Providence in a nutshell
New England's smallest state is home to its second largest urban conglomerate - Providence, Rhode Island (after Boston, Massachusetts).
Founded by renegade preacher Roger Williams in 1636 as a haven for
religious freedom and tolerance, Providence grew during the 17th century.
Thanks to its accessibility by water, the city enjoyed a growing British
trade with the Caribbean Islands and Canada, becoming a major New World seaport.
In the 1700s, a merchant class quickly emerged.
The spirit which spawned the city is still dynamic Providence has completed a dramatic transformation.
In the late 1970's, the City put efforts in motion to upgrade the infrastructure of the neighborhoods,
downtown and commercial districts. For decades, the world's widest bridge obscured the Moshassuck and
Woonasquatucket Rivers, two narrow, but significant waterways which snake through the city of Providence
and converge to become the Providence River, the head of Rhode Island's world famous Narragansett Bay.
In the 1990s, the two rivers running through downtown were uncovered and moved.
Today, the two rivers are edged by cobblestone walkways, flanked by park benches, trees and flowering
plants, and a series of graceful Venetian bridges connecting downtown Providence to the city's East Side.
At the hub of the project is Waterplace Park, a gathering place in the foreground of Rhode Island's State
House. Waterplace Park boasts a stone-stepped ampitheater for summer concerts and several
overlooking restaurants, as well as the world-renowned WaterFire, an installation of 100 dancing
bonfires along the river. In concert with the construction of the Rhode Island Convention Center,
Providence Place mall, and two new hotels, the River Relocation Project has literally transformed
Providence's multi-million dollar revitalization program has centered around the city's maritime
heritage as a major shipping port at the turn of the century, the downtown revitalization project
focused on the waterfront. More than a decade later, the structure of Providence has been changed
into a modern urban development -- the renaissance of a capital city.
Providence has become the center of an emerging arts, cultural and entertainment community in New
England. The award-winning Trinity Repertory Company and Providence Performing Arts Center are not only
historic landmarks, but also feature Broadway musicals, children's performances, popular seasonal
ballets, opera, plays and musical concerts. Providence is a haven for young artists to establish
galleries, art shops, theaters and museums.
The city is home to renowned universities, including Ivy League Brown University,
the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence College, and Johnson & Wales University,
whose academic programs, theatres, museums, and people contribute significantly to the
quality of life in the city.
The city's revitalization has inspired Money Magazine to name Providence the Best
Place to Live in the East for two years in a row in 2000 and 2001, and the U.S.
Conference of Mayors to declare Providence one of the Most Livable Cities in the
country. Of course, the Best Place to Live is tops for travel too!