First established in 1958 by an Italian immigrant who saw an opportunity to capitalize on the post-World War II housing boom and serve a generation of proud, young homeowners, the Garden City Center of today is still a premier outdoor shopping destination for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re looking for name brands or independently owned shops, casual dining or date night fare, this delightfully designed, Cranston-based area caters to anyone and everyone — here’s just a taste of what they have to offer.
SHOP: Novels and novelties from Barrington Books; designer clothing from Mel & Me; all your parenting needs from Mod Mama; culinary goods from Williams Sonoma; athleisure outfits from Lululemon; fine jewelry from Providence Diamond; trendy women’s fashion pieces from Francesca’s; upscale home decor from Pottery Barn and/ or Crate and Barrel; a box of goodies from Sweenor’s Chocolates; and chic women's styles from Chico’s. For more ways to shop like a local, check out ShopLocalRhodeIsland.com.
EAT: A hummus veggie wrap and an acai berry boost smoothie at Tropical Smoothie Cafe; a couple of slices of square Margherita pizza at Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza; some antipasto and shrimp scampi at Avvio; a twenty-two-inch burger with smoked cheddar and applewood bacon at Bistro 22; or some Bayou chicken pasta at Tavern in the Square. Top off the day with a Rhode Island ice-cream favorite, the Awful Awful at Newport Creamery.
DO: While you're in the area, consider a visit to Pawtuxet Village. One of New England's oldest villages and the site of the burning of the HMS Gaspee, Pawtuxet Village is home to dozens of colonial structures as well as quaint shops and harbor views. Visit Mulligan's Island (closed for the winter, reopens in March) for some miniature golf, batting cages and a driving range. Head to nearby Warwick's Apponaug Brewing Company for locally brewed beer, specialty cocktails and tasty menu items.
STAY: Take advantage of hotels in either Providence or Warwick for your visit to Cranston, like the Radisson Hotel Providence Airport, Nylo Providence Warwick, the Hyatt Place Warwick, Cru Hotel or Hotel Providence.