36 Fun Things to Do in Rhode Island this July

From circus acts to iconic music festivals, we've compiled all the activities to add to your to-do list this month.
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Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

FEATURED

7/7–10: Cirque du Soleil Crystal

WHAT: Cirque du Soleil Crystal sure knows how to turn an ice arena into a lively frozen playground. Follow Crystal the misfit as she takes guests on a journey to self-discovery and into her wild imagination with other ambitious characters. Watch talented acrobats perform jaw-dropping stunts from incredible heights as Crystal and friends flip and glide on their ice skates. Thurs. and Fri. 7:30 p.m.; Sat. 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 1 p.m. $40–$180. Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center, 1 La Salle Sq., Providence. more info: 331-6700, dunkindonutscenter.com.

 

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Courtesy of the Wilbury Theatre Group/Erin X. Smithers

7/17–30: FringePVD 

WHAT: Watch remarkable performances during the ninth annual Providence Fringe Festival, presented by the Wilbury Theatre Group in collaboration with WaterFire Providence and others throughout the Creative Capital. The censor-free festival features more than 300 performing artists (think: talented dancers, visual artists, actors and the like) from across the nation. All ticket sales support the performing artists. Tickets up to $15. Where: Both online and outside in various venues in Providence’s Olneyville and Valley neighborhoods. more info: 400-7100, fringepvd.org.

 

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Courtesy of Discover Newport

7/29–31: Newport Jazz Festival

WHAT: Listen and sway to the vocals of Norah Jones, Samara Joy, Digable Planets and many more at this upbeat, three-day jazz festival on the grounds of Fort Adams. Take in panoramic views of the Newport Bridge and the East Passage and visit the beer and wine gardens from noon–6:30 p.m. for tasty food and beverages. Gates open at 10 a.m., music starts at 11 a.m. Visit the website for ticket prices. Where: Fort Adams, Newport. More info: 848-5055, newportjazz.org.

 

THEATER

Theatre by the Sea

THROUGH JULY 16: Kick off your Sunday shoes while watching Footloose, where themes of family, community, teenage romance and the power of dance will take guests down a path of nostalgia. Run time is two hours and fifteen minutes with intermission. JULY 20–AUG. 13: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Tony Award-winning Cinderella musical is a fun contemporary take on the magical tale. Run time is two hours and twenty-five minutes with intermission. Wed.–Sun. Visit the website for times. $59–$84. 364 Cards Pond Rd., Wakefield, 782-8587, theatrebythesea.com

 

FAIRS AND FESTIVALS

Food Truck Friday at Roger Williams Park Carousel Village

ONGOING: Select from more than fifteen local food trucks as well as beer from Trinity Brewhouse during the eighth annual Food Truck Friday at Roger Williams Park Carousel Village. Enjoy live music while picnicking on the lawn. Fri. 5–8:30 p.m. Free admission. 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, rwpzoo.org/food-truck-friday

 

Providence Flea Summer Markets

ONGOING: The Providence Flea has returned outdoors for its tenth season, allowing visitors to feel the fresh air while shopping and obsessing over vintage finds and locally sourced products. Sun. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Free admission. 275 South Water St., Providence, 484-7783, providenceflea.com

 

Wakefield RiverFire

ONGOING: Stroll down Wakefield’s Main Street and participate in the annual River
Fire summer series. Visit restaurants, local shops and businesses, and explore downtown once the music gets started. Remember to bring a nonperishable food item with you to donate to the Jonnycake Center’s food pantry in Peace Dale. Thurs. 6–10 p.m. Free. Saugatucket River off Main Street, Wakefield, 474-4700, wakefieldvillageassociation.com

 

Bristol Fourth of July Fireworks Display and Parade

JULY 3-4: The nation’s oldest Independence Day celebration starts July 3 with some popping fireworks, then continues at 10:30 a.m. the next day with the iconic parade. Wear red, white and blue apparel, watch the bands and elaborate floats travel down Hope Street and cheer them on. Get there early; Chestnut Street: Naomi Street and Sherry Avenue will be closed off for the parade route. Free. Hope Street, Bristol, fourthofjulybristolri.com

 

Wickford Art Festival

JULY 9–10: Admire one-of-a-kind works made by acclaimed local and national artists, both new and returning, at the Wickford Art Festival. Soak up gorgeous views within the waterside village and take home a painting, photography, jewelry, ceramics or furniture. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Free admission. Wilson Park, Wickford, 294-6840, wickfordart.org 

 

Food Trucks and Concerts at Chase Farm

JULY 16: Enjoy a variety of locally owned food trucks and beer from Trinity Brewhouse on the grounds of Chase Farm while vibing out to live music. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on the lawn. Select Saturdays from 5–8:30 p.m. Free admission. Chase Farm, 669 Great Rd., Lincoln, foodtrucksin.com/food-truck-events

 

TRIPS AND TOURS

Rail Explorers Tours

ONGOING: Take a bite out of Sunday brunch or check out the night sky with Rail Explorers in themed, pedal-powered tours — with snacks — from the Southern Circuit to Bayside Station. See website for tour times and ticket prices. 1 Alexander Rd., Portsmouth, 877-833-8588, railexplorers.net

