13. Discover Unbeatable Italian Cuisine on Federal Hill
If your date likes Italian food, you must check out one of the restaurants on Federal Hill. Atwells Avenue and the surrounding area feature some of the best Italian restaurants in Providence.
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.
14. 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 casual Middle Eastern food and Andreas for Greek food.
Except for Andreas, most of the restaurants on Thayer are more informal 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.
15. 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 there trying to impress anyone with the ambiance. It’s all about the food. Many of the other restaurants on Hope have good ambiance though.
16. 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 their omelets. There might be a line, so get there before you are too hungry. Worst case, there are other decent breakfast places around there.
Afterward, 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.
17. 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.
18. Get Yummy Treats at the Pawtucket 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!
19. Hear the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, The See Fireworks at the Pawtucket Arts Festival
Just to the north of Providence, the city of Pawtucket holds the Pawtucket Arts Festival every September. There are tons of activities, but the highlights for me are listening to the “Pops in the Park” concert on lawn chairs, then watching the fireworks afterward! It’s an experience not to be missed!
20. Browse the Providence Artisans Market
The Providence Artisans Market features handmade arts and crafts, and happens Saturdays from 9 AM to 2 PM at Lippitt Park. I usually don’t buy much from markets like these but I do enjoy browsing; it’s always a charming experience. Grab brunch afterward to make a charming daytime date idea!
21. 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!
22. 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!
For the latest in music, books, theater, film, food, and many other activities, check out MotifRI.com. There are lots of good date events there!
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