This being a college town, there is no end of music bars, small concert halls, and pool pubs. A good source of information is the free weekly Providence Phoenix (www.providencephoenix.com).
The Performing Arts
The Opera Providence (tel. 401/331-6060; www.operaprovidence.org) stages three or four productions a season at various locations, including the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The Rhode Island Philharmonic (tel. 401/831-3123; www.ri-philharmonic.org) usually appears at the Providence Performing Arts Center or the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Big-ticket touring musicals on the order of Rent, The Producers, and Monty Python's Spamalot, as well as traveling dance companies and other attractions, are showcased at the Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset St. (tel. 401/421-ARTS; www.ppacri.org), while new plays share space with Chekov, Albee, and Shakespeare at the Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington St. (tel. 401/351-4242; www.trinityrep.com). The Dunkin' Doughnuts Center, 1 La Salle Sq. (tel. 401/331-2211; www.dunkindonutscenter.com), between the Convention Center and the Holiday Inn Downtown, hosts stellar performers and acts (Bruce Springsteen, among them), along with up-and-comers.
The Club & Music Scene
A tragic nightclub fire in 2003 at the Station in Warwick killed 100 patrons. Strict and expensive regulations were imposed on nightclubs and other music venues, compelling some places to suspend operations or close permanently.
One prominent survivor is Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, 79 Washington St. (tel. 401/272-5876; www.lupos.com). Formerly at 239 Westminster St., it still hosts a variety of live concerts 2 or 3 nights a week. Tickets can be purchased at www.etix.com; they usually cost between $18 and $35.
For jazz and blues 5 to 7 nights a week, head to the Hi-Hat, 3 Davol Sq. (tel. 401/453-6500; www.thehihat.com). Find it near the west end of the Point Street bridge.
If a heavy bar scene isn't appealing, there's always AS220, 115 Empire St. (tel. 401/831-9327; www.as220.org), which describes itself as "a nonprofit community arts center with work studios" for mostly local visual, musical, and performance artists. It hosts 10 to 12 events every week. Similar in mission is Tazza Caffee & Lounge, 250 Westminster St. (tel. 401/421-3300; www.tazzacaffe.com), an espresso bar open daily from early morning to late night that puts on fashion shows, sculpture exhibits, and poetry readings to go with films and jazz and blues combos.
Many restaurants in the city engage musical groups 2 or more nights a week. These include CAV,. At the Trinity Brewhouse, 186 Fountain St. (tel. 401/453-2337; www.trinitybrewhouse.com), live jazz and blues share attention with boutique beers, a pool table, and a deck.
For art-house films and midnight cult movies, check the Avon Cinema, 260 Thayer St., near Meeting Street (tel. 401/421-3315; www.avoncinema.com), or the Cable Car, 204 South Main St. (tel. 401/272-3970; www.cablecarcinema.com), which has comfy sofas and free popcorn refills.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.