Newport, a major 18th-century port city, now contains among the highest number of surviving colonial buildings of any city in the United States. It was also once the summer playground of America’s wealthiest families, including the Vanderbilts and U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.
The famous mansions, each more opulent than the last, offer detailed tours and give a fascinating glimpse into Gilded Age extravagance. While the town rightly emphasizes its history with a variety of museums and tours, Newport also has a vibrant, contemporary side, made manifest in quirky shops and great restaurants.
With coastlines on the west, south and east, Newport is a maritime city that harbors commercial fishing boats, and power and sail pleasure craft. It is known as the sailing capital of the United States and has hosted the America’s Cup and the international Ocean Volvo Race.
Olde Town Ghost Walk (Tour starts at the Marriott)
Lantern-bearing guides lead groups on an 8- to 10-block walk through Newport’s historic colonial district, home to some of the nation’s oldest buildings. Along the way, guides unveil places of reported ghost sightings—from spectral ships to a local tavern still frequented by an early 18th-century guest—and narrate the tales behind them. Guests are encouraged to bring their cameras.
Jane Pickens Theater (0.2 miles from hotel)
As one of America’s oldest theater buildings, the Jane Pickens Theater & Event Center is an important part of the social fabric of the city of Newport. First built in 1834 as the Zion Episcopal Church, it is one of Newport’s first Greek Revival buildings designed by the well known architect Russell Warren and built by William Weeden, a carpenter-builder. This beautiful building became a theater in 1919 and is currently celebrating its 93nd year as a theater/178th year as a building.
Newport Harbor Walk
The 2.5 mile – long Newport Harbor Walk was originally conceived to prevent the disappearance of public access in the harbor area during a period when heavy development was taking place in the City. These enduring public access pathways can be traced back to colonial times. The walk is broken into two sections consisting of the Main Harbor or Harbor Walk South and the Point neighborhood and Goat Island or Harbor Walk North. Signage from The Friends of the Waterfront and Rhode Island Sea Grant map will help keep you on course through all these historic wharves.
Touro Synagogue (0.3 miles from hotel)
The Touro Synagogue is a 1763 synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, that is the oldest synagogue building still standing in the United States, the oldest surviving Jewish synagogue building in North America, and the only surviving synagogue building in the U.S. dating to the colonial era.
Seamen’s Church Institute (0.3 miles from hotel)
Founded in 1919, the Institute is on the National Register of Historic Places and its mission is to provide men and women of the sea and persons referred from the community a safe haven. Things to see are the ornately painted chapel, as well as the small library. You can also grab a bite to eat at their cafe. They also hold a public speaker series and the next one coming up is on October 12, “Landmarks in the Development of Navigation.”
Queen Anne Square (0.4 miles from hotel)
The land between Trinity Church and Thames Street, in the area known as “The Hill,” was a center of village life as early as the mid-1700s. During the economic boom of the 1960s, a hodgepodge of commercial buildings spread across the space, nearly obscuring the historic church. In the mid-1970s, Doris Duke, a philanthropist and summer resident of Newport, spearheaded the effort to create a park to be known as Queen Anne Square, in recognition of Queen Anne, who ruled England from 1702 to 1714 and supported the Anglican Church in general and Newport’s Trinity Church in particular. In cooperation with Trinity Church, Duke’s Newport Restoration Foundation oversaw the removal of the commercial buildings and the site’s return to a village green. Forty years later, the foundation reinvented the square once again with artist Maya Lin, architect of the Vietnam Memorial, to honor Duke’s preservation efforts, highlighting the role of historic preservation in community revitalization, and celebrating Newport’s history and assets.
Redwood Library & Athenaeum (0.6 miles from hotel)
The Redwood Library and Athenæum is the oldest lending library in America and the oldest library building in continuous use in the country with spectacular fine art displays. Founded in 1747 by forty-six proprietors upon the principle of “having nothing in view but the good of mankind,” its mission continues over 250 years later.
Newport Art Museum (0.6 miles from hotel)
The Newport Art Museum’s collections and exhibitions reflect Newport and Rhode Island’s rich cultural heritage and lively contemporary art scene. The permanent collection of more than 2,300 works of American art concentrates on art and artistic activity from the late 19th century to the present day, and on those contemporary and historic works emphasizing the role played by Newport and New England artists, established and emerging, in the development of American art.
International Yacht Restoration School (0.7 miles from hotel)
For those interested in boatbuilding, the IYRS (eye-res) is an internationally recognized boatbuilding and restoration school right on Thames Street. You can take a tour with the office of admissions or a self-guided tour. Highlights include a world-class library and the ongoing reconstruction of the 1895 yacht, The Coronet – a 133-foot yacht being rebuilt from the ground up.
International Tennis Hall of Fame (0.8 miles from hotel)
Set in the Newport Casino, a beautiful facility dating back to 1880, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has an interesting history with the sport and Newport. It showcases engaging and interactive exhibits about this exciting sport, located in the historic Newport Casino on Bellevue Avenue.
