Pawtucket, Rhode Island

A Tale Of Two States

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What's it like to live in Pawtucket?

pawtucket as a place to live? instead of providence

The Oak Hill neighborhood of Pawtucket is basically the East Side of Providence without Providence taxes. Homes are affordable and nice and Providence is easily accessible by bike or bus. Hope Artiste Village/the Met is right near Oak Hill. Lippett Park (technically providence but it's close) hosts the summer farmers market while Hope Artiste Village hosts a winter's farmers market. Best of both worlds. Jordan's Jungle is underrated and a decent yoga studio there too. All the shops on Hope St are super close and downtown is a 10min bus ride.

Oak Hill is the neighborhood bordered by Alfred Stone Rd/Pleasant St, Hillside Ave and Pawtucket Ave. The northern parts starts to get a little worse for the wear north of Charles Shea High School but honestly, all the way to 95 is still decent depending on the specific street. Give a look on zillow for how affordable homes in the neighborhood are.

pawtucket as a place to live? instead of providence

Tbh pawtucket is more of a neighborhood. Its not like you have to plan an hour drive to go to an event in either city.

This is what makes RI great. You can go to a artisan flea market in Newport in the morning, have brunch in Narragansett, visit a meuseum or art gallery in Providence and finish off with dinner in Woonsocket and still come back to the City for any nightly events or a club meeting.

What is it like to live in Pawtucket, RI? What advice would you give to a 21 year old Californian thinking of moving there?

If you don't like urban living, and suburban areas that are very close to urban areas, (think Oakland/Berkeley East Bay I-80 corridor,) you will not like it. Although Pawtucket is a smaller city, (population 72k,) the Providence inner metropolitan area, (Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, East Providence, North Providence, Cranston, Warwick, Attleboro MA,) has a population of over 600k. It doesn't sound like a lot, but RI, as most of the I-95 corridor from north of Boston to Richmond, VA, is one of the most densely populated areas in the entire country. The population of those cities don't fluctuate much as they are all pretty much filled up. The surrounding suburban and rural areas continue to rise rapidly. When I was a teenager, you could blast down I-95 and I-195 during rush hour, but no more. If you like rural living, Pawtucket is not for you.

If you are coming from far northern or east parts of California and have enjoyed lower rents as compared to Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, LA, and San Diego, then the rent might shock you, but homes are much cheaper to buy there. My parents house sold for $285k in 2016 after they both passed, but a similar house in a similar location in California would go for over $1M. Go to craigslist and/or a real estate app and you can get a better idea of the current rates.

If you like the mild year round climate of California, you should know that it starts to cool off, starts to get chilly in October, and by November when all the trees have gone bare, it looks really bleak. Snow can arrive in November, but until you get a major dump and a cold winter, it looks dreary. Winter heating bills are a bitch.

Summers in Pawtucket will not be pleasant. It is a helluva lot warmer there than by the ocean. You'll want to find a first floor apartment as 2nd and 3rd floor apartments are a lot hotter than 1st floor apartments, unless you find one that has ample shade on the NW side.

There is much to do in Providence. There are farmers markets and free music in the summers. It used to have a decent night life, but with the pandemic still raging, idk what has happened to it. Being in between Boston and NYC, many touring bands will stop in Providence.

If watching team sports is your thing, you're in luck. The Red Sox and the Patriots have had very successful teams this century. The Celtics and Bruins have had long winning stretches, but Idk how they're doing this century. Foxboro is not far away at all, and Boston is about an hour away.

If you're a Yankees fan, you will have to lay low or switch allegiance to the Sox. If you're a big fan of California teams, expect to stay up late. Games that start at 7 or 8 pm in California start at 10 or 11 pm in RI.

Providence College has very competitive basketball and hockey teams. Boston College has had successful basketball, football, and hockey programs.

Personally, I will not move back there after living in California, but then again, I like chocolate and rocky road and you might like vanilla. Good luck.

What is it like to live in Pawtucket, RI? What advice would you give to a 21 year old Californian thinking of moving there?

Well, Rhode Island has pluses and minuses, but I’d be fascinated to know: why Pawtucket specifically?

Pawtucket is, for the most part, a city with a lot of substandard housing options, relatively high crime rates, and not much to look at in terms of beauty. It is close to Providence (a bonus), and conveniently located right next to a major highway (a bonus), but so are other cities in Rhode Island, including Providence - which at least has some better options, and more to do and see.

But if there is something about Pawtucket specifically that leaves you really yearning to move there, my advice would be to:

Try to line up a job first is at all possible - Providence is not exactly the hottest job market anyway, so better to try and arrange something where you will get a little leeway on a start date that lets you move out
Find housing - the best parts of Pawtucket (such as they are) tend to be closer to the state line in Massachusetts. If you see an apartment in Pawtucket that looks cheap, odds are good there’s a reason.
This goes doubly so if you see something in nearby Central Falls - just avoid that if you can
Get ready for a little culture shock. There is very little out here that has even vague similarities with California - from the weather, to the culture, to the accents
So that’s my advice. Welcome to the Ocean State! Look forward to you moving here!