Social Life in Providence

Hi! I was wondering about the extent to which Brown students spend time hanging out in Providence, and what the city is like in general. Is it fair to say that it’s comparable to New Haven in terms of size/number of activities/fun-ness? Also, is there a good coffee shop close to campus? :wink: Thank you!

@privatebanker to the rescue!

Current Junior at Brown here – Providence is a very quaint town. Some Brown students will typically (on a less busy weekend) venture into downtown for club parties or a movie at the mall. Clubs are 18+ for entry and 21+ for drinks, and they are very strict about that. Providence is comparable to New Haven. I think it’s much safer, though. There’s tons of great Italian food – not so much good Asian food. Not much of a coffee drinker, but there’s Sydney near the train station. Near campus I guess people go to Blue State.

It’s not really like new haven imho at all.

It’s really a Renaissance city from the northeast city roots. Incredibly safe on the East side near brown and downtown.

It’s the culinary capital of New England. Much to do with the influences of Johnson and wales downtown and the multicultural roots of the state as an immigrant destination following manufacturing opportunities.

There is an incredibly vibrant arts scene. RISD among other factors. Including tax incentives and designated artistic zones.

Look up waterfire as an example of cutting edge city wide events.

The expansion of the innovation zone with brown medical school and associated bio tech incubators built in the old jewelry district by the river.

It’s got enough grime to be real and the brown area around the East side is leafy and historical seafaring captain homesteads.

The food scene. Arts. Craft brewers. Funky shops and typical stores mix together.

It’s a real gem. Just get off the campus bubble and get around.

The train station and everything described in this post are walking distance.

Really good Asian food is also available. Haruki near brown. Lamei Hot Pot. Sura Korean BBQ. Some solid and inexpensive sushi spots and Indian on wickeden st blocks from campus. Totally hip area. Also coffee and high end donuts and bakeries galore. Seven stars. All kinds on the west end. On wickeden street is the coffee exchange. Store roasted beans from exotic locales. And a brand new all vegan restaurant down the hill. It’s two restaurants in one. Italian and traditional pre covid it was packed.

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@privatebanker never disappoints…now that’s a review! Korean BBQ and high end donuts all within walking distance…I think I’d go insane!

Sign me up.

Lol. I guess I eat out a lot.

Some of the aisian and food opportunities on the west end are an Uber ride. But like 5 minutes tops.

Portland ME might have a bone to pick with that. :wink:

But Providence is a cool place.

Some of my favorite eats in Providence are Peruvian/Bolivian food at Los Andes, more casual is the seafood shack experience at Dune Bros., donuts from Knead. And for an old school, throwback Providence experience, one must eat late night NY System hot weiners (loaded) with coffee milk at least once.

@doschicos lol. Portland is awesome. Just a few years behind is all.

Maybe throw in a visit to a Dels. And clam cakes and chowder in Jerusalem. Dave’s dock. Or iggys.

We prefer Quito’s in Bristol.

The food truck scene in Providence precovid is great too.

Saturday morning farmers market and food truck on the corner of north main st in Pawtucket at the arts guild building is awesome too.

Food truck Friday’s at Roger Williams park zoo. Was awesome. Tons of trucks. The park. Young people. Their brew at the zoo is fun too.

Portland is a very cool seaport city. Lived about an hour from there for a few yrs in what is THE best least traveled foody location of all, Portsmouth, NH! Haven’t been recently but it used to be one gourmet spot after another with tons of pubs in between. Great place to live when we were in our mid 20s!

Let’s face it, New England has many great cities / towns with tons of character. Oh, and on opening day I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, GO SOX! Will be a weird season. Kind of hope they just use it to get their house in order for 2021 as the champs will have an * next to it anyway.

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Portsmouth is very traveled now, unfortunately. And not as good of a foody small city as it used to be. Portland is much, much better in that regard now. No comparison frankly and I’m closer to Portsmouth so I wish it were true.

I’ll take smaller cities like Portland, Providence, Portsmouth any day over the bigger cities. They offer the best of both worlds IMO - good food while less crowded and closer to nature.

Too bad to hear Portsmouth is no longer a foody destination. It really used to be outstanding. The funny thing is I grew up in the Boston area and we never went to Portsmouth. Didn’t really know it existed until I moved there for work after college. Couldn’t get any of my friends to come up (only an hour and a half from where we lived. That was fine as I went back to the city a lot but they were missing out. Newburyport was pretty great too!

@privatebanker any particular Asian foodie place you’d recommend that’s a Lyft ride away? We hit a couple of places near campus when we moved our son in last week and would love your reco for when we come back in Oct for Family Weekend. Thx!

Hi. Haruki. Wayland Square. Best. And cool east side and college hill vibe.

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I second Haruki. Some other cuisine choices are Bacaro for Italian small plates and a walk across the new pedestrian bridge, Waterman Grille for a nice waterside view, and Palo a new Spanish tapas place at the base of college hill or Parkside for some great rotisserie chicken.

All walking distance from Brown’s campus.

PVD donuts worth a trip if calories aren’t a concern.


Providence slams New Haven on any relevant measure of “niceness”, for lack of a better word. Second @privatebanker 's review and second PVD donuts. They have gluten free options there, too, and you can’t really tell the difference. College Hill and its surrounding neighborhoods are lovely.

In some ways, I like Providence more than Boston, and I really like Boston.

Providence, to me, is as much an asset to Brown as Brown is an asset to Providence. But for having established roots in Seattle I would easily consider living in Providence (or Boston for that matter). I would only live in New Haven to attend Yale and then I’d leave immediately. Not even close.

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PS: re coffee shops, my D lives in Wayland Square on Medway St., about five or six blocks east of the main campus. In that little area alone, there are five or more craft coffee shops (I’ve been to all of them), not including Starbucks. So, yes, there are tons of good coffee shops around Brown.