3-Day Holiday Itinerary for Newport, Rhode Island

Advisor - Katherine Duggan
Curated By

Katherine Duggan

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  • Rhode Island

  • Arts & Culture

  • Boutique Travel

  • City Travel

  • Domestic Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Group Travel

  • Luxury Travel

  • Coastal

  • Holidays

  • Local Food

lighthouse with holiday decorations
Curator’s statement

Newport, a bustling summertown on the coast of Rhode Island is home to clam bakes and celebrities’ mega yachts. However, the true Newport culture is best seen outside the busy tourist summer months. For the last 15 years, my family has visited Newport for the Thanksgiving weekend and it always puts me in the Christmas spirit. Here is how our Christmas weekend in Newport typically goes.

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Where to stay

The Chanler at Cliff Walk

High-end hotel set in an elegant 19th-century mansion with a polished restaurant and terrace on Newport's famed Cliff Walk.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection

Luxurious hotel set in a 1900s mansion with polished rooms and suites, a spa, restaurant and two outdoor pools.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

The Brenton Hotel

Overlooking Newport Marina, this chic luxury hotel boasts a trendy industrial-chic restaurant and a rooftop terrace.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Advisor - Katherine Duggan

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Day 1: Arrive in Newport

large lighthouse on the cliffs


The day after Thanksgiving we wake up early and get on the road. It is about a four-hour drive, so we arrive just in time for a 1pm lunch. For a true New England clam chowder The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar is the place to go. It is located on the water and has a lower semi-outside area with clear walls so you have some great views.

Since it's Black Friday, it's a great time to visit the local shops in Bowen's Wharf right next door. Walking along the harbor on cobblestone streets for some local Christmas shopping is much better than fighting the crowds at the mall. Now it’s about 3pm and the room is ready, so it’s time to rest after all that walking.

Just before the sun goes down we grab a pre-dinner drink at The Oval Bar & Lounge in the Forty 1 North Hotel. You guessed it, it's an oval-shaped bar with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Narragansett Bay with some cozy fireplaces to keep you warm. But definitely step outside for some impressive sunset photos!

On our way to dinner, we find a spot to watch the Annual Newport Christmas Boat Parade. Every year locals decorate their boats with as many lights and decorations as possible and parade around the bay and the spectators get to vote for their favorite.

For dinner, one of our favorite spots is Clarke Cooke House, a multilevel house on Bowen's Wharf focused on seafood with an oyster bar and other locally caught fish specials as well as their famous Candy Store Burger. (And if you really like your meal try their Sunday Brunch!)

Day 2: Explore famous Newport mansions

large stately house during daytime


Good Morning! Time for a nice hot latte! Newport is not short on craft coffee spots including The Nitro Bar, Kaffeology and Picnic Cafe to name a few.

Next, we visit one of the famous Newport mansions. Rough Point, the former home of Doris Duke (The same Duke as Duke University), is always decorated for the Christmas season and overlooks the beautiful Cliff Walk. Don’t miss her “pet camels” in the gardens while you admire the view.

If it's a nice day, walking the Cliff Walk is our next activity, where we end up at The Chanler Hotel for some hot chocolate at their seasonal outdoor hot chocolate bar on the lawn.

Now that we have worked up an appetite it's time to head back into town for lunch at Bar ‘Cino. A laidback Italian restaurant with a great wine selection. The baked clams and chicken milanese are my favorites, but you can't go wrong with anything on the menu.

On the topic of wine, Newport Vineyards is a great group activity. It has a 60-acre vineyard with a marketplace shop and tasting room. Connected to the winery is the new addition of Taproot Brewing Co, a local brewery with uniquely flavored brews.


If traveling with kids visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame located right downtown with lots of tennis pros’ memorabilia. The grounds are open to the public and the museum ticket is free for kids!

It wouldn't be Christmas in Newport without visiting Sparkling Lights at The Breakers. The whole property is decorated with holiday lights and decorations and inside the mansion there are more Christmas trees than you can count! To really get in the spirit, roast some s'mores on the back patio.

For our last night, dinner at The Cafe at The Chanler at Cliff Walk is a perfect choice. The Cafe specializes in European cuisine in an intimate formal setting. For something even more special, try their other restaurant Cara which offers a 5-course or 8-course blind-tasting menu. (They also have The Lounge a perfect spot for a handcrafted cocktail before going to your table or to end the evening)

Day 3: Sunday brunch and ocean drive

empty beach during daytime


Sunday mornings are quiet in Newport, so we often start the day with a walk along the quaint Thames St. to reach our brunch spot Zelda’s. A popular spot with locals that used to be a speakeasy in the 1940s now offers all the classic brunch favorites as well as some dishes with a French twist.

After brunch, the shops have opened so we do some more boutique shopping on our walk back to the hotel. The last thing before leaving Newport is the famous Ocean Drive. A scenic 10-mile drive along the coastline with many places to stop and admire the view. It’s a great way to leave the beautiful city of Newport and before I know it I'll be back enjoying the start of the next Christmas in Newport!

Need to Know

For more weekend East Coast travel tips, check out The Perfect Weekend in Downtown Charleston.

Advisor - Katherine Duggan

Travel Advisor

Katherine Duggan

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on beach travel, and our continuing series on arts & culture travel.