A Tourist's Guide to Providence, Rhode Island
As the capital and fourth largest city of Rhode Island, Providence is a lovely city that's situated on the Seekonk and Providence Rivers, at the head of Narragansett Bay. The city has many stories to tell about history, culture and the early years of America.
Providence is located in Providence County as the county seat. The population was estimated at 176,365 as of 2003. The community's name was given as gratitude to God for his merciful providence. Cities near Providence include Cranston, North Providence, East Providence, Seekonk (MA) and Pawtucket.
A Brief History of Providence
The area was founded in 1636 by a man named Roger Williams. Williams had been exiled from Massachusetts. Providence was the first settlement in Rhode Island. The land was given to Williams by the Narragansett Indians, commemorating God's providence. Williams had argued that Indians should be paid for land they dwelt on, but the land of Providence was given to him. Providence became a center for trade, rum and molasses - then textiles. It became the state capital of Rhode Island in 1901.
Seeing the City of Providence
With careful planning and unique restoration, Providence has transformed into one of the best places to live in the nation. It's also an interesting place to visit.
History buffs will be thrilled when they realize how many historic sites, museums and theaters are in Providence. There's the Museum of Rhode Island History, the RI School of Design Museum, Providence Children's Museum and the Roger Williams National Memorial. History also comes alive at Benefit Street, where a mile of cobblestone street is lined with buildings from the past.
Also, the historic State House is a must-see while in Providence. This gorgeous marble building is where visitors can see the charter of the Rhode Island colony from King Charles in 1663.
The entire family will enjoy a visit to the Roger Williams Park Zoo (http://www.rwpzoo.org/). Special exhibits include Madagascar, Plains of Africa, Tropical America, Marco Polo Trail and more. The kids will love meeting some of the most amazing animals such as the lemur, all types of snakes, crocodiles, flamingos, monkeys, kangaroo, sheep, foxes, seals and many others!
Visitors can take a stroll down memory lane at the Water Place Park and Riverwalk on Memorial Boulevard. They might encounter an artist painting the city and see other public art. They can walk along the beautiful riverfront and see the relaxed side of Providence.
One can also take a tour of the city from the water on the Providence-Newport Water Ferry or enjoy some outdoor skating at the Fleet Skating Center. Little Italy is a must-see while in Providence as well.
Waterfire in Providence
Those visiting during a scheduled Waterfire (http://www.waterfire.org/) event will be amazed at the engulfing scene of award-winning fire sculptures on three downtown area rivers. Waterfire is scheduled for different nights throughout the year - usually several weeks each month. Accompanying the blazes is music that soothes the soul while strolling along the riverwalk. It's definitely worth scheduling a trip on one of these captivating nights in downtown Providence!
No matter what time of the year, tourists are sure to love all that the city has to offer! Learn more about Providence, Rhode Island,USA at the city's official Web site. (http://www.providenceri.com)
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