11. Discover Unbeatable Italian Cuisine on Federal Hill
If your date likes Italian food, you must check out one of the restaurants on Atwells avenue. This area, known as Federal Hill, features some of the best restaurants in Providence. My favorite restaurant on Federal Hill used to be Mediterraneo, but unfortunately it recently closed…
However, most of the restaurants on Federal Hill are pretty awesome, especially the Italian restaurants!
For an incredible outdoor dining experience in the spring or summer, check out one of the restaurants in Di Pasquale Square further up Atwells. You’ll feel like you’re dining at an outdoor café in Paris, with a grand fountain in the middle of the square. On many nights during the summer (especially Friday and Saturday nights) there is a singer performing Rat Pack favorites. You can even do a bit of swing dancing if you can keep up with the old-timers!
For dessert, head on over to Pastiche, one street north of Atwells. It’s a house converted into a restaurant featuring delectable cakes. Be prepared to wait, as the place is tiny and absolutely jammed after dinner. Get the dessert to go if you can’t wait.
If you still have some energy, there are numerous bars and dance clubs along Atwell’s that get hopping later in the night.
12. Enjoy Ethnic Food at Thayer Street
Smack dab in the middle of Brown University is Thayer Street. It is the quintessential college street with some great affordable restaurants and various shops. You’ll find a better variety of ethnic restaurants here than anywhere else in RI that I can think of. My personal favorites are East Side Pockets for Middle Eastern Food, Andreas for Greek food, Soban for Korean Food and Nice Slice for thin-crust pizza. Except for Andreas, these are more fast-food type of places where you might have to get in line with students; they won’t impress anyone with their ambiance, but they have good food. There are also some good sit-down type of places on Thayer, but I usually go for the inexpensive fare.
After dinner, take a stroll along the street and check out some of the shops. Head west if you want to explore the Brown campus. There is usually something going on there.
13. Go for a Run on Blackstone Blvd, then Ice Cream
If you want to go on a run or jog on your date, look no further than Blackstone Blvd. It features a great running path in the center island going from Butler Ave on the south to Hope Street on the north.
If you want to explore, check out the Swan Point Cemetery nearby. I know, a cemetery on a date may sound like a strange idea, but this place is a pretty cool one.
For dinner, head on over to Hope Street where there is a cluster of great restaurants just north of Rochambeau Blvd. One of my favorites is Apsara, which some people say has the best Thai food in Providence. Note that it’s informal, so don’t go here trying to impress anyone with the ambiance. It’s all about the food. Many of the other restaurants on Hope have good ambiance though.
14. Have Brunch on Wickenden then Stroll Down to India Point Park
For a great brunch, check out Brickway on Wickenden Street. The breakfast food is fantastic. I like the omelettes. There might be a line, so get there before you are too hungry. Worst case, there are other decent breakfast places around there.
Afterwards, take a walk up Wickenden and explore the shops. If you have more energy, head south and cross the bridge to nearby India Point Park. In the summer you’ll find people jogging, throwing Frisbees or whatever.
By the way, on the Fourth of July, India Point Park is one of the best places in Providence to see fireworks. Just get there early and bring a picnic blanket.
15. Enjoy Drinks and the River View on South Water Street
If you want a bit more excitement, take a little walk over to the Hot Club or one of the other bars on South Water Street like Whiskey Republic. They have food, drinks, and a great view of the river. In the summer these outdoor bars are really hoppin’. The Hot Club has karaoke certain nights. Check their sites to see the schedule.
16. Dine and Stroll Wayland Square
A smaller but charming area on the East Side of Providence is Wayland Square. My favorite restaurant there is Haruki East (some say it is the best Japanese restaurant in Rhode Island). Another good restaurant I’ve been to is Red Stripe. Afterwards, you can window shop or have a drink at McBride’s Pub or coffee at Teas and Javas.
17. Get Yummy Treats at the Wintertime Farmers’ Market
One of my favorite winter activities is to go to the Wintertime Farmers Market at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, just north of Providence. This is a charming indoor farmers’ market running the length of an old mill that happens on Saturday mornings. Among the things I like there are their cheeses, apples, crepes, and cupcakes. There is live folk music in the dining area. Outside there are three food trucks with some great hot dogs, Mexican food, and cider donuts.
Parking can be a challenge, but it’s worth it!
18. Root for the Home Team at a Paw Sox Game
If you are into watching sports, check out a Paw Sox game in Pawtucket. When I moved to New England, I originally wanted to see a Red Sox game in Boston.. until someone told me how much it cost, and how much of a pain it is to get up there, etc. Instead, I went to a Paw Sox game and was delighted at how easy it was to park and how reasonably priced everything was. Yes, it’s not major league, but I’m not a huge sports fan and couldn’t really tell the difference, haha. It’s baseball without the hassle.
19. Walk or Jog the Lincoln Woods
If you want to “get away from it all”, just drive a few miles up 146 from Providence to Lincoln Woods. My favorite thing to do there is to walk or jog the loop around Olney Pond where you’ll be treated to lots of trees and some great views. Admission is free!
20. Browse the Providence Flea Market
During the summer (approximately June through September), Providence Flea hosts all kinds of vendors, crafts, food trucks, and entertainment along South Water Street on Sundays from 10AM-4PM. Check out this RI Monthly Magazine “Best of RI” award winner! Oh, and it’s free!
Well, I hope this list has given you some ideas for great dates in Providence. Let me know about any great ideas you have. – Brian