 

Rhode Island Red Food Tours

ONGOING: Explore your favorite Rhody neighborhoods in the capital city and the City by the Sea with a food tour. Walking tours include delicious food samplings with or without alcohol pairings at local restaurants. Reservations are required. Thurs.–Sun. at noon. $74–$89. Various locations in Providence and Newport, rhodeislandredfoodtours.com

 

Newport Foodies Stroll

ONGOING: Wander the streets of the City by the Sea with tour guides Thomas and Susan Maxwell while sampling culinary delights at notable restaurants and pubs. Reserve your spot online. Wed., Fri. and Sat. 11:30 a.m. and noon. Adults $88; children twelve and under $37. Meeting location in front of the wave statue, 337 Thames St., Newport, 619-3019, newportfoodiesstroll.com

 

Experience Rhode Island

ONGOING: Fall deeper in love with the Creative Capital during the Discover Providence Tour, where you’ll hear stories about the city’s exciting neighborhoods and the people in them. Explore locations including College Hill and the State House. Mon.–Fri. 1 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. $35. Meet at 1 Sabin St., Providence, 886-0733, experienceri.com 

 

Lighthouse and Mimosa Cruise

ONGOING: On a ninety-minute narrated lighthouse cruise ride, admire the sights of scenic Newport Harbor and the bay, including the Rose Island Lighthouse, Goat Island Lighthouse, Castle Hill Light and others. Visit the website for dates. 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. $10–$35. 5 Bowen’s Landing, Bowen’s Wharf, Newport, 423-9900, coastalqueencruises.com

 

Providence River Boat Company

ONGOING: Brave the dark waters of the Providence Marina during the Haunted Boat Tour, where passengers can learn more about the city’s deceased and restless souls while getting a view of historic architecture, moonlit bridges and cobblestone walkways. Reserve your spot online and dress according to the weather. Wed. and Sun. 8­–9 p.m. $27–$30. JULY 11 AND 25: Travel the waterways with the Providence Preservation Society during the Providence Architecture Boat Tour. Learn about the 300 years of architectural history from a different view. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Providence Preservation Society. 4–5:15 p.m. $45. 101 Dyer St., Providence, 580-2628, providenceriverboat.com

 

KIDS’ STUFF

Asian Lantern Spectacular

THROUGH JULY 4: Head to Roger Williams Park Zoo after dark to witness a wonderland of illuminated, larger-than-life lanterns inspired by the wild. Stroll through the interactive displays while indulging in Asian-inspired cuisine and drinks with your family. Tickets sold online only. Wed.–Sun. 6–10:30 p.m. Adults $17.95; children $15.95; ages one and younger free. Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, 785-3510, rwpzoo.org 

 

Granite Theatre

JULY 7–24: Enter the mythical land of Shrek the Musical and come face to face with the hulking green ogre. Thurs.–Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. $20–$25. 1 Granite St., Westerly, 596-2341, granitetheatre.com

 

MUSIC

Contemporary Theater

ONGOING: Jam out to live bands weekly on the theater patio during the Afterglow Summer Concerts. Arrive early to watch the sunset and RiverFire from the theater’s new balconies. Thurs. 8–10 p.m. $10–$40. 327 Main St., Wakefield, 218-0282, contemporarytheatercompany.com  

 

Newport Classical Music Festival

JULY 1–17: From the harp to the piano to a cappella, take part in a series of music performances during the Newport Classical Music Festival. Commemorate the power of music with several talented ensembles and individuals in the music scene. Various venues throughout Newport, 846-1133, newportclassical.org

 

FirstWorks Summer Beats

JULY 24: Dive into the soul of Providence during FirstWork’s Summer Beats concert series, presenting toe-tapping music such as hip-hop, Afro-Rican jazz and Ukrainian roots music. Hip-hop artist Flawless is the first of the three performances. 6–8 p.m. Free. Roger Williams Park Bandstand, 1000 Elwood Ave., Providence, firstworks.org

 

DANCE

Newport Dance Festival

JULY 19–24: On the Great Friends Meeting House’s outdoor stage, Island Moving Company celebrates the annual Newport Dance Festival, filled with artistic performances by the Boston Dance Theater, East Coast Contemporary Ballet and others. Visit the website for prices and times. Great Friends Meeting House, 21 Farewell St., Newport, 847-4470, islandmovingco.org

 

SPORTS

Newport International Polo Series

THROUGH SEPT. 24: Watch an action-packed polo match every Saturday during the thirtieth anniversary season of the Newport Polo Series. Enjoy fan prizes, special weekly features, concessions and more. Sat. 5 p.m. $20–$125; children ages fifteen and younger free. 250 Linden Ln., Portsmouth, 846-0200, nptpolo.com

 

Newport Gulls

JULY 6: Teaming up with the Newport Gulls baseball club, PACE-RI is offering adults fifty-five and older free admission to the club’s game versus the Upper Valley Nighthawks. Bring a valid form of ID to receive the complimentary ticket. 4:05 p.m. Free. Cardines Field, 20 America’s Cup Ave., Newport, 654-5140, pace-ri.org 

