Providence in 48 hours
It’s almost impossible to start your day in Providence without a history lesson. In the heart of downtown is the Roger Williams Memorial. It’s a beautiful four-acre national park that Hilton honors the city’s founder. It’s the perfect place to go for a jog and take in the many exhibits that highlight the life—and thoughts—of the fiery preacher.
Just about everything you’ll want to see in Providence is a short walk from The Providence Biltmore, Curio Collection by Hilton. I love DePasquale Square in historic Federal Hill. It has everything I look for in a perfect afternoon— bakeries, coffee shops, fancy boutiques and great ethnic food choices. And if you time it right, you can do one of my favorite things by the Square’s gigantic fountain—listen to live music.
Grab a sandwich at Nick’s on Broadway, where most days they serve brunch until 3 p.m. An egg and cheese on multi-grain topped with house-made chicken sausage will get the job done. An after-lunch stroll to Studio Hop on Hope Street will give you the chance to enjoy—and maybe purchase—fine art, handcrafts and other items from local artists.
For dinner, your best bet is right inside The Providence Biltmore: The legendary McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant. Fun fact: founder Bill McCormick is from Providence and started out parking cars at the hotel! You can’t beat it for seafood and steaks.
Then, if you dare, explore the dark side of the city by joining a Providence Ghost Tour. The historic homes and buildings on South and North Main may be charming by day, but they can turn creepy at night, especially when mixed with tales of the macabre.
I never get tired of waking up to views of the city from an upper-floor room or suite at The Providence Biltmore. With Kennedy Plaza below and the marble dome of the State House in the distance, you really appreciate the new and old charms of the 380-year-old city.
To nudge you out of your morning fog, head downstairs to one of the largest—and most elegant—Starbucks (it really is different from the rest) you’ll ever see. Just off the striking main lobby, you can sip your drink from a plush chair by the fireplace. You’ll feel just like a part of the Gilded Age.
One of the best museums in New England is tied to the Rhode Island School of Design. The RISD Museum has about 100,000 objects, from all over the world and just down the street. Many exhibits are curated by, or feature the artwork of, RISD students.
A really cool spot is the Cable Car Cinema & Café, which has offered movie fans quirky, artsy, indie and foreign films for 40 years. Catch an early evening showing, with popcorn—and a cocktail or two.
You know this Irish boy can’t turn down an authentic pub. Murphy’s is a great place for beer, wine, comfort food (meatloaf or Shepherd’s pie?) and conversation with some locals about what you should do on your next trip to Providence.