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Top Rated Attractions in Providence

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Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church

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.

Providence Athenaeum

The Providence Athenaeum is one of America's oldest member-supported libraries, and it has functioned as such since 1753 (although the present structure was built in 1838). According to a 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 the likes of Louisa May Alcott, Herman Melville and other American authors, along with the Robert Burns collection, which has more than 400 items. Today, the Athenaeum hosts events round the year focusing on education for both adults as well as children.

Riverwalk & Waterplace Park

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.

Providence Performing Arts Center

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.

Roger Williams Park Botanical Center

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.

Brown University

In 1764, three men from Newport established 'The College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,' which, for the sake of brevity, was shortened to Brown University in 1804. One of the original eight Ivy League Colleges, standing strong ever since its inception, Brown University boasts an excellent educational offering which spans diverse disciplines including engineering, design, ancient studies, archaeology, academics and sciences, among others. However, the university bears as much brilliance in its architecture as it does in its academics. Its campus is laden with exceptional examples of late 18th-century architecture residing around the Wriston and Simmons quadrangles, as well as those on the Pembroke College campus, and along Benefit Street. The John Hay Library, the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Annmary Brown Memorial, and Haffenreffer Museum are also notable highlights of Brown University.

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