State House picture
Andy Kobel Zurich, Switzerland/Getty Images

Key Info

82 Smith Street

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.8scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The State House is the active seat of Rhode Island's government, but there's more than political bickering going on in these halls. The impressive building was designed by architectural firm McKim, Mead and White, the mastermind behind many of the Newport mansions. The State House dome is the world's fourth largest self-supported dome (the largest being St. Peter's Basilica in Rome). A painting by Rhode Island artist James Allen King (called "The Four Freedoms") is visible on the inside of the dome. Not much of an architecture buff? The building is full of American history, too. A gun from the battle of Gettysburg, a replica of Philadelphia's Liberty Bell and Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington can all be found here.

Recent visitors called this a Providence landmark, and a must-see while in Rhode Island. Though some reviewers enjoyed simply walking through the building on their own, others suggested signing up for a free guided tour. Guided tours, which last about 50 minutes, are offered on the hour beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m.

You'll find the State House off of Smith Street in downtown Providence. Metered parking is available on surrounding streets. The State House is open to tour year-round Monday through Fridays (with the exception of state holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Check out the Rhode Island Department of State website for more information on how to schedule your tour. 

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More Best Things To Do in Providence

RISD Museum
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Type
Time to Spend
1 of 7
#1 RISD Museum

This hidden gem's five buildings are clustered on the south side of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) campus. Inside, more than 91,000 works of art are on display, including pieces by Monet, Degas and other impressionists, along with sizeable Medieval and Gothic collections.

Recent visitors were most impressed with the range of the museum's collection and the various mediums represented. Reviewers also praised its size, saying it was manageable and easy to explore within a few hours (though culture hounds will likely want to spend half a day, say travelers). Though most found the admission price to be reasonable, they also suggested scheduling your museum visit for Sunday when entrance fees are waived.

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