37 Fun Things to Do in Rhode Island this September

From the local favorite Jack O Lantern Spectacular to the always tasty Calamari Festival, we've compiled all the activities to add to your to-do list this month.

FEATURED

9/29–10/31: Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

WHAT: Get into the Halloween spirit early this season by admiring the iconic symbol of autumn. As the late afternoon turns into twilight, behold the sight of thousands of creatively carved pumpkins at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. Traverse the trail and celebrate seventy-five years of television with favorite characters, including everyone from Betty White to Walter White. 6–10:30 p.m., last admission 10 p.m. All tickets must be purchased in advance online; visit the website for admission prices. WHERE: Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence. more info: 785-3510, rwpzoo.org.

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Courtesy of Roger Williams Park Zoo

 

9/17: Museum Day 

WHAT: Commemorate history, culture, the arts and more during Museum Day, when guests enjoy free access to select museums, zoos and cultural centers throughout the country. Participating Rhode Island locations include the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, the John Brown House Museum in Providence, the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket, the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter and the Babcock-Smith House Museum in Westerly. Visit the website to view other participating locations and download tickets. WHERE: Various locations. more info: smithsonianmag.com.

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Courtesy of the Museum of Work and Culture

 

9/10: Calamari Festival

WHAT: If attending an event that serves more than 1,000 pounds of calamari is a dream of yours, the sixth annual Calamari Festival is a dream come true. Join the rest of Southern New England in celebrating Rhode Island’s official state appetizer, either by the beer garden or by the live bands, before voting for your favorite calamari offerings from restaurants including Iggy’s, Diego’s of Newport and the Coast Guard House. Other tasty favorites can be enjoyed from food trucks like Haven Brothers and many more. Visit the website for ticket prices. Noon–6 p.m. WHERE: Veterans Park, 35 Ocean Rd., Narragansett. more info: 783-7121, narragansettcoc.com.

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Courtesy of the Calamari Festival / Photograph by Caitlyn Lifschitz

 

THEATER

Theatre by the Sea

THROUGH SEPT. 11: Follow the story of drag queen cabaret singer Lola and Charlie Price, looking to keep his family shoe company in business. Kinky Boots is a fabulous musical including songs by Grammy and Tony Award-winning icon Cyndi Lauper and book by Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein. The show runs for two hours and thirty minutes. Visit the website for times. $59–$84. 364 Cards Pond Rd., Wakefield, 782-8587, theatrebythesea.com

Trinity Rep

SEPT. 1–NOV. 6: The epic two-part drama The Inheritance weaves together the story of three generations of gay men in New York City trying to make a future for themselves amidst a turbulent America, years after the height of the AIDS epidemic. Political activist Eric Glass and his writer fiance Toby Darling meet two strangers, changing their wedding plans and veering them in opposite directions. The Tony and Olivier Award-winning play was inspired by E.M. Forster’s Howards End. The Inheritance Part 1 and The Inheritance Part 2 are presented as two separate productions. Visit the website for tickets and show times. Dowling Theater. 201 Washington St., Providence, 351-4242, trinityrep.com 

Providence Performing Arts Center

SEPT. 11–18: Watch an uplifting journey of a woman breaking countless barriers to become the queen of rock ’n’ roll. Featuring her most loved songs, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical is written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall and directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Visit the website for show dates and times. $57–$94. 220 Weybosset St., Providence, 421-2787, ppacri.org

 

FAIRS AND FESTIVALS

Providence Flea Summer Markets

THROUGH SEPT. 25: Feel the fresh air while shopping and obsessing over vintage finds and locally sourced products. Gather your flea crew and start searching for your next hidden gem. Sun. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Free admission. 275 South Water St., Providence, 484-7783, providenceflea.com

Food Truck Friday

THROUGH SEPT. 30: 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. Play on Hasbro’s Boundless Playground, or hop on the carousel or train for a small fee. Fri. 5–8:30 p.m. Free admission. 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, rwpzoo.org/food-truck-friday

