Things to do

20 Interesting Things To Do In Newport Rhode Island

Source : instagram

Newport, Rhode Island, is a captivating seaside city renowned for its rich history, stunning coastal scenery, and vibrant cultural scene. From exploring opulent Gilded Age mansions to sailing in Narragansett Bay, Newport offers a diverse array of activities.

This charming destination is filled with unique experiences, whether you're strolling along the Cliff Walk, enjoying fresh seafood at a waterfront restaurant, or delving into the city's maritime heritage.

In this article, we’ll uncover 20 interesting things to do in Newport, showing the best attractions and hidden gems that make this city a must-visit destination.

1. Stroll Along The Thames Street

One of the best activities in Newport Rhode Island is to stroll along the Thames Street. This bustling street has an eclectic mix of boutique shops, art galleries, and quaint cafes, making it the perfect spot for leisurely shopping and dining.

As you walk, you'll be surrounded by historic buildings and the lively atmosphere of this vibrant community. You can enjoy the beautiful waterfront views, watch the boats in the harbor, and perhaps catch a glimpse of a stunning sunset over the water.

Whether you're interested in picking up unique souvenirs, savoring delicious seafood, or simply soaking in the New England charm, Thames Street offers a rich and engaging experience for all visitors.

2. Visit Rough Point

Rough Point, once the home of heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke, provides an intimate glimpse into the life of one of America's wealthiest families. As you tour the impeccably preserved rooms, you'll marvel at the exquisite art collection, antique furnishings, and luxurious decor that reflect Duke's eclectic taste and global travels.

The estate's beautifully landscaped gardens and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean further enhance the allure of Rough Point which makes it the best things to do in Newport RI for history enthusiasts and architecture aficionados.

3. Uncover The Secrets Of Fort Adams

Source : fortadams

As one of the largest and most complex coastal fortifications in the United States, Fort Adams offers a unique glimpse into American military history. Visitors can explore the extensive underground tunnels, climb the fort's walls for panoramic views of Narragansett Bay, and learn about the lives of the soldiers who were stationed there.

Further, guided tours provide in-depth insights into the fort's strategic significance from its construction in 1824 through its active use in World War II. Moreover, special events and reenactments throughout the year add to the immersive experience which makes Fort Adams a captivating destination.

4. Explore The Breakers

The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, is a must-see for anyone interested in America's Gilded Age and the opulence of historic mansions. This stunning 70-room mansion, built by the wealthy Vanderbilt family in the late 19th century, exemplifies the grandeur and extravagance of the era.

With its Italian Renaissance design, lavish interiors, and beautifully landscaped gardens, The Breakers offers visitors a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of the Vanderbilts. The guided tours provide fascinating insights into the mansion's architecture, art, and history, making it a captivating experience for history buffs, architecture enthusiasts, and anyone appreciating beauty and elegance.

5. Discover The Cliff Walk

Discovering The Cliff Walk is the best things to do in Rhode Island Newport that combines natural beauty, history, and adventure. This renowned 3.5-mile scenic trail meanders along the eastern shore of Newport and offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the opulent mansions of the Gilded Age on the other.

The path varies from easy, paved sections to more rugged, rocky terrain, providing a satisfying challenge for walkers and hikers of all skill levels. Along the way, you can explore the dramatic coastal landscape, spot local wildlife, and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze.

The Cliff Walk not only provides a stunning visual feast but also a glimpse into Newport's rich cultural heritage.

6. Explore The Magnificence Of Newport Mansions

Source : facebook

The Newport Mansions are a collection of opulent Gilded Age estates that offer a fascinating glimpse into the lavish lifestyles of America's wealthiest families from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

These grand homes, including The Breakers, Marble House, and The Elms, feature stunning architecture, exquisite interiors, and meticulously maintained gardens.

Here, visitors can explore these historic properties through guided or self-guided tours, marveling at the intricate details, fine art, and luxurious furnishings that reflect the period's grandeur.

The Newport Mansions provide a unique opportunity to experience the splendor of a bygone era and understand the social and cultural history of the United States during a time of rapid economic growth and extravagant wealth.

7. Discover The Allure Of Rough Point Museum

Rough Point Museum in Newport, Rhode Island, is an exquisite Gilded Age mansion that offers a fascinating glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of American heiress Doris Duke.

Nestled on the picturesque cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the estate shows an impressive collection of European art, Chinese porcelains, and antique furniture meticulously curated by the Duke herself.

Visitors can explore the lavishly decorated rooms, stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens, and enjoy the stunning coastal views. The museum also provides guided tours that delve into the history of the house, its architectural significance, and the intriguing life of its last private owner.

8. Tour Bowen's Wharf

Bowen's Wharf is a vibrant and historic waterfront district that offers a charming blend of activities and attractions. Visitors can stroll along the cobblestone walkways, explore an array of unique shops, and dine at waterfront restaurants.

Moreover, the wharf hosts various events throughout the year, such as boat shows and seasonal festivals. Additionally, Bowen's Wharf serves as a departure point for harbor cruises and sailing excursions, providing opportunities to experience Newport's nautical heritage firsthand.

9. Appreciate The Beauty Of Touro Synagogue

Source : discovernewport

This Touro Synagogue is a captivating historic site and a must-visit attraction. As the oldest standing synagogue in the United States, dedicated in 1763, it holds profound historical and architectural significance.

Visitors can explore its beautifully preserved Georgian architecture and learn about its rich history through guided tours. The synagogue is a symbol of religious freedom and tolerance, highlighted by President George Washington's famous 1790 letter to the congregation, which is celebrated for its affirmation of religious liberty.

Hence, nestled in the charming city of Newport, Touro Synagogue offers a unique glimpse into America's colonial past and the enduring legacy of its diverse cultural heritage.

10. Enjoy At International Tennis Hall Of Fame

Located in the historic Newport Casino, the Hall of Fame offers a comprehensive look at the sport's rich history through its extensive collection of memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and multimedia displays. Visitors can explore the careers of legendary players, view rare artifacts, and even see historic tennis attire and equipment.

The beautifully maintained grass courts, which still host professional matches, add to the charm and authenticity of the experience. The Hall of Fame also features guided tours, special events, and a charming museum shop which makes it a fascinating and engaging attraction for visitors of all ages.

11. Uncover The Magic Of Castle Hill Lighthouse

Castle Hill Lighthouse, an iconic landmark in Newport, Rhode Island, offers a unique and picturesque destination for visitors. Located at the western tip of Narragansett Bay, this historic lighthouse, built in 1890, stands on the rugged shoreline near the luxurious Castle Hill Inn.

The lighthouse is not only a beacon for mariners but also a popular spot for photographers, providing stunning views of the bay, especially at sunrise and sunset. While the lighthouse itself is not open to the public, the surrounding area offers scenic walking trails and rocky outcrops perfect for picnics and strolls.

Moreover, visitors can enjoy the serene coastal atmosphere, watch boats pass by, and take in the breathtaking natural beauty that epitomizes Newport's maritime charm. Therefore, whether you're a history buff, nature lover, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Castle Hill Lighthouse is a must-see Newport Rhode Island attractions.

12. Soak Up The Sun And Stunning Views At Gooseberry Island

Source : instagram

Soak up the sun and stunning views at Gooseberry Island, a hidden gem in Newport, Rhode Island, that offers an idyllic escape for nature lovers and adventure seekers. This picturesque island, accessible by a scenic causeway, provides a tranquil setting where visitors can enjoy pristine beaches, rocky shorelines, and breathtaking vistas of the Atlantic Ocean.

Whether you're interested in sunbathing on the sandy shores, exploring the diverse marine life in the tidal pools, or simply taking in the panoramic views from the island's elevated points, Gooseberry Island promises a rejuvenating experience. Its natural beauty and serene atmosphere make it a perfect spot for a peaceful retreat or a fun-filled day with family and friends.

13. Immerse Yourself In Artistry At The National Museum Of American Illustration

The National Museum of American Illustration offers a captivating journey into the artistry and storytelling of American illustration. Housed in Vernon Court, a stunning Gilded Age mansion, the museum shows an extensive collection of original works by renowned illustrators such as Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, and N.C. Wyeth, among others.

