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Best Things To Do in Newport

Newport is a cute New England port town, but beaching it isn't the main thing to do here. Get your blood pumping with a stroll along the picturesque Cliff Walk trail. As you go, hop off to visit the infamous Newport mansions, especially The Breakers, the Marble House and Rough Point. History and culture buffs will want to take some time to explore Fort Adams, Touro Synagogue and the National Museum of American Illustration. And when your stomach is growling for lunch or you're in need of some shopping therapy, make your way down to Thames Street.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Newport

Free
This scenic 3.5-mile walkway hugs the edge of Newport's shoreline and snakes by the backyards of many of the town's most glamorous mansions. Many visitors start at Easton's Beach or The Breakers mansion and head south to Bailey's Beach. Along the way, you'll catch a glimpse of other famous homes like the Marble House and Rough Point.
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Hiking Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Cliff Walk
This scenic 3.5-mile walkway hugs the edge of Newport's shoreline and snakes by the backyards of many of the town's most glamorous mansions. Many visitors start at Easton's Beach or The Breakers mansion and head south to Bailey's Beach. Along the way, you'll catch a glimpse of other famous homes like the Marble House and Rough Point.
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#2

#2 in Newport

Free
Nestled just steps from the waterfront, Thames Street has been Newport's main commercial drag since the 18th century. Here you'll find a collection of local shops like Thames Glass and Newport Fudgery, as well as more conventional stores like Express and Banana Republic. There's also a decent dining scene, ranging from budget-friendly seafood spots to ritzier establishments, such as Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant and Bouchard Inn & Restaurant.
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Shopping Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Thames Street
Nestled just steps from the waterfront, Thames Street has been Newport's main commercial drag since the 18th century. Here you'll find a collection of local shops like Thames Glass and Newport Fudgery, as well as more conventional stores like Express and Banana Republic. There's also a decent dining scene, ranging from budget-friendly seafood spots to ritzier establishments, such as Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant and Bouchard Inn & Restaurant.
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#3

#3 in Newport

Newport's mansions are remnants of the lavish lifestyles of America's wealthiest industrialists in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Of all of Newport's famous homes, The Breakers mansion is the cream of the summer cottage crop. Commissioned in 1893 by railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt II, The Breakers is a Renaissance-style "summer cottage" inspired by the palaces in northern Italy. Its opulence knows no bounds: Italian marble, ornate gold ceilings, French antique furnishings and fixtures, diamonds, rubies and other precious gems encrusted in the walls … the list of absurdly expensive details goes on and on.
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Historic Homes/Mansions Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
The Breakers
Newport's mansions are remnants of the lavish lifestyles of America's wealthiest industrialists in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Of all of Newport's famous homes, The Breakers mansion is the cream of the summer cottage crop. Commissioned in 1893 by railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt II, The Breakers is a Renaissance-style "summer cottage" inspired by the palaces in northern Italy. Its opulence knows no bounds: Italian marble, ornate gold ceilings, French antique furnishings and fixtures, diamonds, rubies and other precious gems encrusted in the walls … the list of absurdly expensive details goes on and on.
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#4

#4 in Newport

Originally owned by the Vanderbilt family, Rough Point eventually fell into the hands of local philanthropist, tobacco heiress and art collector Doris Duke, who refurbished the estate and donated it to the Newport Restoration Foundation in 1993. The property, which was reopened in 2000 as a museum, features family heirlooms and artwork and antiquities collected by Duke, plus two gardens and bay views.
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Historic Homes/Mansions Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Rough Point
Originally owned by the Vanderbilt family, Rough Point eventually fell into the hands of local philanthropist, tobacco heiress and art collector Doris Duke, who refurbished the estate and donated it to the Newport Restoration Foundation in 1993. The property, which was reopened in 2000 as a museum, features family heirlooms and artwork and antiquities collected by Duke, plus two gardens and bay views.
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#5

#5 in Newport

Overlooking Brenton Cove in Newport's Fort Adams State Park, this historic military compound was once used to defend Newport's harbor from potential enemies. Once it was gifted to the state of Rhode Island in 1965, the fortress reopened as a historic landmark. Today, visitors can wander the fort's halls and underground tunnels while taking in views of the harbor and Narragansett Bay.
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Fort Adams
Overlooking Brenton Cove in Newport's Fort Adams State Park, this historic military compound was once used to defend Newport's harbor from potential enemies. Once it was gifted to the state of Rhode Island in 1965, the fortress reopened as a historic landmark. Today, visitors can wander the fort's halls and underground tunnels while taking in views of the harbor and Narragansett Bay.
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#6

#6 in Newport

Though the most well-known historic home in the area is The Breakers mansion, another must-see property by the Cliff Walk is the Marble House. Like The Breakers, the Marble House was originally owned by the Vanderbilt family. However, unlike its famous counterpart, this grand home was inspired by Versailles' Petit Trianon building and was named for the 500,000 cubic feet of marble used in its design.
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Historic Homes/Mansions Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Marble House
Though the most well-known historic home in the area is The Breakers mansion, another must-see property by the Cliff Walk is the Marble House. Like The Breakers, the Marble House was originally owned by the Vanderbilt family. However, unlike its famous counterpart, this grand home was inspired by Versailles' Petit Trianon building and was named for the 500,000 cubic feet of marble used in its design.
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#7

#7 in Newport

Newport's Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the U.S. The Orthodox Jewish congregation has had ties to Newport since 1658, though their building wasn't completed until 1763.
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Churches/Religious Sites Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Touro Synagogue
Newport's Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the U.S. The Orthodox Jewish congregation has had ties to Newport since 1658, though their building wasn't completed until 1763.
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#8

#8 in Newport

Illustrated art is an image (usually painted) that is created specifically for magazine covers, posters and other advertisements. And the National Museum of American Illustration has one of the largest collections of illustrated works in the country, from the Civil War era through the 1950s. Norman Rockwell is perhaps the most recognizable artist here, but works by other artists such as Maxfield Parrish, J.C. Leyendecker and Howard Pyle (known as the "Father of American Illustration") round out this collection of great Americana.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
National Museum of American Illustration
Illustrated art is an image (usually painted) that is created specifically for magazine covers, posters and other advertisements. And the National Museum of American Illustration has one of the largest collections of illustrated works in the country, from the Civil War era through the 1950s. Norman Rockwell is perhaps the most recognizable artist here, but works by other artists such as Maxfield Parrish, J.C. Leyendecker and Howard Pyle (known as the "Father of American Illustration") round out this collection of great Americana.
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