Rhode Island Seafood Festival 

SEPT. 10–11: The twelfth annual Rhode Island Seafood Festival takes place the weekend after Labor Day at Providence’s India Point Park. The event showcases the delicious seafood the state has to offer from vendors including Melville Grille and Blue Rocks Catering as well as drinks and live music from local bands. Tickets are available online and at the gate. Sat. 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. $10–$15. India Point Park, 201 India St., Providence, riseafoodfest.com 

Rhode Island Annual Heritage Festival

SEPT. 17: Parade on down to the WaterFire Arts Center to celebrate the state’s rich cultural heritage during a day of dancing, music and art from more than thirty different countries. Kids can get their faces painted and take part in arts and crafts activities. Food trucks will offer an array of traditional food and drink. Noon–5 p.m. Free. WaterFire Arts Center, 475 Valley St., Providence, 222-4133, rilatinoarts.org

Born to Rise Women’s Story Festival

SEPT. 17: Be a part of a community of women by sharing, dancing and crafting together during the third annual Women’s Story Festival. A festival of workshops dedicated to self-expression, creativity and conversation will be followed by an evening of storytelling from local women. Connect and soar together at this uplifting event. Registration is required for workshops. 2–8 p.m. $25. Sandywoods Center for the Arts, 43 Muse Way, Tiverton, borntorise.live

Stadium Beer Fest

SEPT. 29: The eighth annual Stadium Beer Fest fundraiser features a wide selection of beer, wine and food as well as live music, raffles and a complimentary Stadium Theatre glass. This beer fest event helps fund the theater and future events. 6 p.m. $30. 28 Monument Sq., Woonsocket, 762-4545, stadiumtheatre.com 

 

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 and drink pairings at six local restaurants. Reservations are required. Thurs.–Sun. at noon. $74–$89. Various locations in Providence and Newport, rhodeislandredfoodtours.com

Newport Foodies Stroll

ONGOING: Throughout the 1.75-mile walking food tour, rediscover Thames Street with the help of great meals. Wander the historic streets of the City by the Sea with tour guides Thomas and Susan Maxwell in between three-course meals and wine pairings at notable restaurants and pubs — taste the delicious cuisine from places like Knot Norm’s and Cold Fusion Gelato. Reserve your spot online. Wed., Fri. and Sat. 11:30 a.m. and noon. Adults $88, children twelve and younger $37. Meeting location in front of 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 it. Explore and take photos of locations including College Hill, Federal Hill and the State House. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. $35. Meet at the Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin St., Providence, 886-0733, experienceri.com 

Rhode Island Bay Cruises

ONGOING: Go on a thirty-mile cruise as you pass by ten beautiful islands and iconic Rhode Island lighthouses along Narragansett Bay. The Newport Bridge, mansions and historic Fort Adams will be some of the many sights you take in during the breezy voyage. Visit the website for cruise rates, dates and times. Quonset Point, North Kingstown, 295-4040, fastferry.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. Thurs. and Sun. Visit the website for times. $27–$30. SEPT. 12 AND 26: Travel the waterways with the Providence Preservation Society during the Providence Architecture Boat Tour. Every landmark and hidden gem has a story, so learn about the 300 years of architectural history from a different view. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Providence Preservation Society. 4–5:15 p.m. $45. 101 Dyer St., Providence, 580-2628, providenceriverboat.com

 

KIDS’ STUFF

Raptor Weekend

SEPT. 10–11: Peep the rulers of the sky at the Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium. Hawks, falcons, eagles and owls will be featured in educational programs, live presentations and fun activities, giving guests of all ages the opportunity to learn about their habitats and adaptations in a close-up setting. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Family four-pack $55; adults $17; children four to twelve $12; ages three and younger free. Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium, 1401 Hope St., Bristol, 949-5454, asri.org

Studio Playground 

SEPT. 24–NOV. 12: Feel empowered during an eight-week acting class with Studio Playground. Children ages eight to ten can explore the art of improvisation, participate in acting games and expand their storytelling skills while building confidence and bonding with other theater mates. Sat. 11 a.m.–noon. $350. Visit website for spot reservations. Rhode Island School for the Deaf, 1 Corliss Park, Providence, studioplayground.org