You can explore beautifully curated galleries that highlight the evolution and impact of illustration on American culture, from magazine covers to advertisements and children's books. The mansion itself, with its opulent architecture and meticulously preserved interiors, adds to the allure.

14. Visit The Audrain Automobile Museum

This fascinating museum shows an impressive collection of automobiles ranging from the dawn of motoring to modern supercars, with rotating exhibits that highlight different themes and eras in automotive history.

Housed in a beautifully restored historic building, the museum offers a captivating journey through time, featuring rare and classic cars that tell the story of automotive innovation and design. Visitors can marvel at meticulously preserved vehicles, learn about the evolution of the automobile industry, and enjoy a rich, immersive experience that celebrates the artistry and engineering of cars.

15. Embark On A Journey Of Knowledge At The Salve Regina University

Source : instagram

Embarking on a journey of knowledge at Salve Regina University is one of the most enriching experiences to have in Newport, Rhode Island. Nestled on a historic and picturesque 80-acre campus overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Salve Regina combines stunning Gilded Age architecture with modern academic facilities.

Here, people can explore the university's renowned historic buildings, such as the Ochre Court mansion, and enjoy the serene beauty of the campus gardens and ocean views. The university often hosts lectures, cultural events, and art exhibitions that are open to the public which offers a unique blend of intellectual and aesthetic stimulation.

This educational experience in such a captivating setting makes Salve Regina University a must-visit for those seeking to enrich their knowledge while soaking in the beauty of Newport.

16. Explore Newport Visitors Information Center

The Newport Visitors Information Center is an essential starting point for anyone exploring Newport, Rhode Island. Centrally located, it provides a wealth of resources to enhance your visit, including maps, brochures, and knowledgeable staff ready to offer personalized recommendations.

The center offers insights into Newport’s rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. Moreover, visitors can learn about the famed Gilded Age mansions, beautiful coastal scenery, and the city's renowned sailing culture. The center also facilitates ticket purchases for local attractions, tours, and events.

17. Dive Into The World Of Creativity At Newport Art Museum

Dive into the world of creativity at the Newport Art Museum, one of the most enriching and interesting things to do in Newport, Rhode Island. Housed in a historic building, the museum shows an impressive collection of American art spanning the 19th century to the present, featuring works by renowned and emerging artists. 

Visitors can explore diverse exhibitions that range from classical paintings to contemporary installations, participate in engaging educational programs, and attend various events that celebrate the vibrant local art scene.

The museum's picturesque grounds, adorned with sculptures and surrounded by beautiful gardens, offer a serene setting for art enthusiasts and casual visitors to immerse themselves in the cultural and artistic heritage of Newport.

18. Visit The Redwood Library & Athenaeum

Source : instagram

Established in 1747, it is the oldest lending library in America still operating in its original building. The library's architecture, designed by Peter Harrison, is a fine example of the Palladian style which makes it a significant historical and cultural landmark.

Inside, visitors can explore an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts, and historical documents which offers a glimpse into the literary and intellectual heritage of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The serene reading rooms and curated exhibits provide a tranquil environment for learning and reflection, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking to delve into the rich past of Newport and American history.

19. Explore The Old Stone Mill

Exploring the Old Stone Mill is the best Newport Rhode Island activities that combines history, mystery, and scenic beauty. Situated in Touro Park, this enigmatic stone structure has long intrigued visitors and scholars with its origins shrouded in debate.

However, some theories suggest it was built by Norse explorers, while others attribute it to colonial settlers as a windmill. As you wander around the park, you'll not only marvel at the mill's unique architecture but also enjoy the lush greenery and tranquil ambiance.

The Old Stone Mill stands as a testament to Newport's rich and varied past, offering a captivating glimpse into the area's historical tapestry and sparking the imagination of all who visit.

20. Discover Chepstow

This Italianate-style mansion, built in 1860, is part of the Preservation Society of Newport County. Here, visitors can explore the beautifully preserved interiors adorned with period furnishings, intricate woodwork, and fine art which provides insight into the opulent lifestyle of the era's elite.

The surrounding grounds feature picturesque gardens, perfect for a stroll. Chepstow's blend of architectural grandeur and historical significance makes it a must-visit attraction in Newport.