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State House picture in Providence
Andy Kobel Zurich, Switzerland / Getty Images

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Details

  • Sightseeing Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.8
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    3.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

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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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#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 ... Read more » Nicholas Millard / PWCVB

#2 Roger Williams Park Zoo Located about 4 miles south of downtown Providence, Roger Williams Park Zoo is only 40 acres  not the largest zoo by far. But it still houses more than 100 species ... Read more » photo by James Meech / Getty Images

#3 Federal Hill In the late 19th century, Federal Hill was the home of Rhode Island's Italian immigrant community, which is why the area is often referred to as Providence's Little ... Read more » Nicholas Millard / PWCVB

#4 State House 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 ... Read more » Andy Kobel Zurich, Switzerland / Getty Images

#5 Providence Performing Arts Center The Providence Perfuming Arts Center is a popular venue that not only earns praise for its events but also for its history. Originally the Loew's Movie Palace, it opened ... Read more » Nicholas Millard / PWCVB

#6 Trinity Repertory Company Trinity Repertory Company (or Trinity Rep for short) is Providence's premier acting troupe. The resident company puts on an average of six productions a year varying from contemporary pieces ... Read more » Anne Harrigan / Trinity Repertory Company

#7 Benefit Street A lot of history is crammed into this mile-long cobblestone street on the east side of Providence. In fact, Benefit Street has one of the highest concentrations of Colonial buildings ... Read more » Nicholas Millard / PWCVB

#8 Culinary Arts Museum Everyone from culinary geniuses to PB&J novices can find something to suit their taste buds in this museum. Situated on the Johnson & Wales University campus occupying 25,000 square ... Read more » Stephen Spencer / Courtesy of the Culinary Arts Museum

RISD Museum picture in Providence
Roger Williams Park Zoo picture in Providence
Federal Hill picture in Providence
State House picture in Providence
Providence Performing Arts Center picture in Providence
Trinity Repertory Company picture in Providence
Benefit Street picture in Providence
Culinary Arts Museum picture in Providence
RISD Museum picture in Providence
Roger Williams Park Zoo picture in Providence
Federal Hill picture in Providence
State House picture in Providence
Providence Performing Arts Center picture in Providence
Trinity Repertory Company picture in Providence
Benefit Street picture in Providence
Culinary Arts Museum picture in Providence

The Grand Gallery in the RISD Museum. Nicholas Millard / PWCVB

Snow leopards are just some of the animals you'll spot at the Roger Williams Park Zoo. Though it's small (only 40 acres), it's a hit with recent travelers, who say its size is easily navigable for young children. photo by James Meech / Getty Images

Federal Hill is known as Providence's Little Italy and is filled with Italian restaurants and specialty food shops selling pasta, cheeses and sauces. Nicholas Millard / PWCVB

Providence's State House shares structural roots and an architecture firm McKim, Mead and White with some of the grandest mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. Andy Kobel Zurich, Switzerland / Getty Images

Originally the Loew's Movie Palace, the Providence Performing Arts Center opened in 1928 and was later dubbed the "Jewel of Weybosset Street." Nicholas Millard / PWCVB

Anne Harrigan / Trinity Repertory Company

Notable houses on Benefit Street include the Nightingale-Brown House, once home to one of the founders of Brown University Nicholas Millard / PWCVB

Situated on the Johnson & Wales University campus occupying 25,000 square feet of space, the Culinary Arts Museum serves as a window into the gastronomic past. Stephen Spencer / Courtesy of the Culinary Arts Museum

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