Finding things to do in Woonsocket

Exploring Woonsocket, Rhode Island: A City of Culture and Creativity

Life in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, is characterized by its rich industrial heritage and vibrant cultural diversity. This northern Rhode Island city has a strong sense of community, evident in its numerous annual festivals and events, like the popular Autumnfest that celebrates the season with parades, crafts, and entertainment. Woonsocket's historical significance is highlighted in its well-preserved Victorian-era architecture and the Museum of Work and Culture, which chronicles the lives of the city's mill workers and immigrants. The city also offers a variety of dining options, reflecting its multicultural population, including French-Canadian cuisines that nod to its historical roots. With its affordable living and close-knit community, Woonsocket provides a unique blend of historical charm and modern convenience, making it a distinctive place to live or visit.

Welcome to Woonsocket

Shopping & Things To Do

The textile mills and historic buildings along Main Street in Woonsocket are lined with hand-crafted goods and boutique stores. Take a walk along Front Street, Social Street, and Market Square and you’ll find plenty of small businesses offering specialty products, antiques, and services. As for general shopping needs, take a quick trip down 146A and you’ll find a mega shopping strip with major retailers like Walmart, Kohl’s, Walgreens, Lowe’s, Stop & Shop, Dollar Tree, and more. Overall, it’s very accessible here for shoppers and worthwhile to explore the local places.

Since 1977, the city of Woonsocket has celebrated this three-day-long festival at the World War II Veterans Memorial State Park over Columbus Day Weekend. There are dozens of food & drink vendors, amusement rides, arts & crafts booths, live music acts, and A LOT of fireworks. You can also witness (or participate in!) the MEGA War, “New England’s Largest Tug O’ War Event”.

Built in 1926 and restored in 2001, the Stadium Theatre is Woonsocket’s “main ticket” venue and community theatre. You can find high caliber live music, comedians, and traveling performers at family-affordable prices. Or enjoy frequent showings of community-sponsored performers throughout the year. The Stadium Theatre Conservatory also offers educational programs, workshops, and classes to adults and kids interested in learning performing arts.

Chan’s Fine Oriental Cuisine hosts the best Jazz and Blues acts that come through the New England area, and have been doing so for 30 years! There are very few places in America you can get authentic Chinese cuisine and enjoy a jazz, blues, cabaret, or comedian show at the same time, so definitely check this out.

An immersive museum showcasing the lives of men, women, and children who worked in or around the thriving textile mills of the 19th and 20th century. Inside you’ll find nine different exhibits, audio and film presentations, hands-on activities with tools and games of the era, and different special events throughout the year.

thai food

Restaurants & Nightlife

Woonsocket is the center of attention for dining and nightlife in the northern part of Rhode Island and surrounding Massachusetts towns. You’ll find many different styles of food & drink along the Blackstone River and historic downtown district. Three restaurants in particular have been serving Woonsocket for decades (or longer!)  — Patriots Diner, River Falls Restaurant, and Chan’s Fine Oriental Cuisine. If you’re thinking about moving to the area and want to get a feel for the locals or see a good show, these are the places to explore, hang out, and meet people.

Recreation & Activities

Woonsocket is home to 17 green spaces, public parks, and sporting fields across the city. You can find neighborhood parks with small playgrounds or larger recreation spaces along the Blackstone River and downtown area. Below are a few of the popular spots Woonsocket residents love to spend a sunny day or bring the kids.

Located right off Park Ave, this neighborhood park offers visitors a good variety of sports fields, open spaces, and playgrounds. There is a baseball and little league field, tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts, and hockey rink (that is flooded into a pond during the warmer months).

Right in the center of downtown and steps away from main street shops & restaurants. Enjoy the scenic overlook of the Blackstone River, walking paths, and open space. There is an outdoor public ice rink, canoe launch, and gazebo for staging different events and festivals throughout the year.

Located along Avenue A & Coe Street, this park surrounds a small pond and includes scenic, quiet walking paths. Visitors can enjoy the playground, basketball and tennis courts, and open green spaces for picnics and activities.

This historic park has transformed in recent years into a thriving community space in downtown Woonsocket. It’s home to the annual AutumnFest and offers a kid’s splash park, baseball fields, basketball courts, walking paths, and a performance stage for live music acts.

Major Employers

The Highland Corporate Park area (which crosses the line into Cumberland) is also home to technology and pharma companies, such as Neurotech, InMusic, Tedor Pharma, and Hart Engineering Corporation.

Woonsocket is headquarters of the CVS Health Corporation, one of largest retail pharmacies and health care companies in the world. In 2018, CVS Health ranked 7th on the Fortune 500 list with $184 Billion in annual revenue. It is by far the largest employer in the Woonsocket area (and in Rhode Island altogether). CVS employs nearly 8,000 people in RI and is a huge economic influencer for the state.