15 Best Things to Do in Newport, RI

Newport, RI
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Newport is perhaps the crowned jewel of Rhodes Island.

It’s home to many luxurious mansions, each with its own architectural style and distinct historical origins.

Coupled with its seaside location, this city offers many memorable sights and adventures.

In 1639, Newport was incorporated and soon thrived as one of the most lavish refuges for the wealthy in Newport County.

With pristine beaches and endless access to the water, it’s no surprise that this place is a prime summer destination.

You can also expect a thriving local scene—evident from the city’s vibrant art galleries and busy shopping districts.

Tour mansions, sail the oceans, or stroll Newport’s vivid streets!

This list narrows down some of the best things to do in Newport, Rhodes Island.

Immerse in the Opulence of The Breakers

Gate at The Breakers
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With so many mansions to explore, The Breakers is considered one of the best in the city!

The Vanderbuilts had it built in 1893 as a luxurious summer cottage for the affluent family.

It’s a prime example of the Gilded Age, with similar features of an opulent palace.

The Breakers’ architectural style fosters a seamless blend of Italian Renaissance and hints of Roman sculptures.

Front view of The Breakers
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Exquisite mosaics, marble tiles, and high ceilings are some of the few things that display its grandeur.

From intricate craftsmanship to expensive materials imported from Italy and Africa, the mansion is estimated to cost 13.6 million dollars today.

At Ochre Point Avenue, you also get breathtaking views of the sea!

Book a tour of this prestigious palace and indulge yourself in a bit of luxury.

Front view of The Breakers
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Walk along the Cliff Walk

View of Cliff Walk
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The Cliff Walk offers a glimpse into Newport’s natural beauty and man-made wonders.

Along the island’s edges, you may find people walking on rocky pathways and concrete pavements.

That’s the Cliff Walk—a popular way to see splendid attractions in the city.

You’ll pass by mansions, beaches, and establishments along the 3.5-mile terrain.

View of Cliff Walk
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Pair those with a constant backdrop of the gorgeous seaside, beautiful native plants, and animals in their natural habitats.

It’s a perfect leisure destination for people of all ages!

In fact, the Cliff Walk was added to the list of National Recreation Trails in 1975.

It’s suggested to start from Memorial Boulevard and continue onwards from there until Bellevue Avenue.

View of Cliff Walk
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Broadcast Tennis Highlights in the International Tennis Hall of Fame

Front view of International Tennis Hall of Fame
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Along Bellevue Avenue, this destination is a dream come true for anyone interested in tennis.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame has two main attractions—the museum and the tennis courts.

Whether you’re seeking a calm day or active recreation, this venue lets you have both.

The museum features a mix of artifacts that displays the long history of tennis and some of its legendary players.

Front view of International Tennis Hall of Fame
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There are also interactive ventures like tennis trivia, video walls, and a chance for you to broadcast match highlights.

Outside, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is home to pristine courts, but they’re only available for members.

Take a chance on this sports-related venture!

Admire the Artworks in the Newport Art Museum

Established in 1912, the Newport Art Museum hosts a collection of diverse artworks from multiple sources.

They curate masterful pieces from local and globally known artists across the country.

From paintings and sculptures to original artifacts, the Newport Art Museum is open to all kinds of creative mediums.

They’re held within beautiful scenery, inside carefully restored buildings with prior historical significance.

This adds to the museum’s charming nature!

Browse through handmade works of art in an old-fashioned but elegant mansion.

In case you’re interested, they also offer guided tours and workshops for people of all skill levels.

The Newport Art Museum can be found on Bellevue Avenue.

Dine at the Historic White Horse Tavern

View of  Historic White Horse Tavern
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The White Horse Tavern crafts a tasteful blend of old-world allure and contemporary fine dining.

The building was constructed in 1652 but only began to serve as a tavern and meeting place in 1673.

It takes pride in being one of the oldest functional taverns in America!

