RHODE ISLAND PRIDE
GENERAL INFO + TIPS
Rhode Island Pride is the largest and most comprehensive non-profit LGBTQIA+ community, serving Rhode Island and its surrounding neighbors. PrideFest is one of Rhode Island’s biggest festivals, and one of the most unique Pride events we were fortunate enough to be a part of. This one-day event is immaculately planned, creatively designed, and executed with the gorgeous backdrop of brick Georgian-style buildings. Can you believe it, this event attracts more than 100,000+ festival-goers for its main event. Read along as we take you for a ride to Rhode Island Pride!
Starting at noon, in the quaint town of Providence, gates open at the new Providence Innovation District Park with over 250 nonprofit organizations, businesses, and food vendors showcasing what they have to offer. At the forefront, there is a main stage providing entertainment for festival-goers all day showcasing a variety of local, regional, and international artists.
The most exciting part of Rhode Island Pride for us and what we looked forward to most was the Illuminated Night Parade. What a great concept and fun twist! Rhode Island Pride is a pioneer of this concept and executes this concept flawlessly. The parade literally lights up before your eyes and starts when the sun goes down and all the floats transition into a beautifully illuminated showcase of PRIDE! They brighten up the streets of Providence, Rhode Island, and yes, there is a prize for the best-illuminated float!
How to get to Providence?
The closest airport is conveniently situated just 30 minutes from the main event - Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport.
As we are located in New York City, we opted in for the 4.5-hour road trip from Manhattan. Best part about road tripping was being able to bring our 2 cats, Lily and Oscar, along for the ride! Providence is incredibly pet friendly and we could not resist when we discovered the hotel we were staying at was pet friendly! Have a look at our cute little babies!
Packing Must Haves + Travel Accommodations
Rhode Island Pride takes place during the month of June every year. It is important to note that Rhode Island has one of the coldest climates in the United States with an average daily high temperature of only 15 degrees centigrade. The climate is somewhat unpredictable and offers varied seasons with deep winters and warm summers. We packed a combination of fun/sexy outfits for the events surrounding pride as well as some cover-ups in case of a temperature drop and boy did they come in handy!
Packing Must Haves: We visited in mid-June and during our 2 days stay, we experienced beautifully warm and sunny days and chilly nights. If you are visiting during the pride, pack your fun fit indeed, but try to bring a jacket for the nighttime!
How To Get Around: Since we drove up from NYC, we had a rental car. However, we found that Providence is very accessible on foot. We did not use our car during Pride as the streets were closed and the city fills up so there really was no need, everything you needed was right in the city center!
Where to Stay?
Aloft Providence Downtown: Located in the heart of Providence, just steps away from the Providence Innovation District Park, Aloft is a modern, functional and pet-friendly hotel with all the amenities you need. Aloft even offers late-night food service delivery in case you have late-night cravings (#guilty)! With the traveler in mind, host hotels like Aloft have been selected to make the experiences around Rhode Island Pride stress-free and convenient. We adored the cute Pride touches and decor throughout Aloft. The pre-event the night before the main event was such a burst of energy that really set the tone. It certainly got us all extra excited for what was about to go down the following day in the streets!
Our Favourite Highlights
We had the pleasure of spending time with Alex, Chair of the Providence Tourism Council, who shared some incredibly valuable insight into the beautiful city of Providence. Alex mentioned that Providence's food is top-notch due to the number of culinary schools in town and we concur! Talented chefs stay in Providence upon graduation and contribute to one of the most epic foodie scenes in America!
If you are here for the food and food only, scroll down to the "Food and Drinks" section. We experienced and reviewed 4 of the most epic, or shall we say 'wicked', restaurants in Providence!
Also, did you know that Providence is home to the world’s third largest unsupported dome? And that dome illuminates this gorgeous rainbow during the pride season! We were told this dome sits just behind the Taj Mahal and Notre Dame - not too shabby!
How to explore Rhode Island PrideFest and Illuminating Night Parade
Get there a day before!
We started our evening adventure at Aloft, enjoying the opening event and watching some amazing performances. From there, we headed to Kleos, a phenomenal Greek restaurant in the heart of Providence.
The best block parties take place the night before the parade. As I (Sep) am new to the US, I had to actually get the term "block party" explained to me. And I have to say, what was explained did not do justice to what I experienced! For every single corner we turned, there was a full-on band playing, great energy, an abundance of decorations and the vibe was beyond amazing!
We even got to travel to the 70s with an ABBA cover band playing our all-time favorites all night long! Nothing screams Pride like ABBA!
On the official day that kicks off RI Pride, we woke up bright and early to do a little workout at our hotel. Aloft Providence has all the top-notch equipment for you to get in a fullscale workout so you're feeling good for the big day ahead! After brunch at Bayberry Garden(yum!), just a few steps from our hotel, we went for a stroll across the street to check out the vendors and vibe at Providence Innovation District Park.
After a quick rest and a fit change, we headed to Res American Bistro for an early dinner. We actually didn't realize that we were having dinner at the start of the parade's route. How cool! We got to watch all the marchers and performers right in front of us warming up and preparing for the show they were about to put on for the community. We highly suggest making an early reservation at Res as this place does fill up. Watching the bands and teams practicing was so inspirational and brought a smile to everyone's face.
