Life in Providence


Brown University is located in the city of Providence, the capitol of Rhode Island, at the head of the 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 approximately 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. Diverse and historic, bicycle friendly, and easy to explore by foot, Providence is an active center of art, culture, culinary diversity, education, and politics.

Learn more

Brown University campus overlooks downtown Providence and covers nearly 140 acres of the picturesque College Hill. The campus is surrounded by dozens of historic homes and landmarks as well as an abundance of apartments and multi-bedroom houses that can be shared by students. Most Brown graduate students live off campus in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the University.  Housing information can be found at the Brown University Graduate School web site.

Thayer Street, Providence

Close to campus, the vibrant Thayer Street, Wickenden Street, and Wayland Square, provide ample shopping, dining, and entertainment. There is an assortment of affordable restaurants offering an eclectic rang of cuisines and numerous coffee shops, as well as the Brown Bookstore and other music, clothing, and convenience shops. Several farmers markets with local farm fresh foods can be found in and around the campus area. Thayer street is also home to Avon Cinema, a 1930s-era movie theater that is now a showcase for independent films.

downtown providence

Downtown Providence, with its popular mall, many restaurants, concert venues, train station, hotels, and scenic riverfront, is just a short walk from campus. Providence is nationally known for its varied and high-quality restaurants, particularly in the Federal Hill neighborhood, which is a quick trolley ride away (Brown ID holders ride free on RIPTA). Waterplace Park in downtown Providence is a quick walk down College Hill and Water Fire, an art installation of burning braziers along the Providence and Woonasquatucket rivers, is a regular summer event.