Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Woonsocket, RI

  • Published 2022/10/06

The sixth largest city in Rhode Island is Woonsocket, located directly south of the state’s border with Massachusetts.

Forming a part of Providence County, Woonsocket officially became a town in 1867 and a city in 1888.

The city’s name has a handful of origins, all rooted in the different Native American tribes who lived in the area.

However, the most popular was 17th-century English theologian Roger Williams, who bought the land from the natives and referred to it as “Niswosakit.”

Outside of Rhode Island, there is also only one other city in the United States named Woonsocket, located in South Dakota.

The tiny South Dakota city got the name since many of the railroad officials who worked there in the late 19th century came from Rhode Island city.

Thanks to its location near Blackstone River, the first textile mill was established in the area in 1810 and soon followed by many others in the succeeding years.

As a result, the city became one of the top textile manufacturers in the country during the latter half of the 19th century.

Moreover, the city’s rapid growth soon attracted many immigrants, primarily the French-Canadians, whose descendants also live there.

Today, Woonsocket is a commercially-important city boasting many attractions, green spaces, and activities all year.

Here are the best things to do in Woonsocket, Rhode Island:

Get a Glimpse of the Past at the Museum of Work & Culture

Front view of Museum of Work & Culture

Swampyank at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Museum of Work & Culture, located along Main Street, tells the story of the hard work and perseverance of the city’s working-class across different periods beginning from the early 19th century.

The museum serves as a dedication to the people, particularly the French-Canadian immigrants, who were a driving force in the city’s growth during industrialization.

One of the standout features of the museum is its beautifully recreated workshops and home interiors from the past.

Also included in their display are relics and artifacts from the bygone era, such as old clocks, tools, and artworks.

The exhibits also contain fascinating information and stories, allowing you to appreciate their history further.

The museum also features interactive games and activities for a fully immersive experience.

An essential part of Woonsocket’s identity, the Museum of Work & Culture is a must-visit for history buffs and everyone.

Take a Tour of the Veterans Memorial Museum

Located along Earle Street, the Veterans Memorial Museum opened in 2015 to honor veterans, mainly Woonsocket locals, who had fought in different wars.

A non-profit organization runs the museum’s impressive collection, including many military items from the American Revolution to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Various military uniforms, insignia, and medals are proudly displayed in the museum.

They also have numerous rifles, small firearms, and ammunitions dating back from the Civil War.

Moreover, the museum contains old photographs, newspaper clippings, war-time posters, and memorabilia.

Many of these items came from Woonsocket veterans themselves, who wanted to preserve their history for future generations to learn from.

With its vast inventory of fascinating military artifacts, it’s easy for anyone to spend hours learning American history at Veterans Memorial Museum.

Relax at Cold Spring Park

Located along Harris Avenue, Cold Spring Park has neat amenities to provide fun and relaxation for everybody.

The park has a network of paved walkways for scenic and comfortable walks with many trees lined along the way.

It also contains a playground, basketball, and tennis courts.

Moreover, you can watch local teams play on the park’s softball and baseball fields.

The park also provides access to Blackstone River via a boat launch.

During winter, the park has become a popular ski and sledding spot.

Local acts can also perform at the park’s amphitheater and outdoor stage.

Cold Spring Park is an all-in-one place for family recreation with these excellent amenities and features.

Go Fishing at Cass Park

The picturesque Cass Park is right at the heart of Woonsocket.

Forming the park’s centerpiece is its beautiful pond.

The pond is also home to many birds, such as ducks and geese, and is a popular fishing spot.

You can also trek along the park’s cross-country running trails to burn calories.

However, you can also relax and enjoy scenic views of the pond and lush trees in the background.

The park also contains a playground and a Little League field.

Simple yet beautiful, Cass Park’s neat features and clean environment make it one of the best places in Woonsocket to relax and chill.

Have Fun at Aero Trampoline Park

Located on Diamond Hill Road, Aero Trampoline Park is Woonsocket’s all-in-one place for family entertainment.

