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Where to shop in New England>>>> Providence Place, Providence, R.I.

Providence Place shopping mall, Providence, RI

Story and photo by Eric H.

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PROVIDENCE, RI -- For many New Englanders, the

Providence Place Mall started out as a major source of irritation by blocking the view of the emerging and impressive Providence skyline off Route 95. With more width than seemingly the state of Rhode Island itself, the Providence Place Mall resembled that scene in Mel Brooks' movie Spaceballs where the camera shot of a moving spaceship kept going on and on and on. Approaching the Mall off Route 95 for the first time, one had to wonder if the tail end of the complex would end up in Mystic, CT.

As the most expensive downtown development project in Rhode Island history at $500 million, expectations on Providence Place Mall were high before its opening in August of 1999. Happily, the Providence Place Mall is hands-down the best shopping mall in New England. Although forever controversial and either loved or hated with no middle ground, the Providence Place Mall has steadily gained respect with its three floors of 165 shops, elegant surroundings with plush rugs, colorful architecture, shiny walls, and something you just won't get driving down Route 95 -- that's right, a wonderful view of the Providence skyline, including the beloved waterfront.

Major stores include Nordstrom, JC Penney, Lord and Taylor, Pottery Barn, Abercrombie and Fitch, as well as the Feinstein IMAX Theater and National Amusement's 16 movie complex. There's also a phenomenal selection of restaurants from the food court pleasers like Johnny Rockets and Pizzeria Regina to full service quality restaurants like Dave and Buster's, Fire + Ice, The Cheesecake Factory, and Napa Valley Grille. Ben and Jerry's, Dairy Queen and TCBY Treats provide ice cream joy. It's vibrant and festive, especially when decorated for the Christmas and holiday season, but is full of life any time of the year.

There's something for everyone at the Providence Place Mall, with one unifying modality quite apparent: while many malls in urban areas have hit hard times, the Providence Place Mall, by delivering a good product, has integrated well into the city within a short amount of time. The enormity of this complex, coupled with good stores, a visual appeal and good timing -- opening during Providence's ascent from a marginal city to one of world class, at least for several blocks -- have made the Providence Place Mall a real success story. Visiting the Providence Place Mall can serve on its own as a fun day out, or in tandem with all that Providence has to offer, including touring the stunning statehouse, walking the charming tree-lined, Victorian homes streets of Brown University, or savoring a taste of Italy at one of the many phenomenal restaurants on Federal Hill.

Providence Place Mall can proudly say it is part of the vital and revitalized Providence scene. Visit, and enjoy!

Visit the Providence Place Mall Web Site for more information

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