Big-city sophistication with small-city charm: Providence has the best of both worlds. A thriving arts community, prestigious academic institutions Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), an impressive restaurant scene, and a revitalized Downtown all help the city live up to its nickname: Creative Capital. Close (but not too close) to Boston—with a completely different sensibility—Providence is a worthy stop on any New England tour.
The Moshassuck and Woonasquatucket rivers merge just southeast of the Rhode Island State House to form the Providence River. Scenic Waterplace Park hosts WaterFire, a series of mesmerizing summer-evening bonfires on the Woonasquatucket just west of the confluence. This relatively recent tradition beloved by locals and visitors alike began in the 1990s, but Providence gives equal weight to its long history, celebrating everything from its wealth of Colonial architecture to its literary tradition. After all, H. P. Lovecraft was a son of Providence, and Edgar Allan Poe courted the poet Sarah Helen Whitman here.