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From Main Street in the northern part of College Hill to Alves Way in the neighborhood of Fox Point, this street also called the 'Mile of History', truly is. In fact, Benefit Street had been a catalyst in the history of the city and state. Along the way visitors will see many Victorian and Colonial homes as well as the campus of Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. The street is filled with other historical attractions like the Providence Athenaeum, the First Baptist Church in America (literally) and the anachronistic John Brown and Nightingale Houses. If you choose to walk yourself, the Providence Preservation Society provides free pamphlets in order to guide you down the street.
Thayer Street is the main thoroughfare that runs along College Hill and its a popular spot with RISD, Brown and J&W University college students. Thayer has always been a part of the counter-culture college scene and most of the stores still remain fiercely independent despite a few chain brands like Starbucks along the way. Between Bowen and Waterman streets is where you'll find most of the restaurants and shops, stores such as Spectrum India and Pie in the Sky as well as several casual places to eat like East Side Pockets or Nice Slice. A couple of other highlights include the historic Avon Theater and the Brown University Bookstore.
Federal Hill has one of the most varied, historic and notorious reputations as a neighborhood could have in any city. Today it's filled with ritzy bars, restaurants, shops, apartments and entertainment, though it was not always this way. Throughout its history it has been a hotbed of rebellious activity. After the Revolutionary War, local Rhode Island constituents didn't want to ratify the constitution in 1788, but received the name from the fledgling Federalist nation anyway. Over the next two centuries, Irish and Italian immigrants moved to the hill; the latter proved to be more powerful and they indelibly marked it as the city's de facto Italian-American community. As you walk down Atwells Avenue, you'll definitely know where you are when you see La Pigna (the pine cone) under the gateway arch.