From their days as a commercial whaling port to playing a critical role during the China trade to Newport’s historic position as a leading Colonial Era sea port, our harbors have many tales to tell. In Newport, experience a tour on a sleek America’s Cup yacht, on an authentic lobster boat, a Prohibition Era hooch smuggler, schooners, cruising yachts, sailboats and more.
There are so many delicious options that we can’t list them all, so visit YELP for more options and locations.
Newport and Narragansett Bay Railroad Co.
Red Food Tour
Bowen’s Wharf 26th Annual Seafood Festival
Rosemary and Thyme Cafe
Meg’s Aussie Milk Bar
Empire Tea and Coffee
Pour Judgement Bar and Grill
Brick Alley Pub
Belle’s Cafe | Newport Shipyard
White Horse Tavern
National Museum of American Illustration (1.7 miles from hotel)
“The Most American of American Art.” Artworks from the “Golden Age of American Illustration” and other eras are presented in the “Gilded Age” architectural frame of Vernon Court (1898). Visitors can see an array of orginal illustrations, which include many milestone pieces created by artist/illustrators such as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, Charles Dana Gibson, Howard Pyle (“Father of American Illustration”), NC Wyeth, Jessie Willcox Smith, JC Leyendecker, Violet Oakley, and over 150 other luminaries.
U.S. Naval War College Museum (1.9 miles from hotel)
The Naval War College Museum in Newport, Rhode Island, is one of fifteen official museums operated by the United States Navy, under the direction of the Naval History & Heritage Command and in co-operation with the Naval War College.
Cliff Walk (2.1 miles from hotel)
This legendary public walkway is 3.5 miles and combines Newport’s stunning coastline with the architectural history of the Gilded Age. It is the most visited attraction in Rhode Island and has been designated a National Recreation Trail.
Historic Bellevue Mansions (2.1 miles from hotel)
Take a tour of one of the fabled mansions, the extravagant “summer cottages” of America’s Gilded Age that portray the opulence of a bygone era when America’s wealthiest families flocked to the City-by-the-Sea. If you only have time for one we suggest The Breakers.
Rough Point (2.7 miles from hotel)
Welcome to Rough Point, the oceanfront estate of Doris Duke—heiress, philanthropist, and art collector—still decorated as she left it with French furniture, European art, Chinese porcelains, and Flemish tapestries. The house is open for guided tours from April 7 to November 6, 2016. This year’s special exhibition showcases Rough Point’s sister property in Honolulu, Waterscapes: Islamic Architecture and Art from Doris Duke’s Shangri La.
Fort Adams (3.1 miles from hotel)
A former United States Army post in Newport, Rhode Island, established on July 4, 1799 as a First System coastal fortification, and named for then-incumbent President John Adams. Its first commander was Captain John Henry, who was later instrumental in starting the War of 1812. The current Fort Adams was built 1824–1857 under the Third System of coastal forts. Today, the fort is part of Fort Adams State Park.
(Also available via Newport Harbor Shuttle)
Ocean Cliff (3.7 miles from hotel)
This elegant hotel in an 1892 seaside estate on 10 acres is 3.5 miles from the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum and 1.4 miles from Fort Adams State Park.
Newport Vineyards (4.3 miles from hotel)
Live music, yoga, and good food.
Brenton Point State Park (4.3 miles from hotel)
Midway along Ocean Drive, this park occupys the former grounds of one of Newport’s grandest estates, affords visitors one of the most commanding and spectacular views on the East Coast.
Norman Bird Sanctuary (4.5 miles from hotel)
With over 300 acres and seven miles of hiking trails, there is plenty to see at all times of the year. You can bring your binoculars and go for a walk along our well-maintained trails. You will be sure to see a variety of local and migratory birds, depending on the season.
Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge (4.6 miles from hotel)
242 acres occupying a peninsula between the Sakonnet River and Rhode Island Sound with 2.5 miles of trails and a refuge for over 200 bird species.
Sweet Berry Farm (5.2 miles from hotel)
Sweet Berry Farm is a post-and-beam farm market and café situated on 100 acres of conserved farmland. They sell freshly grown seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, as well as a variety of gourmet and specialty foods. Good food and apple picking!
Fort Wetherill State Park (7.0 miles from hotel)
A former coastal defense battery and training camp known for its spectacular view of Newport Harbor and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, Fort Wetherill has been a popular sight for viewing the numerous Tall Ship Events and America’s Cup Races.
Beavertail Lighthouse Museum (9.5 miles from hotel)
Built in 1856, this is a premier lighthouse in Rhode Island, United States, marking the entrance to Narragansett Bay. The 64-foot (20 m) lighthouse lies on the southernmost point of Conanicut Island in the town of Jamestown, Rhode Island in Beavertail State Park, on a site where beacons have stood since the early 18th century.
Newport Ocean “Ten Mile” Drive
This scenic drive encompasses most of the southern coastline of Aquidneck Island. This area used to be farmland, but today is one of the most popular Newport RI attractions.
For more information on places to see, things to do, and where to eat, please visit Discover Newport