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3 Reasons Providence, Rhode Island, Should Be on Your Summer Travel Radar

by Barbara Rogers

Jul 14, 2023

© Mihai Andritoiu | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Rhode Island’s compact capital city has a lot going for it in summer, especially for family travelers. If your travels take you to New England, here are three reasons to stop in Providence:


Roger Williams Park
While best known for its outstanding zoo, Roger Williams Park is full of activities for the entire family. The zoo is the big draw for kids, known for its modern and largely cage-free concept, where kids can not just see live animals, but see them in natural habitats and learn about them, as well. Exhibits and activities are designed for all ages.


Elsewhere in the 40-acre park is New England’s largest public indoor display garden, with more than 12,000 square feet of greenhouses filled with greenery and flowers. The Museum of Natural History exhibits insects, minerals and fossils. A children’s area in the park also keeps kids happy with a carousel and trackless train rides.


On at least two evenings each month between May and November, giant braziers light the river with bonfires as it flows through DownCity; on several of these evenings, more than 80 fires light the river all the way from Waterplace Park to South Main Street Park. On WaterFire evenings, the riverbanks are alive with locals and visitors enjoying bonfires and musicians and entertainers who give the whole riverside a festival air.


Families can join the party with a picnic in one of the parks beside the river, and couples can glide past the glowing fires in an authentic Venetian gondola.


Italian Dining on Federal Hill
The Pineapple Arch welcomes visitors to Federal Hill, Providence’s Italian neighborhood, where more than two dozen restaurants line Atwell’s Avenue. In the summer, many of these spill on to sidewalks, giving the whole street the festive feel of a block party.


Angello’s, family-operated since 1924, is a favorite for traditional Italian-American classics; kids love it for the ravioli and the model train that runs around overhead. Andino’s is another good choice for traditional Italian favorites, and Cassarino’s excels at northern Italian dishes. For cannoli, go to Scialo Brothers Bakery, where the same family has baked Italian specialties here since emigrating from Naples in 1916.



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