When most people think Rhode Island, their first instinct is to make that joke about how it’s neither a road nor an island.
hahahaha no one in Rhode Island has ever heard that before, good for you.
Well here it is — and it’s time to learn about why Rhode Island is actually a really awesome state.
1. You might not realize it, but Rhode Island can give you that “world-class city” vibe you’re looking for in its capital of Providence.
2. Many people dismissed Providence as a dying city near the end of the last century, but it’s revitalized itself and proved it belongs on the same stage as other urban big-hitters.
3. Providence has super diverse and unique neighborhoods that show off the vibrancy of the various communities in the state.
Here’s Federal Hill, which is kind of like other cities’ Little Italy, but better because it has Pastiche.
4. And it’s the diversity of Rhode Island that shines. There’s a strong and vibrant Cape Verdean community in the state, as well as a prominent Portuguese community.
5. Plus, Rhode Island’s got a history of promoting religious freedom (thanks, Roger Williams), so it’s no wonder it has both the first Baptist church and the first synagogue in the ENTIRE NATION.
And the church has a pretty great sense of humor, to boot.
6. Looking for a vibrant arts scene? Yeah, Rhode Island’s got you covered.
RISD is one of the country’s elite art schools, with alums ranging from Seth MacFarlane to Shepard Fairey to Dale Chihuly.
7. And there’s nothing like catching What Cheer? Brigade performing at the Newport Folk Festival.
8. Just because Rhode Island is small doesn’t mean it can’t draw the big names.
9. At least once, you’ve got to check out the food, crowds, and brilliant flames of WaterFire.
Designed by an award-winning artist with work in cities including London and Paris. But no big deal, Providence is cool like that.
10. Want more? Foodies can find a haven in Providence, named the top food city in America in 2012 by Travel + Leisure.
Small state, SO MUCH DELICIOUS FOOD.
11. Let’s be real, they can find a haven ANYWHERE in the state.
THIS SEAFOOD. At Amaral’s in Warren.
12. Coffee milk, a Rhode Island specialty, is basically a nectar of the gods.
Coffee syrup. Mixed into milk. YES.
13. Like hot dogs? Try topping them with onions, meat sauce, and more. HOT WIENERS FOREVER.
Although, for what it’s worth, you should never think of these as just a type of hot dog. They are an institution.
14. Want to get drunk the Rhode Island way? How about some Gansett?
15. Oh, and Rhode Island’s got Del’s. Enough said about that.
16. Even with all of the buzz surrounding Rhode Island’s restaurants and bars, though, you can still find hidden gems all around the state.
Like the Grad Center Bar in Providence or the Ocean Mist in Matunuck.
17. There are less-than-hidden gems as well, like the humongous historic mansions along the coast in Newport.
Built by people like the Vanderbilts. If Rhode Island is good enough for the people who have brought us Anderson Cooper, that says something about the state.
18. And Rhode Island just happens to have some of the most stunning coastline in the country, of course.
19. You can wander the charming seaport of Bristol or take in the shoreline at nearby Colt State Park.
20. Seriously, with all this gorgeous coastline, it’s no wonder Rhode Island is called the Ocean State.
The Rhode Island Constitution specifically protects the rights of the public to access and walk along the shore — it is, by law, public land.
21. And with coastline comes AMAZING beaches all throughout the state.
Spending the day at Narragansett Beach? Don’t mind if I do.
22. For real — if you’re a nature lover, you’ve got to get yourself to Lil’ Rhody.
Explore Block Island, for instance.
23. But listen, what really makes Rhode Island special are all the amazing, fun-loving, unique people.
24. They are super smart people, with universities located all across the state bringing the ~intellectual power~ to Lil’ Rhody.
From Brown to Providence College to Salve Regina and more.
25. They are artists and dancers, spreading creativity and self-expression.
26. There are athletes and entertainers, like the members of the Paw Sox baseball team, bringing the state together to enjoy a classic pastime.
27. They are historians, reflecting on the traditions that have made Rhode Island great and the people who have worked to create them.
28. They are activists and givers, because no matter what, Rhode Islanders are always looking to give back to their communities.
Like Rhode Islander (and Oscar nominated actress) Viola Davis.
29. Basically, you can count on Rhode Islanders to come together to represent this state that they love.
Here are some Rhode Islanders celebrating July 4th in Bristol, which just happens to host the longest continuously running 4th of July celebration in THE WHOLE COUNTRY.