 

MUSIC

Rhythm and Roots Festival

SEPT. 2–4: Dance to performances by Rose and the Bros, Honey Island Swamp Band and plenty more. Replenish your energy by drinking craft beers and snacking on stuffed pockets, Korean chili bowls, Thai noodles, vegetarian specials, smoked meats and homemade ice cream. For the full experience, stay overnight in the campground and hear musicians play into the night. $49–$249. Ninigret Park, 4813 Old Post Rd., Charlestown, rhythmandroots.com

Blackstone River Theatre

SEPT. 3: Karan Casey with Niamh Dunne and Sean Óg Graham, 8 p.m. $25; $30 day of show. SEPT. 17: Kerri Powers/Lauren King, 8 p.m. $15; $18 day of show. SEPT. 24: North Sea Gas – Music from Scotland, 8 p.m. $18; $20 day of show. 549 Broad St., Cumberland, 725-9272, riverfolk.org 

Columbus Theatre

SEPT. 8: ​​Film at the Columbus — Clerks III: The Convenience Tour, followed by a live discussion with director Kevin Smith. 7 p.m.; doors open at 6 p.m. $50. SEPT. 18: Andrea Gibson’s You Better Be Lightning Tour, 8 p.m.; doors open at 7 p.m. $22. SEPT. 29: Alok, 8 p.m.; doors open at 7 p.m. $25. 270 Broadway, Providence, 621-9660, columbustheatre.com 

Outdoor Concerts at Bold Point Park

SEPT. 15 AND 23: Bring the family and celebrate the end of summer and welcome the new season with some great music. Bold Point Park welcomes country music stars Brett Eldredge, taking the stage on Sept. 15, and Jake Owen kicks off the Fall Concert Series on Sept. 23. 6:30 p.m. $35–$247. Bold Point Park, 55 Waterfront Dr., East Providence, 213-9525, riwaterfrontevents.com

FirstWorks

SEPT. 29: Reflect on the ongoing issues of society and the stories that have yet to be told during the multimedia performance “The Telling” with Haitian-American composer, violinist and activist Daniel Bernard Roumain alongside other musicians, dancers and spoken-word poets. 8–9:30 p.m. $35-$55. WaterFire Arts Center, 475 Valley St., Providence, firstworks.org

 

BENEFITS

Paws in the Park

SEPT. 17: The Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is holding its twentieth annual Paws in the Park dog walk, where all pet lovers are invited to bring their pets for a fun-packed day filled with pet-friendly games, vendors and a canine costume contest. Funds raised go directly to the RISPCA’s community programs to help animals in need. 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Walker registration fee $25. Bullocks Point Ave., Riverside, 438-8150, rispca.com

Chip For Charity Golf Tournament

SEPT. 20: Become a sponsor, donor or golfer while supporting the mission of the Comprehensive Community Action Program at its annual charity golf tournament. Stick around for the evening reception and silent auction at 5 p.m. The CCAP’s largest fundraiser of the year supports services and programs in fighting poverty. Register online. Valley Country Club, 251 New London Ave., Warwick, 562-8353, comcap.org

Team Hope Walk

SEPT. 25: Join thousands of friends, family, co-workers and neighbors on Team Hope to walk for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. Form or join a team and raise some funds for this impactful event. Registration starts at 10 a.m., walk starts at 11 a.m. Colt State Park, Bristol, 978-995-7798, massri.hdsa.org

 

MUSEUMS

RISD Museum

ONGOING: Plan your in-person visit in advance online and check out exhibitions on view including “Past Made Present,” “Inherent Vice” and “Variance.” Tues., Wed., Sat., Sun. 10 a.m.­–5 p.m.; Thurs. and Fri. noon–7 p.m. Adults $17; seniors $12; youth eighteen 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