On top of their signature trampolines, they also have many other features that offer hours of enjoyment.

Once your arms get a bit weary midway through the climbing wall, you can let yourself fall on a giant foam pit below.

You can play dodgeball and slam ball with friends and family.

Other exciting features include battle beams, slack lines, and interactive VR games.

Aside from a kiddie court, the center regularly schedules particular toddler time to allow little ones to enjoy the trampolines.

Simply put, Aero Trampoline Park is Woonsocket’s top destination for total indoor fun for the whole family.

Spend Time at World War II Veterans Memorial Park

Scenic view of World War II Veterans Memorial Park

Gzub, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located along Social Street, the World War II Veterans Memorial Park sits on the land where textile mills operated in the 19th century.

The park honors the veterans and features a monument to commemorate their service to the country.

The park is a popular recreation place in Woonsocket, thanks to its numerous amenities.

In the park, you can also find a baseball field named after baseball legend and Woonsocket native Nap Lajoie.

It also contains a splash park, playground, and basketball courts.

The park’s paved walkways are also the perfect way to stroll around and enjoy the clean surroundings.

The park is also great for picnicking on tables or directly on the well-maintained grounds.

A nice blend of solemn and peaceful environment, World War II Veterans Memorial Park offers a relaxing experience to every visitor.

Take a Train Ride at Blackstone Valley Polar Express Station

The Blackstone Valley Polar Express Station is the most popular Christmas attraction in Woonsocket and possibly in Rhode Island.

As its name implies, the attraction takes inspiration from the classic Christmas tale, “Polar Express.”

To realize the Polar Express experience, they redesigned the historic Blackstone Valley Train Station into the iconic holiday landmark.

The Blackstone Valley Polar Express Station takes you on a 90-minute train ride to the North Pole, right around Woonsocket.

Like in the story, each passenger will receive a special golden ticket which the conductor will punch.

Passengers can listen to lively singing and play fun games throughout the trip.

Each guest will also receive a cookie and hot chocolate as treats.

Every child will also receive a special silver bell as a bonus.

Offering pure fun for the whole family during the holiday season, a train journey on the Blackstone Valley Polar Express Station is a must-experience for everybody.

Enjoy Live Performances at River Island Art Park

River Island Art Park is a small patch of green space nestled within Woonsocket’s busiest district.

The park features a gazebo and numerous benches where you can unwind under the cool shade of trees.

You can take a relaxing stroll along paved pathways crisscrossing the park.

Several geese and ducks resting by the riverside add to the pleasant views of the Blackstone River.

Moreover, you can fish along the riverbanks.

Thanks to a built-in boat launch in the park, you can take a boat ride along the river.

The park also serves as a venue for various community events, particularly live performances from local acts.

With its perfect location and great activities, River Island Art Park offers quick relief from the bustle of the urban environment.

Play and Relax at River’s Edge Complex

Located right at the heart of Woonsocket, River’s Edge Complex is a recreation park, and sports complex all rolled into one neat package.

The complex contains one full-size soccer field and several smaller ones.

It also features a 3-putt golf course where you can practice your golfing skills.

On the other hand, you can walk or bike along its network of pathways, which also connect to other areas outside the complex.

Thanks to the designated boat launch, you can also go kayaking and canoeing along the Blackstone River.

Located within the complex is a dog park where you can let your furry friends play at their hearts’ content.

As the ideal place for a family gathering, the complex also contains a playground and concession area for events and activities.

Whether you’d like to burn some calories or want to have a fun time with your family and pets, River’s Edge Complex is the ideal spot.

See Amazing Artworks at St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center

Dubbed by Yankee Magazine as “The Sistine Chapel of America,” St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center boasts the most extensive collection of fresco paintings in North America.

Built from 1913 to 1917, this former Catholic church stands along Cumberland Street.

Featuring modern French Renaissance design and breathtaking interiors, the church won’t look out of place when put side by side with its much older European cousins.

However, its crème de la crème attraction is undoubtedly its vast collection of fresco paintings beautifully plastered all over the church.

