Part I of our Providence weekend guide covers what to do and where to eat. Here's the scoop on the shopping scene -- and our favorite hotel in town.
Where to Shop
What’s a weekend trip without some shopping? Start your browsing at Arcade Providence, which was founded in 1828 and was the first indoor mall in the United States. Here, Nude, a designer collective that offers both ready-made and custom clothing, is a must for fashionistas. For accessories and home goods, try Lore Collection, which is helmed by two RISD grads and just set up shop earlier this year.
There are also some surprisingly diverse vintage clothing options, particularly on the west side of town, where you can find everything from dresses, to jewelry, to cowboy hats, and other Southwestern goods. Some local favorites include Hall’s on Broadway, Joyride Traders, MINT, Pillbox Holiday, and White Buffalo -- and be sure to pick up a Providence vintage guide that maps out related stores and pop-ups.
If you’re short on time, Downcity’s main drag, Westminster Street, is always a good bet. The street exudes charm, with fairy lights hung by the historic buildings. We love Craftland, which features handmade objects, including stationery and home goods. Just off the street, Cellar Stories bookstore is a haven for fans in search of sci-fi, rare, and vintage books.
Where to Stay
The 52-room boutique Dean Hotel helped Providence earn a spot on our annual Top Budget Destinations list. Like the city itself, the hotel has a colorful past and was once both an episcopal diocese and a gentleman's club with paid-by-the-hour rooms. It took two and a half years to painstakingly restore the property, and the result blends history and a modern aesthetic. New windows brighten up the cozy white rooms, while Edison light fixtures add a dose of nostalgia. The gilded taps and rain showers in the black-and-white bathrooms add to the industrial-chic sensibility, and a small tray of New England-style snacks efficiently take the place of the traditional mini-bar. A queen-size room starts at $129 per night, but if you're willing to bunk up, literally, you can pay $20 less per night. On the flipside, a king suite with a sitting area for six starts at just $149.
The Dean doesn’t offer room service, but the ground floor lobby has been taken over by Bolt Coffee, a local favorite. In the hotel, you'll also find Faust, a Bavarian hofbrauhaus (beer hall) that serves homemade pretzels ($5) and a bratwurst platter ($22). The portions are made for sharing, which ups the affordability factor. Other spaces include The Magdalenae Room, a cocktail bar with velvet drapes and a romantic atmosphere, and the aptly named Boom Box, a karaoke bar that references its palatial Asian counterparts and offers private rooms.