Attend services at this English decorated style church. Built in 1862 in open fields, the stone building is now in the center of Brown University located on the East Side of Providence. A peaceful country church feeling pervades the atmosphere of this gothic Middle Age structure. Music of the liturgy drifts into the high alcoves of Our Lady's Chapel. The Chapel affords east and west views, a reminder of parish diversity at St. Stephens. Daily Services, small weddings and funerals are held in the Chapel.
The Providence Performing Arts Center is the second largest theater in New England. It seats 3200 people and it originally opened as a Loew's movie theater in 1928. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places after its 1977 renovation. In this baroquely elegant space, the stage is set for Broadway musicals and concerts. Events as diverse as a Jackson Browne concert or The Sound of Music can be found on this venerable establishment's schedule. Located downtown on Weybosset Street, PPAC (pronounced Pea-Pac, as it is known locally) is close to many downtown hotels as well as other attractions.
The Providence Athenaeum is one of America's oldest member-supported libraries and it has functioned as such since 1753 (though the present structure was built in 1838). According to 19th-century legend, the poet Edgar Allen Poe courted Sarah Whitman in the stacks of this granite Greek Revival building. Some of the collections include documents and books from the original Providence Library, rare editions from American authors like Louisa May Alcott and Herman Melville along with the Robert Burns collection, which has more than 400 items. Today, the Athenaeum hosts events throughout the year with a focus on education for both adults as well as children.
Home to two greenhouses, namely the Conservatory and the Mediterranean Room, the botanical center shelters hundreds of species of plants and palm trees. It is known as the largest of its kind in New England. The botanical gardens are located inside the massive Roger Williams Park, which is named after one of the state's founders. With Edgewood and Cunliff lakes as a backdrop, it makes the visit to the greenhouse even better. The center provides docent-led tours with reservations in advance and during the summer, the center organizes field trips for elementary school students and other events for adults.
Riverwalk & Waterplace Park is pegged against the confluence of the Woonasquatucket and Providence rivers in a little corner of downtown Providence. It's best known for its WaterFire events, which are mini-bonfires that bob atop the water to the beat of world and classical music. The city revitalized the entire area in 1994 and the walk makes an otherwise droll stroll into a pleasant one when walking to College Hill over the Washington Street bridge. The park's bridges are fashioned after those classical ones in Venice, and it's not uncommon to see gondoliers gliding under them.
Destroyed once by fire and rebuilt in the 19th century, this striking pale stone and wood edifice attracts visitors strolling historic Benefit Street. The Gothic-looking spire rises tall above this corner of College Hill, with its handsome black-faced clock, and the church bells can be heard tolling through a portion of the East Side. The services at the First Unitarian Church start on Sundays from 10.30am.
The First Baptist Church in America is quite literally the primogenitor of all the subsequent congregations across the nation for this particular denomination of Protestantism. It was constructed in 1775 and like many other buildings in College Hill, it played a significant part in the development of both Colonial America as well as Providence. The church was also the impetus behind Brown University and its relocation from nearby Warren in 1770 (even though the building did not exist, the clerical bureaucracy still had considerable clout). In fact, the university still holds undergraduate commencement ceremonies inside the church's Meeting Hall every Fall. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966 and today its open to the public for services on Sunday as well as more tourist-oriented visits during the week.
Edna Lawrence Nature Lab is a natural history museum for the students of Rhode Island School of Design. Outsiders are allowed only with prior permission from the museum curator. It boasts at least hundred thousand artifacts such as shells, skeletons, fossils and slide mounts of micro organisms. It also houses a collection of more than 1000 rare herbs and plants, as well as mounted mammals and birds. There are a few living animals like turtles, gerbils, birds and fishes as well. The museum allows students to appreciate art and design found in nature and draw parallels with man-made design. The lab is equipped with digital cameras, dissecting and compound microscopes, X-ray photography machines and scanners to help students study the specimens. By exploring intricate patterns occurring in nature, students learn to build three-dimensional models and apply the knowledge to their own designs. Edna Lawrence Nature Lab also acts as a library and lends some of the natural specimens to students.
The Providence Art Club is the second oldest clubhouse of this kind in the United States after the famous Salgamundi Art Club in New York. The galleries and exhibitions support artists around the greater New England region and all are open to the public. Some of the exhibits include photography, assembled prints, film, sculpture and much, much more. It's better to visit during the week as opposed to weekends when it's only open for two hours.
The Rhode Island School of Design is one of the country's leading art schools and it has a museum to match this lauded reputation. Located on colonial Benefit Street, RISD museum traces the history of art from antiquity to the present day through more than 85,000 works of art from all over the world. There are also collections showing Providence's history as a manufacturing center for silver, but the main galleries are categorized as follows: The Grand Gallery, Early Renaissance & Medieval, Ancient Greek & Roman, Contemporary & Modern and Decorative Arts & Design.
Stretching from Main Street in the northern part of College Hill to Alves Way in the neighborhood of Fox Point, this street is also called the 'Mile of History'. Benefit Street has 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 dotted with other historical attractions like the Providence Athenaeum, the First Baptist Church in America 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.