A Night Out at Providence’s Roller Disco

What it’s like to show off your groovy skating moves surrounded by other determined skaters. Plus the details on more Providence Rink events, including adult sports like pickleball and flicks with a view of the Creative Capital’s skyscrapers.

Skaters rolling up and down The Providence Rink during Roller Disco. Photo by Edelinda Baptista.

Roller Disco, on Thursday and Friday evenings at the BankNewport City Center in Providence, is a judgement-free zone. During my first time at the Roller Disco on Thursday, June 10, I made friends with several clumsy folks who I witnessed fall to the ground, and in return I learned where I can purchase my own fancy roller skates. This is also an ideal place to go on a date, just be wary of holding hands and possibly falling if one of you loses balance. I fell victim to this with my novice boyfriend.

Music provided by local deejays from the @lowkeypvd team kept us on our feet no matter how tired they were getting in those skates. The disco ball was hosting its own party inside the BankNewport City Center building, spinning while bright lights pointed towards it. Most of the tunes were from the ’70s and ’80s, of course, but even though I didn’t recognize a few of them, it took me back to a time before I was born. The entire night I was jealous of my parents since they were actually able to experience these amazing decades. I was able to sing along to songs by artists like Snoh Aalegra, Brent Faiyaz and Thundercat.

Several skaters were rocking bell bottom jeans and halter tops, and others sported vintage shell jackets with wild colors and light wash jeans to match the Roller Disco’s theme. Best believe the next time I attend this event, I will follow suit with outfit choice.

I was tempted to replicate the tricky moves of the seasoned skaters, but that would take months, if not years, of practice. It would also feel more like a workout for my legs than it already did. My sister and I skated in rhythm with a pro named Aaron, who would dance and glide as if he were walking on air. He told us he was in his sixties and has been skating for more than thirty years. He proved to us that it’s never too late to learn something new.

The Providence Rink works with a couple vendor managers to reach out to and book local artists and performers to liven up the night. The tunes add to the skaters’ trek around the oval rink, encouraging a simple arm wave or some complex backwards skating.

“This is the second full season with roller skating and our first season with the live artists and entertainment portion,” says Brant Gawrys, the city center manager for the Providence parks department. “The focus is roller skating; adding artists, deejays and bands is an enhancement to that programming.”

 Other events in the downtown rink that don’t involve roller skates include a monthly movie night on select Saturdays from 7 to 10 p.m. (Frozen or Coco, anyone?) and various sports programs for ages twenty-one and up going on from Monday to Wednesday from 5 to 10 p.m. hosted by the Super Fun Activities Club. Sports include volleyball, dodgeball, pickleball and more. Visits to the Trinity Beer Garden in Biltmore Park are a few steps away for your refreshment and socializing needs on Thursday and Friday from 4:30 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 10 p.m.

Also on Thursday and Friday nights, from 5 to 10 p.m., skate to your heart’s content with your family, friends and/or significant other at the Roller Disco until the week after Labor Day (or possibly later, weather permitting), then prepare to bust out the ice skates around the week of Thanksgiving. Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for children, seniors and military members. Inline or quad skate rentals are $7, locker rentals are $3, and helmet rentals are $2. Purchase your tickets at providencerink.com.

BankNewport City Center, 2 Kennedy Plz., Providence.


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