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21 Iconic Places in Rhode Island…From the Historic to the Happening!

Twenty One Places You Should Visit in Rhode Island

Like many places in New England, Rhode Island may be small, but its packed tight with history and sights. Founded by exiled Massachusetts puritans, Rhode Island has taken part in a lot of American history, from the revolutionary war on. Beyond the history, Rhode Island has been attracting attention for being an incredible travel destination. Whether  you are fortunate enough to live here, or if you are planning to travel to RI…here are some of Rhode Island’s iconic places and destinations. Some are old, some are new, and some aren’t buildings at all, but all of them will tell you a lot about the state and how to enjoy some of the best parts of Rhode Island.

The Narragansett Towers
The Narragansett Towers

The Towers: The Narragansett Towers are all that remain of the 19th century Narragansett Casino, which burned down in 1900. The Towers stood strong and is every bit as stunning today.  Stretching over the street and offering an amazing view of the ocean, this is a must see. The Towers are also a popular place to hold parties, dances, weddings, and the like.  You can participate in dance lessons while enjoying the captivating views.  This is truly a sight to see and is well deserving of the title iconic!  Learn more here.

The Providence Arcade: The Arcade was America’s first indoor shopping mall, all the way back in 1828. This historic location is revived with innovation while preserving its historic qualities.   It is a beautiful space with an entire first floor of great retail shops and restaurants.  The second features a new innovative series of rentable micro-lofts, this is an incredible blend of efficiently, history and modern innovation…iconic to say the least.  Click here to learn more.

The Breakers:   The Breakers is Rhode Island’s most iconic mansion. Built by 19th century millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt II, the Breakers remains as awe-inspiring as the day it was completed, and is now open to the public for tours.  Plan a tour and intend to spend the day in lovely Newport.  To learn more, click here!

The Cliff Walk: Starting right near the Breakers, the Cliff Walk shows off why Rhode Island was called the Ocean State to begin with. The Cliff Walk is breath-taking to see, and offers some of the best views on the island. If you visit Rhode Island, you owe yourself a walk down the Cliff Walk. This is a National recreation Trail in a National Historic District, making this one of Rhode Island’s iconic destinations.  Learn more here.

Touro Synagogue: Also in Newport, the Touro Synagogue is the oldest surviving Jewish house of worship in the United States, and, in fact, played a role in the history of religious freedom in the United States. When George Washington was elected president, Touro Synagogue sent a letter of congratulations, and President Washington sent back a letter affirming his government’s commitment to freedom from religious persecution. This letter is read every year, with former speakers including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  To learn more about this iconic synagogue, click here.

The State House: Even from afar, this Neoclassical beauty catches the eye, and remains the beating heart of Providence politics. The State House is made almost entirely of white Georgian marble.  You can see The State House via a free guided tour.  To learn more about this political icon, click here.




Old Slater Mill: Located in Pawtucket, the Old Slater Mill was America’s first commercial textile mill when it was built in the late 18th In addition to its great historical and educational value, the Old Slater Mill and its surrounding areas remain a peaceful jewel in the middle of downtown Pawtucket.  This icon is a testament to how far an entrepreneurial spirit can truly take you.  To learn more, click here!

Narragansett Town Beach: When people talk about beaches in Rhode Island, more often than not, its Narragansett Town Beach they’re talking about. The water is surfable but not too rough, the seawall is a pleasure even if you never step foot on the sand, and parking isn’t nearly as bad as people would have you believe. Even in the colder months, this beach remains home to many walkers and runners.  There are also a number of events that take place in the area surrounding the beach.  To learn more about this sandy iconic place, click here.

Roger Williams Park: This park represents the last of the land bought directly by Roger Williams upon founding Rhode Island. In addition to its historical significance, and of course the on-site zoo, Roger Williams Park is beautifully maintained and offers scenic walking trails, swan boat rides, a carousel and the perfect spot for a spring picnic.  To learn more, click here.

Haven Brothers: Haven Brothers is more than just a food truck. It has been in its spot by Kennedy Plaza since the late 19th century, and has been serving up food to locals ever since.  It originated as a horse drawn food carriage, again a testament to the entrepreneurs of Rhode Island.  This icon was literally the first food truck on wheels.  Learn more, watch this video!

Brenton Point: Even for Newport, Brenton Point is particularly scenic. From the sea wall you can watch the surf crash over the rocks, walk along the ocean, or go fly a kite: Brenton Point is a notorious kite-flying spot, due to its open spaces, high wind, and its lush grass. Brenton Point also has some great hiking trails.  With spring weather upon us, you are going to want to visit this iconic location!  Click here to learn more.

