See the State’s Hidden Gems at the Doors Open Festival

It's a citywide open house featuring more than twenty properties across Providence.

Providence is not a cookie-cutter city: It is a mishmash of architecture and people, all with their own stories. More than twenty properties across Providence, usually hidden behind battered brick or modern steel, will be open to the public to tell these stories for one day only on September 23.

“The Doors Open Festival will open up the city to all people. No tickets. No reservations. It is literally a city-wide open house,” says Caroline Stevens, the director of Doors Open Rhode Island. “You go into everything, from places of worship to offices, and you leave having learned something.”

With programs running throughout the year, Doors Open Rhode Island provides public access to undervalued or inaccessible spaces across the state, and the festival is the culmination of the organization’s efforts to connect the public to the historical and cultural landscape. RIPTA is even offering free bus rides to festival-goers to make it as accessible as possible.

Visitors can wander around each site, engage with resident experts or examine historic memorabilia and media. Everyone can explore, learn and experience the sites at their own pace, and hopefully, they’ll feel a deeper connection to their surroundings.

“We believe that once you have access to these places in your community, you’ll develop a relationship with them,” says Stevens. “If those places need advocacy, now or in the future, you’ll become an advocate for them. If we bring all these different places together for just one day, everybody can benefit, and it can be the spark for something new and exciting.”