Omni Providence Hotel
1 West Exchange Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903

48 Hours in Providence

Providence may be the capital of the smallest state in the union, but there is nothing tiny about the cultural punch this city packs. Whether you’re winding along the river’s edge or picking up the pace across the campus of local Brown University, this is one urban sprawl that is most enjoyable by foot. And don’t forget the impressive architectural, historical and artistic components that make Providence great.

With a stay at Omni Providence Hotel, you’ll be right in the heart of the city’s downtown sector, perfect for exploring the best eats, drinks and activities Providence has to offer.

Day One

Morning

Start out your Providence experience with breakfast at Centro Restaurant, the hotel’s on-site Italian eatery. While you won’t find many Italian dishes on the morning menu, you’ll find traditional bites like omelets, eggs Benedict and luxurious chocolate chip pancakes as well as a breakfast buffet.

Should you decide to venture off-property instead, visit Small Point Café. This quaint joint features an eclectic, homey interior, complete with hanging plants and jewel-toned rugs. Dine on a selection of breakfast sandwiches or savor light bites like a yogurt and granola parfait, a fruit cup or a boiled egg.

Take a stroll over the river once you finish eating, and you’ll find yourself right next to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. This world-renowned art museum is comprised of five different buildings displaying ancient and contemporary art, including everything from photographs and textiles to sculptures and drawings.

Afternoon

A short distance away from the hotel is the State House, the active seat of Rhode Island’s government and a must-visit attraction for architectural and history buffs. The impressive building features the world’s fourth largest self-supporting dome and numerous pieces of American art and artifacts.

For lunch, try the popular and casual Rogue Island Local Kitchen and Bar. Located in the nearby financial district, this approachable farm-to-table restaurant features a “scratch” kitchen and an ever-changing menu highlighting ingredients from the local food system. There’s also a great selection of local craft beers as well as bottomless mimosas and bloody marys.

Another fantastic option is Nick’s on Broadway. This trendy West End eatery serves a crave-worthy brunch and if you are lucky enough to get a seat at the polished wood counter, you’ll have a truly memorable experience with a front row seat of the fast-paced open-kitchen.

After lunch, check out the historic Providence Athenaeum. This library and cultural center has been a gathering place for illustrious writers and spirited thinkers since the early 1800s. In addition to being a shining example of a public library, the Athenaeum has a children’s library, musical events, speaking events and much more.

Evening

After freshening up back at the hotel, head to the nearby Federal Hill district for dinner at Siena Restaurant. With a lively environment and traditional Tuscan fare, guests will feel right at home ordering everything from the signature tasting boards to pasta, seafood, grilled pizza, antipasti and more.

A few blocks away, Camille's Restaurant, a Rhode Island dining landmark since 1914, offers classic Italian dishes in an upscale ambiance. Pasta dishes like linguini with calamari and shrimp grace the menu alongside items like chicken Parmesan, six-cheese ravioli, grilled salmon and beef carpaccio.

Before you leave the Federal Hill area, take in your surroundings. This area is also known as Little Italy, as you may have guessed from the dining options, so you’ll want to check out the numerous bakeries, show stores, wine shops, dessert counters and coffee roasters.

Those that enjoy going to the movies will be thrilled with a visit to Avon Cinema. Housed in a vintage, art deco theater, Avon Cinema typically screens independent and foreign films along with documentaries so you’ll be sure to see something not easily found at other theaters.

If you prefer a livelier end to the evening, head to The Whiskey Republic. Owned by the famous Boston band, The Dropkick Murphy’s, this part Irish pub, part sports bar, part concert venue is a popular evening hot spot with the locals.

Day Two

Morning

In the nearby historic neighborhood of Federal Hill you’ll find the authentic Italian café, Café Dolce Vita. This popular all-day eatery offers traditional and contemporary dishes in a very hip environment. Try the lemon poppy seed pancakes with raspberry butter or create your own frittata.

After breakfast, take in some of the local history. First, pay a visit to the Stephen Hopkins House, a National Historic Landmark and the former home of a Rhode Island governor (and signer of the Declaration of Independence) that has been converted into a museum. Explore the antiques and heirlooms still within as you explore eight rooms, including those where George Washington slept during a visit.

A few blocks south, you'll find the John Brown House Museum, an 18th century mansion that once belonged to a merchant and politician. Take a tour with a docent or set out on the hour-long self-guided tour. During the summer, the local historical society also leads walking tours of the area that leave from the mansion.

Afternoon

When it’s time for lunch, try the Rhode Island seafood classic, Hemenway’s. Enjoy views of the Providence skyline while sampling a variety of the freshest seafood at the much acclaimed raw bar. Favorites include the signature shellfish platter, local oysters, Rhode Island clam chowder and the whole roasted fish of the day.
Or visit the Malted Barley, a downtown craft beer bar with an impressive selection of beers on tap as well as American bottled craft brews. The menu features freshly rolled pretzels as well as salads and sandwiches.

Depending on the season, you can spend your afternoon in a variety of ways. During the summer, head to the waterfront Bold Point Park to take in scenic views—and stick around for the summer concert series. Or, in the winter, visit the Alex and Ani City Center, host to the Providence Rink, where you can ice skate under the city skyscrapers.

But, no matter if it’s summer, spring, winter or fall, Omni Providence Hotel has got you covered, offering a year-round heated pool, whirlpool and sauna in a luxurious space for a little rest and relaxation during your vacation.

Evening

When it comes to fine dining, Gracie's is the perfect choice. The perfect blend of formal and comfortable, this classic eatery focuses on local meat and produce with an ever-changing menu. Design your own meal a la carte, or enjoy a three-course prix fixe menu, though the chef offers special tasting menus ranging from five and nine courses as well.

Or, look no farther than your hotel where you’ll find Fleming’s Steakhouse Providence. Along with an award-wining wine list, the menu features prime steaks like the hand-cut bone-in rib eye and the chef-recommended live Maine lobster.

Once twilight rolls around, head to the river for WaterFire, the city’s signature event. The fire-filled sculpture installation by Barnaby Evans takes place on three rivers throughout downtown on select weekends, creating a marvelous spectacle to enjoy on your last night in town.

Stop at Rooftop at the Providence G on the way back to the hotel. This year-round lounge offers unparalleled views of the city lights with fire pits and signature cocktails to keep you warm. From the Rooftop Spritzer, which comes with a Champagne ice pop, to the bourbon and Grand Marnier-filled Roaming Buffalo, there is something for everyone to sip before the night ends.

If you have more time...

Head south to the Roger Williams Park Zoo. One of the oldest in the country, you’ll see everything from bison and snow leopards to red pandas, river otters and Masai giraffe. Enjoy the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride in the summer as well; this seated zip line whisks guests over the zoo.

Because New England is known for its quaint lighthouses, take a tour of some of the local lights, like the Pomham Rocks Lighthouse in East Providence or the Conimicut Lighthouse in nearby Warwick.

Or, hop on the ferry to visit Newport, Rhode Island. Only an hour away by water, the area is home to white sand beaches, Gilded Age mansions, vineyards, an old military fort, cultural festivals and museums on topics like art, tennis, history and literature.

The Omni Providence Hotel concierge team contributed to this article.

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