16 Best Things to Do in Cranston, RI

16 Best Things to Do in Cranston, RI

Living in the heart of Rhode Island, I can say there's never a dull moment in Cranston.

It's a city that blends historic charm with a modern vibe and offers all the amenities of a big city and the warmth of a small town.

As I wake up every morning to the chirping of birds and the sight of serene streets, I can't help but be grateful for the breathtaking natural beauty surrounding us.

Every turn unveils a new adventure, and every day is a chance to create lifelong memories.

Welcome to the best things to do in Cranston, Rhode Island.

About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable places, it's important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional places to visit that are not featured here.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.

Make a Sweet Escape at Sweenor's Chocolates Inc

The saying "Life happens, chocolate helps" rings true every time I step into Sweenor's Chocolates Inc.

Every visit feels like a journey through a world of chocolatey wonders - a dream I've had since childhood.

The comforting aroma of cocoa and sugar greets you the moment you step inside, instantly making you forget all your worries.

Sweenor's has been a constant in our community for decades, a chocolate gem that has stood the test of time.

There is no shortage of delightful treats, each as mouth-watering as the next.

Whenever I crave dark chocolate, I know where my steps will lead me - right to their store for delicious dark chocolate nonpareils.

But the sweetness does not stop at their wide variety of delicious chocolates.

What makes Sweenor's stand out is its impressive range of unique flavors.

My grandson is an avid fan of their peanut butter-filled dragons - an unusual yet enticing mix of flavors.

Meanwhile, those who enjoy a hint of citrus with their chocolate have three orange-flavored chocolates - my son-in-law's favorite.

Whether you're having a good or bad day, visiting Sweenor's Chocolates Inc will surely add sweetness to your day.

Visit Buttonwoods Brewery

Allow me to let you in on a little secret.

Nestled in the heart of Cranston is an irresistible hidden gem, Buttonwoods Brewery.

Now, you might be wondering how I know.

Well, let's just say I've enjoyed being a frequent visitor.

The first thing that caught my eye when I walked into this place was its open, airy space.

Imagine sipping your beer in an inviting atmosphere that instantly sets you at ease.

You can chat with the friendly locals, or if you're like me, you can simply sit back, relax, and absorb the vibrant energy around you.

If you're a beer enthusiast, you're in for a treat.

The selection is decent, and each beer has a unique taste that will tingle your taste buds.

But that’s not all.

Buttonwoods Brewery is not just about beer.

They also have a food truck on site that serves some fantastic pizza.

And if you're in the mood for more fun, they have a free Ms. Pac-Man cabinet and a couple of other games.

Just remember, the parking is in the back, and it can be tricky if you're unfamiliar with the area.

Every time I visit, I leave with a smile, eagerly waiting for my next visit.

Enjoy a Night Out at Spain Restaurant

One night, after a long week, I decided to unwind at Spain Restaurant, a gem in our city known for its marvelous Spanish cuisine with a locavore twist.

Nestled in a spacious, airy venue, it also features a chic late-night lounge for those who enjoy the nightlife.

When I walked in, I was immediately drawn to the lively atmosphere.

The place was bustling with a mix of families, groups of friends, and couples out for a date night.

To start, I had their calamari, which, to my delight, was the best I've ever tasted.

Crispy, tender, and seasoned perfectly, it was a delight in every bite.

Then came the main course. I decided on the baked stuffed lobster.

Talk about a show-stopper!

The lobster was perfectly cooked, with a succulent stuffing that left me craving more.

My experience at Spain Restaurant was terrific.

If you're in town, don't miss the opportunity to dine in this remarkable place.

Enjoy an Authentic Italian Experience at Marchetti's Restaurant

There's no place like Marchetti's Restaurant for a cozy, authentic Italian meal.

You wouldn't believe the comfort food they're whipping up over there.

For one, the calamari is perfectly seasoned and cooked, crispy and tender at the same time.

