2010: 178,042, #131 in U.S., #1 in Rhode Island

1950: 248,674, #43 in U.S.

2010 Metropolitan Area: 1,600,852, #37 in U.S.

1950 Metropolitan Area: 681,815, #22 in U.S.


Providence was founded in 1636 at the mouth of the Providence River where it enters Narragansett Bay, about 30 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. For many years, the river through downtown was covered by city streets and highways. In 1994, the river was reopened as part of Waterplace Park. A Riverwalk now follows the river for about a mile. Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design are just east of downtown.


Tallest building: Industrial National Bank Building, 428 feet (1927). The building is currently vacant. It was last used by Bank of America in 2013.

List of tallest buildings

The domed Rhode Island State House (1904) is 223 feet tall.


Providence Place (1999) is a three-story downtown mall with a Macy’s. The Nordstrom store closed in January 2019. A Boscov's department store opened in September 2019.


Providence is on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, with frequent service from Providence Station (1986) north to Boston and south to New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Nearby Union Station (1898) is now used for offices.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has commuter service between Providence and Boston’s South Station.

Downtown Providence and Providence River


The Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design is just east of downtown, and the Providence Children's Museum is just south of downtown.


The Providence Place Cinemas 16 is downtown. The Cable Car Cinema and Café closed in 2018.

The Providence Performing Arts Center (the former Loew’s State Theater, 1928) is a restored movie palace that has concerts and touring Broadway shows. The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra plays at Veterans Memorial Auditorium (1950). The Trinity Repertory Company is also downtown.


There is no professional baseball in Providence, but the Pawtucket Red Sox, Triple-A International League affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, play in nearby Pawtucket. The Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League play at the Dunkin' Donuts Center (1972).

Map of Downtown Providence

Convention and Visitors Bureau