Rhode Island's capital city - Providence - serves as the perfect backdrop to the 21st North American ISSX Meeting. Founded in 1636, Providence is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Although one of the first cities to industrialize, Providence is known today as a center for education, the arts, and culture - even branding itself the "Creative Capital." Supplement your time at the 21st North American ISSX Meeting by exploring the city, discovering the beating heart and thriving soul of this undiscovered jewel of New England. Review ISSX's Top Five must-dos in Providence below to make your plans for visiting the city.
1. Visit the Rhode Island State House
The Rhode Island State House is the executive and legislative center of the State of Rhode Island. An imposing neoclassical structure, the building was built over 9 years from 1895 to 1904, before being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. The State House has the fourth-largest self-supported marble dome in the world, topped - in typical American fashion - by a gold-covered bronze statue of the "Independent Man." The State House is open for touring Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free guided tours are offered as well. For more information, look at the Rhode Island Department of State's website.
2. Go to the world-famous RISD Museum
ISSX attendees with an art interest must see the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. The RISD Museum's collection contains about 100,000 objects across a broad range of styles from around the world, including ancient Egypt, Asia, Africa, ancient Greece and Rome, Europe, and the Americas. Visitors will be able to see works by such venerable artists as Picasso, Monet, Manet, Paul Revere, Coco Chanel, and Andy Warhol - among others. The collection also features many works by Rhode Island artists and designers. From ancient works to contemporary art, costumes and textiles to antique luxury furniture, and decorative pottery to stained glass, the RISD Museum has something for every art lover. See visitor information on their website.
3. Enjoy Nature at the Roger Williams Park
For the animal and nature lovers among ISSX attendees, the Roger Williams Park is a must-see when in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. The Park covers 435 acres with gardens, a lake with a 1915 bandstand, an amphitheater, and greenhouses. Also in the park is a Museum of Natural History, which - among other things - contains Rhode Island's only planetarium. But what draws most visitors is the Roger Williams Park Zoo - one of the oldest zoos in the United States (the zoo was opened in 1872). The Zoo covers 40 acres of largely cage-free exhibits, showing off its collection of snow leopards, giraffes, elephants, red panda, and more in a more natural and more humane way. For a day of connecting with nature, the Roger Williams Park is definitely for you. For more information about the Park, and its Zoo, please check out these links.
4. Take a Look into Humanity's Culinary Past at the Culinary Arts Museum
Providence, Rhode Island is a great city for gastronomes. Situated on the campus of the world-famous Johnson & Wales University, the 25,000 square foot Culinary Arts Museum serves as a window into the gastronomic past of mankind. Although niche, the museum's exhibits cover a wide variety of culinary topics, showcasing everything from vintage cookbooks and ancient prep tools to curious kitchen gadgetry and even an homage to the chefs of various U.S. presidents. For more information about the Culinary Arts Museum, please visit their website.
5. Explore the History of Providence's Various Neighborhoods
With buildings and communities spanning across its entire history, Providence has a neighborhood for every taste. For those looking for colonial and early American history and architecture, take a walk down (or up) the "Mile of History" on Benefit Street. At one end of the steep hillside, which rises from the river to the Brown University campus, you can find elegant, restored Federal period homes. As you walk further, you'll see Victorian, and even Arts and Crafts-style residences. If you are more interested in seeing Providence (and New England's) 20th-century heritage, look no further than Providence's Downcity. This old downtown has been preserved with its Art Deco, Beaux-Arts, and even late Victorian buildings. America's first shopping mall, The Arcade, stands among the buildings of Downcity, and provides visitors with a great start- or end-point of their time in Downcity. Finally, those looking for Providence's immigrant history should look no further than Federal Hill, the thriving heart of the city's Italian-American community. With its concentration of Italian restaurants, cafes, and shops, Federal Hill is a perfect place to find delicious Italian food, or simply linger over a cappuccino and a biscotto.