Things To Do in Providence

Things To Do in Providence

Discover one of America's oldest cities

Providence was founded in 1636, making it one of the oldest cities in the USA. It’s a classically English Puritan settler name for a city. As Providence is old – by American standards – it has a real mix of architectural styles, from Victorian buildings to Art Deco.

The colony of Providence was given its first charter by Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England. As the mother country briefly abolished its monarchy and established a Puritan Commonwealth, settlements like Providence laid the foundation for modern-day America.

Providence isn’t one of the major tourist destinations. Other New England cities like Boston get more attention. Nonetheless, Providence is a city of real charm and character that’s definitely worth a visit.

Roger Williams Park Zoo

This is a zoo for people who don’t approve of zoos. The animals room cagelessly – Carole Baskin would approve. You’ll find leopards, giraffes, elephants and kangaroos. You can even go for a camel ride. For a dash of green, you can visit the Botanical Center. The park also has a museum of natural history.

Join the Travel Gay Newsletter

Courtyard Providence Downtown

Gay bars in Providence

Providence has a decent selection of bars – no doubt it’s Puritan founder would have approved! Most gay bars in Providence can be found downtown. This city is quite compact so it’s easy to go bar hopping. The Dark Lady is one of the liveliest gay bars in Providence. It hosts regular drag shows and stays open until the early hours seven days a week.

The Stable opens around lunchtime and it’s a good place to start your gay night out in Providence. It’s a good place to meet some locals. Supposing you’d like to dance the night away, EGO is the main gay club in Providence.

Water Fire

The Water Fire sculpture was first installed in 1994 and it’s become an annual thing in Providence. The full installation is comprised of 80 fires blazing on the river. It’s very atmospheric. Water Fire takes place at different times during the months of May – November. It’s free to attend.

RISD Museum

This is an excellent art museum that hosts many different exhibitions. The permanent collections include a wide array of periods, including ancient Greek, Egyptian and modern American. This museum is connected to the Rhode Island School of Design.

Rhode Island

Downtown Providence

Providence is a very walkable city. You could begin your Providence adventure downtown. Here you’ll find many of the most historic buildings, including Rhode Island State House. Walk along Memorial Boulevard, stroll the riverfront – three rivers cut through downtown – and check out the restaurants. Downtown is probably the best place to wine and dine in the evening. You could also join a walking tour of the historic part of the city and learn about its emergence as one of America’s first industrialized cities.

Providence Performing Arts Center

A good place to see a show, the Performing Arts center was founded in 1928. It’s a stunning beaux-arts building. It hosts musicals, theatre shows, live music and much more. A lot of iconic artists have played here, including Lou Reed, Fleetwood Mac and The Kinks.

Published: 05-Aug-2020 by Alex   |   Last Updated: 24-May-2022
On: Gay Providence

Providence Tours and Experiences

Browse our handpicked selection of tours in Providence from our partners with free cancellation 24 hours before your tour starts.

Featured Providence Hotels