Local Area

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Local Area


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3 College Freshman

Local Area: Providence is a great, small city

3 College Sophomore

Local Area: Providence is a small city, but it has a lot going for it. The restaurants are great and it's easy to get to other beautiful and exciting areas thanks to proximity. Some may say that it gets a little boring, but there is plenty to do. the only problem is that it's very expensive.

4 College Freshman

Local Area: The atmosphere of Providence supplements Brown. As a student at Brown, you probably won't be leaving Brown's bubble to go interact with JWU students or Providence College students. However, Providence offers what many other cities offer. There are always local concerts, somewhere to go eat, activities to explore (such as the Waterfire). Providence Mall is also a really cool place to go shopping because it is so massive. Providence has a lot to offer.

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4 College Senior

Local Area: For a small city, it feels very vibrant.

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5 College Freshman

Local Area: The East Side of Providence - home to Brown and RISD - is home to a variety of restaurants, shops, etc.

Also, Brown student IDs act as free RIPTA (public transportation) passes, so it is incredibly easy to see the rest of Providence.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Providence is a city, but it’s not a big city. Sometimes the desire for the city to grow and incorporate new and exciting features is at odds with its efforts to maintain the small-town feel. If you want to go to a club one night, a museum the next day, a hip-hop show, and eat a few meals, you can cram it all into a weekend. Some Brown students never really explore the city, let alone the places less than an hour’s drive in any direction from College Hill. There are beaches, state parks, ski areas, and vineyards close enough to make day trips to, all surrounded by quaint New England towns. Students complain about the lack of drive-in theaters or an all-night diner, without realizing that there are several of both about 10 minutes away. There are more hip-hop, 80s, and live rock clubs and bars within walking distance of the University than Brown students can handle. And, of course, there is New York City and Boston, both easily accessible by bus and train for weekends when you need to get away.

Providence is a crowd pleaser. People from small towns may be a little intimidated at first, but except on goth night at Club Hell, the locals don’t bite. Students from megalopolises such as New York, DC, or LA may scoff at the downtown area, which can be traversed in about 20 minutes, but no Brown student who puts in a little effort can honestly complain that there’s nothing to do in Providence. The city simply has too much history, too many quirks, and too much to offer for the intrepid Brown student to find it boring.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Providence hosts Waterfire on weekend nights in late spring, summer, and early fall. Ninety-seven bonfires line the river at Waterplace Park. Local residents enjoy the fires, music, and food vendors as they walk along the river. Artist Barnaby Evans, a Brown graduate, created Waterfire for the city's newly renovated riverside area in 1994.
  2. A few times a semester RISD, hosts a student art sale on Benefit Street. There's no better place to buy your holiday or birthday presents.
  3. Brown is about a 10-minute walk from the world-famous Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, where big and small shows, from punk to jazz, happen on an almost nightly basis.
  4. Once a month, Providence, hosts Gallery Night. Galleries around the city, including Brown's Bell Gallery, open their doors and wine cellars to locals who want to take in a little culture. Brown and RISD student art is almost always part of the event.
  5. Recently, Providence has been the stage for numerous movies and TV shows. The obvious examples are the film Outside Providence and the show Providence on that was on NBC. Perhaps the most accurate portrayal of Providence is in Family Guy, which was written by a RISD graduate.
Notable Natives
  • Harry Anderson
  • The Farrelly Brothers
  • Emeril Lagasse
  • H.P. Lovecraft
  • Samuel Slater
Local Slang
  • Bubbler: Water fountain
  • Coffee Milk: Like chocolate milk, but with coffee syrup
  • College Hill: The hill in Providence where Brown and RISD are located
  • Dropped Egg: A poached egg East Side
  • Extra, Extra: Extra cream, extra sugar at Dunkin' Donuts
  • Light and Sweet: Coffee with cream and sugar at Rhode Island staple Dunkin' Donuts
  • Projo: The Providence Journal
  • Quahog: A big clam
  • Roe Dylin: How the locals say where they're from
  • Stuffies: A stuffed quahog
Points of Interest
  • Federal Hill
  • India Point Park
  • Lupo’s at the Strand
  • Newport Beaches
  • Outdoor Ice Rink at Kennedy Plaza
  • Purgatory Chasm
  • The RISD Museum
  • Roger Williams Park Zoo
  • Waterplace Park
Shopping Centers
  • Providence Place Mall
  • Thayer Street
  • Wayland Square
  • Wickenden Street
Movie Theaters
Avon Cinema
260 Thayer St.
(401) 421-3315
Movie Theaters
The Cable Car Cinema
204 South Main St.
(401) 272-3970
Movie Theaters
The Castle Cinema
1039 Chalkstone Ave.
(401) 751-3456
Movie Theaters
Providence Place Cinema
10 Providence Pl.
(401) 270-4659
Major Sports Teams
  • Boston Red Sox: baseball
  • New England Patriots: football
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Boston: MA: 1 hour
  • New York City: NY: 4 hours

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 55 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 55 responses

  • 25% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.
  • 38% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 9% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 27% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 0% Painfully remote.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 55 responses

  • 49% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.
  • 51% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 0% There aren't any nearby schools.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 55 responses

  • 13% Totally.
  • 53% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 35% No way.
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