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Old 06-23-2011, 02:34 AM
 
516 posts, read 757,571 times
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I am traveling to the East Coast in September and will definitely be visiting New York and Boston. I have already been to New York, but this will be my first time in New England. I was just wondering, which city would you recommend visiting between Providence and Hartford? Which has more to do? Are they distinct or typical of a new england city?

I'm a 20 year old college student that will be traveling alone. I don't really care for nightlife or theme parks- we have enough in SoCal. I want to experience something that can only be found in a small new england town. Well, a small new england city. I prefer cultural, educational, historical, and natural sites. Also, I won't have a car, so I am limited to walkable cities with good public transit.

I know this isn't a travel forum, but if you could help me out, it would be greatly appreciated

Last edited by CaseyB; 06-23-2011 at 06:19 AM.. Reason: off topic
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:06 AM
 
5,216 posts, read 9,056,218 times
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Providence probably is a better fit for what you describe. If you were looking for large-scale entertainment, I might say Hartford, but Providence has more of the cultural kinds of features you say you're looking for. I don't know about a New Englandy feel, though I guess that depends on your idea of what that means. Providence has a waterfront along a bay, so that seaside setting could be seen as something associated with New England. Also, the neighborhood around Brown University has a sort of quaintness about it. Brown itself would be worth a look for someone interested in educational settings, being one of the nation's elite universities. All in all, between Hartford and Providence, Providence sounds more like what you're looking for.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Boston
5,410 posts, read 9,487,689 times
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I know there are people who believe Hartford is coming back to life, but the city is a shell of its former self. Don't get me wrong, it has a great skyline, some beautiful neighborhoods and parks (Elizabeth Park is great in the spring), gorgeous architecture (the state house is beautiful), and more. However, it feels somewhat abandoned and run down.

I would go with Providence by a large margin. A Very large margin. Providence has a pretty active downtown area (walk along the riverwalk. Best if you can schedule your visit during a waterfire- one of the greatest events that any city puts on). The East Side is a great, walkable neighborhood. Very old school New England and collegiate feeling (This is where Brown and RISD are). Federal Hill his one of the most authentic "little Italy" neighborhoods you'll find in the country. Benefit street has one of the best collections of colonial housing you'll find in the U.S. too. If you enjoyed a pub, or a good coffee, Wickendon (especially close to the intersection of Hope) has some great stops.

So in the battle of Providence v. Hartford, I'd go with Providence by a mile. To be honest, I'd visit New Haven over Hartford too. New Haven is home to Yale University, the country's best pizza (google New Haven Pizza), awesome burgers and great burrito trucks. It's by no means the perfect city, but it has a lot going on. I love New Haven. The trip from New York to New Haven to Providence to Boston is an easy one. You can take Amtrak (or the Metro North Railroad- New Haven Line from Grand Central to New Haven and switch to Amtrak there) the whole way as all four cities are along the same route (Northeast Corridor both regional lines and Acela Express). I'd take MNRR from Grand Central to New Haven because it's cheaper and it's a chance to go out of Grand Central Station which is worth a stop in any New York City itenerary. In New Haven (their Union Station is cool) I'd switch to the Amtrak Regional for the rest of my trip.

Enjoy!
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:34 AM
 
516 posts, read 757,571 times
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Thanks you so much for your input!

From the sound of it, Providence sounds more interesting and lively. Plus, it's basically on the coast.

What about Providence compared to Springfield? From what I have read online, Springfield may also be worth a visit because it has all the factors I am looking for- all within immediate proximity of downtown, which is a huge plus.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Boston
59 posts, read 74,816 times
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Definitely Providence. It has a lot of charm and natural beauty with a definite New England "feel" to it. Hartford to me has always felt run down and decaying (though it does have some nice areas). Overall, I would definitely say Providence. If you can, I would try to go to Newport, RI too.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Boston
5,410 posts, read 9,487,689 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhanifin View Post
Thanks you so much for your input!

From the sound of it, Providence sounds more interesting and lively. Plus, it's basically on the coast.

What about Providence compared to Springfield? From what I have read online, Springfield may also be worth a visit because it has all the factors I am looking for- all within immediate proximity of downtown, which is a huge plus.
No problem.

No, I wouldn't really recommend Springfield either. It's another city that is sort of run down a bit. One of downtown Springfield's best assets is nightlife (Worthington St.) which you're not interested in. The NBA Hall of Fame and the Museum Complex are cool, but I don't know that it's worth going out of your way for. Springfield is also still in very rough shape from the Tornadoes a few weeks back. There are estimates that damages are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. I'd pass on Springfield for now.

I agree with the other poster that said a side trip from Providence to Newport is worth it. Awesome little city. There used to be a ferry from Providence to Newport, but I don't think it's still operating. RIPTA offers cheap transit between the two cities. Newport is very walkable.
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:18 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
7,568 posts, read 8,481,463 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
I know there are people who believe Hartford is coming back to life, but the city is a shell of its former self. Don't get me wrong, it has a great skyline, some beautiful neighborhoods and parks (Elizabeth Park is great in the spring), gorgeous architecture (the state house is beautiful), and more. However, it feels somewhat abandoned and run down.

