This was my first full week back from Rhode Island, and while it’s nice to be sleeping in my own bed again, I certainly have missed hotel living.
I stayed at the Omni Hotel in downtown Providence, which was equal parts modern and opulent. It’s hard to miss the large chandelier in the hotel lobby, which greets you when you arrive. It was an impressive element that I never tired of admiring.
The hotel room offered a beautiful view of the four-floor attached shopping mall, and the State House located a few blocks up the street. If you’re looking for a hotel in downtown Providence, the Omni is ideal.
The last time I was in Rhode Island was when I was in high school and starting to look at colleges. I visited Newport and enjoyed being so close to the water. Providence has a different feel — more of a city vibe, which is perfect if you like your morning stops at quaint cafés.
Here’s what I did and where I went during my time in Rhode Island:
I admit. Deciding to leave the hotel was tough. The Omni had its own cafe and restaurant, so why did I need to go anywhere else?
This is my favorite meal of the day. And while I certainly don’t eat breakfast like a king (or queen, rather), I do enjoy my morning cup of coffee and pastries.
After taking a quick stroll around the area near the hotel I stumbled upon Ellie’s Bakery (located at 61 Washington Street). This small establishment doesn’t have a lot of seating, but judging by the long line and crowded interior, I knew it was going to be good. The pastry bar alone made my mouth water as I browsed my options. I settled on a cappuccino and an egg sandwich, along with a chocolate croissant for later. There wasn’t a seat to be had, so I stood as I sipped my cappuccino and watched people flood into this tiny space. It seemed to be quite the hangout spot for locals, and should earn a place on your list if you visit Providence.
If you’re looking for something a little less crowded, continue walking on Dorrance Street until you hit Nico Bella’s (located at 74 Dorrance Street). This diner-like family-owned Italian establishment has a great menu. They open early (7:00 am) and have plenty of seating. I ordered their French toast (a few days in a row) and it was delicious.
I’m not big on lunch in general, and I was pretty stuffed after my generous breakfasts every day on this trip, but I did try Luxe Burger — located near the Omni.
I’m not one to pass up a good burger, and any place that has a customizable menu and lets you build your own burger is right up my alley. My burger was simple — with just cheese — exactly how I like it, and cooked medium rare. I ordered a side of fries and went to town. If you’re a burgerphile, this is a place you’ll want to try.
I quickly learned that dining establishments tend to be rather small in Providence. This includes restaurants that are open for dinner. You’d be wise to call ahead and make a reservation if you will be going out with a big party, especially on a Friday or Saturday night.
My favorite meal during my time in Providence was at Red Fin Crudo and Kitchen (located at 71 Washington Street). This tapas place has a menu fit for a foodie — but the calamari and lobster Mac and Cheese had me sold. Can you blame me? Order a glass of sangria, a few small plates, and enjoy trying new dishes without feeling like you had a huge meal.
What to do in Providence:
I had planned on spending a lot of time in the four-floor mall that was attached to the hotel, which sadly didn’t come to fruition. But it was quite a sight for a shopaholic like myself. Tiffany and Co., Michael Kors, Banana Republic, Nordstrom — just to name a few — were all conveniently located within the mall.
If you enjoy visiting college campuses, Brown University is about a twenty minute walk from the Omni. I didn’t get to stop on this trip, but it is a beautiful campus to tour.
Rhode Island School of Design is also within a walkable distance and their museum is a nice place to spend an afternoon (thanks, Deb, for the suggestion!). The highlight for me was seeing all of Todd Oldham’s pieces displayed in one room. Each piece was meticulously crafted and ran the gamut from crop tops to ball gowns. If you’re into fashion, make sure you check out this exhibit (it runs until September 11, 2016).
Things to pack for Providence:
The East Coast hasn’t had a particularly warm spring so far — with the exception of a few days that were outliers. Weather forecasters were predicting snow showers in Rhode Island last week, but thankfully it just rained. I packed along a raincoat, a few cozy sweaters, a sweater dress, skinny jeans, my long winter coat, and riding boots for the trip. I skipped the flats, figuring that it would be too cold and rainy — and I was right.
It was great to leave Long Island for a few days. After a short ferry ride from Orient Point to New London Connecticut, you can get to Providence in about an hour. I would love to make the trip again and head to Newport once the weather warms up!
Thanks Mike and Deb for a fun trip!
Have you ever visited Providence?