Providence RI Real Estate
Providence is Rhode Island’s capital city and going through what many say is a “Renaissance Period.” What does that mean? It means Providence’s arts, culture, food, and music scenes are stronger than ever and embraced by the city government. In fact, Providence rebranded itself as the “Creative Capital” back in 2010, and have been putting time and effort into attracting (retaining) residents with their unique public programming and support of the arts. This means Providence is more exciting now to live in than ever before. As one of the oldest cities in America, it has an incredible concentration of historic buildings and charm.
- Established: 1636
- Zip Codes: 02860, 02901, 02902, 02903, 02904, 02905, 02906, 02907, 02908, 02909, 02910, 02911, 02912, 02914, 02918, 02940
- County: Providence
- Size: 20.6 sq. miles
- Coordinates: 41.8240° N, 71.4128° W
- Population: 179,219 (50% male, 50% female)
- Median resident age: 30 years
- Median household income: $31,466
- Median home value: $177,900
- Homes currently available from: $89,000 — $680,000
- Tax rate: 18.80 (residential), $36.70 (commercial)
What's it like to live in Providence?
Shopping & Things To Do
Just like any city, where you shop for your home essentials, groceries, and other “everyday items” really depends on where you live. Each section of the city and neighborhood has different retail plazas and grocery stores nearby for your convenience. However, if you’re looking for something special or any area to stroll and enjoy a full day of shopping fun, Providence offers plenty of opportunities.
Places to shop & stroll
Providence Place Mall: RI’s largest shopping mall located right off I-95 and across the street for the Rhode Island State House. This mall has over 160 retail stores, a movie theater, IMAX theatre, Dave & Busters, and three full-service restaurants. You can a full-day of shopping here and only visit a fraction of the stores. It’s also right near downtown Providence, so you can park at Providence Place and walk around to nearby restaurants and shops.
Thayer Street & Wayland Square: both of these neighborhoods are on the East Side of Providence and offer boutique shopping. Thayer Street is a bustling area right near Brown University’s campus; Wayland Square is a residential neighborhood lined with bookstores, cafes, bakeries, and small shops.
Federal Hill & Atwells Avenue: on the west side of Providence, you’ll find Atwells Avenue and Broadway, both main entry points into Federal Hill. The neighborhood is known for its rich Italian American culture, authentic food, specialty groceries, and shopping spots lined down each street. It’s walkable, beautiful, and there’s always somewhere to peek into and see what’s inside.
Downcity: the very center of downtown between Empire Street and Kennedy Plaza offers several streets with unique shopping and dinings spots. You’ll find America’s oldest indoor shopping mall (known as The Arcade) with bookstores, clothing stores, and micro-lofts inside. Westminster and Washington Streets are home to Johnson & Wales Main Campus, many different shops, beautiful architecture.
Venues to explore and see
Rhode Island Convention Center: Providence’s premier convention center and exhibition space with 130,000 square feet of event space and halls. It’s connected to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Omni Providence Hotel, and Providence Place mall via two sky bridges. This where you can experience all types of events, competitions, trade shows, business expos, and more.
Dunkin’ Donuts Center: RI’s largest indoor sporting arena that is home to the Providence Bruins and Providence College men’s basketball team. The biggest events and performances in the city happen here every month, including popular returning events like Stars on Ice, WWE events, Monster Jam, and more.
Veterans Memorial Auditorium (The Vets): one of Rhode Island’s oldest arts venues and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a 1,931-seat concert hall that showcases many different types of performances throughout the year, from stand up comedy to the RI Philharmonic Orchestra.
Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC): a 3,000-seat multi-use theater and the one place in town that hosts touring Broadway shows. You can see concerts, plays, films, and more. It’s also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Museums & Historic Attractions
Take a stroll along Providence’s East Side and College Hill neighborhoods and you’ll find a vast amount of cool historic attractions and museums. At the RISD Museum, you can see a collection of over 100,000 pieces of art and design dating from ancient civilization to the modern day. Stop by the Providence Athenaeum on Benefit Street for a peek into one of America’s oldest private libraries, with rare collections of books and membership programs so you can use the space at your leisure. And if you’re into learning about Providence’s colonial past and important figures, visit the John Brown House for a walking tour of his East Side mansion and estate (Brown University is named after him).
A few other museums to check out
Providence Children’s Museum (PCM): is “dedicated to the idea that children learn through play and that play is good for children and their families. The Museum’s hands-on learning environments and programs are designed for children ages 1 to 11 and their adult caregivers,” as told on PCM’s website. It’s a cool adventure to bring your kids and have them explore the many activities and programs with the museum.
