Bristol is one of New England's loveliest coastal seaports, located within Bristol County along the state's Atlantic Ocean coastline. The city is best known as the home of the United States' longest continually-celebrated Independence Day festivities, which date back to 1777 in the year following the country's Declaration of Independence. Visitors can enjoy Independence Day festivities at beautiful Colt State Park, which is located on the grounds of the estate of industrialist Samuel Colt. The lovely East Bay Bike Path stretches between the city and Providence, constructed along the path of an abandoned railroad right of way.
We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.
1.Colt State Park
Colt State Park is a gorgeous public open space spanning 464 acres along Poppasquash Neck, located on land once owned by famed industrialist Samuel P. Colt. The charming park is a major section of the National Register of Historic Places-listed Poppasquash Farms Historic District and is located along the popular East Bay Bike Path. Several preserved structures from Colt's former estate are showcased throughout the park, including a pair of life-sized bull statues that stand on the park's Hope Street entrance. Hiking and cycling trails are offered at the park, along with a skate park, boat ramps, day-use picnic sites, an observation tower, and the open-air Chapel by the Sea facility. Each year, the park hosts the city's annual Fourth of July festivities and fireworks.
Route 114, Bristol, RI 02809, Phone: 401-253-7482
2.Blithewold, Bristol, Rhode Island
Blithewold preserves a beautiful 33-acre summer estate overlooking the stunning Narragansett Bay, which is nationally renowned as one of the United States' most intact examples of the County Place Era of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The estate's 45-room mansion is preserved with family heirlooms from its original owners, known as one of the best examples of completely preserved 19th-century New England estates that retain their original historic authenticity. Outside, gorgeous gardens range in character from poetic and whimsical to formal and elegant, showcasing collections of rare and unusual trees and plants. Exhibits within the mansion are updated twice a year and can be viewed as part of guided tours.
101 Ferry Rd, Bristol, RI 02809, Phone: 401-253-2707
3.Linden Place Mansion, Bristol, Rhode Island
© Linden Place Mansion
Linden Place Mansion is a stunning Federal-style mansion in Bristol that was originally constructed in 1810 by slave trader General George DeWolf. The mansion, which was designed by architect Russell Warren, is considered to be one of the best preserved examples of Federal architecture in New England, showcasing gorgeous Palladian windows and fluted Corinthian columns that were inspired by the architecture of ancient Greece. Other design elements of note include a Gothic conservatory and a four-story spiral staircase. Visitors can explore the mansion as part of guided tours and hear tales of the DeWolf family's legacy in the Rhode Island region, including its connection to famed actress Ethel Barrymore. Outside, 1.8 acres of beautifully-landscaped gardens showcase Greek bronze statues and a preserved 18th-century gazebo.
500 Hope St, Bristol, RI 02809, Phone: 401-253-0390
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4.Audubon Society Environmental Education Center
Audubon Society Environmental Education Center is the award-winning environmental educational facility of the Claire D. McIntosh Wildlife Refuge, which spans 28 acres throughout the Bristol region. The facility, which is overseen by the Audubon Society, is home to a natural history museum that offers interactive exhibits on the region's local habitats and native wildlife. Visitors can interact with marine life from Narragansett Bay or step inside a 33-foot life-sized model of a North Atlantic right whale. Outside the museum, the center offers a variety of easy-difficulty walking trails, which meander through fresh and saltwater marshes and traverse a beautiful quarter-mile boardwalk.
1401 Hope St, Bristol, RI 02809, Phone: 401-949-5454
5.The Coggeshall Farm Museum, Bristol, Rhode Island
© The Coggeshall Farm Museum
The Coggeshall Farm Museum is a nonprofit farm museum located within beautiful Colt State Park, preserving 48 acres of land that was once part of an 18th-century coastal tenant farm in the region operated by Wilbur and Eliza Coggeshall, the parents of University of Rhode Island founder Chandler Coggeshall. Visitors can explore the recreated farmstead and learn about daily farm life in the region's colonial era through a variety of live interpretation demonstrations and historic exhibits. Heritage-breed animals are displayed, along with heirloom and farm plantings. Visitors are welcome to get their hands dirty and participate in daily farm activities as part of the museum's hands-on visitor policy.
1 Colt Dr, Bristol, RI 02809, Phone: 401-253-9062
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6.The Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, Bristol, RI
© The Bristol Historical and Preservation Society
The Bristol Historical and Preservation Society preserves the social and cultural history of the Bristol region through a variety of historical exhibits, located within the city's 1828 jail building. The society was formed in 1936 within the Rogers Free Library building and moved to its current location in 1957 following a fire at the library building. Today, it showcases a wide variety of exhibits and collections, including collections of regional artwork, photographs, manuscripts and documents, furniture, and area newspapers. Special exhibits are offered throughout the year, along with special events such as lectures and luncheons. Museum tours are offered throughout the week, along with walking tours of the region's downtown district held on select Saturday mornings.
