one-of-a-kind find:
Tasty tips along the trail.
Here are some tips on shopping along the trail.
Did you know.
Top off the day with an outstanding performance along the trail:
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