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology: located on the ground floor of Manning Hall on Brown University’s Main Green, this museum’s permanent collection includes over 150,000 ethnographic and archaeological objects from all over the world, and forms the basis for research, exhibitions, and community outreach for Brown student and staff.
Museum of Natural History & Planetarium: Located within Roger Williams Park, the museum houses more than 250,000 natural, cultural, and historic objects. The public planetarium shows are daily in July and August. It’s a great place to bring your kids and introduce them to fun, educational programming about the natural world.
Annual Events & Festivals
Providence hosts an array of unique arts, music, and culture festivals every year. Each one floods downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods with bustling crowds and performances.
WaterFire Arts & Crafts Festival: since 1996, WaterFire Providence has transformed downtown into a living art installation which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors and spectators every year. The riverwalk area is lit up with over 100 bonfires on the water and the streets are closed for concessions, artists tents, booths, performances and live music. The lighting schedule changes slightly each year, but the Waterfire season typically goes from May till early November. This festival is non-profit and sponsored by various local businesses, institutions, and local governments. There’s nothing quite like it anywhere else, so it’s worth checking out if you’re thinking about moving to the city!
PVD Fest: Providence’s new signature arts and culture festival (started in 2014). It’s a five-day celebration in downtown Providence with art installations, music performances, food trucks, a parade, concessions and tents for local restaurants, and more. Downtown Providence is closed for live performances and concessions all day and night. It takes place in June every year.
Providence Honk Fest (PRONK!): a social justice parades and live music event that happens every October in Providence. Brass bands from all over the country come to stomp their feet, celebrate music, and reclaim public spaces with free performances and A LOT of dancing.
Pride Fest: RI Pride is an LGBTQ organization that produces the annual Pride Fest — New England’s only night-time pride parade which draws over 50,000 people to celebrate their individuality and culture. There are live performances along South Water Street and the parade starts downtown once the sun goes down.
Restaurants & Nightlife
You might be surprised to know this, but Providence’s restaurant scene is widely regarded as one “the best” dining destinations in the U.S. In 2012, Travel & Leisure Magazine rated Providence as the “#1 Food City” in the United States. A few restaurants in particular, such as Oberlin and North, have been recognized by Bon Appetit Magazine and other publications as top-rated across the U.S.
There are too many dining and bar options in Providence to list, but here are a few “hotspot” neighborhoods where you’ll find more than enough food & drink fun.
Federal Hill / Atwells Avenue: what many consider as the “heart of Providence” and epicenter of the city’s esteem Italian American culture. Restaurants, bars, and club line Atwells Street for over a mile. If you sneak over to Broadway, you’ll have even more options. Be sure to try The Old Canteen, a fine-dining staple that’s been on the hill for decades.
Downcity: located downtown between Empire Street and Kennedy Plaza, this five-block neighborhood is at the center of it all. You’ll find top-rated restaurants and cocktail bars alongside places like Haven Bros. (America’s longest-running food truck) parked right outside city hall every night.
College Hill / Thayer Street: right outside Brown University’s campus, Thayer Street is a bustling half-mile stretch of late night food spots, hookah bars, BBQ joints, beer halls, coffee shops, and much more. Be sure to check out the long-standing East Side Pockets for the best falafel in the city!
Recreation & Activities
Roger Williams Park & Zoo: 435 acres of land offering a variety of recreational and educational activities for visitors. There are more than five miles of walking paths throughout the wooded grounds, wrapping around the three ponds inside the park. The park includes public gardens, tennis courts, ball fields, playgrounds, public art installations, and Roger Williams Zoo. Inside you’ll find the Museum of Natural History, the Botanical Center, the Temple to Music, and the Casino. In other words, this is more than just a park — it’s truly a gift to residents of Providence.
India Point Park: 18 acres of open space, walking paths, picnic tables, and 3,600 feet of shoreline. It has a unique view of Narragansett Bay and the ports of Providence. India Point is also the starting (or ending) point of the East Bay Bike Path and holds many public-access events in the summertime, including live music, food shows, and more.
Blackstone Boulevard Walking Path: 1.6 miles of walking path along Blackstone Boulevard in Providence’s East Side neighborhood. Benches line the walkway on either side, along with many different species of trees and perennial and non-perennial flower beds. It’s just a simple and relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise without having to leave the city. There’s usually a lot of people strolling along with you!
Prospect Terrace: hidden along Congdon Street on College Hill, this small park offers a view of downtown Providence you won’t find anywhere else. There is a statue of Roger Williams along the cliff edge of the park, benches to relax on, and open space to lay down a blanket and enjoy the view of Downtown and the State House.
Alex & Ani City Center: a mixed-use public space in Downtown Providence that hosts different types of activities year round. In the winter, the space is converted into an ice skating rink. In the summer, you can ride bumper cars or enjoy the skate park. The City Center space is also used for live music events and performances. It’s open to the public from 10am – 10pm every day weather permitting.
