PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND - JULY 24: The Athenaeum (1838) on July 24, 2015 in Providence, Rhode Island; Shutterstock ID 305923790; Your name (First / Last): Lauren Keith; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Content Asset; Full Product or Project name including edition: Guides Project Eastern USA

Shutterstock / Nagel Photography

Providence Athenaeum

Top choice in Providence

One of the most prominent buildings on Benefit St, the Greek Revival Providence Athenaeum was designed by William Strickland and completed in 1838. This is a library of the old school with plaster busts and oil paintings filling in spaces not occupied by books. Edgar Allen Poe used to court ladies here. Pick up a brochure for a self-guided Raven Tour of the building's artwork and architecture.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Providence attractions

1. Benefit Street

0.05 MILES

Immediately east of Providence's downtown, you'll find College Hill, where you can see the city's Colonial history reflected in the 18th-century houses…

2. Stephen Hopkins House

0.05 MILES

On Providence's Benefit St, the 1708 Stephen Hopkins House, named for the 10-time governor and Declaration of Independence signer, was rescued in the…

3. Rhode Island School of Design

0.06 MILES

Perhaps the top art school in the USA, RISD's imprint on Providence is easily felt, with students' creativity extending across the cityscape. Open to the…

4. RISD Museum of Art

0.07 MILES

Wonderfully eclectic, the Rhode Island School of Design's art museum showcases everything from ancient Greek art to 20th-century American paintings and…

5. Brown University


Dominating the crest of the College Hill neighborhood on the East Side, Brown University's campus exudes Ivy League charm. University Hall, a 1770 brick…

6. John Brown House Museum

0.25 MILES

The ruddy-brick John Brown House, built in 1786 atop College Hill, now houses yet another impressive Rhode Island local history museum. This one is…

7. Prospect Terrace Park

0.26 MILES

A great spot from which to get an overview of Providence is this elevated, compact green space known as Prospect Terrace Park. In warm weather, you’ll…

8. Industrial National Bank Building

0.29 MILES

Providence's landmark art-deco skyscraper has had many monikers over the years, from the Industrial Trust Building to the Bank of America Building and…