Discover Providence’s East Side
Living on the East Side of Providence truly is the best of all worlds. Our Real Estate team has lived in big cities and small towns from New York to Los Angeles, Vermont to Louisiana, Wyoming to Bermuda. Yet we have chosen to make the East Side of Providence our “forever” home. It really is that special.
Steeped in history, Rhode Island was the crucible of the American Revolution and many of our nation’s early patriots, politicians, and privateers made their homes on the East Side of Providence. Stephen Hopkins, a signatory to the Declaration of Independence, lived here, as did John Brown, whose stately home was described by John Quincy Adams as “the most magnificent and elegant private mansion I have seen on this continent.” Thanks to a strong and active historic preservation movement, many of these Colonial, Federal and Georgian homes still stand, particularly along renowned Benefit Street, Providence’s “Mile of History.” Off Benefit, the East Side boasts virtually every conceivable type of architecture in American history, from Greek Revival to Victorian in all its forms, Bungalow to Bauhaus. If you appreciate the art of architecture, you will find inspiration daily, in your own back yard.
If you enjoy world-class cuisine, Providence has it all. With Johnson and Wales University right downtown, some of the country’s best chefs are “born” in the city’s kitchens – and a lot of them stay to practice their craft. Nationally-recognized chefs and restaurants populate the Providence food scene, including Johanne Killen and George Germon’s Al Forno, near the foot of Fox Point’s Wickenden Street, and Farmstead in Wayland Square, whose executive chef Matt Jennings was nominated for the 2011 James Beard Award. We promise you will not go hungry.
Need to get outside every day? Take a jog along scenic Blackstone Boulevard, take advantage of the Providence waterfront and learn to sail at India Point Park, or hop on the 15-mile East Bay Bike path and ride the length of the Providence River as it meets Narragansett Bay, past Audubon land all the way to Bristol. Summer in the city? No problem. If the shade you are sure to find on the tree-lined streets of the East Side isn’t enough to keep you cool, hop in the car and within 45 minutes you’ll be lying on a blanket on your choice of dozens of fine-sand beaches that line the southern coast of Rhode Island.
The East Side of Providence is actually made up of several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own history, culture, style, and sense of community. The College Hill neighborhood is the center of intellectual thought and creativity in Providence, and indeed all of Rhode Island. Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, both internationally renowned institutions, impact the East Side of Providence in a unique and delightful way. Whether you want to enroll in continuing education courses or just enjoy the many artistic and educational opportunities afforded by living adjacent to an Ivy League university and a top-flight art school, you will appreciate how the city comes alive when the students are in town. College Hill is also the site of the first First Baptist Church (built 1774) and The Athenaeum, one of oldest private libraries in the country.
Surrounded by water on three sides, the Fox Point neighborhood used to serve as Providence’s seaport, with the port itself today repurposed as India Point Park. It is also one of the oldest neighborhoods on the East Side, originally settled in the late 1600’s. With its proximity to College Hill, Fox Point is a favorite neighborhood of students and professors alike. Appropriately, Fox Point is anchored by Wickenden Street, one of the hippest thoroughfares in Providence and home to a wide selection of cafes, restaurants, art galleries, and shops.
Wayland is a relatively young East Side of Providence neighborhood, with most of its development happening during the twentieth century. With single-family homes as well as several grand apartment buildings to choose from, there are lots of residential options in Wayland. Part of Blackstone Park is in the Wayland neighborhood, and it will soon be incorporated into a bike path in development along the banks of the Seekonk River. Wayland Square, featuring dozens of fine, small independent boutiques and restaurants, is the epicenter of life in this vibrant neighborhood.
The Blackstone neighborhood is characterized by large, private homes dating to the 19th and 20th centuries, anchored by Blackstone Boulevard, a 220-foot wide landscaped greenway. “The Boulevard” runs from the Lincoln School to the Pawtucket line, and is a favorite spot for both neighborhood strollers and recreational runners from dawn until dusk. Butler Hospital, with its bucolic grounds, and Swan Point Cemetery, located on the bluffs over the Seekonk River, contribute hundreds of acres of open space to this elegant neighborhood.
The northeast section of Providence’s East Side, on either side of Olney Street, is where the neighborhoods of Mount Hope and Summit are situated. This area was first settled by farmers and remained relatively rural until the manufacturing boom and the arrival of streetcar service in the late 1800’s. Today, these neighborhoods are among the most culturally diverse in the city of Providence, and with a busy commercial corridor along North Main Street, they are in close proximity to a wealth of retail and dining establishments.
As a more affordable alternative to East Side living, don’t overlook Pawtucket’s quiet, peaceful Oak Hill neighborhood. Immediately adjacent to the East Side – with a virtually identical architectural profile – your dollar goes far in Oak Hill, and that all-important on-street parking is readily available!
You won’t regret making your home on the East Side of Providence. Whether you enjoy outdoor festivals like Waterfire, art shows and sales, the annual, not-to-be-missed Festival of Historic Houses, walking tours of Benefit Street, the RISD museum, the Providence Athaenum, the Concerts Under the Elms, bookstore browsing on Thayer Street, or antiquing on Wickenden Street, the possibilities are endless. Welcome!