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Federal Hill Pizza in Little Italy

Big-city cool in Little Rhody

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posted November 20, 2018

Providence, Rhode Island, has small-town New England charm with its cobblestoned streets, Colonial architecture and waterfront vistas, but it also has big-city cool with colorful pops of public art, sophisticated restaurants and a vibrant downtown.

“Groups love Providence because you can really feel the history and culture,” says Elise Swearingen, leisure sales manager for the city’s CVB.

That history and culture include the first Baptist church in the United States and the largest collection of intact Colonial homes, on Benefit Street.

Providence provides more than just food for the soul; it offers food for the stomach with one of the nation’s largest Little Italy neighborhoods. And a pasta-making class makes a great group activity.

Another don’t-miss experience is WaterFire, a public art installation of nearly 100 bonfires that appear to float on the downtown rivers. The free event is held on scheduled days from May through November.

Swearingen says that with a compact downtown and three rivers winding through the heart of the city, Providence can be explored by bus, boat or on foot. The CVB has developed walking tours of some of the city’s most historically significant neighborhoods, and routes are available in print or online. 

To find out more about WaterFire and other Providence attractions, email Swearingen or visit

Top photo: Federal Hill Pizza in Providence's Little Italy neighborhood
Photo by Providence CVB