living in little rhody
Providence, the capital of Rhode Island, is a city known by many names: the Creative Capital, the Renaissance City, the Divine City. It is home to several universities including Brown University, Providence College, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Rhode Island College, and Johnson & Wales University. Despite being the smallest state in the US, Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State thanks to its 400 miles of coastline–the state is actually 3% larger at low tide!
Roger Williams founded Providence in 1636 as a refuge from Puritan intolerance. It has grown into a modern cosmopolitan hub with outstanding emphasis on the arts, culinary innovation, business, research, and education while retaining its legacy of tolerance, inclusion and diversity. Providence is considered to be one of the top 20 most diverse cities in the U.S. across three key metrics: race and ethnicity, language, and birthplace. In fact, as of 2017, 49% of Providence’s population spoke at least one language other than English. Providence also ranks in the top 5 LGBTQ-friendliest cities. The state also serves as an active refugee resettlement site that hosts people from all over the world, and has one of the largest Liberian communities in the country. In sum, the state celebrates a rich and diverse cultural history.
Rhode Island is situated in the heart of New England, allowing easy access to neighboring states and cities including NYC and Boston. Combined with all the outdoor activities you could imagine, Rhode Island is an awesome place to be!
WHERE WE LIVE
Providence has many awesome neighborhoods to live: the East Side, which is further divided into Fox Point, College Hill, Wayland Square, Mount Hope, Blackstone, and Hope Village; Downtown; Federal Hill and the West End; and more. Plus there are many other great smaller towns nearby including East Providence, Pawtucket, Cranston, Pawtuxet Village, Warwick, Barrington, and Bristol, just to name a few. Most residents prefer to rent, but many have bought homes in the past.
“The East Side of Providence is such a lovely part of town. I live just a block from my favorite restaurant, Hometown Poké, and I walk there for dinner at least once a week. And I also live near a high school and middle school where I play tennis everyday in the summer. It’s so nice, plus I live down the street from the governor! Also, one of my favorite things to do is to watch the sunset at Prospect Terrace Park near Brown’s undergrad campus.” -Vivian Shi, PGY4
“We love the East Side! We spent the first two years of residency living in Fox Point and then moved to Wayland Square. My wife and I love being able to walk everywhere: lots of restaurants, coffee shops, Whole Foods, whatever you need. We’ve even got a community garden plot at the Fox Point Community Garden! Plus we take salsa classes at Brown! And best of all, Dr. Berk lives in my neighborhood—what else could I possibly need?!” -Matt Lorenz, MP Core Faculty
“I live in downtown Providence and it is awesome! I live in a high-rise apartment building and have a 2 bed/2 bath apartment with lots of windows and natural light. The building has great amenities like a pool, gym, putting green, and outdoor grills. It is great for entertaining. My favorite parts of living downtown are 1) being so close to the hospital – I can be there in 5 minutes, and 2) living within walking distance of so many amazing restaurants and attractions. On my days off, I like spending time with my husband and my family nearby in Massachusetts, going to the beach, and exploring the Rhode Island food scene!” -Lindsey Mahoney, PGY4
“My favorite things about Federal Hill are two-fold. First, tons of restaurants and a lot of things to do at night. Such a fun vibe that caters to older professionals, which I love. Lots of great brunch spots, lots of great coffee shops. Second, it’s very close to work but doesn’t feel that close—I love that degree of separation while still being able to bike to work. And yes, biking to the hospital is super convenient—just 8 to 10 minutes—it’s great! And speaking of biking, my favorite thing to do on a day off is exploring the bike paths nearby. The East Bay Bike Path is very nice, very fun, with cute restaurants and shops toward the end. The Washington Secondary Trail starts in Cranston and goes all the way to Coventry as a rail trail. A great place for bikes!” -Cam Ulmer, PGY2
“I live in East Providence, not to be confused with the East Side of Providence. What I love about East Providence is the diversity of the neighborhood—I’m sandwiched between retired Portuguese couples with East African families across the street. Very family friendly, lots of kids playing outside. I also like that it’s very proximal to the East Bay Bike Path (pictured above!) It takes me about the same amount of time to get to work by bike as by car. And then what I like to do for fun is any avenue that I can engage with the outdoors. I’ve recently been enjoying kayaking, golfing, and camping. Favorite spots in Rhode Island include the Swan Point Cemetery—I love the history there and the walk along the river there makes you feel like you’re just totally away from it all.” -Fritz Siegert, PGY3
“I live in Central Falls and I love it! I live in a loft style apartment, and rent is very reasonable for a big 2 BR / 2 BA apartment. Before COVID times, we loved to have people over. Even though some people think that Central Falls might be “far,” it’s only 10 minutes away from the hospital with no traffic—classic Rhode Island. On days off, I love exploring RI, whether it be new beaches or parks (Lincoln Woods!), finding new bakeries (Wright’s Dairy Farm!) or good eats (Butterbang Croissants!), and spending time with my husband. I also am really into Les Mills workout classes; I used to go to Body Pump at the Brown Gym, but now I do online Les Mills classes with a group of residents on zoom!” -Ann Ding, PGY4
“Right now I live in North Providence. Everyone thinks it’s far, but it’s just 10-15 minutes away. I live in a condo converted from one of the old mills, which is surrounded by a beautiful area near the Woonasquatucket River. I love having people over for dinner! There’s a bike path and greenway nearby, so it’s a great place to hang out. And on days off I love being near the water so you’ll find me down in India Point Park.” -Ruth Cadet, PGY2
- THE FOOD! THE FOOOOOOOOOOD!! Providence has AMAZING food!!! (And everyone has an opinion on where you should go next!)
