The Neighborhoods

Below are the neighborhoods most popular amongst RISD undergraduates/graduates. 

And just in case you were curious which neighborhoods are the most hipster... click here!

Fox Point

Located east of downtown Providence, Fox Point is a tightly clustered residential neighborhood that remains home to a large portion of Providence's Portuguese population. Fox Point's boundaries are the Providence and Seekonk rivers to the east, west, and south; Interstate 195 to the south; and the College Hill neighborhood, to the north. Fox Point, once the major seaport for the city, is now primarily a lower and middle income neighborhood of two and three family homes. George M. Cohan Memorial Boulevard, located along Route 195, is named after the famous Broadway composer, who was born in 1878 at the present site of the Fox Point Boys and Girls Club on Wickenden Street.


Downtown apartments and loft apartments on the other side of the river are only a 7-10 minute walk from campus. Downcity has become a trendy area, with good restaurants and entertainment. There are other loft style apartments in the Olneyville section of the city but they are a little further out. Downtown Providence is located at the confluence of the Moshassuck and Woonasquatucket Rivers and is made up of approximately 150 acres. The neighborhood is surrounded by College Hill, Smith Hill, Federal Hill and Upper South Providence, and also faces the head of Narragansett Bay. Characterized by a concentration of mid-rise buildings, downtown Providence has a small area of light industry and sizable financial and retail districts. Formerly known as "Weybosset Neck" or the "Weybosset Side" or more recently during the mid-twentieth century as "Downcity," downtown Providence remained largely unsettled until the mid-eighteenth century. The Rev. Joseph Snow, Jr. and his followers, religious dissenters from the First Congregational Society, established downtown's first settlement in 1746 and marked the beginning of approximately 25 years of development where Westminster Street exists today.


West End (Westside)

The West End is Providence's largest neighborhood and is located in the southwestern quadrant of the city. A landlocked neighborhood, it is surrounded by the neighborhoods of Silver Lake, Olneyville, Federal Hill, Upper South Providence, Elmwood, and Reservoir. Historically, the section of the West End delineated by Union and Elmwood Avenues, and Ford and Cromwell Streets was considered part of Elmwood. Furthermore, residents recognized the region west of Dexter Street as West Elmwood. Today, the borders of the West End are Westminster Street to the north, Elmwood Avenue to the east, Huntington Avenue to the south, and the railroad to the west.

The West Side is an up and coming area, with many small coffee shops, amazing bistros, cool bars, and hipsters. It is separated from the East Side by I-95. The West Side runs from Broadway with its many wonderful turn of the century houses up the Armory. There are many housing opportunities in this diverse community. If you choose to move to that section of Providence, it is advisable that you check out the area thoroughly as all streets are not equal.

federal hill

The Federal Hill neighborhood is very significant in the history of Providence due to its central location within the city. The gateway arch over Atwells Avenue near Downtown is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Providence. Federal Hill is bounded by Westminster Street to the south, the Amtrak railroad tracks and Route 6 at the foot of the hill to the west and north, and Interstate 95 to the east. The area shares boundaries with six other neighborhoods: Downtown to the east, Smith Hill and Valley to the north, Olneyville to the west, and the West End and Upper South Providence to the south.

Federal Hill is the restaurant capital of the city, with many great restaurants, nightlife and older housing. This area is historically Italian and you can still find people speaking the language. Here you can shop for fresh handmade pasta, imported cheeses, olives and meats, and chillax in one of several hookah bars


Wayland is a residential neighborhood located on the Providence's East Side. Most of its development took place during the early and mid- 20th century. The houses are architecturally and functionally similar to those constructed on College Hill during the 18th and 19th centuries. Wayland also contains the city's most significant concentration of elegant apartment buildings, which were all built shortly after 1900, and also is home to the Red Bridge, the first bridge over the Seekonk River linking Providence with East Providence. Wayland is home to Blackstone Park, one of the larger parks on the East Side, and which will be linked with the surrounding area through the development of a bicycle path along the Seekonk River.

College hill

The community we know today as College Hill was the site of the first permanent colonial settlement in Rhode Island. The area currently contains one of the Providence's most extensive and distinguished collections of historic architecture. Located on a steep hill generated from the east bank of the Providence River, the area has always been primarily residential in nature. In fact, Benefit Street, Providence's own "Mile of History," was established in 1756 and became home to many wealthy Providence businessmen. The neighborhood boundaries include Fox Point to the south at Williams Street, Wayland and Blackstone to the east at Arlington Avenue and at Governor Street, Downtown to the west at North and South Main Street, and Mount Hope to the north at Olney Street.

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For more info/a full list: See the attached document on Providence Neighborhoods.

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