Providence, Rhode Island seamlessly blends the urban sophistication of a big city with the graceful charm of a small town. Sightseers leisurely glide in gondolas on the Providence River, past gleaming office buildings. Cobblestone streets lead to some of the finest restaurants in the country. This unique mix once made Providence the star of its own self-titled television show and continues to entice thousands of visitors annually.
- Demographics: The population of Providence is 176,365, with the total population of Rhode Island at 1,076,164. Rhode Island measures about 35 miles wide by 47 miles tall, which is about the size of metropolitan Chicago. Centrally located along the Eastern Seaboard, Rhode Island is the only state completely surrounded by other New England states.
- Accessibility: Located at the intersection of I-95 and I-195, Providence is 40 miles from Boston (about a one hour car ride) and 185 miles from New York City (about three hours by car). Providence is also located along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor route, with the high speed Acela Express train service transporting passengers to and from New York City in about two and a half hours. Just ten minutes from downtown Providence, T.F. Green Airport offers non-stop service to more than 27 different markets across the country.
- Meeting Space and Hotels: At the heart of the city's bustling downtown is the Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC). Elegantly designed to complement the city's historic architecture, the RICC contains a 100,000 square foot exhibition hall, a 20,000 square foot ballroom, 23 meeting rooms and the all-glass Rotunda Room, a special function space overlooking the city. The RICC also includes an exhibitor's services center, state-of-the-art business center, superb in-house food service and ten loading docks with ramp access to the show floor.
Convenience and accessibility are RICC hallmarks. There are 5,500 hotel rooms in the Greater Providence area, with 1,700 of them within walking distance of the RICC. A 2,400-space parking garage is also connected to the facility, with a 13,500-seat civic arena conveniently situated right next door.
Larger hotels in the Providence area include:
· The Omni Providence (564 rooms)
· Marriott Providence (351 rooms)
· Providence Biltmore Hotel (309 rooms)
· Hilton Providence (274 rooms)
· Renaissance Providence - (272 rooms)
· Crowne Plaza Hotel Providence-Warwick – (266 rooms)
· Courtyard Downtown Marriott (216 rooms)
· Sheraton Providence Airport Hotel (206 rooms)
· Radisson Hotel – Providence Harbor (136 rooms)
· Radisson Airport Hotel – Providence (111 rooms)
Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown (110 rooms)
· Hotel Providence (80 rooms)
· Best Western Airport Inn (103 rooms)
· Comfort Inn Airport (201 rooms)
· Courtyard by Marriott - Warwick (92 rooms)
· Fairfield Inn – Providence/Warwick (115 rooms)
· Hampton Inn Providence/Warwick Airport (173 rooms)
· Hilton Garden Inn Providence Airport/ Warwick (160 rooms)
- Attractions: With a thriving arts district, a commitment to historical preservation, and a sophisticated nightlife, Providence offers a variety of entertainment options. The Bank of America Skating Center, located in the heart of the city, offers winter fun for the whole family. Tony award-winning Trinity Repertory Company draws throngs of theatergoers into the city. Children will delight in the sights and spectacles at the Roger Williams Park Zoo and the Providence Children's Museum.
One of Providence's most popular cultural events is WaterFire, a multi-sensory art installation, highlighted by a series of bonfiresinstalled on the three rivers of downtown Providence. The fragrant scent of aromatic wood smoke, the flickering firelight on the arched bridges, the silhouettes of the firetenders passing by the flames, the torch-lit vessels traveling down the river, and the enchanting music from across the world all engage the senses and emotions of those who stroll the paths and bridges of Waterplace Park. Held mostly in the warm weather months, WaterFire has drawn tens of thousands of people in a single evening.
Dining: Providence is one of the hottest culinary spots in the country. Home to the world's largest culinary educator, Johnson & Wales University, many students stay in the city after graduation. Providence has more degreed chefs per capita than any other city in the US. From authentic ethnic foods to seafood fresh from Narragansett Bay, the city offers a dazzling array of restaurants that will delight even the most discerning palate.
Shopping: Connected to the Rhode Island Convention Center and The Omni Providence, Providence Place offers visitors a mall with more than 170 shopping, dining and entertainment options. Funky urban chic can be found at one of the many boutiques on Thayer and Wickenden streets, both on the city's tony East Side. For those seeking one-of-a-kind items, risd/works is an innovative hybrid of retail store, gallery and design showroom featuring works from Rhode Island School of Design alumni and faculty.
- What They're Saying:
- Voted #3 in the US for food and #2 for theater - Travel + Leisure's 2010 "America's Favorite Cities" poll
- "Top Ten Up and Coming Travel Destinations in the World" – Wall Street Journal
- "One of the Top Ten Little Italys in America." – Mario Batali in USA Today about
- Providence's Federal Hill
- "Mecca for Tourism and the Arts" – New York Times
- "Divine . . . hosts an abundance of terrific places to eat." – Bon Appetit
- "The eclectic mix of old and new architecture had made Providence an ideal location to shoot television shows and movies." – OK Magazine
- "Providence has definitely gotten better with age." – Travel + Leisure
- "Major metropolitan areas like New York and San Francisco no longer have a monopoly on innovative chefs, food artisans, mixologists and other talents. Now these men and women are as likely to turn up in smaller cities like Providence." – Food and Wine