Did you ever walk down the streets of Providence and wonder what once was? How about trying out some of the best eateries in the city? As the warmer weather approaches, plan a time to head outdoors and check out the city from a different perspective. Learn the history behind Benefit Street, stroll the downtown food scene or explore at your own pace with our self-guided historic walking tours.

Festival of Historic Houses
Historic Providence

The Providence Preservation Society presents the 39th annual Festival of Historic Houses on June 15 and 16, highlighting private homes in the Paterson Park neighborhood on the East Side. Paterson Park, home to author H.P. Lovecraft in his early years, showcases homes from the turn of the 20th century. For one day, Saturday, June 15, homeowners will open their homes to the public to admire their history, care and green spaces. Three additional guided walking tours are being offered on Sunday, June 16, focusing on H.P. Lovecraft, Gladys Potter and more. Tickets are available at ProvidenceHouseTour.com.

Benefit Street: A Mile of History
Benefit Street Fall

The Rhode Island Historical Society opens its walking tour season on June 15 with its signature Benefit Street: A Mile of History Tour. The tour runs Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from June 15 through Oct. 31 at 10 a.m. The Benefit Street tour departs from the John Brown House at 52 Power St. in Providence. Make sure to check their website for specialty tours happening throughout the season.

Rhode Island Red Food Tours
Cafe Nuovo Food

Enjoy one-of-a-kind food tastings from more than six establishments with the Downcity Providence Food Tour. This narrated, guided tour of the Downcity neighborhood lasts 3 ½ hours. Taste the flavors of some of the best restaurants in the country, while exploring the incredible architecture, art and history of our capital city. Tours run every Friday and Saturday, from May through November.

Historic Self-Guided Walking Tours
Historic Walk

The best part about self-guided walking tours is the ability to explore whenever you choose. GoProvidence, in partnership with the community, has developed four self-guided historic walking tours exploring different neighborhoods in the city, including Downtown, The East Side, The Jewelry District and The West Side. These are available in printed versions in our Visitor Center at 1 Sabin St., as well as online.

The warm weather brings a wealth of outdoor activities, events and festivals in Providence. Plan a weekend stay, eat at one of our many restaurants, and enjoy a little getaway. Follow Blog Providence and check our calendar of events to see all the fun things happening!

West Side Historic Walking Tour

Beyond Interstate 95 lies Providence’s West Side. A bridge arching over the interstate takes you into the city of immigrants and strivers, of industrialists in Broadway mansions and mill workers in cramped triple-deckers. The Colonial town, built on shipping and the slave trade, huddled along the Providence River. By the early 19th century, textile mills had changed the economy, the result of Eli Whitney’s cotton gin and Samuel Slater’s industrial espionage. The new manufacturing city spread across the low-lying flats of the Weybosset side and climbed the hills south of the Woonasquatucket River.

East Side Historic Walking Tour

Providence is and always was a place for the fiercely independent. The visionary leader Roger Williams established the city in 1636 as a haven for freedom of conscience, where all people could practice their own religious beliefs, a place where they were not merely tolerated, but enjoyed the right of true equality. Freedom of thought reigned, which opened the way for freedom of action.