Among the picturesque, colonial inspired towns dotting the eastern coastline, few are as wholeheartedly all-American as Newport, R.I. Home to some of the world’s most beautiful (and competitive) sailing yachts, waterfront mansions, and that unmistakable New England charm, Newport is a classic destination for a weekend getaway. Having just covered a stunning wedding at a historic mansion on Bellevue Avenue as well as outlined exactly what you should wear when you get the nod and are invited to Newport, we decided to highlight our favorite spots in this charming town. Below, our recommendations for 48 (or 72!) hours in this seaside city.
WHERE TO STAY:
Mid-Range Hotels ($150 – $300)
Splurge-worthy Hotels ($300 – $500)
WHERE TO EAT:
Coffee / Sweets
Drinks with Friends
Dinner for Two
THINGS TO DO:
Interiors / Antiques / Arts / Gifts
Makers / Craftsmen
Sites and Sounds
WHERE TO STAY
MID-RANGE HOTELS ($150 – $300):
A member of Historic Hotels of America, Hotel Viking is located in the center of town. It recently underwent a massive restoration, solidifying its spot as one of the hallmark Newport boutique hotels. It also has its own private chapel, perfect for an intimate wedding.
The Marriott on America’s Cup Avenue
Recently gut-renovated, the Marriott on America’s Cup Avenue is a beautiful (and brand new) hotel that’s an elevated take on the Marriott brand. The rooms have a tailored, coastal-inspired interior design and luxurious marble bathrooms, and the hotel has harbor views. The menu was also recently revamped in the past few months, and the food is delicious. Over The Moon bride Ariel Feldman stayed here for her wedding with all of her family and friends, and they could not have been happier with the service. The hotel has great outdoor space for cocktails outside (or s’mores!)
SPLURGE-WORTHY HOTELS ($300 – $500):
Rated “The Most Romantic Retreat in New England” by Forbes magazine, Castle Hill Inn is a beautiful Relais & Chateaux historic hotel, sitting right on the Narragansett Bay. It is located 10-15 minutes from the center of town and boasts gorgeous views of the water—and stunning sunsets. Two delicious restaurants and an excellent spa round out this little gem. They tend to book up quickly, so if you can’t get a reservation, at least head to The Lawn—their outdoor restaurant with an outdoor terrace and classic white Adirondack chairs gracing the rolling grass of its namesake.
The newest kid on the block, Gurney’s of Montauk recently purchased the old Hyatt on Goat Island (just blocks from the center of town) and completely overhauled it. Right on the water with boats dotting the shoreline, Gurney’s brings everything you’ve come to love about Montauk to Newport, with a large dose of New England elegance.
WHERE TO EAT
COFFEE / SWEETS:
Overlooking historic Newport Harbor, Coffee Grinder is the best place to start your morning. Enjoy the view in their iconic Adirondack chairs on the porch while sipping the delicious Coffee Grinder organic coffee. Do as the locals do and stop by for breakfast or lunch.
Not only have they been around since 1928, but the Newport Creamery basically invented the milkshake, which they’ve funnily dubbed the “Awful, Awful.” Don’t let the ironic name fool you, we guarantee it tastes far from awful. Make this a must-stop if you get a hankering for something sweet.
The Cookie Jar
The Cookie Jar was established in 1977 by a young couple who were inspired by their love of sweets! The baking begins at 7:00 A.M. every morning and often continues until midnight. The best place for an afternoon sweet or a late-night snack!
DRINKS WITH FRIENDS:
Located in Middletown, R.I. (just 15 minutes driving distance from the center of Newport), Newport Vineyards is a strikingly beautiful spot that produces its own reds, whites, and a rosé. They offer a generous and delicious tasting paired with cheese—and they also have a very good in-house restaurant. On certain nights, they have live music. A perfect way to spend a summer evening.
DINNER FOR TWO:
Situated in a small candlelit yellow house on Thames, one of the main shopping streets in Newport, is Mamma Luisa—a cozy and delicious Italian restaurant perfect for an intimate date night. With an excellent wine list and an impressive list of specials, Mamma Luisa is a great spot for a romantic evening.
Award winning lobster rolls. Enough said.
If clam chowder had a heritage brand, The Black Pearl would be it. A classic Newport staple.
A delicious steakhouse with outdoor seating, nestled right inside Bowen’s Wharf. Delicious, simply prepared grill menu worthy of trying. Also worth trying: the chocolate cookie dough tort.
THINGS TO DO
Bowen’s Wharf and Thames Street are often frequented as the main streets for shopping; but check out the antique and art stores that frequent the side streets for one of a kind pieces worth bringing home, like Cottage & Garden, on Bridge Street, and Picklee on Spring, on—you guessed it—Spring Street.
Rib & Rein offers a well-edited collection of elevated designer and unique women’s brands. It’s a one-stop shop for the discerning shopper.
Loren Hope creates fun, elevated, and unique pieces often times including or inspired by insects and florals. Her pieces would make the perfect bridesmaids’ gifts.
Brenda Brock, found and formulator or Farmaesthetics cosmetics, is the daughter of a 7th generation farming family. She first started formulating and selling organic cosmetics in the summer of 1999 at a farm stand in Rhode Island. Now her products can be found in some of the most luxurious spas across the country.
INTERIORS / ANTIQUES / ART / GIFTS
Cottage & Garden
Located in Historic Newport, this one-of-a-kind shop offers vintage and modern decor designs. From marble urns to topiaries, you can find the perfect housewarming gift or something timeless to take home for yourself.
Looking for refurbished furniture or vintage finds? Then Picklee is the place for you. All the furniture has been restored, refurbished, and repainted for a modern touch.
SITES AND SOUNDS:
Spectacular, Gatsby-era mansions line Newport’s Bellevue Avenue. Steeped in American history, these oceanfront estates are a must-see.
Like The Metropolitan Museum of Art, but for cars. With access to more than 200 of the most remarkable and rare vehicles ever made, the Audrain takes pride in its collection of rare automobiles from 1899 to modern day. Vehicles are chosen specifically and showcased based on ever-changing exhibition themes. Perfect for children and husbands alike.
For the Rafael Nadal lovers young and old—the Tennis Hall of Fame is a fun, interactive museum—and also a wedding and events venue. Nestled in the center of town, it’s a great way to start or end a day of sightseeing.
A gigantic former U.S. Army post located on the water, Fort Adams is rich with American history, particularly of the Civil war era. Named after President John Adams, who was in office at the time that the fort was built, it’s an architecturally beautiful space now operating as a museum. Likewise, Eisenhower House (which, like Fort Adams, is also a wedding venue), was once President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s summer escape and is maintained meticulously.
A stunning 3.5 mile hike worth taking, Cliff Walk runs behind many of the breathtaking historic mansions. Great for photos, too!
Arguably the “Bellevue Avenue” of today—impressive mansions on the water, built more recently. Winding golf courses intersperse throughout—a very scenic route worth driving or biking through.
In the summer, Newport is known for the Newport Folk & Jazz Festivals—the former is in July, and the latter in August. Also check out the other “fests”: the Chowder Fest, Flower Show, and Surf Fest all happen during the summer. Boat tours, surf, and sailing lessons abound, too.
Year round, The Newport Film Society offers screenings in scenic locales—like the oceanfront lawn of the historic mansions—screening info can be found on their website. And in the fall, the Boat Show, Food & Wine Festival, and Restaurant Week are all worth checking out. Safe travels!
—Written by Ariel Okin
Newport map pictured above courtesy of Riley Sheehey—find more of her work here!