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Home of Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Johnson and Wales University, it’s a small locale but it packs a punch. Providence is a city founded in rebellion, when Roger Williams was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for religious differences. He headed south and founded Providence on the basis of religious freedom. Famous residents have included the horror master, H.P. Lovecraft, the corvid caller himself, Edgar Allan Poe, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Stephen Hopkins. All of the history here has left its mark. The First Baptist Church in America dominates the western front of College Hill and was built in 1775. Other buildings in its immediate vicinity share its colonial roots.
The strong historical foundation makes a great backdrop for innovation. AS220 is a combination art gallery, studio space, cafe, and performance venue in downtown. Lupo’s Heartbreak hotel brings in some of the biggest acts in the rock scene. Other popular performance venues include the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium (the Vet). New restaurants and bars seem like they’re popping up every other week, including The Eddy located right in the heart of downtown. Don’t forget to see one of the city’s signature events, the WaterFire - braziers floating in the center of the Woonasquatucket River are lit up on Saturday nights with gondolas and pontoon boats cruising between them and live music at Waterplace Park. You might be tempted to pass right on by and head to Boston, but our recommendation is to slow down and see what big things the smallest state’s capital has to offer.