Welcome to Rhode Island
Rhode Island may be the smallest of the United States, but it is rich in history, culture and natural resources. A unique blend of people creates a cosmopolitan and vibrant atmosphere. The state and its environs offer a wealth of social and cultural leisure time activities.
The Ocean State
Rhode Island has 400 miles of shoreline, hence its nickname "The Ocean State." Beautiful beaches and islands make the state a mecca for sailors, swimmers and water sports enthusiasts. Most of the state's beaches, as well as the resort city of Newport, are within a 45-minute drive. Boston is a one-hour drive to the north, and New York City is approximately a three and one-half hour drive to the southwest. Other New England areas such as Cape Cod, the coast of Maine, and the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire can be reached within a half-day's drive. Rhode Island is served by the T.F. Green state airport.
Providence, Rhode Island’s capital city, is one of New England's largest cities with a population of more than 173,000. Providence was settled 350 years ago by Roger Williams, whose beliefs in separation of church and state, and Native American property rights led to his exile from Massachusetts. Established as a haven for religious freedom, Rhode Island became home to the first Jewish synagogue in America as well as a sanctuary for Quakers who were being persecuted in Massachusetts. After experiencing a renaissance of sorts throughout the 1980s and 1990s, downtown Providence is now bustling with industry and community. On Saturday nights throughout the summer, Rhode Islanders can be found strolling along the Providence River at Waterfire, an award-winning art installation. One hundred bonfires in iron sculptures span the length of the river, while families and friends gather to hear world music and experience the wonders of the city together.
The city is steeped in history and tradition. Brown University, founded in 1764, is situated on College Hill overlooking the downtown area. Providence is home to a dozen other colleges, including the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Johnson and Wales University and the University of Rhode Island. The city also boasts nationally acclaimed arts institutions, including The Rhode Island School of Design Museum, the Tony Award-winning Trinity Repertory Theater Company and the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra.