Providence is one of the oldest city in the east coast. As like every other city it has its own pros and cons. I had moved to Providence after spending two hot summers in Phoenix AZ so I am going to answer from my own perspective, it may be different for others
- It’s old but very beautiful. Especially during Fall
- You can experience all the climatic seasons
- Very near to big cities like Boston, Newyork etc
- Very near to Ocean if you are frequent beach goer.
- It has so many beautiful trekking trails.
- Real estate is Bit expensive
- Higher tax rates
- Narrow Roads
- Just one DMV for vehicle registration
- Higher insurance rates for both vehicle and home.
“Expensive” is a relative term. Living in Providence is cheap compared to Boston or New York City, but would be expensive compared to most cities in the South and Midwest.
And even within Providence itself, there are very expensive neighborhoods (Blackstone, College Hill) and very cheap neighborhoods (West End, Olneyville, Manton … they’re cheap for a reason, though!).
Providence can be a great place to “start a living” if you have a job. It’s not such a great place to start a business, and consistently ranks around dead last in that category (high taxes, expensive permits, tons of regulations).
Providence is definitely safe and kid friendly, but from what I hear the public schools aren't the greatest. I hear the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School on Wickenden St is the best for kindergarten/elementary aged children. That area is considered Fox Point and is generally the more expensive area of Providence (The East Side), but would be a perfect place for a family. The East Side in general would be a great area to raise a family, especially anywhere around Hope St/Lippitt Park. 2 bedroom apartments in this area range anywhere from like $1200-1800, but it REALLY depends on what you're looking for. The places with the lower rents on the East Side offer much less- you'll likely not have a dishwasher, laundry, or parking for $1200, so if those things are important to you, you might want to look in different neighborhoods. You can find really nice apartments on the West End for $1200, sometimes with stainless steel appliances, a dishwasher AND laundry, but the area is not very family friendly. However, many families do live in this area and most of the high schools in Providence are in this area as well. You can find places for less than $1200 in other areas for sure and may find some hidden gems, but generally the places with rents below $900/$1000 aren't the greatest or aren't in the greatest areas.
Avoid Smith Hill-Chad Brown-Providence college area that's where I live in the student ghetto! I mean there are a few families here and there, but it's not a neighborhood feel. I have also lived on federal hill, I felt like it was much safer up there, but I'm not sure about the family life most of the people that frequent that area are middle age (or older) Italians. The bars and restaurants attract the adults on the weekends and I used to live right next to the elementary school in fed hill, it was like the second from the bottom in terms of performance.
Providence is a culturally diverse metro area home to young professionals and artists, characterized by a quaint New England vibe. Providence has a budding economy fueled by the health care, education, tourism and financial sectors. Over the past several decades, Providence has undergone a dramatic facelift following a period of industrial decline. Providence's renaissance is now evident throughout the metro area, from the carefully restored urban landscape of downtown, to the hip coffee shops and thriving community gardens of the trendy West End.
In more recent years, this renaissance has helped foster an exceptional culinary scene, numerous arts venues and thoughtfully planned urban spaces throughout the city center. Factor in the presence of top-notch institutions like Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and a proximity to some of New England's most beautiful beaches, and you'll see what has made Providence an appealing place to live.
Close-knit communities in the metro area's various neighborhoods – whether it's the artsy 20- and 30-somethings of the West Side, the families of the East Side or the students on College Hill – are just one of many reasons folks find it easy to call Providence home.
Providence is also the host of many prominent colleges. Brown University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Johnson & Wales University, and an extension of University of RI are all within the city limits.
Families live in all areas of Providence – so I suppose they are all in some ways family friendly! If you’re looking into private schools, both Moses Brown and Wheeler are located in the East Side of Providence near College Hill (and Brown University), which is one of the more affluent neighborhoods. I hope that helps!
Our family moved to the East Side in August 2014. We came from my hometown of Medford NJ and I do remember reading your blog as I tried to decide on Barrington or Providence. Thanks for the putting it out there – it was very helpful. We could not be more thrilled to be on the East Side – our kids are 13 and 15 and love the independence of walking to the shops and restaurants that surround us. They also love that they can ride their bikes and take advantage of the Brown athletic facilities( amazing olympic size pool, extensive turf fields, basketball and tennis courts). Our kids go to LaSalle Academy and have settled right in to this fantastic catholic co-ed school. Great teachers, sports, drama and every kind of club you could imagine. Even our golden doodle loves Providence! So many great places to walk and one of the best dog parks we’ve been to is right down the street from us. The shops at Wayland Square are so dog friendly! The book store hands out biscuits to our furry friend!