 

International Tennis Hall of Fame Open

JULY 10–17: The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s historic grass tennis courts welcome back the tennis professionals of the nation. Get up close and personal to the tennis pros and later explore the International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum. 10 a.m. $26–$94. 194 Bellevue Ave., Newport, 849-3990, tennisfame.com

 

MUSEUMS

Newport Art Museum

THROUGH JULY 24: Landscape enthusiasts unite! The “Olmsted in Newport” exhibit features more than sixty civic and private projects designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and his landscape architecture firm in Newport from 1883 to 1970. Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m. Studio Gallery, Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Ave., Newport, 848-8200, newportartmuseum.org

 

RISD Museum

ONGOING: Plan your in-person visit in advance online and check out exhibitions on view including “Drawing Closer,” “Striking Chords” and “Variance.” Wed., Sat., Sun. 10 a.m.­–5 p.m.; Thurs. and Fri. noon–7 p.m. Adults $17; seniors $12; youth $8; children five and younger free. Free admission Thurs. and Fri. after 5 p.m. and all-day Sun. 20 North Main St., Providence, 454-6500, risdmuseum.org

 

GALLERIES

Beyond Van Gogh

THROUGH JULY 8: Become one with the art of Vincent Van Gogh, whose masterpieces have become a three-dimensional immersive experience. Step into works like “Starry Night” and “Café Terrace at Night” to inspire your artistic eye. Sun.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m.–10 p.m. $33.99–$83.99; free admission for children four and younger. Rhode Island Convention Center, Exhibit Hall C, 1 Sabin St., Providence, vangoghprovidence.com

 

ETCETERA

Open Air Saturdays

ONGOING: Shop to your heart’s content during Downcity’s Open Air Saturdays. In between your shopping ventures, enjoy live music performances, food truck fare and participate in outdoor games. Monthly, every first Saturday. Noon–6 p.m. Various locations throughout downtown Providence, indowncity.com

 

Roller Disco

ONGOING: Show off your grooviest moves at the Providence Rink. Music, courtesy of local deejays and live acts, starts at 6 p.m. The Trinity Beer Garden provides beverages to skaters and spectators as well. Thurs., Fri. and select Sat. 5–10 p.m. Adults $7; children and seniors $4. BankNewport City Center, 2 Kennedy Plz., Providence, 680-7390, theprovidencerink.com

 

Field of Artisans 

ONGOING: Connect with the work of dozens of makers and entrepreneurs from all over New England at these intimate pop-ups. Tues. at Whalers Brewing Company, 5–9 p.m.; Sat. at South Kingstown Town Beach, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.; last Thurs. of the month at Narragansett Brewery, 4–8 p.m. Whalers Brewing Company, 1174 Kingstown Rd., South Kingstown; South Kingstown Town Beach, 719 Matunuck Beach Rd., South Kingstown; Narragansett Brewery, 271 Tockwotton St., Providence, fieldofartisans.com 

 

RI Food Fights

JULY 1–31: Cool down with one of Rhode Island’s favorite beverages for RI Food Fight’s ninth annual Iced Coffee Summer Celebration. Grab your iced coffee passports and tour the state in search of this year’s best iced coffee. Various locations throughout Rhode Island, rifoodfights.com

 

Independence Day Beach Ball

JULY 2: A celebration of America calls for an expansive menu with New England lobster boil and barbecue fare, entertainment and booming fireworks at the Ocean House. 7–10 p.m. Ages twelve and older $250; children four through twelve, $175; ages three and younger free. Ocean House Beach, 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill, 888-853-2919, oceanhouseri.com

 

Craft Brew Race 

JULY 16: Toast brews at the finish line of this five-K run through the fort and past historic stone walls, and past the Eisenhower House and other sites. Enjoy beer sampling, food trucks and live music. Register for the race before July 15. Onsite registration starts at 10 a.m.; race starts at noon. 84 Fort Adams Dr., Newport, craft
brewraces.com/newport

 

Best of Rhode Island Party

JULY 21: Come celebrate this year’s Best of Rhode Island winners with the Rhode Island Monthly crew at Roger Williams Park Zoo. Stop by the animal exhibits, visit the photo booth and sip and nibble on samples from various restaurants, breweries and more. Rain date July 28. Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, rwpzoo.org

 

Art Night Bristol Warren

JULY 28: Art Night Bristol Warren returns for its eleventh season of showcasing lively and local art scenes throughout the East Bay. Visitors can check out art-related businesses, museums, galleries and studios as well as admire dance and music performances at various venues. Last Thursday of each month through August. 5:30–8:30 p.m. Various locations throughout Bristol and Warren, artnightbristolwarren.org

 

LOOKING AHEAD TO AUGUST

ONGOING: Music at Sunset Concert Series, Blithewold Mansion, Bristol, blithewold.org

ONGOING: WaterFire Boat Rides, Providence, providenceriverboat.com

AUG. 17–SEPT. 11: Kinky Boots, Wakefield, theatrebythesea.com

AUG. 20: Warren Folks Festival, Warren, thecollaborative02885.org 

AUG. 27: Brew at the Zoo, Providence, rwpzoo.org