And don't get me started on their homemade house salad dressing; it's the best kind of delicious.

Now, about the place itself.

Nestled amongst the local buildings, it’s got this spacious and wood-adorned setting that just gives off the most welcoming vibe.

There's even a patio for the warm summer evenings.

My first visit to Marchetti's was quite memorable.

Right then, I knew I'd found my new Italian go-to.

The menu at Marchetti's is a real treat.

Expect to find all the classics but with a unique twist.

The Stuffed Banana Peppers and the side of Meatballs are a must-try.

And for seafood lovers, their Seafood with White Sauce will have you returning for more.

Oh, and their approach to seasoning? A breath of fresh air.

They have a light hand and let you adjust to your taste.

Word of advice, though, Marchetti's is a popular spot.

So, plan to wait a bit before being seated.

And don’t forget to try their garden salad. It’s simply incredible.

I can't wait to go back soon. See you there!

Enjoy a Night at Lang's Bowlarama

The neon lights of Lang's Bowlarama have been a familiar glow in my evening routine for quite some time now.

It's where I've spent countless nights with family and with a cheerful group of youngsters, always with the comforting sound of bowling balls thudding onto the alleys, pins clattering, and laughter echoing in the background.

Their pricing system, based on hourly rates rather than per game, is something I've grown to appreciate.

The surprisingly varied and satisfying food is an integral part of the experience - even if it leans towards the pricier side.

It's not gourmet dining, but it's more than decent, and there's something for everyone's palate.

Evenings at Lang’s often end with a visit to the entire bar.

The old-school charm of Lang's Bowlarama, paired with the blend of fun, food, and drinks, makes it an entertainment spot with a special place in my heart.

It's the kind of place you want to keep returning to.

Embrace Italian Delights at Antonio's Trattoria

Nestled in the heart of Cranston's "Little Italy" is the jewel of local cuisine, Antonio's Trattoria.

This quaint, elegant Italian restaurant may be small, but it's a powerhouse for delivering sumptuous meals and a robust list of wines.

Antonio’s Trattoria isn’t expansive but cozy, with ample seating.

It can get busy during peak hours, so reserving a table in advance could be a wise choice.

I appreciate the generous pours of drinks they serve; it sets the tone for a relaxed and pleasant dining experience.

The food is simply divine.

From the moment the appetizers are served, anticipation builds for the main course, which never disappoints.

Their menu boasts traditional Italian staples and offers daily specials, keeping the dining experience fresh and exciting.

Their Bolognese sauce is delicious, served in generous portions, and saturated with plenty of meat - something other places tend to skimp on.

My favorite is the Pork Osso Buco, a succulent piece of meat with a fig/sweet potato sauce.

The Chicken Martini and the Free Range Chicken are also top-notch.

They come with crispy skin and are served in rich, flavorful sauces.

However, they once forgot to serve the risotto with the chicken, but it was quickly rectified.

My partner swears by the swordfish, and I can vouch for the eggplant - some of my best, steeped in a perfectly seasoned gravy.

Enjoy the lively ambiance; it can get a tad noisy, especially if a loud group happens to be seated nearby.

But that's a small price to pay for the delicious food.

While it may be a little on the pricey side, the quality of the dishes makes it worth every penny.

I can't wait for my next visit!

Enjoy a Night to Remember at The Big Cheese & Pub

There's nothing quite like nostalgia when revisiting a beloved haunt after many years.

That's precisely what happened when we found ourselves in The Big Cheese & Pub after a long time.

We were greeted with a warm, familiar coziness the moment we stepped inside, just like the old times.

We started with the Mozzarella bread, and oh boy, it was a cheesy delight!

This appetizer is a must-try for anyone who enjoys a good cheese pull.

We ordered our favorite Onion, Pepper, and Pepperoni pizza.

Biting into it was like a throwback to the good old days.

Undeniably, it was as impressive as I remembered.

