Welcome to Cvent’s Providence meeting planning guide – a Providence city guide for meeting planners. At just 18.5 square miles, Providence and nearby Warwick, Rhode Island, pack a punch with a rich architectural heritage, full calendar of arts and music festivals and culinary treasures – all of which can be enjoyed by convention guests and leisure travelers alike. Their coastal location in the Northeast place both cities within 500 miles of 25 percent of the nation's population. They're also just three hours away from New York City and within 50 minutes of Boston by car.
For guests looking to arrive by plane, Warwick is home to T.F. Green Airport, also located just 10 miles from downtown Providence. The award-winning airport offers service to destinations throughout the United States and Canada on up to 150 flights a day to 21 destinations. Within the city itself, visitors find the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) bus system and trolley to be an efficient and affordable way to hop among Providence's biggest attractions. Additionally, the city's compact downtown area makes it an extremely walkable destination for those looking to visit one of the 80 restaurants, 35 hotels or Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex.
Located in the heart of downtown, the Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex encompasses three multi-purpose facilities. The Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC) features a 100,000-square-foot exhibition hall, a 20,000-square-foot ballroom and 23 meeting rooms, while the 13,000-seat Dunkin' Donuts Center (DDC) boasts a 31,000-square-foot arena floor and several meeting, banquet and board rooms. The Veterans Memorial Auditorium is a 1,900-seat historic performing arts venue, known for its unique combination of size and intimacy, superb acoustics and great sight lines. The RICC and DDC are connected by a striking glass structure and are linked via skywalks to the 564-room Omni Providence hotel and the Providence Place Mall.
For smaller group functions and events, Providence is home to a number of historical sites, restaurants and even parks that can accommodate private events. Planners won't have to roll the dice at Twin River Casino, though their guests certainly can. Located in nearby Lincoln, the casino features a brand new 29,000-square-foot event center, on-site restaurant and comedy club for private events. Go wild at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, whose spaces include the tented Picnic Pavilion and the Jambo Junction, which overlooks the zoo's wetlands lake next to the elephants and giraffes. Or, plan a dinner and drinks at one of Providence's award-winning restaurants such as Local 121, Waterplace or Hemenway's, all of which have private space for groups large and small.
One of the first U.S. cities to industrialize, Providence was a leader in manufacturing metals, machinery, textiles, jewelry and silverware. Today, it remains a large center for jewelry and silverware design and manufacturing, with education, healthcare and finance also serving as big contributors to the local economy. Textron, Nortek Incorporated, Citizens Bank and GTECH are headquartered in Providence. The city is also known for its stellar educational foundation, serving as home to Brown University, Johnson and Wales University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Rhode Island School of Design, University of Rhode Island and Community College of Rhode Island.
Providence's popularity as an ideal place to live, work, learn and meet is built upon the city's immaculately restored historic sites, beautiful riverfront locale, blooming arts and entertainment scene and top-notch restaurants. Founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, Providence became a major New World seaport in its early days and later a manufacturing hub for machinery, silverware, jewelry and textiles. Today its history is alive in the many perfectly-preserved Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian homes, cobblestone streets and streetlamps, making it a delight for history and architecture buffs alike.
Providence's location on the riverfront also holds a big impact on the city's main attractions. A true testament of its ties to the water, WaterFire is one of the most popular events in Providence. This annual event, which runs from May to October, is an award-winning sculpture installation of approximately 100 sparkling bonfires set on the three downtown rivers. Guests looking for a truly memorable way to enjoy this sensory experience should book a ride with La Gondola Providence, which offers 30-minute river rides aboard an authentic Venetian gondola.
Visitors will find plenty of ways to enjoy the great outdoors back on land. WaterPlace Park offers four acres of beautifully-landscaped terraces, pedestrian walkways and even an amphitheater that summertime concerts. Meanwhile, the 430-acre Roger Williams Park boasts plenty of gardens, pathways and picnic spots, as well as a number of Providence's most popular attractions. The Carousel Village entertains young guests with its pony rides and vintage carousel, while the Roger Williams Park Zoo houses more than 100 species from around the world.
When it's time to head inside, Providence's vibrant and eclectic arts scene makes it more than worthwhile. Known as the "Creative Capital," the city is home to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, whose Museum of Art is home to more than 80,000 impressive pieces. In the Arts and Entertainment District, guests find a number of art galleries and performance spaces including AS220, Firehouse XIII and the Providence Steelyard. The city is also home to Tony Award-winning Trinity Repertory Company, the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Providence Performing Arts Center.
Guests can cap off any night on the town with dinner at one of Providence's restaurants, many of which are run by alumni of Johnson & Wales University, the world's largest culinary educator that makes its home in the city. In fact, Providence has more degreed chefs per capital than any other city in the nation. Foodies and casual diners alike can enjoy the talent of these chefs at establishments throughout the city, many of which celebrate the bounty of New England. Aspire and Bacaro are among the other standout options for dining in Providence.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Providence weather is marked by typical Northeastern seaboard warm summers, cold winters, year-round humidity and ample precipitation. Providence's average yearly temperature is around 50°F. January and February are the city's coldest months, with an average temperature of 29°F, while July and August are the warmest months, with an average temperature of 72°F.
Providence receives an average of 33 inches of snow per year, with about 10 inches falling in January alone, as well as rainfall averaging about four inches per month, with most falling in March. The best time to visit Providence is April through June or September through mid-November, months that boast mild temperatures, mild humidity and rare snowfall.
