8 Reasons JWU Loves Providence

This story was originally published on July 20, 2020, but has been updated and republished.

Downcity Campus

While Wildcats have a lot in common, each campus is unique. Check out this list of the top things our students love about Providence, and imagine yourself here next year!

1. A Real College Town

While our Providence Campus is home to over 4,500 Wildcats, that’s only a slice of the city’s greater community of students. In fact, Providence has more than 30,000 college students who call it home. Not only does this mean you have more opportunities to make friends, but it also allows you to network within a greater collegiate bubble.

2. Vibrant Art and Culture

One thing that is impossible to miss when you first arrive in Providence is how connected the city is with its local art scene. From massive murals taking up the sides of buildings to art exhibits sprinkled throughout the city, there’s never enough to see and take in. For more on Providence’s art scene, explore GoProvidence.com’s art/culture guide.

3. WaterFire

When on the topic of the arts in Providence, you can’t forget to mention one of the city’s most unique attractions, WaterFire Providence. From early spring to late fall, 80+ sparkling bonfires are lit above the Providence River, all set to eclectic music. Providence’s WaterFire brings the city back into a Renaissance trance, complete with gondola rides if you’re feeling up to it.

The Providence city skyline at night with flames on the water in the foreground

4. Little State, Big Appetite

Although Rhode Island is the smallest state, it has a mighty appetite for good eats. In fact, Providence has a history of ranking in the top food city and restaurants-per-capita lists in the U.S. Many of Providence's restaurants are managed and/or staffed by JWU alumni. Whether you’re craving fine dining or a quick bite, Providence has something for everyone at the table.

5. Winter Wonders

When the New England temperature begins to dip, Providence doesn’t hibernate. Instead, downtown comes to life, transforming the Bank of Newport City Center into an outdoor ice skating rink. If you’re not too comfortable on skates, ditch the blades for an on-ice bumper car and enjoy the winter wonderland.

6. Location, Location, Location

You couldn’t pick a better spot than Providence if you’re the type that likes exploring new places. Connected by buses and trains, Providence is just an hour south of Boston and 4 hours (give or take) from New York City.

But if you’re looking for something to do a little closer to campus, we’ve got that covered, too. Being in the Ocean State means you have access to beautiful Rhode Island beaches (roughly 100 of them!) in as little as 40 minutes. In addition, the state has 20% of the nation’s registered landmarks, most of them in Providence and Newport, which is known as the sailing capital of the world.

Group of JWU Providence students crossing the Downcity pedestrian bridge with the city skyline in the background.

7. Built for Easy Exploring

One of the great things about Providence is that while it’s a city, everything is within walking distance! Take a stroll down historic Benefit Street or walk over the new pedestrian bridge to take in a view of the city.

Providence’s historic Federal Hill area also has so much to see and do. Italian influences are strong in Little Rhody, and Federal Hill is the Little Italy of the state. Whether you want to just take a stroll down Atwells Avenue or grab a cannoli from one of the local bakeries, an hour on the hill will have you hooked. Recently, the city has even begun expanding alternative transportation options, such as electric scooters and bikes, to help residents and tourists alike explore more of the city.

8. Events Galore

Whether you’re into sports, theater, live music, or comedy, Providence is the place to be. For sports fans, the Amica Mutual Pavilion — home to the Providence Bruins — is just a short walk from our Downcity Campus. Meanwhile, nearby Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) and Trinity Rep are two of the biggest stages in the city to catch a good show.

On a quiet fall afternoon, take a stroll to one of Providence’s farmers' markets, where local vendors display and sell their latest crafts. While you’re there, stop for a bite to eat from one of the many food trucks that frequent the markets.

Curious to find out more about Providence? Visit GoProvidence to explore how much there is to see and do.