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Open Air Saturdays have launched in downtown Providence

InDowncity has launched its first Open Air Saturdays in downtown Providence. The event organizers are changing things up in 2020, hosting a more self-guided, socially distanced experience. During the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Westminster Street will be closed to vehicle traffic between Eddy Street and Union Street to allow for pedestrians to take to the street for some socially distanced shopping. The program will continue through the fall, each and every Saturday, allowing customers the opportunity to support local businesses in a safe manner in the comfort of the open air.

Participating businesses along Westminster Street include Craftland, Queen of Hearts, Modern Love, Small Point Cafe, Sura, Symposium Books, Kleos, The Vault, Civil, Homestyle, Eno Fine Wines, Oberlin, The Salon and The Eddy. Other nearby restaurants offering takeout as well as outdoor and indoor seating include Birch, The Malted Barley, Serendipity Gourmet, Gracie’s (starting August 6), Tori Tomo, Figidini, Bolt Cafe, North, and the newest addition to the neighborhood, Durk’s BBQ, slated to open early fall. Open Air Saturdays will allow for safe shopping both in-store and outside on the sidewalks, but for those who cannot attend, the majority of participating shops also offer online shopping and shipping. See list of current downtown business operations.

Visitors to Open Air Saturdays are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing while shopping. No-touch hand sanitizing stations will be provided along Westminster Street.

Come to shop, but don’t leave hungry—or thirsty! An increasing number of restaurants are bringing their operations outside as well, offering outdoor seating on sidewalks and in the streets. Union Street will close to traffic each Thursday – Monday from 5-10 p.m. for outdoor dining at Oberlin and Kleos. The Salon has outdoor seating in the Fulton Street alley and The Eddy Bar has turned the Middle Street alley into The Eddy Outside. Gracie’s will start outdoor dining along Aborn Street starting on August 6. See a full downtown al fresco list.

If that isn’t reason enough to come downtown on Saturdays, The Dean hotel is adding to the program with a small marketplace in its parking lot each Saturday from 4-8 p.m., with rotating local vendors selling pantry items, locally farmed foods and handmade goods. All visitors to the market will be asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing. North will offer takeaway food and drink.

To celebrate the launch of these activities downtown, InDowncity and The Dean have teamed up for a staycation giveaway on Instagram, with one lucky winner receiving a one-night stay at The Dean, a $100 gift card to the retail shop of their choice, and a $100 gift card to the restaurant of their choice. Details can be found on InDowncity’s Instagram and website.

Unsure where to park downtown? The City of Providence is extending free two-hour parking at metered spaces through September 12, from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. This includes streets bounded by Fountain Street, Memorial Boulevard, Weybosset Street, Empire Street and Friendship Street (from Dyer Street to Dorrance Street). For those who prefer a parking lot, The Biltmore Garage offers contactless payment for parking at 51 Washington Street.

Stay tuned for additional Open Air Saturdays programming updates and surprises on Instagram

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