I try not to be too biased about my love for Providence, Rhode Island even though it was a place I called home for five years and a city that I travel to often. There’s something quite magical about this area that has left a lingering feeling in my soul ever since I first visited there way back in 2004.
Providence, for some reason, still doesn’t get the respect it deserves in my eyes. They are like the Rodney Dangerfield of the New England area as it sometimes gets bypassed for more well-known gay options like Boston and Provincetown, Massachusetts.
I’m here to tell you that it is a place you need to stop in should you be traveling to the Northeast this fall and beyond. COVID may have changed some things about this beloved place but what remains the same is a city that is filled with a ton of heart within the smallest state in the union.
Where to begin. The downtown part of Providence has come a long way over the past 30 years. It is a scenic masterpiece as the area has so many different visuals of what makes a space so beautiful. There’s tons of lush greenery seen throughout, notably outside of its beautiful train station and down by where Johnson & Wales University is, but there’s also stunning bodies of water that just adds on to the tranquil presence this city brings.
The food scene, as a card-carrying bear, is something that I am always drawn too. You basically have everything you could ever want at your fingertips. There are fantastic places to eat all around the city but one spot that is still near and dear to my heart is Thayer Street which is a popular destination for students from all the local universities to socialize at. Plus you get to see a ton of eye candy as you make your way through the area! Score!
If you’re jonesing for Greek then Andrea’s will satisfy all your Mediterranean needs. You can span the world in just a couple of steps outside of Andrea’s as Thayer also provides the best of the best in Indian (Kabob and Curry), Korean (Den Den Korean Fried Chicken), Mexican (Baja’s Taqueria) and more. If you are a lover of all things Italian then get in your car and head to the colorful DePasquale Square which legit transports you from Provi to the boot-shaped country in an instant with its ambiance and array of fab restaurants.
When you travel you shop. It’s kind of par for the course and Providence has you covered in that area. The Providence Place Mall is freaking huge, like Donald Trump saying UGEEEEEEEE. The size of it might be startling to some however it’s a great place to kill an afternoon as every single store you could possibly want is there not to mention a delicious food court all the way at the top and several other eateries available at your disposal (Auntie Anne’s for me thank you very much).
You’ll also need a great place to stay unless you’ve found a “buddy” to crash with during your time in Providence. Enter The Dean Hotel! It’s a beautifully set up space located in the middle of it all where you won’t need a cab or an Uber to get to your favorite restaurant or bar. The customer service there is incredible and the rooms are quite spacious with a big and comfy bed for you to sleep in at night.
Also, and I can’t stress this enough, the LGBTQ nightlife here is phenomenal. As a gay kid growing up in conservative Long Island it was the first time where I felt like I could be my authentic self. That’s how amazing Providence was and continues to be when it comes to what it has done for our community. The Stable, Dark Lady, Alley Cat, Providence Eagle and the Mirabar are some of the pillars that make up this wonderful area.
Here are some more fun things for you to peruse should you be thinking about heading to Providence:
New Bar Alert: The George
Inspired by its location on Washington Street, Rhode Island’s colonial heritage and George Washington’s four visits to Rhode Island, The George on Washington Street is ready to welcome you. They offer classic American fare with some elevated comfort food. All in a contemporary setting with nods to the state’s historic past. Their piano lounge and dining room will offer an atmosphere to be enjoyed by all. Plus it is gay-owned! Yay. www.thegeorge-onwashington.com
Drive-Through Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular
Citizens presents a drive-through Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo October 1 – November 1, 2020. Celebrate Special Places while staying safe inside your car enjoying thousands of intricately carved pumpkins as you immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the Halloween season. https://www.rwpzoo.org/jols
Providence Ghost Tour
Held every Saturday through October. The tours have been limited to eight per tour and offers an intimate walk around Providence to hear some haunting stories about famous past residents who might just happen to still be around.
Virtual Drag Brunch
Enjoy all the fabulousity of what a drag brunch is from the comfort of your own home with local talent Haley Star, La Diva Jonz, and Jacqueline Dimera. https://www.facebook.com/haleystar
Not convinced just yet? Check out Visit Providence’s official page for more information.