Thu, September 29th, 2011 - By

Sleep Cheap in Boston: Stay in Providence

Boston is a fantastic US city and one of the most popular stops on the east coast, but when it comes to a travel budget, Boston can push it. But I’ve got a great money saving suggestion for you that adds a bit of inconvenience, but can save you money: spend the night in Providence, or perhaps split your time between the two cities.

Getting from Providence to Boston is simple, as many people live in Providence and work in Boston. It’s about an hour trip each direction, though in Boston you’re dropped off at South Station so you may need a further connection to get to where you’re going. But why is Providence worth all the hassle?

Vibrant Downtown Scene

Providence has had an overwhelming urban overhaul in recent years. Now, the downtown area is full of eclectic restaurants and shops, and a wonderful new park perfect for an evening stroll after a busy day in Boston. I also love some of the super cool hotels in downtown Providence; there’s a Hampton Inn that used to be a bank, and the Renaissance Hotel used to be a Masonic Temple! (The rooms there feature artwork that shows the building in its prior state, graffiti covered and a real mess.)

You’ll also have no trouble getting around downtown by walking. It’s not huge and I found getting around pretty easy, since you can quickly orientate yourself by some of the larger buildings.


I like to eat, and if you do too, then come to Providence very hungry. There’s such a big foodie scene here, with many local establishments and a lot of focus on locally sourced ingredients. The main restaurant areas are focused in three pockets: the downtown corridor, Federal Hill, and College Hill. Both of the hill areas are accessible via a short walk (College Hill being the closer of the two), but they are on hill so you may want to grab a taxi on the way up and then enjoy the fresh air on the way back home.

I’d be here all day listing restaurants, but a few recommendations:

  • Hemenways (Downtown): Some say they have the best clam chowder in America. All I can say is that it is truly delicious. Also, their cocktails are worth writing home about.
  • Blue State Coffee (College Hill):  Loved their coffee and snacks/sandwiches, but more so love that they donate a huge portion of profit to charity. A charity that customers get to choose.
  • Downcity (Downtown):  This venue was featured on Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay, and they’ve cleaned up their act. So much so that this place is packed and making a new name for themselves with sliders and sandwiches.
  • Pastiche (Federal Hill): Amazing cakes and desserts. Enough said.


Providence is one of the older cities in America, and with that comes some fantastic history. There’s the first Baptist church in America, the oldest library in the United States, and many other “only in Providence” attractions that make this such a great destination in its own right, or accompanying a visit to Boston.

Photo credit Lin Mei.

Photos copyright Andy Hayes.

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Thursday, September 29th, 2011 at 11:00
Category : Spotlight
Subscribe : RSS 2.0

Leave a Reply