* Tax rate based per thousand
Bristol is nicknamed “America’s Most Patriotic Town” and home to the oldest Independence Day Parade in America. It has an incredible amount of preserved colonial history and is a well-known hub for sailing hobbyists. It’s a unique place, to say the least. The school system is highly regarded within the Rhode Island education system, with Mount Hope High School ranking in the top ten schools. Plus, there is A LOT to do here — great restaurants, plenty of outdoor activities, summer events, and access to Colt State Park. Bristol is also home to Roger Williams University, which plays a large factor in the thriving waterfront bar and restaurant scene.
People who live in Bristol don’t have to travel far for their shopping needs. Route 136 has shopping plazas with Stop & Shop, CVS, Ocean State Job Lot, and several bank branches between Bristol and Warren. More options are along Route 6 in Seekonk or Somerset or further down Route 114 into Portsmouth and Middletown. The downtown area along Hope Street has consignment shops and small gift shops as well.
Did you know that Bristol is home to the oldest and longest-running 4th of July Parade in the United States? That’s right — this small, seaside town floods with tens of thousands of people every third and fourth of July for an annual celebration, including summer concerts, giant fireworks show over the harbor and an all-day parade along Hope Street and High Street. Performers and marching bands from all over the country — literally! — come to participate in the parade and you can walk along the route or set up a spot to camp out and enjoy the festivities.
Dedicated to preserve the accomplishments of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, international and local maritime yachting history, showcasing special collections, restoration, and more. The museum contains over 500 yacht models, including eight America’s Cup defenders. The Hall of Fame chronicles the history of the boats that have competed in the America’s Cup since 1851.
A non-profit farm museum in Colt State Park. Located on 48 acres of land and features interpreters and authentic reenactments of farm life in the year 1799. You can buy fresh-made maple syrup and celebrate farm-to-table dishes at their annual fall Harvest Fair.
A private, by-reservation-only museum that delves into mind-twisting puzzles and curiosities seldom seen anywhere else in RI. The museum itself is shrouded in mystery and mystique, not giving away the contents of the museum but promising a fun, curious adventure into the unknown.
Starting on June 14th and ending on July 4th, Independence Park hosts weekend concerts on the main stage right on the water. Food trucks and concession stands set up along the park, and you can set up a chair or blanket to sit and enjoy the show.
As part of the summer festivities, there a traveling carnival that sets up on the town common every year. It’s the perfect spot to bring the kids for carousel rides, carnival games, and deliciously fried doughboys.
Bristol is one of the towns in the East Bay (outside of Newport) that has a strong nightlife scene. The waterfront area along Thames Street has several popular bars and restaurants. Roger Williams University plays a big part in the thriving bar scene due to the population of students in town. As far as dining, you have a great selection of seafood restaurants and local favorites spread throughout the downtown area, including diners, cafe’s, lunch spots, and more.
widely known as one of the “gems” among Rhode Island’s state parks. There are miles of bike and walking trails and more than 500 acres of open, mix-use space and groomed lawns. There are 400+ picnic tables, a skate park, fishing ponds, a historical museum, and many playing fields for kids — basketball courts, volleyball courts, soccer fields, baseball fields, hockey rinks, and more.
located right in the center of Bristol’s historic downtown neighborhood. It’s surrounded on all sides by mixed-use artist studios (which used to be public schools) and beautiful churches. There are tennis courts, basketball courts, a small playground, a baseball field, and open spaces for outdoor activities and picnics.
A 26-mile public bike path starts in Independence Park in Bristol and continues all the way to India Point Park in Providence. The Bristol portion of the bike path passes by the harbor, Colt State Park, and along the nature preserve spaces along the oceanfront.
A state-of-the art natural history museum and aquarium that puts fun and excitement into experiencing nature. Inside, explore interactive exhibits featuring local habitats. Outside, walking trails lead you toward Narragansett Bay over the beautiful boardwalk.
32 acres of a privately maintained arboretum, including 300 different species of plants and trees from both native and exotic origins. Blithewold Mansion holds all kinds of outdoor events and programs throughout the year, as well as private events inside the mansion. Schedule a tour through the grounds during the springtime when the gardens are in full bloom.
Bristol and Warren have a regional public school department for the K – 12 grades. Hugh Cole Elementary and Kickemuit Middle School are in Warren right off Route 103. Mount Hope High School and three elementary schools are in Bristol. Mount Hope High School is the #6 public high school in Rhode Island, according to the US News & World Report. As a whole, the Bristol-Warren district serves approximately 3,200 students per year with a teaching staff of 300.
Bristol is home to Roger Williams University, a private, four-year liberal arts university, and graduate school. The university enrolls approximately 3,800 undergraduate and 850 graduate students in eight schools. These schools offer more than 50 liberal arts majors and professional degrees, such as law, architecture, construction management, and historic preservation. The university has a student to faculty ratio of 15:1 and almost half of the classes offered have less than 20 students.
There are only two main roads that pass through Bristol and connect it to surrounding towns and neighborhoods.
Route 114 (Hope Street) runs through the western side of town and makes up the “main street” running through historic downtown Bristol. This is where you’ll find the entranceway to Colt State Park, restaurants, small businesses, and Bristol’s beautiful harbor.
Route 136 (Metacom Avenue) runs parallel to Route 114 on the eastern side of Bristol. It’s typically the busier road of the two and has most of Bristol’s larger retail stores and shopping plazas. At the sound end just before the Mount Hope Bridge, Metacom Avenue passes by Roger Williams University.
RIPTA Bus number 60 passes through the East Bay townships from Providence to Newport with several stops along Route 114 in Bristol. Great way to save on travel costs and spend a day in Newport or travel into the city.
Prudence Island Ferry provides daily transport to and from Prudence Island with car transport available. It’s the only ferry in RI that travels to Prudence regularly. The ferry also offer special event planning for corporate parties and sightseeing cruises.
Distance to T.F. Green Airport: 24.1 miles
Distance to Providence Train Station: 8 miles
For more information on Bristol community events and government departments, please visit the official website at