I would go with Providence by a large margin. A Very large margin. Providence has a pretty active downtown area (walk along the riverwalk. Best if you can schedule your visit during a waterfire- one of the greatest events that any city puts on). The East Side is a great, walkable neighborhood. Very old school New England and collegiate feeling (This is where Brown and RISD are). Federal Hill his one of the most authentic "little Italy" neighborhoods you'll find in the country. Benefit street has one of the best collections of colonial housing you'll find in the U.S. too. If you enjoyed a pub, or a good coffee, Wickendon (especially close to the intersection of Hope) has some great stops.

So in the battle of Providence v. Hartford, I'd go with Providence by a mile. To be honest, I'd visit New Haven over Hartford too. New Haven is home to Yale University, the country's best pizza (google New Haven Pizza), awesome burgers and great burrito trucks. It's by no means the perfect city, but it has a lot going on. I love New Haven. The trip from New York to New Haven to Providence to Boston is an easy one. You can take Amtrak (or the Metro North Railroad- New Haven Line from Grand Central to New Haven and switch to Amtrak there) the whole way as all four cities are along the same route (Northeast Corridor both regional lines and Acela Express). I'd take MNRR from Grand Central to New Haven because it's cheaper and it's a chance to go out of Grand Central Station which is worth a stop in any New York City itenerary. In New Haven (their Union Station is cool) I'd switch to the Amtrak Regional for the rest of my trip.

Enjoy!
I agree with everything Irfox said. Hartford's downtown is very 9-5. The brutalist 60's and 70's cleared out any vibrancy the city's downtown had for its shiny financial district. In terms of skyline and economy, it's New England's second city. But after walking around for an hour, perhaps snapping a picture of the state house, Hartford gets pretty boring and its pretty rough around the edges. It's true you'll find defenders who say it's getting better. They have a slogan calling themselves New England's rising star. There is a new converntion center and they are bringing back life on the waterfront, so yeah it gets points for effort. Honestly its not a very stimulating city though.

Providence is definitely more fun. RI also has a remarkable state house, and the city has excellent architecture. Take a walk down Benefit St. on the east side and take in all the nicely restored federalists homes. Then walk up the hill around the beautiful Brown campus, and stop by Thayer Street. It's the coillegiate street with the eclectic stores and restaurants one would expect in a college neighborhood. There is an awesome pizza place there (open very late, till 2AM I think, good after bar place).

Downtown PVD is a good one, with the Providence Place mall, the restored riverwalks (water fire in the summer), and the state house. Federal Hill is one of my favorite Little Italy neighborhoods. Definitely make time for Newport if you can.
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Old 06-23-2011, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Atlanta the Beautiful
635 posts, read 740,281 times
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I would definitely go with Providence, RI. When I was stationed in grotton, ct I used to frequent providence alot. There seems to be alot more to do in providence. The best part for me was sitting on the top of providence place mall looking out at the city from the roof access, you can feel the city from there. There is a church next to it where you can see the brick codes of the masons if you could read them, the city is beautiful if you truly cherish the little things that make a city amazing.
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Staten Island, NYC
126 posts, read 146,064 times
Reputation: 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
I know there are people who believe Hartford is coming back to life, but the city is a shell of its former self. Don't get me wrong, it has a great skyline, some beautiful neighborhoods and parks (Elizabeth Park is great in the spring), gorgeous architecture (the state house is beautiful), and more. However, it feels somewhat abandoned and run down.

I would go with Providence by a large margin. A Very large margin. Providence has a pretty active downtown area (walk along the riverwalk. Best if you can schedule your visit during a waterfire- one of the greatest events that any city puts on). The East Side is a great, walkable neighborhood. Very old school New England and collegiate feeling (This is where Brown and RISD are). Federal Hill his one of the most authentic "little Italy" neighborhoods you'll find in the country. Benefit street has one of the best collections of colonial housing you'll find in the U.S. too. If you enjoyed a pub, or a good coffee, Wickendon (especially close to the intersection of Hope) has some great stops.

So in the battle of Providence v. Hartford, I'd go with Providence by a mile. To be honest, I'd visit New Haven over Hartford too. New Haven is home to Yale University, the country's best pizza (google New Haven Pizza), awesome burgers and great burrito trucks. It's by no means the perfect city, but it has a lot going on. I love New Haven. The trip from New York to New Haven to Providence to Boston is an easy one. You can take Amtrak (or the Metro North Railroad- New Haven Line from Grand Central to New Haven and switch to Amtrak there) the whole way as all four cities are along the same route (Northeast Corridor both regional lines and Acela Express). I'd take MNRR from Grand Central to New Haven because it's cheaper and it's a chance to go out of Grand Central Station which is worth a stop in any New York City itenerary. In New Haven (their Union Station is cool) I'd switch to the Amtrak Regional for the rest of my trip.

Enjoy!
I second that.
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Old 06-23-2011, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Atlanta the Beautiful
635 posts, read 740,281 times
Reputation: 277
Oh and the only city I remember in the northeast with a cracker barrel.
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