a us-centric post : )
May 13, 2008 1:38 AM   Subscribe

Things to consider when looking for accomodation in Providence ?

I've been looking at craigslist and the RISD accom site, i'm going for a september to december kind of thing (i'm on exchange to RISD) but i'm not too sure if i want to end up in 'student' accomodation - there might be somewhere that is fairly outside providence thats worth staying in too - i dont mind getting the bus or anything - the budget is low to medium - i'd like to hear from people that know a wee bit about the place and can maybe recommend something off the beaten track in the area thats quite interesting - i know absolutely nothing about providence or its various areas, so if you know anything you think i might find useful - that would be really great, anywhere really rough is good too : )
posted by sgt.serenity to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Dude, the only place outside Providence that's worth staying in is Boston.

OK that's a little mean. I absolutely love Rhode Island, and there are some supremely wonderful places to live there, but Providence is a great city and if you are living on the hill, it is all walkable. This is a huge advantage because public transportation to and from the city is terrible. I have no idea what transport is like in the city, because again... all walkable.

Getting set up in the RISD/Brown neighbourhood gives you access to all of the wonderfulness that is Providence and critically, means you get to have a nightlife. You know, a social life? Otherwise you're pretty much driving, which is just not practical.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:46 AM on May 13, 2008

I would also want to live either downtown or on College Hill. It's really nice to be able to walk or bike everywhere -- grocery store, class, Kennedy Plaza (main outdoor bus terminal for RIPTA, Greyhound and Peter Pan buses), the train station (Amtrak, and the Commuter Rail to Boston), downtown. And, you should be able to find a fairly affordable apartment once you get more than couple blocks from campus (particularly to the East).

Through RIPTA's UPASS program, with a RISD ID you should be able to use the bus system for free.

I guess if you are really dead set on getting away from College Hill, you could look at Federal Hill (Italian, historic) or Olneyville (rough, farther from campus). The Providence Plan has a useful page with Neighborhood Profiles if you are interested.
posted by puffin at 4:28 AM on May 13, 2008

Brunonian here.

I'd definitely go for the RISD accommodation, their dorms are really well located. For the amount of time you're going to be there, I can't think of anywhere else that I could recommend.
posted by awesomebrad at 5:32 AM on May 13, 2008

As much as it pains me to agree, as I prefer living on the West Side, if you're on exchange to RISD for a semester, living in student housing or somewhere on or near College Hill makes sense. However, if you're dead set against it, Federal Hill and the Armory District are both lovely and fairly cheap. If you want more specific info, feel free to MeMail me.
posted by Kattullus at 6:23 AM on May 13, 2008

well, what i'm guessing is that if i stay in college accom, people can't visit me and stay over - but i will check that out : )
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:03 AM on May 13, 2008

Ah, I see your point.

Okay then, if you don't mind taking 20-30 minute bus ride, looking for accomidation across the I-95 might be worth a shot, somewhere between Westminster and Atwells Ave (Federal Hill, roughly speaking). There's also plenty of nice housing near Dexter Training Ground (that's the Armory District). If you want to stay on the East Side (where RISD is) but be further away (10-15 minute walk) the Wayland Square area is nice (around Wayland Avenue) and so is Wickenden Street.

Roughly speaking, the difference between the East Side and the West Side is that the East Side is nicer, but the West Side has more interesting things happening (weird arty stuff). Both have nice cafes and bars. You might also look into seeing whether RISD can set you up in the building where their library is, which is downtown. The building is gorgeous.
posted by Kattullus at 9:34 AM on May 13, 2008

well, what i'm guessing is that if i stay in college accom, people can't visit me and stay over - but i will check that out : )

I'm pretty sure for RISD upperclass housing is suite-style, either in apartment buildings or actual houses, and that only first years live in traditional dormitories. I would contact RISD reslife and see what they have to offer.
posted by puffin at 10:47 AM on May 13, 2008

A big portion of RISD upperclassmen live off-campus, and I know I've seen students going on exchange themselves looking for people to sublet their apartments for a semester: you could also try looking at the listings on the RISD intranet or the DailyJolt for Brown and RISD.
posted by firefleet at 10:47 AM on May 14, 2008

cheers for that - the risd site is very difficult for me to navigate (no login till august or september) and i wouldnt have found that classified section unless you had posted it.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:30 PM on May 14, 2008

I'm quite late to chime in, but even though I lived for years in the Armory District and Olneyville (both walkable to RISD) I'd also suggest living on the hill or as close to the RISD campus as possible. I moved to the West Side before my senior year at RISD, and the main drawbacks (really the only ones) were that it was difficult to convince fellow students to come hang out at my place (the Rhode Island mindset is amazing- anything that takes longer than 20 minutes to get to requires lots of planning in advance and packing provisions ) and shlepping artwork and supplies back and forth got old fast.

Good luck and have a great time!
posted by stagewhisper at 9:13 PM on May 15, 2008

The west side is the best side!
(Also feel free to MeMail me for more info as to where to find housing off campus. Much good housing can be found through knowing people who know people, etc.)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:39 PM on May 15, 2008

oh oh oh ! You should consider living in one of the two co-ops on the East Side. One of them is at the corner of Brook and Waterman (right next to Thayer Street), and the other is Waterman and Governor. There are all sorts of people living there - Brown students, RISD, URI, a few young teachers at the Met, and people who grew up or work in Providence. It's relatively cheap, and it's a great option for people with artistic energy because we own the houses cooperatively and you can paint all over the walls and such.

Full disclosure: I live in one of the houses. We're looking for people for the fall. Memail me and I'll tell you more if you're interested.
posted by lunit at 9:57 AM on May 16, 2008

ok chaps - i memailed you both - please note that any abode i am taken into immediately becomes Scottish sovereign territory : )
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:17 AM on May 18, 2008

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