Places like The Big Cheese make you realize some things never change, and in this case, it’s for the better.

Over the years, they've managed to maintain their fantastic food quality.

The pizza crust was flavorful and almost flaky, with an unbeatable marinara sauce.

Trust me when I say there's no going wrong with their pizzas.

Even their take-out service is top-notch.

It is safe to say The Big Cheese & Pub has earned its place back into our regular pizza night outings.

The restaurant retains its reputation with its hearty Italian dishes, friendly staff, and great atmosphere.

And just between us, I've yet to find a pizza spot that tops their Hawaiian pizza.

So, if you're ever in town, do yourself a favor and stop by for a bite.

Play and Learn at Providence Children's Museum

I'll never forget the look on my kids' faces when we first walked into Providence Children's Museum.

It was like they had found their little paradise, a world designed just for them, filled with many opportunities for hands-on learning and interactive play.

Trust me. It's every bit as much fun as it sounds!

The museum is a haven for children of all ages.

It's perfectly sized for a day of exploration without being too overwhelming; it's large enough to entertain them for hours but not so big that they get lost or tired.

And let's not forget the outdoor play area – a touch of nature to give us a break from being indoors.

One of the things that stands out about this place is its focus on interactive, creative learning.

So many hands-on activities taught history and science excitingly and engagingly.

The vacuum tubes were a particular favorite of my little ones - they understood how different forces work.

Before entering the water room, pack a change of clothes because your kids will likely get very wet.

The upstairs-themed rooms were another highlight, where my children could learn about themselves, their multicultural heritage, and the wider world.

They got to dance, touch, measure, build, dress up – all while learning and having fun.

As for parents, my advice is to dress comfortably.

There's plenty to see and do, and you'll want to be able to keep up with your energetic little explorers.

Don't worry, though. There are plenty of places to sit and take a breather.

And I can't forget to mention the inspirational quotes scattered throughout the museum.

They certainly kept my mind engaged while the kids were playing.

Next time, we plan to bring our lunch and have a picnic.

There are lots of spots inside and outside the museum that are perfect for this.

I can't wait for our next visit!

Step Back in Time at the Sprague Mansion

Every time I walk through the doors of the Sprague Mansion, I feel as if I'm stepping back in time.

You wouldn't believe the history that's housed within these walls.

It's such a significant part of Rhode Island's past. Every one of us Cranston locals should experience it at least once.

Right across the street, you'll find the Cranston print works, a significant reminder of the textile industry's role in our city.

As you cross the street, take a moment to look down the road to your right.

You'll see a glimpse into the past where mill workers once lived.

Houses with two doors were for workers, while those with a single door were for supervisors.

This area is a visual timeline of our city's history, and visiting the Sprague Mansion is integral to that experience.

Its rooms are carefully maintained to reflect its historical era, from the furniture to the needle crafts.

I can't forget to mention how much kids love exploring the mansion.

It's an adventure for them too.

I always encourage everyone to share their experiences and spread the word about this hidden gem in our city.

After all, our history is a treasure worth sharing.

Enjoy a Tranquil Escape at Meshanticut State Park

Like any other day in the hustle and bustle of life, I often seek a peaceful escape without venturing too far from home.

And what better place to head to than Meshanticut State Park, right here in our city?

The park is a beautiful, small haven with an idyllic pond.

It's a sight to behold; the pond comes alive in summer with an enchanting cover of water lilies.

Walking around the pond is always my go-to exercise routine.

The path around the lake is partly a paved trail and a street.

So, you ought to be cautious of the drivers around.

You can also take a moment to sit back and savor the sight of ducks, geese, swans, and other wildlife species that call this park their home.

If you're a pet owner like me, this park is just the spot for your dogs.

I often bring my dogs here for a walk.

But, a word of caution – some people, unfortunately, don't pick up after their pets, which can be a bit bothersome.

Carrying a bag from home quickly solves this issue.

