Rhode Island

2022 Best of New England | Rhode Island

With an eye on what’s new for 2022, Yankee’s editors round up the best attractions, eateries, and hotels in top Rhode Island travel destinations, including Providence, Newport, and Block Island.

By Yankee Editors

Jun 06 2022


College Hill, Providence, Rhode Island

Photo Credit : Raymond Forbes LLC/Stocksy (College Hill, Providence)
With an eye on what’s new for 2022, Yankee’s editors round up the best attractions, eateries, and hotels in top Rhode Island travel destinations, including Providence, Newport, and Block Island.


Aguardente Providence

Both indoors and on the patio, the decor echoes the warmth of the Aguardente brandy that inspired the restaurant’s name. Three partners—Victor Pereira, Magda León, and Natalia Paiva-Neves—bring the flavors and culture of their native lands to the food, the spirits, and the art on the walls. Codfish fritters, grilled octopus, and flan hark to Portugal and the Azores; stuffed plantains, cactus tacos, and tres leches cake, to Guatemala and Mexico. It’s a whirlwind trip without a passport. aguardente.com

Farm Fresh Rhode Island Providence

Built on remediated land in the Valley neighborhood, a former manufacturing sector, Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s new 60,000-square-foot facility hosts a year-round Saturday farmers’ market as well as the winter and spring iterations of the Sunday-afternoon Providence Flea, featuring local artwork and vintage finds. The hallways here lead to small-business storefronts including Providence Brewing Company, Anchor Toffee, Tallulah’s Taqueria, Ocean State Pepper Co., and others, making it a massive—and massively welcome—food and drink mecca for the city. farmfreshri.org

Graduate Providence Providence

Formerly known as the Providence Biltmore, this rebranded and revamped c. 1922 Art Deco hotel preserves its past while welcoming the future. The lobby’s focal point—a vibrant portrait of the late Vogue fashion editor André Leon Talley—sets the tone for the over-the-top style of the hotel’s luxury spa, the Poindexter Café, and the sports-inspired Reiners Bar and Game Room, where amenities include two Topgolf Swing Suites. graduatehotels.com/providence

Kin Southern Table + Bar Providence

Taste the South right in the heart of Providence at Julia Broome’s soul food restaurant, opened in 2021, which dishes out big portions of catfish, fried chicken wings, mac and cheese, and collard greens. Order the glittery conversation-piece cocktail called Black Girl Magic; admire the restaurant interior’s artwork, which pays homage to women of color; and enjoy music that gets guests grooving in their seats. kinpvd.com

Narragansett Brewery Providence

No beer represents Rhode Island better than ’Gansett—and now the brewery finally has its own waterfront home in Providence. The c. 1890 brewery that was originally located in Cranston shut down in 1981, and brewing operations moved to New York. Recently, some boutique craft ’Gansett brews were produced locally at The Guild in Pawtucket, but the brewery’s full return didn’t happen until last year. Cambridge Brewing Co. alum Lee Lord serves as head brewer, leading her team in crafting ’Gansett’s IPAs, pilsners, and sours. narragansettbeer.com

Roger Williams Park Providence

With a first-class zoo, botanical center, and natural history museum and planetarium—plus a carousel, bike park, paddle boats, and walking trails—this 427-acre urban oasis has no shortage of features to draw people in. It’s getting a new one anyway: This year will see the debut of a brilliantly colored gateway and visitor center on Broad Street, with picnic and play areas and concessions, a result of formerly blighted lots being turned into a celebratory introduction to the city’s largest park. rwpconservancy.org

Scialo Brothers Bakery Providence

When Scialo Brothers—a fixture of Providence’s Italian neighborhood, Federal Hill, since 1916—closed during the pandemic, many locals thought it was gone for good. But a year later, a mystery group of investors brought the historic brick ovens back to life, once again turning out fresh bread, zeppole, sfogliatelle, cakes, and more, with the original owner’s daughter, Carol Gaeta, coming out of retirement to manage things behind the scenes. facebook.com/scialobrosbakery

WaterFire Providence

New England’s most mesmerizing public art installation has reignited this year with its first full series of May-through-November lightings since 2019. Sculptor Barnaby Evans’s masterwork is much more than the sum of its 80-plus bonfires, whose lights shimmer over the rivers in WaterPlace Park as they dance to an ever-evolving soundtrack. WaterFire fuels Providence’s arts scene and fosters a sense of belonging for everyone drawn to the sight. waterfire.org


Brenton Hotel Newport

Newport’s picture-ready harbor got the hotel it deserved when this boutique beauty opened in 2020. Located just steps from the water, the Brenton’s 57 cozy but upscale rooms and suites include many that are oriented to the sea. The hotel’s own Hinckley yacht means guests can do more than just take in pretty sights from land, and the rooftop bar offers the perfect place from which to watch the sun set over the harbor. brentonhotel.com

The Café at the Chanler Newport

If touring the Gilded Age grandeur of the Newport Mansions has left you with a serious case of FOMO, head straight to The Café at The Chanler, a posh hotel eatery on the doorstep of the Cliff Walk that lives up to its refined environs. Salty breezes caress the covered veranda, while floor-to-ceiling windows ensure that indoor diners don’t miss out on the multimillion-dollar views. One of two dining venues at The Chanler at Cliff Walk (the other being the fine-dining spot Cara), this is the more causal option, and the perfect setting in which to sip French pear martinis and watch the world saunter by. thechanler.com

