Providence is the capital of Rhode Island and was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After being one of the first cities in the country to industrialize, Providence became noted for its jewelry and silverware industry. Today, Providence city proper alone is home to eight hospitals and seven institutions of higher learning, which has shifted the city's economy into service industries, though it still retains significant manufacturing work
Seven of the fourteen institutions of higher learning in Rhode Island have campuses in Providence:
• Brown University, an Ivy League university
• Community College of Rhode Island (Downcity and Liston campuses)
• Johnson & Wales University, notable for its culinary and hospitality program
• Providence College, a top master's level college and member of the Big East Conference.
• Rhode Island College
• Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), one of the country's top art colleges
• University of Rhode Island (Providence campus).
Providence has several ethnic neighborhoods, notably Federal Hill and the North End (Italian), Fox Point (Cape Verdean and Portuguese, West End (mainly Central American and Asians), and Smith Hill (Irish with miscellaneous enclaves of other groups). There are also many dedicated community organizations and arts associations located in the city.
During the summer months, the city regularly hosts WaterFire, an environmental art installation that consists of about 100 bonfires that blaze just above the surface of the three rivers that pass through the middle of downtown Providence. There are multiple Waterfire events that are accompanied by various pieces of classical and world music. The public art displays, most notably sculptures, change on a regular basis.
Providence is served by air primarily by the commercial airfield T. F. Green Airport in nearby Warwick.
Providence Station, located between the Rhode Island State House and the downtown district, is served by Amtrak and MBTA Commuter Rail services.
I-95 runs from north to south through Providence while I-195 connects the city to eastern Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, including New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Cape Cod. I-295 encircles Providence while RI 146 provides a direct connection with Worcester, Massachusetts.
Getting Around Town: MBTA Schedule