Holiday shopping is not for the faint of heart. Jostling crowds, long lines and traffic jams can turn even the jolliest elf into an instant Ebenezer. Lose your Scrooge and take the humbug out of holiday shopping by planning a day exploring Providence’s many different and dynamic neighborhoods.
For a Cool Yule
Begin your day on the West Side with a coffee and Morning Glory Muffin from Saint Monday on West Fountain Street. Walk a couple of blocks over to Broadway and check out some hip vintage finds from Rocket to Mars and Hall’s on Broadway. Pick up a Jump bike or a Bird scooter and head downtown to Washington Street for lunch at Tom’s BaoBao or a beer at The Malted Barley. Head over to Westminster Street to check out more vintage finds at The Vault Collective, then it’s over to the Arcade for unique treasures at Carmen & Ginger and Lovecraft Arts & Sciences (dedicated to all things H.P. Lovecraft). After all that power shopping, it’s time to treat yourself. End your day on Thayer Street by wiping out virtual bad guys at Base Station Virtual Reality Lounge and enjoy some good ‘cue at Durk’s Bar-B-Q.
For a Celebration of Culture
Most families are a blend of cultural traditions and so are Providence’s neighborhoods. For holiday meals sure to please, start the day in the Broad Street neighborhood with coffee and a breakfast sandwich at Amore Espresso Gelato Bar. Then, take a quick trip to the New Asian Market, where the staff is great at helping to select the perfect spices and seasonings. It’s a short jaunt over to the Elmwood area and Armando & Sons Meat Market, a full-service butcher and grocery store. All this food shopping would make anyone hungry and there’s no better place to indulge than Federal Hill. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at Massimo, then make your way up Atwells Avenue to pick up fresh pasta from Venda Ravioli, authentic Italian sfogliatelle from Scialo Bros. Bakery, and cheese from Tony’s Colonial. Suffering from holiday burnout? Skip the cooking altogether and opt for the delicious convenience of Roma’s catering menu.
For a Kid-Tastic Holiday
The holidays are really meant for children, so why not take the kids along for the day? Start with a hot chocolate and the yummy ricotta toast at Sydney and then take a quick walk over to the RISD Museum. Be sure to pop into their incredible gift shop to score a few presents. Amble up to the East Side, stopping for a slice at Hope Street Pizza. There’s plenty of fun finds at nearby shops like Frog & Toad, J Marcel, Rhody Craft and Studio Hop. Wind your way downtown to try the ice bumper cars at the Alex and Ani City Center. If your young ones aren’t too tired, end the day with customized burgers, shakes and tots at Luxe Burger Bar.
For a Season With Style
Some people like more than a little holiday sparkle. For a season with sophistication and style, start your day on Wickenden Street with crepes at The Duck & Bunny, then pick up a bottle of bubbly for that New Year’s Eve toast at Campus Fine Wines. It’s a quick hop over to Wayland Square to check out the sumptuous home furnishings and gifts at Wendy Brown Home and the fine jewelry at Reliable Gold. Stop for a lovely lunch at The Salted Slate and then pamper yourself at Alayne White Spa or Whole You Beauty Studio. Continue on to the Jewelry/Innovation District for a night on the town with an elegant dinner at CAV and a nightcap at Point Street Dueling Pianos.
For a New England Winter Wonderland
From the hope of snow to the comfort of a warm cup of cocoa, the holidays are a special time in New England. Providence is the birthplace of the diner, so begin your day with eggs and a cup o’ joe at the West Side Diner. Head down into the Jewelry/Innovation District for a kids-eye view of the many people who immigrated to Rhode Island at the Providence Children’s Museum. Stop for lunch at Providence institution Olga’s Cup & Saucer. Walk off your lunch by exploring the city’s Mile of History on Benefit Street, featuring “don’t-miss” stops like the Providence Athenaeum and the John Brown House. Loop back downtown and delight in a great steak dinner at the country’s first Capital Grille and then go cheer on the Pats/Bruins/Celts with a pint at the legendary local landmark Murphy’s. Wrap up your night in the most Rhode Island way possible — with three “all the way” and a coffee milk at Olneyville New York System.