Here's the essence of Rhode Island

The nifty fifty
By DANIEL MCGOWAN  |  January 24, 2012

Long after you've left the state in search of greener pastures and cheaper taxes, there will come a time when you have to explain to a child, lover, friend, or therapist why you chose to attend school in Rhode Island.

And if all of your out-of-class time is spent eating FroYo on Thayer Street, rather than hitting bars in Wakefield or restaurants on Federal Hill or hanging with hippie artists in Wickford, you probably won't have much of an excuse.

And so, the Phoenix presents 50 things everyone should do before leaving Rhode Island, a collection of must-see attractions, bars, and events that will change everything you think about the Ocean State. Who knows, maybe it will even convince you to stick around awhile.

Waterfire_flicker_image
LET IT GLOW The miracle that is WaterFire.

1 | ATTENDWATERFIRE | PROVIDENCE

Want a surefire way to impress your OkCupid date? Throw some cheap booze in a backpack and head downtown to the Providence River for this art happening, featuring flames on the water, held each summer. Come celebrate pollution, old people, and RISD kids with too much time on their hands.

2 | SCARBOROUGH BEACH | NARRAGANSETT

Yes, this is the Ocean State. But there are better beaches in Davenport, Iowa. Still, you really can't leave without seeing one and Scarborough is probably closer than the tourist trap that is Misquamicut.

3 | BLOCK ISLAND

Can't afford Jamaica? No problem. Sail away on the ferry and throw an umbrella in your drink while you spend the day on Block Island.

4 | TAKE RIPTA

You'll be shocked to know public transportation doesn't begin and end with the trolley to the East Side Marketplace. Make a game out of it. Hop on a random bus once each month and try to tour the strange places you'll never otherwise visit. Like Woonsocket.

5 | PRESENT AT PECHA KUCHA | PROVIDENCE

Much more fun than presenting in history class and you only get six minutes at these monthly salons held in Providence. Even if you really screw up, these hipsters don't have enough time to boo you off stage.

6 | BEER FESTS

There are three of these in Providence and Cranston every year to make sure no one turns 21 without having the opportunity to attend. Great time as long as you stay near the cheap beer tables and avoid the "let's talk about hops" crowd.

7 | SEE A PLAY AT TRINITY REPERTORY COMPANY | PROVIDENCE

Cheaper than the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) and you can support local performers. Witness firsthand what it will be like to be a starving artist some day.

8 | TRY OUT FOR PROVIDENCE ROLLER DERBY

Skating is more fun when you can hit people. Why not try out for the best kept secret in Rhode Island? It's ladies only for the teams, but men can officiate.

9 | SNOW TUBING AT YAWGOO VALLEY | EXETER

Sure you can sled anywhere. But why not pay to do it on a bunny slope in beautiful Exeter?

10 | INDEPENDENCE TRAIL | PROVIDENCE

Kind of like the Freedom Trail in Boston, except no one dresses up or has funny accents.

Waterfire_flicker_image
HIGH SOCIETY Cliff Walk in Newport.

11 | CLIFF WALK | NEWPORT

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Rhode Island, Dating, Tourism,  More more >
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