Welcome to Providence, RI
Dear Danielle Jessup and Elizabeth Lane,
Thank you for considering Providence, RI for the NEAFCS 2023 Annual Conference. We want you to know that the health and safety of our visitors and event attendees are of the utmost importance to the PWCVB. Over the past few months, our hospitality community has moved quickly in response to COVID-19. Hotels, venues, restaurants and industry partners throughout the state have developed and implemented new safety measures, such as enhanced cleaning practices, plans for social distancing, mask requirements and more. We remain committed to working hard to offer you peace of mind during your stay.
We look forward to showing you more of our city and working with you on your event.
Anissa Ladd, CASE
*** Please note that most photos and videos on this site were taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and do not reflect current social distancing practices. ***
Accessibility and ease are the hallmarks of the Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC). Centrally located in the heart of Providence, just off Interstate 95, the RICC is within one mile of 2,800 hotel rooms. It is attached via skybridge to the 14,000-seat Dunkin’ Donuts Center arena on one side and to the 564-room Omni Providence on the other. The Omni is also conveniently connected to the Providence Place Mall.
Total Number of Rooms Within One Mile of Rhode Island Convention Center: 2,800
- 167,000 sq. ft. of event space
- 100,000-sq.-ft. exhibition hall
- 20,000-sq.-ft. ballroom
- 37,000 sq. ft. of meeting space
- 30,000 sq. ft. of registration/pre-function space
Rhode Island is easy to reach by car, train or plane. Situated between Boston and New York, RI is conveniently located within 300 miles of 15% of the U.S. population. For those driving into the destination, Interstate 95 runs straight through Providence (and the entire state).
Once here, the Providence area offers ample car rental, rideshare, taxi, limousine and charter bus options. The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (known as RIPTA) provides public bus transportation throughout the state.
Providence is located on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor route, which runs from Boston to Washington, D.C. and back. High-speed Acela service easily transports passengers from New York City to Providence in about two hours and 30 minutes. The Providence train station is located in the center of downtown.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) runs low-cost, round-trip rail service from Boston to downtown Providence and to Warwick's T.F. Green International Airport.
Warwick's T.F. Green International Airport (PVD) is only 10 minutes from Providence, right off of Interstate 95. The airport is easily accessible to Boston, Cape Cod and Southeastern New England, and is a popular alternative to Boston's Logan Airport. T.F. Green offers convenient connecting options to the rest of the world and was recently named "4th Best Airport in the U.S." in Condé Nast Traveler's 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards.
Providence is a foodie's dream, with an abundance of dining options available throughout the city's neighborhoods, featuring a diverse selection of cuisines, price points and levels of service. Renowned culinary educator Johnson & Wales University is located in Providence, and local restaurants are fortunate to have many of the school's graduates on staff.
Downtown Providence is compact and easy to navigate, and most restaurants are within a short walk of the city's hotels. The downtown restaurant scene has earned steady praise from national media outlets, in no small part due to its innovative chefs, and an emphasis on using fresh and often local ingredients. Three rivers flow through the downtown area, providing lovely paths to stroll along before or after dinner.
Providence's Federal Hill neighborhood features more than 100 restaurants, boutiques, galleries and specialty food markets. And, while the city's rich Italian influence clearly still thrives there, Federal Hill also offers a wide range of other culinary choices, such as Asian, Mexican and Lebanese.
From the flickering streetlamps lining Benefit Street to the vast and storied halls of Brown University, Providence's early history is lovingly preserved on the East Side. The neighborhood is also cool and modern, replete with restaurants that reflect the edgy, hipster vibe of the renowned Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
Providence is home to an assortment of shopping options from fun and quirky local shops to popular national chains. Connected to the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Omni Providence, Providence Place Mall offers visitors more than 170 shopping, dining and entertainment choices. Funky urban chic can be found at any one of the many shops on Thayer and Wickenden streets, both on the city's East Side. Browse through hip clothing and houseware stores throughout downtown, elegant boutiques in Wayland Square and a variety of specialty food and clothing shops on Federal Hill.
Garden City Center, in nearby Cranston, RI, offers a mix of sophisticated shops, eateries and boutiques. Located just 10 minutes from Providence, its charming village design invites open-air shopping for all seasons. Warwick, RI is home to miles of retail options along Route 2, including Warwick Mall.
Looking for things to do during your free time? Providence is home to several museums, including the RISD Museum, part of the famed Rhode Island School of Design; the John Brown House Museum, a landmark from the 18th century; and the Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum, an American National Historic Landmark.
Head to Roger Williams Park and explore the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, the state's only natural history museum and public planetarium. Or spend the day at Roger Williams Park Zoo, home to more than 150 species of animals living in naturalistic settings. The zoo is also well known for its conservation and education programs. While at Roger Williams Park, take a peek at some of the beautiful blooms at the Botanical Center, New England's largest public indoor display gardens. Theater lovers will want to catch a show at the Providence Performing Arts Center or Trinity Rep. History buffs may want to spend an afternoon on a guided tour on land or on the water.
The Providence and Warwick region is home to nine college and university campuses and is an epicenter of higher education. Among them, Brown University and its Alpert Medical School, the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, culinary arts leader Johnson & Wales University, and athletic powerhouse Providence College. The presence of these educational institutions infuses the city with a creative, intellectual energy and a youthful vibe.
Meeting and convention planners are often tasked with finding knowledgeable and engaging speakers, who are experts in their chosen fields. The PWCVB created the Rhode Island Speaker Directory to streamline this process for planners.
Rhode Island’s wealth of educational and innovative resources, including numerous colleges and universities, a thriving health care industry, and notable corporate headquarters makes it a natural home to a well-rounded array of potential speakers. The Rhode Island Speaker Directory links planners with these experts across a variety of fields and academic disciplines, who live and/or work in the state.
Providence is brimming with intellectual capital. Leaders in information technology, health care and science comprise the “innovation district” of Providence-based research and bioscience technology companies.
Providence is home to several nationally recognized teaching hospitals. The area serves as an incubator, with numerous small businesses and microbusinesses emerging. The state has implemented a number of incentives to attract new sectors, retain existing businesses and spur redevelopment. Providence is also a financial hub with a number of notable corporations basing their international business headquarters within or close to the city. Click here to see which leading companies call Rhode Island home.
A number of exciting new hotel projects, coupled with some re-energized downtown development, are on the horizon for Providence. The city and state are developing a comprehensive plan for reclaimed land in the downtown area, due to the relocation of Interstate 195. This new center for innovation will be the future home to start-up businesses, spurring development, energizing the community, and offering a host of incentive programs, tax credits and other initiatives.
The Rhode Island Nursing Education Center opened at South Street Landing, just adjacent to this reclaimed space. The school serves students from the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College. The building was extensively redeveloped after formerly housing the South Street Power Plant. This unique project involves three of Rhode Island’s leading educational institutions, as it is also home to some of Brown University’s administrative offices.
Construction of the Johnson & Wales Engineering School, which houses the School of Engineering & Design and a new biology program, was also recently completed.
Sustainable and environmentally sound business practices continue to be important to the meetings industry. The Rhode Island Convention Center has incorporated green initiatives into its day-to-day operations, including convenient public recycling bins for attendees and staff, energy efficient lighting and much more.