48 Court St, Bristol, RI 02809, Phone: 401-253-7223
7.Leo's Ristorante, Bristol, Rhode Island
© Leo's Ristorante
Leo's Ristorante was originally opened in Bristol in 1948 by the Mancieri family as a family-style Italian restaurant serving up classic traditional recipes. The restaurant, which is located within the city's historic downtown district, serves up delicious veal, chicken, and pasta entrees, including favorites like veal parmesan, chicken marsala, lobster mac and cheese, and tortellini alla Carolina. Award-winning gourmet white pizzas are also served up traditional-style or gluten-free, showcasing toppings like buffalo chicken, lemon, and caramelized onions on a white base tossed with olive oil and garlic. Homemade soups and salads round out the menu, along with delicious shareables like arancini balls and calamari rings.
2016, 365 Hope St, Bristol, RI 02809, Phone: 401-253-9300
8.Jacky's Galaxie and Sushi Bar, Bristol, Rhode Island
Jacky's Galaxie and Sushi Bar has been acclaimed as one of the United States' top 100 Asian-style restaurants and has been honored by major national publications such as Rhode Island Monthly, which awarded it its prestigious Rhode Island's Best award. The restaurant, which was opened in 1996, serves up delicious pan-Asian fare throughout the week at lunch and dinner, including specialties from China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. Eastern and Western culinary traditions are blended in favorites such as Mongolian beef, sweet and sour chicken, and General Tso's chicken, served up alongside creative specialties like Singaporean chili prawns and spicy Hunan-style whole striped bass. A full selection of sushi rolls are also served up at the restaurant's lovely full-service sushi bar.
383 Metacom Ave, Bristol, RI 02809, Phone: 401-253-8818
9.Bristol Art Museum
© Bristol Art Museum
There's a long history behind the Bristol Art Museum, and it starts in 1964 with three passionate Bristol natives: Margaret Nerone, Jill Pardee, and Marie Perry. It was these three women, who converted the Ballroom of the Linden Place into a functioning gallery space. With nine exhibits held yearly between June and October, this thriving gallery had attracted artists like Norman Rockwell, Frank Benson, and George DeForest among others. Many years later, the Bristol Art Museum is now home to 42 pieces of art in their permanent collection and features quarterly exhibits in their Community Galleries located at the Rogers Free Library.
10 Wardell Street, Bristol, Rhode Island 02809, Phone: 401-253-4400
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10.Mount Hope Farm
© Mount Hope Farm
Mount Hope Farm welcomes visitors to its 127-acre property to enjoy leisurely walks, rest and relax at their historic inn, or explore all of the farm's historical charms. Not only is the farm an accredited arboretum, but it's also been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which guarantees that the farm is full of natural, cultural, and historical character. At the farm, guests can visit historic landmarks like the 1745 Governor Bradford House which boasts five amazing centuries of history, the Cove Cabin, which offers great views of Mount Hope Bay, or drop by a Farmers Market which usually takes place on Saturday mornings.
250 Metacom Avenue (Route 136), Bristol, Rhode Island 02809, Phone: 401-254-1745
11.The Herreshoff Marine Museum and America’s Cup Hall of Fame
© The Herreshoff Marine Museum
Come visit one of the most beautiful maritime museums in the region when you come to the Herreshoff Marine Museum. Dedicated to the long and illustrious history of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, the museum is one of the country's greatest maritime treasures with displays about yachting and, more importantly, America's Cup. With Narragansett Bay as its backdrop, the museum tells a vivid story about Herreshoff's legacy of innovation, cutting-edge designs, and commercial success. Fans of maritime sports can also get to know the designers behind the America's Cup greatest boats, as well as the teams that built and raced them.
1 Burnside Street, Bristol, Rhode Island 02809, Phone: 401-253-5000
© Faina Gurevich/stock.adobe.com
In a town as gorgeous as Bristol, there is certainly no shortage of lovely parks to visit for a day out in the sun and to enjoy the best that Bristol’s gorgeous nature has to offer. The Parks and Recreation Department of the township manages most of Bristol’s parks, with tons of special events happening regularly such as fitness classes and similar mind and body programs. Some of the more popular parks in Bristol include the Colt State Park which is home to fantastic bay views, lovely trails, and an on-site museum, Independence Park, which has lots of flat space by the water. Certainly not to be missed is the Bristol Town Beach and Sports Complex, which is situated right by the entrance of Colt State Park.
12 Best Things to Do in Bristol, Rhode Island
- Colt State Park, Photo: nduperre/stock.adobe.com
- Blithewold, Bristol, Rhode Island, Photo: Linda/stock.adobe.com
- Linden Place Mansion, Bristol, Rhode Island, Photo: Linden Place Mansion
- Audubon Society Environmental Education Center, Photo: Vinoverde/stock.adobe.com
- The Coggeshall Farm Museum, Bristol, Rhode Island, Photo: The Coggeshall Farm Museum
- The Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, Bristol, RI, Photo: The Bristol Historical and Preservation Society
- Leo's Ristorante, Bristol, Rhode Island, Photo: Leo's Ristorante
- Jacky's Galaxie and Sushi Bar, Bristol, Rhode Island, Photo: marcelokrelling/stock.adobe.com
- Bristol Art Museum, Photo: Bristol Art Museum
- Mount Hope Farm, Photo: Mount Hope Farm
- The Herreshoff Marine Museum and America’s Cup Hall of Fame, Photo: The Herreshoff Marine Museum
- Bristol Parks, Photo: Faina Gurevich/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: SE Viera Photo/stock.adobe.com
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