Even though the ambiance retains a historic charm, the culinary experience focuses on modern trends and innovative meals.

View of  Historic White Horse Tavern
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The White Horse Tavern also uses local materials and ingredients, so you’re sure to get a taste of Rhode Island’s flavors.

This restaurant isn’t popular just because of its history.

It’s also got tasty meals, artisan wines, and a friendly staff to keep customers coming.

See how this tavern managed to stay in business for more than 350 years!

Join a Sunset Tour with Sightsailing

On an island like Newport, you shouldn’t miss out on exploring its vast surrounding waters.

Sightsailing is an agency that conveniently connects you to stunning views of Newport City from a far-away perspective.

They offer three well-maintained boats, sailing at various hours from the daytime to right before sunset.

You’ll be met with the sight of lavish mansions, premium yachts, and towering lighthouses.

Sightsailing is also known as one of the oldest, locally-owned providers of boats in the city.

Whether it’s a private event or an affordable public venture, Sightsailing accommodates all kinds of requests.

They even serve mimosas for some of the rides!

Travelers should try this sailing tradition in Bowen’s Wharf.

Watch the Annual Concert at Fort Adams State Park

Front view of  Fort Adams State Park
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Fort Adams State Park is a one-stop destination for various kinds of recreation.

Founded in 1965, the area has a military installation history.

When it was given to public officials, they decided to turn the place into a state park that all types of people can enjoy.

Front view of  Fort Adams State Park
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Fort Adams State Park is home to its own beach, a harbor, historic buildings, sports fields, and other amenities.

The park takes pride in its assortment of potential activities.

Events are also popular in Fort Adams State Park.

During the summer, this venue is well-known for hosting lively annual concerts like the Jazz Festival.

Immerse in History at Touro Synagogue

Front view of Touro Synagogue
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Congregation Jeshuat Israel, also known as Touro Synagogue, is the oldest synagogue in the United States.

It’s a National Historic Site, retaining much of its original architecture, style, and even some of its furnishing.

If you book a tour, they’ll take you on a learning journey of how important this building was to religious freedom.

Front view of Touro Synagogue
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Until now, Touro Synagogue is a precious symbol that attracts visitors from across the country, regardless of beliefs.

They also have a handful of interactive exhibits to keep things interesting!

At Touro Street, you’ll be sure to learn more about some significant points of American history.

Get Close to Castle Hill Lighthouse

View of Castle Hill Lighthouse
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Unlike other lighthouses in Newport, Castle Hill Lighthouse lets guests walk right up to the front of the structure.

It was established in 1890, after many failed attempts to find a portion of land that would best help sailors in the area.

Castle Hill Lighthouse is positioned along the edges of a short cliff at Ocean Avenue.

It stands at 34 feet, made from sturdy granite and concrete.

View of Castle Hill Lighthouse
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Many travelers come to the lighthouse for pictures with its rough, historic structure.

You can also get sweeping views of the surrounding bay and hear the wave’s strong current.

While guests are not allowed inside the building itself, the lighthouse grounds offer something new.

Swim at Easton’s Beach

View of Easton’s Beach
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For a city that’s embraced by beautiful waters, Easton’s Beach is a top destination.

It’s bound to have splendid natural beaches which can be perfect for almost every season.

At Memorial Boulevard, Easton’s Beach features a mix of pristine, soft sand and cool, refreshing waters for swimming.

It also hosts a few amenities, including an on-site aquarium, a bouncing house, and a historic carousel.

View of Easton’s Beach
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You can also get snacks, drinks, and all kinds of tasty fixings from the beach bar!

Beach trips are always a classic way to let loose and enjoy the tropical side of nature.

No matter your age, this simple beach opens its resources to anyone interested in a casual outdoor venture.

Experience the Local Lifestyle at Bowen’s Wharf

View of Bowen’s Wharf
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Bowen’s Wharf represents the true lifestyle of locals in Newport.

