BBC Travel has recognized Rhode Island's capital city, Providence, as one of the world's top 21 "under-the-radar" destinations, noting its outstanding universities, historic buildings and neighborhoods, renowned restaurants, and diverse cultural offerings such as the RISD museum and WaterFire.
"It brings me great pleasure that our capital city has been deservedly recognized as one of the world's outstanding destinations," Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "The wider world is clearly realizing what we have long known: that Providence and Rhode Island have so much to offer both visitors and residents alike. We look forward to continuing to welcome new friends from across the country and around the globe to come enjoy our famed restaurants, vibrant creative sector, rich history, and renowned natural beauty."
"While this is not the first or only mention of Rhode Island tourism on an international scale, it is certainly a great honor to be recognized by the BBC," said Rhode Island Tourism Director Mark Brodeur. "Providence is truly a cosmopolitan city with the attractions that the international traveler is seeking."
Like Boston, Providence offers the vitality of a modern city in an old-world setting but in more manageable size.
Nine of Rhode Island's 12 colleges and universities consider Providence part of their campus – creating a hub of higher education and research. Ethnic neighborhoods, such as Federal Hill and Fox Point, contribute to the cultural and epicurean landscape, while a growing number of technology start-ups keep the city exciting and vibrant.
Providence boasts a flourishing artist community, supported by, aside from RISD students and faculty, AS220 and its Co-Founder and Artistic Director Bert Crenca, who recently won the Providence "Making a Difference" Tourism Award. Visitors flock to the city for its famous WaterFire, an art festival featuring 100 burning braziers down the Providence River that takes place select weekends from May through October.
The city is within close proximity to Rhode Island's many other attractions – including hiking and biking trails, historical sites, rivers, beaches, and Narragansett Bay – and neighboring cities such as Boston, MA, and Hartford, CT.
Other North American destinations featured were Yukon, Canada, and Sequoia and King's Canyon National Park, California. Some of the more remote destinations on the list include Inchcolm Island, Firth of Forth, Scotland; Kiso Valley, Japan; Arunachal Pradesh, India; Northwestern Tasmania, Australia; Kosrae, Micronesia; Jambiani Beach, Tanzania; and Sãotomé and Príncipe off the western coast of Africa.