Boston often gets all of the attention for its impressive history. But, nearby Providence packs a whole lot of amazing architecture and incredible relics into a relatively small area as well. Here are some places in the city to peek into the past.
If you’re looking for a quintessential “quaint New England street,” look no further than Benefit Street. Tree-lined and oozing with charm, this thoroughfare—complete with cobblestones and street lamps—is home to the oldest (and most beautiful) homes in the city.
John Brown House Museum
If you’ve heard of Brown University, you’ve seen John Brown’s name. Constructed in 1788, the John Brown House is the first mansion constructed in the city. The politician and merchant lived here with his family. Today, you can take a docent-led or self-guided tour of the museum, both of which provide an interesting history lesson.
Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum
This stunning Victorian house museum on Providence’s East Side was built in 1865. It was home to the Lippitts; a family famous in the area for its involvement in the textile manufacturing industry. The three-story, 30-room home has been meticulously preserved. It still retains many of its unique touches, from the woodwork to stained glass details. The museum is open May through October, with guided tours offered on Fridays every hour on the hour from 12pm to 4pm.
You won’t be able to miss this incredibly ornate and colorful building among the muted shades of colonial homes in the city’s College Hill neighborhood. The Fleur-de-Lys art studio has been the property of the Providence Art Club since its construction in 1885. It is a beautiful example of the arts and crafts architectural style,
The Westminster Arcade is the first enclosed shopping mall in the United States. And it is as fun to admire as it is to shop in. While there are only a handful of stores in the grand space today, you can hunt for vintage clothing at Carmen & Ginger, antiques at Chamonix, or unique clothing at nude.
Governor Stephen Hopkins House
Even older than the John Brown House, the 1707 estate of former Governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence Stephen Hopkins is located off of historic Benefit Street. It even boasts a bedroom where George Washington once slept. The house is open year-round on Wednesdays from 11am to 2pm and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays from April through November.