Schools & Education
The Providence Public School District (PPSD) serves approximately 24,000 students throughout the city. PPSD includes 22 elementary schools, 7 middle schools, 10 high schools, and 2 public district charter schools. The district employs over 3,200 teachers, administrators, and support staff. As a whole, PPSD is the largest city department and takes up approximately half of Providence’s operating budget each year.
If you live in Providence, where your child goes to school is largely based on location and neighborhood. However, there are certain schools and programs where your child can apply for enrollment, such as Classical High School or LaSalle Academy (private school). Classical has the highest graduation rate and is rated number one in terms of academic performance across the state school system.
For a full list of schools in the Providence District and more information on their programs and enrollment, please visit their website at https://www.providenceschools.org/
Providence is home to more than 40 private schools and alternative education programs for students in the K-12 grades. Some of these serve the entire K-12 grades, such as the Wheeler School and Lincoln School. Others serve specific grades and ages, such as the Croft School and La Salle Academy. There are also various religious schools located here, like the Hebrew Day School or Blessed Sacrament School.
Notable private high schools in Providence
- La Salle Academy
- The Wheeler School
- Moses Brown School
- Lincoln School
- Providence Country Day School
- School One
Colleges and Universities
The colleges and universities in Providence have a significant influence on the neighborhoods and districts that surround them. The student population bolsters the restaurants, bars, and shopping areas found around the city. Typically, the prices of homes in these neighborhoods are higher, along with the quality of living.
College Hill on the East Side is home to Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Both colleges are world-renowned for their academics, research, and high-level of student achievement. The campus take a significant portion of the neighborhood covering Waterman Avenue, Thayer Street, Angell Street, and South Main Street.
Johnson and Wales University has two campuses in Providence. The main campus is in Downcity along Washington Avenue and Westminster Street. The second campus (Harborside) is located in South Providence near Washington Park.
Providence College and Rhode Island College are located in the Elmhurst section of Providence, near the North Providence line. Many students rent apartments in the surrounding neighborhoods, such as Mount Pleasant, Wanskuck, and Smith Hill. Each campus resides on either side of Smith Street (Route 44).
Please visit the links below to find out detailed information about the colleges & universities within Providence.
- Brown University
- Rhode Island School of Design
- Johnson & Wales University
- Rhode Island College
- Providence College
- Rhode Island Hospital
- Miriam Hospital
- Roger Williams Hospital
- Women & Infants Hospital
- Hasbro Children’s Hospital
- Butler Hospital
- Providence VA Medical Center
Transportation & Getting Around
Traveling into and out of the city
The greater Providence metro is connected by two major interstate highways — I-95 and I-195. I-195 cuts through the middle of the city, separating downtown and the East Side from the West and South side of Providence. Each highway has several exits leading into downtown and other neighborhoods of the city.
Route 146 and Route 6 are also entry and exit channels from Providence. Route 146 leads north towards Woonsocket, while Route 6 travels west to the I-295 junction (or south via Route 10 to join I-95 in Cranston).
Due to its early settlements and urban planning development, Providence is not organized in a “grid system”, which means getting around here takes a little practice (even for a small city). South Main Street and North Main Street connect downtown, the East Side, and the Mount Hope sections of Providence.
The West Side connects to downtown via series of street bridges (Westminster, Broadway, Atwells, Smith Street, and Branch Avenue). The South Side of Providence connects from the West End to Cranston via Elmwood Ave, Cranston Street, and Broad Street.
Kennedy Plaza Station is the central hub of RIPTA in Providence. There are many buses picking up and dropping off here daily which travel through every neighborhood of Providence. To see a full schedule, visit their website at https://www.ripta.com/
Providence Train Station services both the MBTA commuter rail to Boston and AMTRAK lines. It’s located downtown across the street from the Providence Place Mall and Rhode Island State House. Trains run daily from 5:00 a.m. to midnight. If you’re in a hurry, the Acela Express stops in Providence along its Northeast Corridor line (Washington D.C. to Boston). It only takes about 30 mins to reach Boston from Providence Station on the Acela Express line.
- Distance to T.F. Green Airport: 9.4 miles
- Distance to Boston, MA: 50.2 miles
Government/city and town links
View homes for sale in Providence
Williams & Stuart lists homes for sale in all of Providence
- Broad Street
- College Hill
- East Side
- Federal Hill
- Fox Point
- Fruit Hill
- Jewelry District
- Mount Hope
- Mount Pleasant
- Neutaconkanut Park
- North End
- Providence College
- Reservoir Triangle
- Rhode Island College
- Smith Hill
- South Providence
- Washington Park
- Wayland Square
- West End