Giusto Newport

Fun and elegance go hand in hand at the Hammetts Hotel’s restaurant. A European feel pervades the interior decor as well as the outdoor-cafe scene on the large L-shaped deck overlooking the sailboats in Newport Harbor. Inventive twists on Italian favorites include calamari in squid-ink tempura batter and a meatball with a soft-boiled egg inside. Expect seasonal and local dishes and brews, and wines from organic Italian vineyards, many of them headed up by women. Giusto! (Translation: “Just right!”) giustonewport.com

Green Animals Portsmouth

Only the grounds have reopened at the most whimsical of the Newport Mansions properties, and that’s more than OK, since Green Animals’ collection of more than 80 towering topiaries has always been its draw. Anticipation is growing faster than boxwood for the announcement of this summer’s new art installation on the flowering, waterside property, where the elephant, giraffe, unicorn, and other meticulously clipped creatures have been nurtured as living art for more than a century. newportmansions.org

Groundswell Tiverton

Opened in 2020 in historic Tiverton Four Corners, in the space formerly occupied by the longtime local eatery Provender, Groundswell is actually two crowd-pleasing attractions in one. The picture-perfect home and garden shop is stocked with uncommon goods to inspire indoor and outdoor spaces, while the bakery and café attracts sweet tooths with made-from-scratch pastries, doughnuts, and croissants. Salads and sandwiches can be taken to go, or enjoyed in the café or on the sprawling landscaped patio punctuated by Adirondack chairs. groundswellcafegarden.com

Hotel Viking Newport

If you’ve been hooked by the new HBO series The Gilded Age, you know Newport was famed as the summer playground of America’s elite during the show’s namesake era. Discover a modern reimagining of that old-school luxury at the Hotel Viking: Perched atop Historic Hill, it was financed in part by a Vanderbilt when it opened in 1926 as Newport’s first grand hotel. It’s been recently remodeled and boasts new enticements such as Spa Fjör, anchored by a 12-by-7-foot wall of Himalayan sea salt, and indoor poolside cabanas. Meanwhile, the Top of Newport—the rooftop bar marking the highest point in the City by the Sea—lets you soak up coastal vibes and panoramic views. hotelviking.com

Jamestown Arts Center Jamestown

Bringing compelling exhibits, performances, and events to Conanicut Island year-round, this arts and cultural hub might fly under the radar of most Newport visitors, but it’s worth seeking out, and especially so this year: From July until October, its creative influence on the community will be everywhere you look, as art installations take root at a dozen locations across the island for the Outdoor Arts Biennial. jamestownartcenter.org

The Vanderbilt Newport

After touring the Breakers and Marble House, tuck yourself in at Newport’s only Vanderbilt mansion that welcomes overnight guests. The 1909 Georgian originally built for scandal-prone playboy Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt has been richly restyled for your arrival: Indoor and outdoor dining concepts have also been refreshed, and new guest experiences promise to take you inside the world of a furniture artisan, shipbuilder, or oyster farmer. aubergeresorts.com/vanderbilt


Block Island Beach House Block Island

A top-to-bottom polishing and rebranding by new owner Lark Hotels has solidified the former Surf Hotel as the place to be on “the Block.” Though set in a Victorian-era structure, the island’s only beachfront lodging now embodies surf-shack style with a contemporary edge. Also folded into BIBH is the recently acquired Gables, a property across the street that features a newly built in-ground swimming pool and 16 spacious rooms and suites that are ideal for families or groups. blockislandbeachhouse.com

Dave’s Coffee Charlestown

This coastal coffee oasis (freshly roasted, certified organic) has seasonal lattes and palm-sized muffins, cookies, and scones (scratch-made). Warm weather urges Dave’s Coffee habitués (ensconced in a tiny café or the eclectic boutique, Galapagos) to move outside. Customers can choose wrought-iron chairs or picnic tables that dot the lawn and relax near a small waterfall, under a pergola, overlooking a pond in one direction or Highway 1 and Dave’s signature vintage delivery truck in the other. facebook.com/davescoffee

Matunuck Oyster Bar SOUTH KINGSTOWN

Soak in the rose-and-gold sunsets from dining decks on three floors, overlooking the surf of Block Island Sound and the egret-dotted estuary from which the restaurant’s oysters are farmed. Chefs are as careful with Matunuck Oyster Bar’s homegrown organic veggies as with its seafood: fresh-shucked oysters, oyster stew, and oysters Rockefeller, plus steamers, lobsters, and Point Judith calamari. The welcoming staff follows the lead of their boss, oyster farmer/restaurateur Perry Raso, who often makes the rounds with personal greetings. rhodyoysters.com

Shepherd’s Run South Kingstown

This 1933 summer residence and former convent and boarding school has been transformed into a stunning mansion-based winery, hotel, and event venue. Sip estate-finished wines in the elegant tasting room or on the grounds, where you can bring a picnic to pair with flights. For a more in-depth experience, book one of the mansion’s 10 guest rooms (two-night minimum); opt for the signature suite, and relax on your own private balcony overlooking the vineyard itself. shepherds.run

See More: Best of New England 2022