Fishing enthusiasts are in for a treat, too, with Lake Meshanticut offering a perfect angling spot.

As for me, I cannot recommend this local gem enough.

It's an excellent place for a quick walk or run to get some fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature.

So next time you're looking for a serene getaway, why not check out Meshanticut State Park, conveniently located in our city?

Try the Haunted Labyrinth Experience

When autumn rolls around, and the first hint of chill touches the air, I know it's time for my annual visit to the Haunted Labyrinth.

A thrilling blend of chills and fun, the Haunted Labyrinth has been a cherished tradition in our area for over three decades, making it the oldest Halloween haunt in Rhode Island.

Stepping into the labyrinth, you immediately notice the passion that goes into creating this annual spectacle.

Volunteers put the entire thing together, their friendliness setting a welcoming tone despite the looming scare fest.

It's impressive how they've been consistently delivering this event year after year, not to mention the creativity that goes into the unique room builds and fun themes.

The labyrinth is designed to give you a good scare and doesn't disappoint.

As you navigate through it, you are told to open particular 'doors,' which are areas where actors jump out at you.

They've got me a few times, no matter how prepared I think I am.

But don't worry. There's nothing gruesome or overly frightening here.

It's all in good fun and perfect for kids over six.

One of the best parts is that the line moves quickly, so you're not left shivering in the cold for too long.

And as a little bonus, if you get hot chocolate, they give you a free popcorn bag!

These little touches make the Haunted Labyrinth more than just a scare fest.

Despite the thrills and chills, the Haunted Labyrinth remains a family-friendly haunt, ensuring an enjoyable experience for all.

The perfect blend of scares, fun, and tradition makes it a must-visit every year.

Take a Walk Through Pawtuxet Oxboes Park

I've lost count of how many times I've laced up my boots, leashed up my dog, and headed to the tranquility of Pawtuxet Oxboes Park.

There's a certain magic to the winding trails that skirt alongside the Pawtuxet River, offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The beauty of this park is that it transcends seasons, each painting a new portrait of nature.

Its trails are versatile, branching off into different paths, each with a unique view and experience.

The sound of the river flowing, the rustle of leaves underfoot, and the melody of birds make for an enchanting atmosphere that spells tranquility.

But the real joy is to stroll along the main path that crosses the Pawtuxet River.

The walk along the river is a sight to behold, a peaceful journey that keeps me coming back for more.

It's a haven for walkers, joggers, and dog owners alike.

Off-leash dogs can sometimes pose a bit of a challenge, but they're just as thrilled as I am to be out in this little piece of paradise.

Don't just take my word for it, though.

Lace up your boots, leash up your dog, and experience the serenity for yourself!

Enjoy a Nature-filled Retreat at John L. Curran State Park

There's something simply magical about the scent of toasted pine needles during a leisurely walk on a July morning at John L. Curran State Park.

The marked and unmarked trails offer an adventurous feast to the senses, evoking an almost primal connection with nature.

With the stirring rustle of leaves, the hum of busy insects, and the occasional glimpse of local wildlife, you can't help but feel utterly immersed in the park's raw beauty.

For those who love the thrill of exploration, just remember to exercise caution when straying from the marked trails.

The park's trails weave behind local properties, and the last thing you want is an awkward encounter with a property owner who’s less than thrilled about trespassers.

Respect the boundaries, and you'll have an unforgettable outdoor experience.

The Spring Lake trail is a favorite among locals for its easy hike.

But be prepared for an adventure as some parts of the trail are overgrown, adding to its wild charm.

Visit Cranston Country Club

I highly recommend swinging at the Cranston Country Club if you're ever around Cranston, Rhode Island.

Over the years, it's been a go-to spot for my golfing buddies and me.

The first thing you'll notice is the course itself - it's decently maintained, and the layout is quite challenging.

It's perfect for those looking to improve their golfing skills.

Meanwhile, the event room is top-notch.