First Baptist: First Baptist has been an important Providence landmark since it was built and is actually the first Baptist church built in the United States. It was founded by Rhode Island’s founder himself and was an early proponent of religious freedom in America, and remains a beautiful example of colonial architecture to this day.  To learn more about this iconic church, click here.

Caserta’s:   This is quite a jump from houses of worship, but to some…pizza is a religion.  Here the pizza is certainly worth your worship.  This traditional Sicilian pizza place isn’t particularly fancy, but they make one of the best slices of pizza in the state, hands down. If you want to check out Rhode Island’s pizza, this is the place to start.   This classic icon has been pleasing pizza palates since 1953.  To learn more, click here.

Prospect Park: A relatively small park, Prospect Park is perched at a high elevation on College Hill. It offers a great view of the city below, and some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see.   Frequented by H.P Lovecraft, this iconic park also offer views of many of Providence’s historic buildings.  Plan yourself a sunset walk or picnic here.  To learn more, click here.

Rose Island: If you’ve crossed over the Newport Bridge, you’ve seen Rose Island. It’s only eighteen acres, but is an iconic Rhode Island location with one of our famous lighthouses.  You can actually stay on the island and act as a lighthouse keeper.  Make a plan to stay on your own private island and enjoy watching travelers hustle and bustle over the bridge while you soak up the serenity of Rose Island.  This is an oasis and an icon that can remove you from the busyness of everyday life.  To learn more, click here.

newport brideges

McCoy Stadium: The Pawtucket Red Sox are Rhode Island’s minor league baseball team, and while there has been serious talk of moving the PawSox to Providence, at the moment, the team still calls the McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket home. This stadium is also the sight of baseball’s longest game, which stayed tied until the 33rd.  Make this iconic piece of history a priority as its fate is undetermined.  Click here to learn more, opening night is April 16th!

Fort Adams: Fort Adams is located on a small jut of land in Newport. Built in the late 1700s, Fort Adams is now a beautiful state park that offers incredible views and some of the best events in Rhode Island.  From The Newport Jazz Festival to the Volvo Ocean Race, there are many events that are deemed iconic themselves at this fortress.  To learn more about events and tours, click here.

Newport Vineyards: Rhode Island’s wine output is small but delicious, and much of it comes from the Newport Vineyards. Take a tour during the summer and, wine lover or no, you’ll find it a relaxing, atmospheric experience.  From paint nights to vineyard yoga, there is no shortage of reasons to make a trip to this iconic vineyard.  Learn more here.

The Rustic Drive In: Rhode Island’s last drive-in, the Rustic is only open about half the year, when the weather isn’t too cold. They show double features throughout the spring and summer and remind us how the times used to be.  From April to September, you can enjoy a iconic and classic experience.  Learn more here.

Watch Hill:  Watch Hill has so much to offer, so much that even Taylor Swift has noticed.  From a beautiful shoreline to incredible cuisine, it will be easy to find something to love here.  Watch Hill was originally occupied by the Niantic Indians and was later used as a strategic lookout point by colonists.  This iconic destination lends itself towards a seasonal lifestyle, however, beauty abounds all year long.  To learn more, click here.

Block Island:  Block Island features 17 miles of seaside serenity.  You can see the island by foot, moped, car or bike.  Or you might just stay out on the beach and soak up the island life in the north.  There are historic hotels, incredible restaurants, scenic hiking paths, beach bars, great shops and so much more.  A trip to this iconic island in the north is well worth it.  Not to mention, the ferry ride on the Block Island Ferry is an iconic Rhode Island experience in itself. To learn more click here. 

bi ferry

Thanks to the incredible talent of Seth at Seth Jacobson Photography, you can see some of these iconic places in their splendid glory.  To view more of Seth’s photos, visit his site here.

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  1. You can’t leave out the NY System in Olneyville!

  2. Stanley”s in CF. Best burgers in RI. Crescent Park Carousel. Beautiful and historic as well.

  3. What about the Crescent Park Looff carousel in East Providence?

  4. I love Rhode Island!!!!!!

  5. what about Bristol parade?

  6. michael manchester


  7. Sandra J. Flowers

    Salve Regina University in Newport

  8. You forgot Beavertail in Jamestown, Thayer street, the CalArt building, Hammersmith farms, The Gilbert Stewart homestead, and all the other places cared for by The SPNEA (Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities)

  9. The Nordic is missing too.

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