Audrain Automobile Museum

THROUGH SEPT. 5: The manufacturing goals for automobiles in the 1950s were far different from the fuel-efficient, lightweight cars on the market today. The Audrain Automobile Museum’s twenty-fifth exhibition highlights the larger-than-life ’50s American cars, dubbed “land yachts,” that ruled the roads during the post-war era. Daily 10 a.m.–4 p.m. $8–$18, members free. 222 Bellevue Ave., Newport, 856-4420, audrainautomuseum.org

 

GALLERIES

Jamestown Arts Center

ONGOING: The Biennial Outdoor Arts Experience melds publicly accessible art with outdoor installations, showcasing a variety of works and engaging residents and visitors throughout the island with the artists. Various locations throughout Jamestown, 560-0979, jamestownartcenter.org

 

ETCETERA

Roller Disco

ONGOING: Show off your grooviest moves and a ’70s-inspired outfit as you glide through the Providence Rink. Music, courtesy of local deejays and live acts, starts at 6 p.m., and 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. Bank-Newport City Center, 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence, 680-7390, theprovidencerink.com

The Chanler

THROUGH SEPT. 4: The Chanler at Cliff Walk has teamed up with Ca’del Bosco to showcase Italian Renaissance seaside beauty and charm. Franciacorta’s luxurious sparkling wines will be presented at the Chanler’s lush seaside lawn and accompanied by a special wine garden menu. Sat. and Sun.; first seating at 1 p.m.; last seating at 6 p.m. 117 Memorial Blvd., Newport, 847-1300, thechanler.com

Newport Boat Show

SEPT. 15–18: Test out your nautical knowledge while walking the docks and checking out several new sailboats and power-boats at one of the largest boat shows in the country, spanning more than thirteen acres. Get a refreshing view of the national historic sites and coastal scenery, then stop by one of the nearby restaurants and trendy boutiques. Thurs.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. $28–$40; children twelve and younger free. Newport Yachting Center Marina, 4 Commercial Wharf, Newport, 846-1115, newporboatnewporboatshow.com

Connecting with Canoes

SEPT. 17: Row, row, row your canoe with a guide leading you toward adventure on the Blackstone River. Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated and water shoes. Call to reserve your spot. 10 a.m. Blackstone River Watershed Council Environmental Center, 100 New River Rd., Lincoln, 644-3215, blackstoneriver.org

Blue Velvet Bourbon Release Party

SEPT. 18: Raise a glass to celebrate the
release of the Industrious Spirit Company’s new Blue Velvet bourbon with food, music and revelry. Noon–6 p.m. Industrious Spirit Company, 1 Sims Ave., Unit 103, Providence, 414-7901, iscospirits.com

Taste of Southern Rhode Island

SEPT. 22: Join the Southern Rhode Island Chamber for the tenth annual Taste of Southern Rhode Island, its biggest event of the year. This twenty-one-plus event features spirit tastings and food samplings from some of southern Rhody’s best restaurants and culinary community members. Participating vendors include Gooseneck Vineyards, Matunuck Oyster Bar, Mews Tavern, Sons of Liberty Beer and Spirits Co., Surfside Coffee,  Shaidzon Beer Co., Ocean Mist, Whalers Brewing Co., and more. Purchase tickets via website, phone or in-person at the chamber office. 5–8 p.m. Clark Farms, 2984 Commodore Perry Hwy., South Kingstown, 789-3120, srichamber.com

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD

October

OCT. 1: Abbacadabra: The Ultimate ABBA Tribute, Woonsocket, stadiumtheatre.com

OCT. 1: BeWitched and BeDazzled Festival, Chase Farm, Lincoln, greatroadheritagecampus.org

OCT. 1–2: Norman Bird Sanctuary Harvest Fair, Middletown, normanbirdsanctuary.org

OCT. 7–10: Annual Columbus Day Festival, Providence, federalhillprov.com

OCT. 7–10: Atlantis Rising: Sand Sculpture Competition, Westerly, southcountyri.com 

OCT. 15–16: Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival, Newport, bowenswharf.com