I once attended a wedding reception there, and boy, was it good!

The food was excellent.

They even have a lot of tournaments you can take part in.

One thing to note is that the play can be slow sometimes, especially during the peak season.

As for the rates, it's a bit pricey off-season - $51 to walk, to be exact.

But for the enjoyment you get, I'd say it's worth it.

So, if you're up for a round of golf, the Cranston Country Club wouldn't be the wrong choice.

Other Restaurants Nearby

Discover the Charm of Roger Williams Park

Japanese Garden at Roger Williams Park
NayaDadara / Shutterstock.com

Having lived in this city for years, I've come to appreciate the charm and appeal of Roger Williams Park.

It's one of those places that offers a new experience every time you visit.

I recently spent an entire day there and still felt I could explore more!

The Park is a large expanse of greenery, complete with trails, sporting facilities, and a quaint pond that wouldn't be complete without the swan boats.

There's plenty of lawn space for leisurely picnics, and with the summer season setting in, it's a great time to pack a basket and head there.

A notable highlight of the park is the zoo.

Somehow, it seemed different from my last visit.

Plants at the Roger Williams Park
jkcaptures / Shutterstock.com

They've made an effort to make the animal habitats more natural, which is great for the animals, but it does mean playing a bit of 'Where's Waldo' to spot them.

It can be frustrating at times, but it adds to the authenticity of the experience.

The newest addition to the Dino exhibit was the cherry on top!

They've turned it into an educational yet fun experience that leaves you wanting to return.

Moreover, the overall upkeep of the park has been remarkable.

Even after visiting the park multiple times, I still haven't explored some parts.

Moreover, each visit leaves me pleasantly surprised and looking forward to my next visit.

If you've lived here as long as I have, you'd understand why Roger Williams Park holds such a special place in the hearts of the locals.

Pavilion at Roger Williams Park
NayaDadara / Shutterstock.com

Make Unforgettable Memories at Roger Williams Park Zoo

Giraffe at Roger Williams Park Zoo
ayhanmustafa / Shutterstock.com

Nothing screams 'weekend' like a good old family day at Roger Williams Park Zoo.

Living so close to it, I've become a pretty frequent visitor, and let me tell you, each visit brings a new surprise.

My kids love the petting zoo. Their eyes light up every time they get to feed and pet the little goats.

The wetlands trail is a dream for wildlife enthusiasts, and the zipline is an adventure you shouldn't miss.

Our last visit was particularly thrilling.

It was a sunny day, and to our luck, almost all the animals were out and about.

I remember my heart pounding excitedly when I saw a cheetah just a few feet away.

It felt like a scene straight out of a wildlife documentary.

But it's not just cheetahs. The zoo is filled with various animals – each one more fascinating than the other.

It's a truly immersive experience.

Elephants at Roger Williams Park Zoo
Joe Trentacosti / Shutterstock.com

Though not permanent, the dinosaur exhibit adds an exciting twist to the visit.

My kids still haven't stopped talking about the life-size dinosaur replicas.

The sheer size of the zoo is surprising. It's easy to spend an entire day there.

But don't worry, if you need to rest your legs, there's a vintage carousel to enjoy.

What truly impresses me is the evident care for the animals.

Each one looks well taken care of; the zoo prioritizes their welfare.

However, a word of advice - planning is vital for a zoo visit.

Try to get there early in the morning to avoid parking hassles and maximize your day.

Also, remember that the vending machines can be a bit pricey, so pack some water and snacks.

Visiting Roger Williams Park Zoo is about making memories and seeing your kids' eyes filled with wonder.

It's about learning and, most importantly, having a fun day with your loved ones.

Flamingos at Roger Williams Park Zoo
ayhanmustafa / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Living in Cranston, Rhode Island, has indeed been a joy.

It's where community, culture, and convenience harmoniously coexist, making it a great place to call home.

Visit Cranston as soon as you can!

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.