Favorite Things to do in Rhode Island in Winter

Let’s face it, Southern New England in winter is cold. And gray. And snowy. And did I mention cold? It is definitely better to visit Rhode Island in the other three seasons, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do in Rhode Island in winter. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Rhode Island in winter when we are brave enough to venture outside of our home.

Things to do in Rhode Island in Winter

  1. Sledding — with all that snow, one of your favorite pastimes has to be sledding. There are plenty of places nearby to go sledding (like Diamond Hill State Park and Mercymount Country Day School in Cumberland or Chase Farm in Lincoln), but one advantage of living on a hill and having a steep driveway is that we rarely have to venture further than our front door for a little winter fun, which makes coming inside to warm by the fire with hot chocolate all the easier.
  2. Skiing & Tubing — we prefer to head north to the mountains, but Yawgoo Valley offers a good beginner learn-to-ski program and is small enough to give kids a little independence on the slopes. When it is snowy enough, they also offer snow tubing.
  3. Ice Skating — indoor skating is available at rinks around the RI like Smithfield and  the Dennis Lynch Rink in Pawtucket, but my daughter gets very disappointed if we don’t squeeze in at least one trip to the outdoor Alex and Ani skating rinks at Kennedy Plaza in Providence or in Newport. If you want to drive a little further, Foxwoods offers a fun outdoor rink and winter patio and you could also hit the bowling alley or the arcade inside.Things to do in Newport Rhode Island in winter: ice skating at the Newport Skating Center
  4. Museum Hopping — we’ve somewhat outgrown the Providence Children’s Museum, but can easily spend an afternoon exploring the treasures at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum. If we want to venture further, we head up to Boston for a day at the Museum of Fine ArtsScience Museum or Children’s Museum. Other nearby options include the Ecotarium in Worcester.
  5. Sealife Watching — two aquariums, the Mystic Aquarium in CT and the New England Aquarium in Boston, are just a short distance away. However, if you want to learn more about local sealife closer to home, you can also visit the Biomes Marine Biology Center in North Kingstown or the Save the Bay Aquarium in Newport. Or you can go on a seal watching tour.
  6. Providence Children’s Film Festival — family-friendly movies are always a great way to beat the cold but there is none better than the selections at the Providence Children’s Film Festival. The hardest part is picking which movie(s) to see.
  7. Winter Farmer’s Market — there may not be as much fresh produce in the winter but the Winter Farmer’s Market at the Hope Artiste Village is still fun and a great way to stock up on local eggs, cheeses, meats, seafood, herbs, and vegetables. But what the little one likes the most are yummy sweet or savory crepes made fresh in front of you (especially the Nutella and banana ones.)
  8. Indoor Play Places — the local YMCA is fun for some weekend physical activity like swimming, basketball or rock climbing, but if we want to change things up, there is always bowling, roller skating, or jumping at an indoor trampoline park like Skyzone. You can also enjoy laser tag, bowling and an arcade at the newly open CW Lanes in Lincoln. We are partial to rock climbing at Ocean State Rock Climbing or Rock Spot in Lincoln.
  9. Library — our local library has a great program of activities for kids and teens including book groups, chess clubs, coding clubs, storytimes, family movies and more. It is a perfect place to play and explore for a while. Kids also enjoy checking at the Providence Athenaeum, one of America’s oldest libraries.
  10. Get Crafty — Whether it is a family painting class at Paint and Vino, pottery and glassware painting at Pea Poddery, beading at Bead & Wire, or many other family friendly creative classes.
  11. Local Sports — there are plenty of local and college sports events to entertain the kiddos. While even the semi-tame Providence Bruins might be a little rough around the edges, the Brown University hockey teams offer a perfect family outing for hockey fans. Basketball fans can take in a game at URI, Rhode Island College, or Providence College.
  12. Classes and workshops — sign the kids up for an art, cooking, yoga or other class or workshop at AS220, RISD, Johnson & Wales, OM Kids Yoga Center or countless other venues.
  13. Destination shopping — we have spent many hours at Bass Pro Shops in nearby Foxboro, MA, looking at the fish, climbing on boats, crawling into tents and having scavenger hunts. They even have a cafe and snack bar on site. Jordan’s Furniture in Warwick offers a free water and laser light show, while Jordan’s locations in MA offer other attractions like ropes courses and laser light shows.
  14. Comfort Food — of course, the cold weather also makes one crave comfort food and a cozy place to snuggle up or sit by the fire. Some of my favorite places to warm up from the inside are burgers (and bacon bloody mary’s) at Harry’s Burger Bar, tea and crepes at the Duck & Bunny, or fireside dining at Pan e Vino, India or the White Horse Tavern.

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Things to do in Rhode Island in Winter

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