Fora Favorites: A Local's Guide to Newport, Rhode Island

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  • USA

  • Rhode Island

  • Food & Wine

  • Arts & Culture

  • Shopping

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Fora’s Take

A charming seaside destination that spans only about 11 square miles, The Classic Coast is filled with picturesque beaches, colonial-era architecture and historical gems, and of course – some of the best seafood in the States.

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Where to eat in Newport, RI

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Brick Alley Pub: Newport institution that’s beloved by travelers and locals alike. 

Clarke Cooke House: Go for the oyster bar and people watching at this iconic downtown restaurant. Book a table for late-night dining in the SkyBar on the top floor – and when it turns into a dance party around midnight, you’ll have a prime spot. 

Corner Café: A favorite amongst locals, and perfect for a hearty breakfast. 

Easton’s: For a quintessential Rhode Island experience, make sure to visit this classic snack bar and order the lobster rolls. 

Gurney’s Newport Resort: Take a quick ride to Goat Island and head to Gurney’s Newport Resort for waterfront dining alongside breathtaking views of the Newport Bridge. 

The Lawn: Skip the pricey four-star main restaurant at Castle Hill Inn, and head straight to The Lawn for a drink with one of the best views in town. 

Mooring: When you need to check clam chowder off of your Newport bucket list. Also try the Bag of Doughnuts – a Rhode Island classic that Mooring has made their own. Reservations encouraged. 

Newport Creamery: Satisfy your sweet tooth with an “Awful Awful” from this Newport institution. 

Perro Salado: Fish tacos and margaritas. Need we say more?

The Revolving Door: New American restaurant that features a revolving guest chef every two to four weeks. 

The Roof Deck at The Vanderbilt: One of the best sunset spots in Newport. Make a reservation and go for a pre-apéritif. Top of Newport is another favorite spot to savor the view.

Salvation Café: When you need a break from seafood…

Stoneacre Brasserie: Locally sourced ingredients and French cuisine inform the small, everchanging menu. 

Taproot Brewing Co.: Small batch brews straight from their farm to your glass. 

Wineries in Newport, RI

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Newport Vineyards: Family-owned and operated local winery. Make a reservation and order a flight and cheese board. 

Greenvale Vineyards Winery: A lesser-talked about winery, Greenvale Vineyards is an underrated gem. Check their calendar in advance and opt for a visit during an afternoon with live jazz (usually Saturdays). 

Westport Rivers Vineyard: Beautiful vineyard with a sustainable and organic focus that supports small, local farmers.  

Newport, RI shopping

lightbulbs hanging in a chic art store

Newport has a surprising amount of charming shops. Peruse Bellevue Avenue, Broadway and Thames Street for local boutiques and New England-inspired items. For nautical souvenirs, mosey along Bowen’s and Bannister’s Wharves. 

These are a few stores that stand out: 

Aardvark Antiques: An experience even if you’re not buying, Aardvark Antiques is filled to the brim with oddities and architectural artifacts. 

Bohemian Bias: Lifestyle boutique with thoughtfully curated new and vintage items. 

Farmaesthetics: Sustainable, clean skincare line in an adorable shop styled like an old-fashioned apothecary. 

Shore Soap Company: Handcrafted bath and body line with locally sourced ingredients.

Things to do in Newport, RI

fancy staircase in a historic home

Cliff Walk: Stroll as much (or as little) of the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk as you want, and enjoy scenic views and historic homes. For a more off-the-beaten-path experience, opt for Sachuest Point for fewer crowds and a similar experience. 

Hit the beach: The most popular beaches are aptly named First, Second and Third Beach, and are classic New England offerings. When you need a pick-me-up, head to Flo’s Clam Shack (near First Bach) and order the fiery stuffed quahog (locally known as “stuffies”). 

Go on a sail tour: A trip to Newport wouldn’t be complete without a day on the water, and Rhode Islanders know how to do it right with “Mimosa Sails.” The Schooner Madeleine and Adirondack II with Classic Cruises of Newport are both great options. The Newport Yacht Club also offers sailboat rentals and lessons. 

Newport Art Museum: The only museum to focus on the art and artists of Rhode Island, both historic and contemporary.

Ocean Drive: 10 miles of historic landmarks, houses and gorgeous coastal views. The loop goes by Bretton Park (free to enter and park!) and worth a stop.

Visit the mansions: A trip to Newport wouldn’t be complete without a mansion tour… 

During the Gilded Age, the nation’s wealthiest families flocked to Newport, and the diligent preservation of more than a dozen of these homes gives us an intimate look into the destination’s history.

Amongst the most popular are The Breakers (the largest), The Elms, Marble House and Rosecliff, all of which are located along Bellevue Avenue. 

Locals tend to prefer Rough Point, the Newport home of eccentric tobacco heiress Doris Duke. It is one of the few Gilded Age estates that’s still completely decorated as the last owner left it. If you have time, book the garden and landscape tour as well.

Need to Know

Looking to explore more of the East Coast? Check out Fora's guide to Watch Hill, Stonington and Mystic.

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Rhode Island.