Rhode Island Convention Center
Nestled in the heart of downtown Providence, the Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex consists of three multi-use facilities: the beautiful Rhode Island Convention Center, spacious Dunkin' Donuts Center, and historic Veterans Memorial Auditorium, all ideal for trade shows, receptions, meetings and more. The RICC and DDC are connected by a striking glass structure and are linked via skywalk to the 564-room Omni Providence hotel and the Providence Place Mall.
Resembling a modern warehouse with walls of windows and neutral colors, the Rhode Island Convention Center features a 100,000-square-foot exhibition hall equipped with electricity, telephone, computer, compressed air, water and drainage capabilities, as well as a 20,000-square-foot ballroom and 23 meeting rooms. The convention center features in-house food and audio-visual services, teleconferencing capabilities and free wireless Internet. The center is connected to a 2,400-spot parking garage and attached via skywalk to the Providence Place Mall and to the 564-room Omni Providence hotel, which offers an additional 22,877 square feet of meeting space.
The 1,900-seat Veterans Memorial Auditorium (The Vets), a historic performing arts venue, is known for its unique combination of size and intimacy, superb acoustics and great sight lines. The Vets is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Located adjacent to the Rhode Island Convention Center, the Dunkin' Donuts Center is a premier events arena and home to the AHL Providence Bruins and Big East PC Friars. The 31,000-square-foot center's meeting areas include a 4,000-square-foot backstage green room, 9,000-square-foot lobby, 3,652-square-foot restaurant, 923-square-foot North Meeting Room, 922-square-foot South Meeting Room with private elevator, 372-square-foot Boardroom overlooking Sabin Street and 648-square-foot Banquet Room. The center can just as easily accommodate large events of up to 13,000 people as smaller meetings at one of its intimate restaurants, boardrooms or party suites.
T.F. Green Airport (PVD)
Approximate taxi fare: $30 USD
Located just 10 miles outside of downtown Providence in Warwick, Rhode Island, T.F. Green Airport provides service throughout the United States and Canada for the southeastern New England region. Named one of the top five alternative airports in the United States by Forbes magazine, the T.F. Green Airport consists of two concourses, 22 gates and an array of full-service restaurants, eateries and specialty shops.
Building upon its existing convenience, T.F. Green Airport's recently opened eco-friendly InterLink hub now provides passengers with an array of transportation options. Conveniently housing a rental car facility, public transportation options, and rail service to Providence, Boston and beyond, the InterLink offers travelers ease, affordability and accessibility. The facility is flanked by a parking garage and is connected to the terminal via an elevated enclosed skywalk.
The airport features 8,325 hourly, daily and long-term parking spots, with rates ranging from $33 daily to $60 weekly. Passengers can easily access downtown Providence via the Rhode Island Public Transport Authority (RIPTA) bus stop directly in front of the terminal.
Airline carriers serving T.F. Green Airport
Located at 100 Gaspee Street, the Providence Amtrak station serves Amtrak's Acela Express line, which offers hourly service downtown to downtown during peak rush hours between Boston, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, New Haven and other major cities. The station also serves the Northeast Regional route, which offers multiple departures daily up and down the Northeast Corridor, including stops in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Virginia Beach.
In addition to Amtrak trains, the station serves as Providence's MBTA light rail station. It is open from 5 AM to 11:30 PM.
Established in 1966, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) bus system operates 3,300 daily trips throughout 56 statewide fixed bus routes. RIPTA's fleet of 241 buses serves approximately 25 million passengers per year. Visitors and residents of Providence may access the T.F. Green Airport via routes 14 and 20. The Rhode Island Convention Center is accessible via routes 8, 9 and 92.
RIPTA bus fares are $1.75 per ride and $0.50 per transfer. Daily passes may be purchased for $5, weekly passes for $20, 15-ride passes for $23 and monthly passes for $55. Children under age 5 ride free.
Operated by RIPTA, the Providence LINK trolley system runs on compressed natural gas and offers access to Providence restaurants, hotels, theaters, universities and historic sites. Its color-coded routes are the Green Line (Federal Hill to East Side), which serves the Rhode Island Convention Center, and the Gold Line (South Side).
The Green Line runs Monday through Friday every 20 minutes from 6:30 AM to 9 PM, Saturday from 8 AM to 6:30 PM and Sunday from 11 AM to 6:30 PM. The Gold Line runs Monday through Friday every 20 minutes from 6:30 AM to 7 PM, Saturday from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM and Sunday from 11 AM to 6:30 PM. Trolley fare is $1.75 per person per ride.
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) commuter rail service – also called the "T" – provides low-cost commuter train service from Providence to Boston. Encompassing a total of 11 lines and more than 100 stations, travelers can reach downtown Providence via the daily Providence/Stoughton line.
MBTA commuter rail fare is $1.70 to $7.75, depending on route/zone travel. The Providence station is located in MBTA's Zone 8.
T.F. Green Airport is serviced by several major rental car companies: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Payless, Thrifty and U-Save.
Visitors to Providence can access several taxi companies outside of the T.F. Green Airport baggage claim area. Visitors should expect to pay about $30 from the airport to downtown Providence. Taxis can also be hailed on the street throughout the downtown region or found at hotel taxi stands.
Select Hot Dates Available at the Rhode Island Convention Center
Add some heat to your meeting. Plan your next meeting or event at the Rhode Island Convention Center and receive up to 50% off the rental price for select dates in 2013, and April and June 2014. This offer is valid for new business that is contracted prior to June 30, 2013.
Interested in placing a promotion? Call Cvent for information on advertising opportunities at 1-866-318-4358.