Just before sundown we were lucky enough to drive in a golf cart, courtesy of Alex, and see the parade's route, witness the extreme excitement and cheer with all the parade-goers!
As mentioned earlier, Providence is the pioneer in having an illuminating parade. The task of creativity is taken very seriously. All the floats compete in different categories such as best performance, illumination, originality, etc and it's truly a sight to see.
We had the pleasure of joining the judges' pannel alongside some of our favorite figures in the LGBTQA community, namely Pangina Heals, a judge on Drag Race Thailand. Pangina is one of the most popular drag performers in Asia and is often called the RuPaul of Thailand. (MEGA fan girl moment, we were literally sitting NEXT to Pangina and she even gave us her jacket as Magda and I were cold - SCREAMS INSIDE).
We also shared the table with some local sensations and absolute babes - namely Haley Star, LaDiva Jones, and Vilet LaBoss. Our stomachs hurt from laughter - they are beautiful and funny, what a combo! After the Parade, we compared notes with our fellow judges and discussed who we thought were the best candidates for every category! The winner each year is announced during a separate event that takes place in September.
After checking out the Providence Performing Arts Center, which by the way, turned out to be Sep's favorite staircases in the whole world, we headed for a walk around the town and ultimately back to the hotel as we had another full day planned ahead of us which included sightseeing Providence in the morning and then driving up to Provincetown, MA for a little family relaxation time!
After another quick workout, we headed for a walk to a sensational and artsy brunch spot, CAV Restaurant. Finally, it was time to check out the historic part of Providence, a true photographer's dream, or as Sep calls them, "IG Spots"!
During a morning run, Magda discovered this hidden gem of Benefit street. Created in the mid-18th century “for the benefit of all”, this colonial thoroughfare shows off an enviable collection of 18th- and 19th-century wood-frame houses. Although its breathtaking historic structures can give the street the appearance of a museum mile, it is actually an urban neighborhood. With gorgeous colorful houses, this has been home to many different figures such as Sarah Helen Whitman, an American poet.
Our door photography collection above explains our obsession with this beautiful spot!
Don't miss the murals throughout the city - all of which has their own stories to tell. These art pieces serve as an essential backdrop to the most scenic part of Providence.
Another area we found exceptionally beautiful to explore was the heart of Downtown Providence - namely the historic arcade and performing arts center.
This venture marked the end of our Providence exploration. We headed back to our hotel, collected our fur babies, and headed out East towards Cape Cod, for yet another adventure!
Food and Drinks
If we could, we would eat (and drink) every meal at this place! A sensational atmosphere, amazing people, and fantastic food. Seriously this was some of the best service and small conversation we've had to date with staff at an F&B establishment. They are so good, they even craft their own atypical, yet perfect, cocktails. Featured in the middle photo below, there is a carrot juice craft cocktail that needs to be world-famous and a breakfast cocktail staple - step aside Bloody Mary, Carrot Larry is taking over (we totally made up that name but it fits for the purposes of this blog, so there you go)!
We had to get the Oysters because well, when in Providence, or anywhere in New England, get Oysters everywhere and make sure you compare and try to remember the names...
If you've never had Oysters before, read up on them, they are fascinating!
Lastly, for our mains, we thoroughly enjoyed a Short Rib Benedict and Gardener's Breakfast. Highly reccomend both!
Located on the cusp of Historic Providence, Res is a great spot after a day of walking around, or if you time it right - a place to watch an entire parade unfold right before your eyes!
The ambiance we experienced probably was as upbeat as it gets since everyone was pumped for the parade. The food was delicious and the portions were big - perfect before heading out for a few drinks on the town! We started off with oysters (surprise surprise!), a pistachio daiquiri, and a pretty-in-pink margarita (to match Sep's dress of course), and for our mains we had Morrocan Lamb Rack and Fig, Proscuitto + Gorgonzola Ravioli
The explosion of flavor was unbelievable! It was one of those meals you reminisce about from time to time because the flavor is just so rich.
Just when we thought we experienced all this culinary capital has to offer, we walked into CAV.
The walks around these Georgian-style buildings felt like we were in a mid-century treasure hunt. Once we entered CAV, we were mind blown, the interior decor was captivating, tasteful and so unique! CAV's decor encompasses funky sculptures from all over the world that come together in harmony in one space. If you're a lover of cool bathrooms in restaurants - check out CAV's, it is neat!
On the menu at CAV - you've got to kick it off with CAV's bowl of Lobster Bisque and Clam Chowder. They are classics and can not be skipped. A Bloody Mary on the side never hurts either and this one has an extra spicy touch to it which is just perfect!
After the bursts of flavours from our starter soups, we continued to breakfast staples, with a New England twist - a lobster omelet and lobster eggs benedict. They were perfectly made and tasted just right.
If you're like us and do not have it in you to say "no thanks" to a dessert menu - the Chocolate Mousse Cake is to die for.
Be sure to check out our Instagram posts that showcase the many locations and options throughout beautiful Providence, Rhode Island. While you’re in Providence, don’t forget to check out our Providence Instagram highlight story – you may find it to be wicked helpful!