Newport Off Season
Summer in Newport can be busy and noisy, but the off-season takes on a serene, romantic character. No crowds, lower lodging rates, easy and free parking, and midweek specials at restaurants all make the city an appealing destination. The twice-a-year Newport Restaurant Week, held in early November and late March–April, offers three-course $16 lunches and $30 dinners at 40 or more participating restaurants.
Fall visitors will enjoy end-of-season sales up and down Thames Street. Although there may be no need to pack a bikini, brisk walks on the beach and Cliff Walk get the blood flowing. In the wintertime, holiday lights glimmer in the early dusk, and bundled-up folks duck into restaurants to warm themselves by the fire and enjoy a drink and a bite to eat.
Newport's holiday season is lovely. A light snowfall can peel back the years, and it isn't difficult to imagine the city 200 years ago. Bowen's Wharf, decked out in white lights, provides Newport with its version of the Rockefeller Center tree. "Christmas in Newport," a program begun in the early 1970s, hosts a number of activities—tree lightings, Nativity scenes, a lighted boat parade, dances, concerts, and visits by Santa—for nearly every day of the December calendar. The Breakers, the Elms, and Marble House are dressed up in full holiday regalia beginning in mid-November. Mansions, filled with evergreens and thousands of poinsettias, open their doors for live holiday music on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.
Fun options with the kids are the Newport Skating Center and, during February school break, the annual Newport Winter Festival, with live shows, an ice-carving competition, beach sand/snow sculptures, a citywide scavenger hunt, and a chili cook-off.