The largest city in Rhode Island, Providence is the host of Rhode Island PrideFest during the second half of June. This year's PrideFest and the Illuminated Night Gay Pride Parade is Saturday, June 16, 2018, and basically functions as Providence Gay Pride and Newport Gay Pride all rolled into one statewide celebration. It tends to draw spectators from the surrounding region, as Providence is about an hour's drive from Boston, Worcester, and the New London and Mystic region in southeastern Connecticut.
PrideFest is held along the picturesque South Water Street Greenway, right alongside the Providence River. Many different artists perform at Pride each year.
That same evening, the Illuminated Night Gay Pride Parade commenced downtown by Kennedy Plaza and meanders through the city's vibrant downtown. This is one of the few after-dark Gay Pride parades in the country, and it's a very fun event for both spectators and those marching.
What to Do While in Providence
Providence has long been one of New England's most progressive and gay-friendly cities. U.S. congressman from Rhode Island David Cicilline, who's openly gay, is the former mayor of the city, and local politicos and civic leaders always march in the parade. If you're visiting from out of town, be sure to spend some time not just downtown but in some of the inviting neighborhoods nearby, such as College Hill, which is anchored by the attractive campuses of Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and contains a wealth of restored 18th- and 19th-century homes, and Federal Hill, one of the most colorful and renowned "Little Italy" districts in the country.
Another area that's become increasingly popular with LGBT residents and visitors is Broadway, just south of Federal Hill and west of downtown, which is lined with hip and fun eateries and nightspots that draw a decidedly artsy crowd.
Visitor Tips and Resources
Keep in mind that plenty of popular restaurants, hotels, and shops will be extra busy during this time, and also be sure to take a look at the Providence Gay Nightlife Guide. Check local gay papers, such as Bay Windows, the Rainbow Times, and Options Newsmagazine (produced by the city's LGBT Community Center, for details. Also take a look at the excellent GLBT site produced by the city's official tourism organization, the Providence and Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau.