"What a great place to live!" Top 5 Page for this destination Providence by Bunsch

Providence Travel Guide: 281 reviews and 485 photos

Thirty years sure makes a difference

When our family relocated to Providence from Detroit, I was excited about living close to the ocean again -- not to mention close to skiing, close to great theater (I thought I'd have to go to New York for it, though), close to places that were special to me. But I wasn't excited about Providence itself, which had little charm. Over the past twenty years, though, the city has experienced a dramatic renaissance. It began with the river relocation, construction of the river walks, and the nearly wholesale restoration/renovation/reconstruction of much of the downcity area. Now Providence is a destination community, crammed with artists, new downtown living options, great restaurants, exciting cultural events, a major downtown mall...and it is STILL close to the ocean, close to skiing, etc. I've had opportunities to move, and haven't accepted them, because I love coming home. The picture is a day-light view of the city's signature event, WaterFire, created by Barnaby Evans, a colleague in Leadership Rhode Island. During the late spring through early fall, our rivers are "lit" -- Barnaby's multimedia event draws thousands to the waterfront.

A city full of higher education

Probably most people think of Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design as being associated with Providence, but they're hardly the only games in town. Johnson & Wales University, Providence College, and Rhode Island College also educate thousands of students. Many of these colleges and universities offer opportunities for residents to take or audit courses, and their vast resources (libraries, museums, theater, dance and music programs, etc.) are available to the community. Our mayors have negotiated a program in which all these institutions make significant contributions to the city -- not just in terms of payments in lieu of taxes, but also in sharing the educational wealth (ideas and people) with the city's school system. That benefits everyone!

We have (and love) our quirks

How many cities cherish a giant termite? Or insist on giving directions featuring landmarks which no longer exist? Folks in Rhode Island are absolutely addicted to Dunkin' Donuts -- there are more shops here, per capita, than anywhere in the world. There is a bit of pride about being a city built on seven hills, like someplace in Italy. People here have summer homes that are only twenty or thirty minutes away from their primary residences! Rhode Island operates like a city-state; in fact, it is substantially smaller than many counties elsewhere. We only have one statewide newspaper; in Providence, the entire City Council membership is Democratic. We celebrate St. Patrick's Day (March 17) and St. Joseph's Day (March 19) almost as state holidays, since a large percentage of the population is of Irish or Italian descent (and overwhelming Roman Catholic).

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Walkable, great restaurants, educational/cultural stuff
  • Cons:High taxes, high cost of living generally
  • In a nutshell:"The universal haven of the odd, the free and the dissenting" (H.P. Lovecraft)
  • Intro Updated Jun 28, 2012
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Reviews (89)

Comments (25)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Nice page

    • Bunsch's Profile Photo
      Apr 11, 2013 at 7:45 AM

      Hi, Jim. Thanks for visiting and rating some of my Providence pages. I hope that means you're thinking of a visit...such a terrific town!

  • giampiero6's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    Thoroughly enjoyed this walk down memory lane. I fondly remember Providence. Thanks!

  • ATLC's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2010 at 12:14 AM

    I so enjoyed reading your page! Informative, humorous and personal. Like me you add lots of foody stuff. And I see you've been (window)shopping recently ;-) You did good by posting on the Forum, because I really like coming across your VT page.

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2008 at 8:24 AM

    Page is looking great.... and delicious!!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2008 at 1:00 PM

    Me again, just checking back to read the new tips that you have added since May 17, 2007, which was the last time I looked at this page. I'm sure I would enjoy those free summer opera performances --despite the occasional interruptions for fire trucks.

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Jul 17, 2008 at 5:33 AM

    Nice Page!

  • Callavetta's Profile Photo
    May 17, 2008 at 5:21 PM

    Headed to Providence in a couple of weeks. I don't know how we'll decide which of these tempting restaurants to choose!

  • BillNJ's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2008 at 1:51 PM

    Great tips and photos on Providence. Would love to try one of those frozen lemonades! Best from New Jersey, Bill

  • brkilbourne's Profile Photo
    Dec 26, 2007 at 10:15 AM

    Your candid view of Providence reminds me of Savannah, GA . Looks like a great place.

  • bilgeez's Profile Photo
    Dec 17, 2007 at 8:10 AM

    Yeah, Providence made the type of Renaissance Detroit wish it had made. Good choice to leave Motown! it sucks! I´m glad I left, too! Detroit has a lot of nice things, but a lot of awful things, too! Not worth staying there!

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