Providence Rhode Island is a fantastic place to be. This small city is slowly growing and ever changing. There are many opportunities to explore. Water fire is a fun attraction where hundreds of people visit water place park to watch fires lit over the water. Providence is also home to Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design which are fun places to walk around in. Benefit street is lined with old beautiful houses. There is a variety of interesting and diverse foods to eat from Indonesian, Mexican, French and Italian. You can always find awesome food in Providence. Not to mention sea food, as Providence is only a 40 minute drive from the beach!
I have lived in Providence all my life with spending only two years living in another state. To be honest, I just love Providence and how everything is always so easily accessible. You can drive throughout the state within an hour and still be able to have enough time to do a historical tour in Providence. We may be a small state, but we are known for some of the oldest historical buildings and history. Along with some of the best schools in the country: Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University. And not to mention the cultural diversity of this city is so diverse its hard not to meet someone who is of a different ethnicity. The food is amazing and the people here are great! The ocean; as I like to say is literally two minutes away from my childhood home and you are bound to have a blast if you decide to come visit or live in Providence.
Providence is like a little New York City. The city is alive day and night. There are tons of smalls shops and restaurants from pizza to fine dining. Providence is home to the historic 18 story Biltmore hotel as well as a three story shopping mall, and numerous colleges. Providence is a great town for college students because of the close proximity to colleges, the nightlife, and the variety of restaurants. I would recommend this city to my friends, a new family, and grandparents. It's a beautiful and scenic town near Narragansett Bay with tons to do!
I lived in Providence, RI from 2015 to 2017. As a person who has spent all the time in three of the biggest cities in China, I have no problem adjusting to the smaller scale and slower pace of life in Rhode Island. It has what I need from urban life: malls, cinemas, public transport (above U.S. average I believe), walkability between neighborhoods, accessbility to big cities (Boston)…But at the same time, it is also full of historic architecture, natural beauty and tranquilty. It’s probably because I lived in Fox Point, right next to Brown and RISD…but I do think Americans in general underated this beautiful little state so much.
It really is much cheaper to live here than in a city like Boston or New York. You can still find a 1 bedroom for $1000 or less or a two bedroom for $1200 or so. Although people talk about rough areas, the crime rate here is still way lower than in Boston, so it’s all relative. I personally feel safe walking around the city at night. It’s a fun place to live if you are a young professional. That said, the median wage in Providence is something like $37,000, so you are not going to get rich moving here. If you work in a field where the pay is good, I say go for it.
Providence has several colleges and universities within the city. It is the home of "Waterfire", an outdoor event that takes place on the river that flows through the center of the town, bring in visitors from all over. There are interesting museums, art galleries, a performing arts center, indoor shopping mall with a movie theater and Imax. Providence has a childrens museum, a zoo with a botanical garden, and an outdoor ice skating rink. There is wonderful architecture and streets made for walking. Last but not least, there are so many wonderful restaurants you could have a difficult time deciding where to dine.
Western Cranston has none of those things, but Eastern Cranston absolutely does, especially in the Edgewood/Pawtuxet Village area. It’s a safe urban neighborhood about 10 minutes from downtown Providence with tons of nearby parks (Roger Williams Park, Stillhouse Cove, Pawtuxet Park, and many others), decent schools, and also great restaurants, cute shops, and a few good bars. The neighborhood is close knit and has a strong community, too. I have several friends raising kids in the area and they all love it.
There are tons of young families in my neighborhood in Elmhurst, and it's a great alternative to the east side.
You may want to check out the area bounded by River Street on the east, Pleasant Valley Parkway on the south, Academy Ave on the west, and Eaton on the north. Mostly families in the area, but don't live east of River because it's full of students.
West of Academy a couple blocks north and south of Smith is also good. Just make sure your potential street doesn't connect Smith to Mount Pleasant - those tend to be speedways.