Providence, as well as Rhode Island, is a great destination for college students. We are the smallest state, yet we boast 400 miles of coastline in a compact 48 by 37-mile package. Everything is close by. Rhode Island College is located less than 5 miles from downtown Providence, allowing you all the advantages of a great city from our 180-acre suburban campus. Providence, our capital city, has a population of 175,000 people. From campus or downtown, it's less than an hour to Boston and three hours to NYC.
From the PROVIDENCE WARWICK Convention and Visitors Bureau website about Providence:
THE CREATIVE CAPITAL
Welcome to Providence, Rhode Island! Providence combines the accessibility and friendliness of a small town with the culture and sophistication of a big city. With a thriving arts community, vibrant and diverse neighborhoods, outstanding hotels, a renowned restaurant scene and so many things to do, Providence is the perfect place to visit. The city's compact size and convenient location make it easy to get to and hard to forget. Historic and hip, sophisticated and small-town, Providence packs the best of New England into one convenient and colorful package.
Rhode Island College Student Bucket List
While you're here attending college, there are some great things to see and do off campus - and that adds to the whole college experience. Remember, downtown Providence is less than 5 miles from campus (yes, freshmen may have cars on campus, and bus transportation is also available). In no particular order, you should try to see or do all of the items on the list before you graduate from Rhode Island College. A number of our suggestions are offered by Student Activities to RIC students and others are easy to do on your own.
RISD Museum of Art in Providence (over 80,000 works of art) - visit for free with your RIC ID courtesy of President Carriuolo, who purchases an institutional membership for RIC. Nearly 800 faculty, staff, and students had a free visit last year.
Del's Lemonade - though not the state drink (coffee milk is), this frozen lemonade is a RI tradition and you've got to try it. We serve it at our Spring Party for admitted freshmen.
WaterFire Providence - Bonfires are installed on three rivers several times a month from May to October with music, multiple entertainment venues, and you'll even spot gondolas on the rivers. The Waterfire basin is located in Waterplace Park, home to outdoor concerts and performances.
Bank of America Skating Rink - twice the size of Rockefeller Plaza's rink in NYC and right in downtown Providence!
Beaches - With more than 100 public and private beaches in Rhode Island, it will take you a while to check them out - but do see as many as you can.
Big Blue Bug - Take a picture to send home of the world's largest bug, located on RT 95S in Providence on the roof of New England Pest Control. It's a big blue termite, 58 feet long and 928 times actual termite size.
“The Dunk” - Attend a concert or sporting event at New England's premier events arena. Home to the AHL Providence Bruins, it is host to major concerts and various sporting events.
Broadway shows and plays - Take in a Broadway show at PPAC (Providence Performing Arts Center), a play at Trinity Rep or at one of the many theatre venues in Providence and throughout Rhode Island.
Providence Place Mall - Great shopping with over 170 stores like Nordstrom's, Hollister, Abercrombie, Sephora, Coach; 8 restaurants including Dave & Buster's, Johnny Rocket, P.F. Chang's, The Cheesecake Factory, and a 17-screen cinema with an IMAX theatre.
Explore Thayer Street on College Hill in Providence, where area college students love to hang out. Known for funky stores and cool places to eat.
Newport - Less than an hour from campus, Newport is a must-see with great beaches, lively waterfront downtown, tours of spectacular mansions, Tennis Hall of Fame.
Roger Williams Park Zoo - The Boston Globe named it the finest zoo in New England. This 40 acre urban gem is located in Providence.
Ferry to Block Island - 12 miles off our coast for a day of bicycling or beach on a picturesque island, still part of Rhode Island.
Eat - well over 700 restaurants just in Providence - too many places, too little time. You'll find all kinds of cuisine in RI which reflects our rich cultural diversity. One well-known area is Federal Hill (minutes from campus), known as "Little Italy".
Go sailing (or learn to sail) - right in Providence at the Community Boating Center.
PawSox - Pawtucket, RI is home to the Paw Sox, Minor league Triple A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox - catch a game!
Check out RI historical "firsts" - Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI, where the Industrial Revolution began; Touro Synagogue in Newport, the nation's first synagogue; First Baptist Church of America in Providence, really, the very first.
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