- James Beard-nominated chefs? Bon Appetit’s best of the best? Check out Oberlin, North, Big King, Nick’s On Broadway, Persimmon, Aleppo Sweets–the list goes on!
- Seafood? Head to Dune Brothers, Blount Clam Shack, Hemenway’s, Waterman Grille, Bywater, and Matunuck Oyster Bar!
- Sweet tooth? Check out Pastiche, Three Sisters, Knead Donuts, Seven Stars Bakery, Cafe Madrid, Kow Kow, and Tricycle Ice Cream!
- Coffee lover? Check out Coffee Exchange, Dave’s Coffee, The Shop, White Electric, L’Artisan Cafe, Bolt Coffee, New Harvest, and Blue State Coffee!
- And, of course, be sure to try some of Rhode Island’s own delicacies: clam cakes, stuffies, coffee milk, Awful Awfuls (short for “awful big, awful good”), Del’s lemonade, and hot wieners, just to name a few!
- Fun fact: Johnson & Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts trains some of the country’s greatest chefs, many of whom open restaurants right here in Providence!
- Given the beautiful landscapes and 400 miles of coastline, Rhode Islanders spend a lot of time outside. And why not—there’s so much to see and do!
- For those who are interested in sailing, you can take lessons right on Providence Harbor—just across from the hospital! Or head down to Newport and hop on a sailboat for a sunset cruise around the bay.
- Lots of beautiful parks in and around Providence, including India Point Park, Blackstone Park, Lippitt Park, Prospect Terrace, Swan Point Cemetery, Lincoln Woods, Roger Williams Park & Zoo, Neutaconkanut Park, and Colt State Park!
- Multiple hiking trails and bike paths, including the East Bay Bike Path that winds around Narragansett Bay, offer beautiful views of the state.
- Travel down to the southern coast to enjoy Rhode Island’s incredible beaches. You might see Roger Auth, MP Class of 2021 and now MICU fellow extraordinaire, surfing in the early mornings before work!
- Check out the Wicked Tulips Flower Farm or head to Simmons Farm for a goat hike (or goat yoga!)
- Take a ferry to Block Island for a day of sun on the beach watching the seals.
- Interested in kayaking? Grab a paddle and push off from Providence right into Narragansett Bay.
- Further north, you can go strawberry picking in early summer and apple picking in the fall. And don’t miss the incredible year-round farmers markets!
- Art permeates every aspect of the Rhode Island community. Providence, the Creative Capital, has one of the country’s premier art schools in the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The RISD museum has one of the most revered art collections in the country.
- The Waterfire Arts Center features monthly exhibitions of local artists, weekly music events, and seasonal art fairs. Check out TroopTop Thursdays in the summers with outdoor bar and dining, live music, and art—truly a perfect combination!
- Providence has incredible public murals, many of which were commissioned by The Avenue Concept–check out the walking tour!
- From Brown University’s College Hill to the mansions along Newport’s cliffs, Rhode Island’s architecture is simply stunning. Don’t believe us? Just ask Architectural Digest who’s best.
- Every year, Broadway stops at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Featuring musical favorites such as Wicked, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon, and Hamilton, you won’t run out of things to see!
- Providence hosts a number of events dedicated to the arts. From PVDfest to the Roger Williams Park Zoo’s Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular with over 5,000 incredibly carved pumpkins, there’s always something to look forward to!
- Want to get down? The Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival are two of the premier music festivals in the country, held annually every summer.
WaterFire centers around a series of nearly 100 bonfires that blaze just above the surface of the three rivers that pass through downtown Providence. The string of fires illuminates nearly two-thirds of a mile of urban public spaces and parks, allowing residents and visitors gather to stroll along the river, listening to music and watching performances. Boats pass quietly before the flames, as black-clad performers tend the fires from sunset to midnight. WaterFire is held May through November, typically on Saturday evenings.