The largest city and capital of America's tiniest state, Providence is nonetheless a big metropolis when it comes to the arts, culture, education, food, and personality. Although it has about one-quarter the population of Boston, an hour's drive up I-95, Providence has about half as many gay bars. This city at the northern tip of Narragansett Bay also enjoys a more relaxed attitude about sex and revelry than notoriously pious Boston, it lacking the latter's historically Puritan influence. In Providence you'll find the only two gay bathhouses in New England, as well as the region's only all-nude male strip club. This isn't to say Providence's gay scene is any more about hooking up than any other city's - the GLBT community here has a diverse and interesting range of places to hang out and socialize, most of them in the city center, within walking distance of hotels.
If you're touring southern New England, or perhaps making your way to Cape Cod and Provincetown, or the historic summer playground of Newport, Providence is well worth an overnight, especially if you're a fan of things culinary - the city has one of the most creative and independent-spirited restaurant scenes of any its size. For more on what to see and do here, check out the Gay Guide to Providence. As a companion to this article (and also a Guide to Gay Bars in nearby Boston), I've also recently created a Providence Gay Nightlife Guide, which includes long-standing and newer gay bars (from Mirabar to Dark Lady to the Stable), gay bathhouses (Mega-Plex and Club Body Center), one-night parties like Sofrito Latin Fridays at Lot 401 and Luna's Ladies Night at Roots Cafe, and several mixed gay-straight restaurants and bars (Tazza, AS220, Rue de L'Espoir, the Scurvy Dog) that give a nice sense of the city's eclectic, arts-minded vibe.