Providence, Rhode Island

What Cheer?

The BUZZ

What's it like to live in Providence

What is it like to live in Providence, RI?

Providence is an awesome place to live. It has a great art/local music scene and a hipster feel. Plenty of cool places to go to, like the Arcade in downtown, a tiny shopping center with quirky shops and a coffee shop that’s also a bar. Both lower and upper Westminister are trendy spots with more local coffee shops and a good place to hang out on during the weekend. Providence is one of the top culinary destinations in the US, with the third most restaurants per-capita.

Federal Hill is the Italian section of the city and another interesting destination. Some look down upon South Providence, but you can actually find a lot of Latino food and culture there-and very inexpensively too. The area also features open-air fruit and vegetable markets. The East Side is more exclusive and expensive. Wickenden Street is the place to go for breakfast, while Thayer Street is great for the college crowd. The West Side is up and coming and Broadway features many interesting restaurants and bike lanes. There is a developing bike culture in the city and the transit in the immediate area is easy to navigate.

Providence is much more affordable than Boston and it’s one of the reasons that I live here. It’s a quick trip on the T to the Boston to work or enjoy more of a big city feel. As for the people, I would say that they are typical New Englanders. People will actually meet your eyes on the street, however, unlike places such as New York. The one potential downside to living in Providence is that it can be difficult to find jobs here.

What is it like to live in Providence, RI?

It’s great! This is my second time living in Providence and about 12 years apart. I can say it’s changed for better of course, but what I’ve noticed is this time it’s more enjoyable. I suppose getting a little older I appreciate it more now for the art and not the entertainment. I see architecture everywhere I go new on buildings I’ve walked by a million times. Still not friendly, unless you go to the same places, but I don’t frequent bars anymore or clubs to see bands, so I try out places to eat, and check out whatever outdoor events are happening right now, in the fall and winter finding whatever is happening inside, no matter what night there is always something to do and the best part it’s a walk, lyft, or jump bike away. Again, people are not friendly, even in shops, but I have to say in restaurants I am always finding great service! Even the servers love to eat where they work and recommend other places to visit as well. Rent is not too much higher than what I was paying, maybe up a few hundred depending on the area.

Should I move to Providence RI?

Let’s give a check list of pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Lots of history and architecture to admire, mostly on the east side.
  2. Great restaurants and cafes to eat at.
  3. Good neighborhoods to live in. The east side and downtown are great. Stay away from South Providence and Charles near the North Providence border as those are pretty dangerous neighborhoods. Federal Hill and the West End used to be pretty bad but are being gentrified and are becoming nicer.
  4. Near lots of stuff. You are a half hour away from great beaches in Narragansett and Newport and an hour away from Boston. New York is only 3 hours away.

Cons:

  1. High cost of living. Rhode Island’s cost of living is 20% higher than the nation as a whole. You will have a hard time finding an in a decent one bed apartment neighborhood for less than $1500–2000. Houses in the Providence suburbs are around 300k-400k for a standard 3 bed 2 bath 1500 sq ft.
  2. Higher taxes. Rhode Island has the 9th highest tax burden in the country. It has very high property taxes and it sales and income taxes are in the top 20% bracket of states.
  3. Higher unemployment. Going by pre pandemic numbers in the fiscal year 2018, Rhode Island had an unemployment rate of 4.1%. That’s the 15th highest in the nation.
  4. Not good if you are interested in starting a business. Rhode Island is known for consistently being ranked the least business friendly states. Keeping with the tradition CNBC ranked RI number 50 in fiscal year 2019.
    5. Horrible infrastructure. CNBC again ranked Rhode Island number 50 on infrastructure. If you move hear you will definitely hear your fair share of jokes about the potholes as it sort of a cultural thing here. This isn’t a huge factor for most people, but if you are doing a lot of commuting is could play a role in your decision.

Living in providence 2020- what is it like?

comparing PVD to NYC is like comparing clam chowder w pizza-- they are both great for very different reasons.

PVD is my kind of "city," in that it's NOT a megaopolis like NYC. you can't really have a car in NYC unless you can afford to park it, and you can't really NOT have a car in PVD unless you are adept on a bike, comfortable riding it on roads that are hostile to bicyclists, or willing to pay an ever inflating rate for RIPTA buses that are not well funded or maintained.

do you want to buy a home or rent? home/rent costs are expensive in both places but higher in NYC for sure.

as for the seasons, well-- we haven't had a proper winter in RI since Jan-March of 2015, but fall here is nice, and summer is mild and spring is very colorful. PVD is easier to "escape" if you wanna feel close to nature, where NYC has wonderful public green spaces that will do if you don't mind always being inside a giant fucking city.

good luck w your interviews. one thing is for certain, no one can decide for you whether RI pizza strips are actually "pizza," you'll have to figure that out according to your own values if and when you move here.

Top 5 Reasons To Move To Providence, Rhode Island