All about Providence... and more
Brown University and Alpert Medical School are located in the city of Providence, the capital of Rhode Island, at the head of Narragansett Bay. An hour south of Boston and three hours northeast of New York City, Providence proper is home to roughly 175,000 people, and roughly 1.5 million live in the larger metropolitan area. The city is often touted as one of America's most successful examples of urban renewal and also has a reputation for the colorful nature of its (former) city politicians. Two other local universities, Rhode Island School of Design and Johnson and Wales, add distinctive contributions to the city: there is a thriving local arts community, and Providence boasts an excellent range of high-quality restaurants.
The Brown campus overlooks downtown Providence and covers nearly 140 acres of College Hill, an historic area that the University shares with Rhode Island School of Design. The campus is surrounded on its other sides by residential areas with an abundance of apartments and multi-bedroom houses that can be shared. Most Brown graduate students live off campus in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the University.
Thayer Street is the heart of College Hill. There is an assortment of affordable restaurants offering an eclectic range of cuisines and numerous coffee shops, as well as the Brown Bookstore and other music, clothing, and convenience shops — all within a few steps of the main campus. Thayer Street is also home to the Avon Cinema, a 1930s-era movie theater that is now a showcase for independent films.
Waterplace Park in downtown Providence is a quick walk down College Hill. Water Fire, an art installation of burning braziers along the Providence and Woonasquatucket rivers, is a regular summer event. At the far end of the park is the Providence Place Mall, which offers the usual lineup of dining and shopping opportunities, as well as mainstream and IMAX movie theatres.
Rhode Island has a special appeal for thespians and theater-goers, and both are served well. In addition to the nationally acclaimed Trinity Repertory Company, the smallest state in the Union boasts the Providence Black Repertory Company, as well as the Perishable, Gamm, and Second-Story theaters — all within a few miles.
Just south of College Hill and within easy walking distance of campus, the Fox Point neighborhood is a bustling mix of new and old. Groovy coffee shops, restaurants, and art galleries overlay a close-knit ethnic neighborhood of immigrant or second-generation Cape Verdeans and Portuguese. Many Brown medical students live in Fox Point.
A former hub of jewelry manufacturing, the Knowledge District is Providence's latest site of urban renewal. Gritty, old-time plating shops share the streets with artists' lofts, swishy restaurants and cutting-edge biomedical research facilities, including Brown's new 150,000-square-foot Laboratories for Molecular Medicine.The Knowledge District is also home of Alpert Medical School.