“Get your head outta your ass!”
I’m not telling you to do that, but I can guarantee at least a few Netizens in town for Netroots Nation 2012 will hear that shouted at them during the time they’re in Providence. This is especially true when driving. Providence has some of the most aggressive drivers on the planet and if you’re not moving fast enough, unsure of where you are or lolly-gagging on the phone while driving, I can promise you’ll earn a disdainful honk of a horn.
The best thing about Providence though, is you don’t need a car to get around, the city is very walkable and should be enjoyed on foot. However, referencing the paragraph above, please look both ways before crossing the street; even if you’re certain that the street you’re on is one way. Also, once you’re in a crosswalk, don’t assume you’re safe there.
Providence is a historical city, you should definitely do some exploring. Walking up the hill from the Convention Center will get you to the State House. It has the fourth largest self-supporting marble dome in the world, that some would say is needed to contain the egos therein.
Heading in the other direction from the Convention Center, you’ll find Federal Hill. Once heavily populated by the city’s Italian residents, Federal Hill is now extremely diverse but the main drag on Atwells Avenue is still heavily influenced by that Italian Heritage and some of the best dining establishments in the Northeast are contained in a very small strip. A night in DePasquale Plaza listening to karaoke at Gepetto’s is something to consider.
The East Side, mainly centered around College Hill and Thayer Street are also “must do’s” while visiting the city. Getting breakfast at Café Choklad at the corner of South Main and Thomas Street, catching an indie movie at the Avon Cinema or eating dinner at Andrea’s are all recommended. And of course, no trip to Providence would be complete without a sandwich for lunch from Geoff’s on Benefit Street. Jusr be careful with your conversation while in line, the staff at Geoff’s are famous for their collective wit and a careless comment can be seized upon by that staff for the entertainment purposes of the rest of the clientele.
Some of the local delicacies you may want to try are New York System hot weiners, a culinary delight you can find on Smith Street, about a half mile up the street from the capital; or you can make a trip to Olneyville to the restaurant there. Besides Choklad, Providence has some great bakeries too. La Salle Bakery, about a mile further down Smith Street from the New York System is one; as is Scialo Bros. Bakery on Atwells Avenue on Federal Hill.
So, be careful but enjoy your stay in Providence, the people here have great senses of humor and I can guarantee you’ll take home at least a few funny stories from your stay in my hometown. Also, plan to gain a little weight while visiting here, the food is just too good and with Johnson & Wales University’s culinary arts program located here, there are so many talented chefs and chefs-in-training that its hard to keep from sampling a little bit of everything.
And if you have any questions, you can always feel free to tweet me at @thom_prov or if its work-related, tweeting @Working_RI will work as well. Thanks for participating, enjoy your stays and when you get home, tell your friends how much fun you had here.