Italian artist Guido Nincheri painted the church’s gorgeous paintings in the 1940s.

He sought the help of the locals to act as models, creating a total of 475 characters.

When the church closed in 2000, its parishioners made a great effort to preserve its legacy and converted the church into an art and cultural center.

St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center’s majestic artworks and great history make it one of the top places to visit in Woonsocket.

Unwind at Globe Park

Scenic View at Global Park

Pearls of Promise /

One of the many parks in Woonsocket, Globe Park is at Coe Street on the southwest corner of the city.

The usual park amenities contain a small pond that attracts several birds and small animals.

The park’s paved pathways offer scenic views of the pond and the surrounding environment.

Several benches are also laid around the park where you can rest and relax.

If you want to break a sweat, you can play on its basketball and tennis court, in the playground, and in open play areas.

Globe Park will show you a pleasant and relaxing time thanks to its simple charm and valuable amenities.

Enjoy Polish Delicacies at Krakow Deli Bakery & Smokehouse

Located along Social Street, Krakow Deli Bakery & Smokehouse stands outs in Woonsocket for its authentic Polish and Eastern European food.

Its food selection has received rave reviews for its taste and flavor.

You can choose from their assortment of soups and stews like cabbage soup, beet soup, bigos, and barszcz.

You can indulge in their mouthwatering Polish specialties like kielbasa, pierogis, and gotabek.

They can also satisfy your sweet tooth cravings with their tasty baklava.

Moreover, their sumptuous food comes in generous portions and at affordable prices.

Thanks to Krakow Deli Bakery & Smokehouse, you’ll love Polish and Eastern European cuisine.

Enjoy a Hearty Breakfast at Patriots Diner

Located along Fortin Drive, it’s hard to miss Patriots Diners with its all-American, retro-style aesthetics.

On top of its vintage theme, the diner is also famous for serving sumptuous breakfast meals all day.

You can have your favorite pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon, and sandwiches any day.

Its house specialties include tender meatloaf, juicy steaks, and delicious seafood.

The diner’s food selection also includes Italian and Greek cuisine.

They also have a kids’ menu for the little ones.

Moreover, the diner also has an array of cakes, pies, and milkshakes to satisfy your cravings for sweets.

With its impressive menu, retro vibe, and friendly atmosphere, dining at Patriots Diner is always a pleasant experience.

Drink and Dine at Kay’s Restaurant

Located along Cass Avenue, Kay’s Restaurant is one of Woonsocket’s most popular restaurants.

The restaurant is famous for its mouthwatering sandwiches, lobster rolls, and house specials.

You can pair them with ice-cold beers, wines, or delicious cocktails.

Its dining areas are complemented by the restaurant’s food and drink selections, which feature modern and classic design cues.

However, for a unique and intimate dining experience, you can dine in their igloo-style outdoor seats.

Kay’s Restaurant’s great food, drinks, and relaxing vibe make it one of the best places in Woonsocket to dine and hang out.

Learn History at the Museum of Broadcast Technology

Located along Main Street, the Museum of Broadcast Technology is one of Woonsocket’s hidden gems.

However, unlike your typical museum, you can only visit the museum on an appointment basis.

The museum contains two floors with a total area of about 15,000 square feet.

As its name indicates, the museum contains various broadcast equipment from the pre-digital era, many of which still work.

To provide an immersive experience, its television cameras and production equipment are set up in a standard studio layout.

Moreover, thanks to its collection of videotape systems, the museum also helps restore television programs originally recorded on obsolete tapes.

Technology may have come a long way since the analog days.

With the Museum of Broadcast Technology, you’ll have a firsthand experience of the fascinating evolution of radio and television.

Final Thoughts

Woonsocket offers more than enough attractions to keep everyone busy; it also sustains a thriving urban community with rich culture and history.

Whether going for a relaxing stroll in its beautiful parks, taking a tour of its museums, or trying out the local food joints, you can enjoy all of them right within the city.

Set your sights on this city for your next getaway and experience the best things to do in Woonsocket, Rhode Island!

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