This lively, bustling district along the harbor is filled with quaint shops, restaurants, and tour agencies.

It’s the heart of Newport, containing various kinds of unique establishments.

You can hop from store to store, seeing and experiencing all this square offers.

Bowen’s Wharf is a venue that lets local businesses shine!

View of Bowen’s Wharf
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From Southern-style cuisines and world-class steakhouses to handcrafted desserts, there’s so much to taste.

The venue has also hosted seasonal festivals, sidewalk sales, live concerts, etc.

For shopping, many small, local shops line up along the streets of Bowen’s Wharf, containing dainty trinkets and souvenirs.

Browse the Audrain Auto Museum’s Antique Cars

View of Audrain Auto Museum’s Antique Cars
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From a collaboration of local nonprofits and car enthusiasts, the Audrain Auto Museum was established in 2014.

This museum is dedicated to conserving the history of automobiles within the Aquidneck community island.

They’ve gathered more than 350 vehicles, spanning a collection ranging from motorcycles and cars from the brass era to today’s supercars.

Their exhibits tend to change more than once a year to accommodate as many style preferences as possible.

The Audrain Auto Museum also hosts Cars & Coffee, a popular demonstration that mixes prestigious cars with diverse food trucks.

If you’re interested in anything related to cars, this museum is a must-visit destination!

You can find this museum along Bellevue Avenue.

It’s housed in a historic building, carefully renovated to have space for the vast collection.

Fly a Kite at Brenton Point State Park

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Brenton Point State Park spans 89 acres across the southwestern side of Aquidneck Island.

It goes without saying that the park is also one of the top destinations in Newport.

With spacious greens and oceanfront views, the venue attracts locals and new travelers alike.

It’s an ideal destination for all kinds of peaceful leisure.

View of Brenton Point State Park
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Whether it’s picnicking, hiking, birdwatching, or kite-flying, Brenton Point State Park is open to such activities.

You can also try water-related ventures like fishing since it’s incredibly close to Narragansett Bay in conjunction with the Pacific Ocean.

A bonus is the Portuguese Discovery Moment, a prominent statue that served as a tribute to navigators.

You can discover Brenton Point State Park along Ocean Drive.

Get Cozy in the Redwood Library and Athenaeum

View of Redwood Library and Athenaeum
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At Bellevue Avenue, the Redwood Library and Athenaeum is a haven for those who love books.

Since 1747, the building has remained open to the public.

More than just a library, this place also serves as a museum for precious artifacts, vintage European books, and portrait paintings.

View of Redwood Library and Athenaeum
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The building has retained much of its old structure and contains some decorative pieces from its first foundation.

The indoor ambiance is embraced in a cozy vibe which is just right for those who’d like to browse and read books.

Other than books, there are also CDs and DVDs of different topics in Redwood Library and Athenaeum.

Book a Staycation at Castle Hill Inn

View of  Castle Hill Inn
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Castle Hill Inn offers three ways to unwind—relax in their rooms, dine in a fancy restaurant, or book a spa session.

On Ocean Avenue, this place features a balanced mix of old-world elegance and modern comfortability.

The place was built in 1845 and has since been a staple destination to rest in the city.

With its traditional allure and laid-back atmosphere, it’s no surprise that Castle Hill Inn remains in business.

View of  Castle Hill Inn
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You can choose from various rooms, including cozy cottages, mansion suites, and a beach house.

Their restaurant offers intricate fine-dining meals set in a classy ambiance and paired with award-winning wines.

You can also pamper yourself through a luxurious spa treatment with ingredients made from organic herbs and flowers.

The ultimate staycation awaits at Castle Hill Inn.

Final Thoughts

Newport is one of Rhode Island’s crowned jewels.

It’s rich in history, entertainment, natural destinations, and a distinct local scene.

Pretty much all you want in a tourist destination can be found in the city.

Make sure to add the best things to do in Newport, Rhode Island to your itinerary.

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