A guide to the real Rhode Island

From A to Z
By DANIEL MCGOWAN  |  January 27, 2011
WELCOME TO THE HILL The gateway to Atwells Avenue.

Did you spend all of Christmas break bitching about how there's never anything to do in Rhode Island? Well, that's probably because your nerdy tour guide during freshman orientation raved about the Athenaeum like it was Club Hell and you spent most of your free time playing video games in your dorm instead of video poker at Twin River. Why don't you do yourself a favor and make a belated New Year's resolution to actually enjoy the quirky city you'll call home for the next four, five, six years? To help, we've put together an A-Z survival guide complete with everything you need to know (and plenty you don't) about Lil Rhody.


Where your parents should take you to dinner when they visit. Be sure to wear a suit, preferably shiny or pinstriped. Sweatsuits are also acceptable, but they must be velour, not the kind you wear to track and field meets. And for God's sake, make sure your cheapass father knows that even though the sign says "Free Valet Parking," he still has to tip.

See also:AS220 | A hipster's wet dream. Leading reason Providence has one of the best art scenes in the country. Also a great place to see guys with bangs play loud music.

AMTRAK | Around junior year, you'll realize Providence is a fantastic place and never want to leave. Until then, you'll probably think your only true friends are stuck at community colleges back home. So here's some advice: When buying train tickets, always say your destination is two stops before your actual destination (i.e., if you're going to New Haven, buy tickets to New London). Then play the stupid college kid act and the conductor will usually let you slide. And you'll have extra beer money.

PARKLIFE General Burnside.

The happiest students in the world who will protest anything as long as there's a pretty sign and an ounce of pot involved.

See also:BLACKSTONE BOULEVARD | The street is made of marble and the fire hydrants spray champagne. You'll always know when a person lives here because they'll tell you. Twice.

BENEFIT STREET | The most historic mile in history is located on the historic East Side. There's a 76 percent chance you'll throw up here by the time you graduate.

BURNSIDE PARK | Separates Brown and RISD students from the ice skating rink. Even the pigeons shoot heroin here!


Definitely an upgrade over the Ellio's your roommate has in the freezer.


The sole reason the "Freshman 15" becomes the "Freshman 50" in Rhode Island.

See also:DOWNCITY | What locals call downtown Providence. No, those underdressed girls you see probably aren't hookers (we outlawed that shit two years ago). They're probably heading to one of the many clubs in the area to drink, dance, and scream in horror when someone inevitably gets stabbed.

DANCING COP | Cornered the make-an-ass-out-of-yourself-in-public market by arresting all the mimes.


Think Beacon Hill meets Dupont Circle. Living here allows you to tell law and med schools that you know all about the inner city without the hassle of ever actually having to see the inner city.

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