5 Fun Things To Do In Newport, Rhode Island

things to do in newport
| 3 min read
John Read
Endorsed by a Newport Local Expert
John Read

Newport, Rhode Island is a popular spot for day trips, as it is a historically wealthy coastal town known for its mansions. It also offers great scenic walks, historical buildings, and tasty food, making it an excellent spot for a day trip during a visit to New England. Continue reading to learn more about what to do in Newport.

1. Walking through the downtown

Downtown Newport

Thames Street is quaint and filled with shops, restaurants, and colorful buildings. Walking along this street is a must when visiting Newport, as you’ll see historic homes and likely want to dine out or visit a bar along this street for a meal or a drink.

Great shopping can also be found in downtown Newport. As you stroll through the historic streets, keep your eyes open for Kilwins Chocolates and Ice Cream. This chain chocolate shop sells amazing chocolate and I’d recommend their large chocolate peanut butter cups and chocolate dipped pretzels. Other shops to take note of are Banana Republic, Patagonia, and the Pink Pineapple (a clothing boutique).

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2. Bowen’s Wharf


Bowen’s Wharf is a collection of small quays and commercial wharf buildings dating back to the 1900s. It gives a bit of a glimpse into historic seaports in New England amidst numerous modern shopping and dining options. While the shopping on Thames Street is mostly chain stores, the shopping at Bowen’s Wharf consists of mostly unique stores including Anchor Toffee, Newport Scrimshanders, and other nautical gift shops.

Dining on Bowen’s Wharf is definitely recommended for both the views of the harbor and the tasty options available. Here, you’ll find sweet options like Cookie Jar and Sprinkles, as well as restaurants serving full meals. For tasty food in a cozy pub atmosphere, my suggestion is Wharf Pub, which serves a variety of craft beers brewed in New England. The Wharf Pub offers freshly caught seafood, salads, soups (including New England clam chowder), burgers, and more.

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3. Cupcake Charlie’s

Selection at Cupcake Charlie's

Cupcake Charlie’s has been distinguished as New England’s Best Cupcakes, and while I wouldn’t necessarily give it as high a praise, Cupcake Charlie’s does serve excellent cupcakes. Baked fresh each day, Cupcake Charlie’s offers 16 flavors of cupcakes including Lemon Drop, Oreo Delight, Peanut Butter Pleasure, and Hostess With The Mostess. They also serve seasonal cupcakes—this month (November 2017) they’ll be pumpkin cupcakes available in store. In addition, every Friday, Cupcake Charlie’s has gluten free cupcake options. Stop by Cupcake Charlie’s during your walk around downtown Newport.

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4. Cliff Walk

Cliff Walk

Tie your hair back and take a 3.5 mile (5.6 km) walk along Newport’s Cliff Walk to see New England’s rocky coastline and some famous mansions. The Cliff Walk is relatively flat and isn’t too difficult to follow, so it is appropriate for all skill levels—just remember that the walk isn’t a loop, so you’ll have to head back to the start to collect your car.

During the walk, don’t forget to keep your eyes open for historical sites such as Marble House, Rosecliff, and The Breakers among others.

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5. Mansion tours

Newport Rhode Island The Breakers 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Stilfehler used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Newport is most famous for the numerous mansions built by the rich and famous. One such home is The Breakers, which is a Vanderbilt mansion that is a National Historic Landmark. The Breakers was commissioned in the late 1800s as a summer home by Cornelius Vanderbilt II and built by Richard Morris Hunt, a famous American architect. The mansion has 70 rooms and is one of the most popular mansions that can be toured in Newport.

Rosecliff is another stunning mansion that you can tour in Newport. It was commissioned by Theresa Fair Oelrichs in 1899 and was designed to look like a garden retreat from Versailles, France. Some might recognize parts of the interior, exterior, and grounds from its role in the movies such as The Great Gatsby and 27 Dresses.

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Where else to visit in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island is a beautiful state offering numerous ocean views and the opportunity to spend many romantic evenings watching the sunset. Head to Providence for great dining and events, East Greenwich for wedding planning, and Narragansett for endless beach views. The historic Jamestown is also nearby.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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This article has been endorsed by Newport local expert John Read

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Elizabeth is a travel writer and grammatical editor currently based in Florence, Italy. She writes on family-friendly, affordable travel with a focus on cultural exchange experiences. You can catch...Read more

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