newport ri visitors guide
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events and festivals in newport ri

Mention Newport, and most people think of mansions. And while Newport's mansions are truly magnificent things to behold and tour, there are countless other things to do. Being a tourist town, events and festivals in Newport happen throughout the year, not just during the summer. Over the years, Newport has grown from just a summer playground to a year-round destination, and as such Newport RI events and festivals are happening virtually every month of year.

For the history buff, Newport is home to the largest collection of colonial homes in the country, and wandering the streets of Newport today is much like it was hundreds of years ago. Many of Newport's streets are very small, oftentimes one-way because the entire city grew in the pre-industrial era before automobiles. You can take history tours, visit local museums and even take a guided ghost tour of Newport's oldest (and most haunted) homes.

Featured Event

Newport International Boat Show

Newport Yachting Center
4 Commercial Wharf
(401)846-1115

newport international boat show newport ri
This prestigious event encompasses 13 acres of Newport’s famed waterfront with all makes and models of powerboats and sailboats ranging from 16 ft. to 85 ft. - ready for boarding and review. On the land side, there’s a bountiful array of marine products and services to enhance the boating lifestyle. Domestic and international dealers and manufacturers will be on hand to provide you with valuable information and answers to all your questions. With numerous countries represented - it truly is an international event.

Culturally, Newport is a vibrant hub of art, museums, libraries and a true melting pot of cultures from all over the world. Its prominence as a seaport for hundreds of years brought newcomers from all over the globe, and it is reflected in the homes, activities and annual festivals the city has to offer. From Revolutionary War exhibits and recreations at Fort Adams to the National Museum of American Illustration, Newport's cultural and historic offerings are truly endless and reflect its amazing history since its founding almost 400 years ago.

fort adams state park in newport ri home of the jazz and folk festivals

For other things to do in Newport, the outdoor enthusiast will find that the Atlantic Ocean provides the perfect backdrop for all sorts of adventures. As the sailing capital of the world, Newport's harbor and Narragansett Bay are ideal for exploring the coastline by water, taking in the views of the city from a whole new perspective. Modern day ocean sports also thrive here, like surfing, jetskis, fishing and parasailing. Venture a little away from the ocean, and you'll find idyllic hiking trails through vineyards, rocky coastline and Newport's famous Cliff Walk.

newport vineyards wine tasting and restaurant

If you love wine, you've come to the right place. There are 4 local vineyards within an hour's drive of Newport, 2 just minutes from town. There you'll find wine tours, tastings and facilities that hold special events and weddings throughout the year. The climate in Newport is indeed quite special, with the moderating effect of both the Gulf Stream current as well as the warm ocean water surrounding the island. The result is some of the best wine produced in the country.

Music festivals in Newport attract hundreds of thousand of people each year, and for good reason. Newport's famous Folk Festival and Jazz Festival are true icons in the world of music festivals, having played the beautiful ocean lawn and surrounding waters of Newport harbor since 1954. Its sister festival, the Newport Folk Festival, has taken place at the same beautiful Fort Adams location on the ocean since 1959. Besides the fun-filled crowded lawn in front of the stage, boats of all kinds fill the harbor just beyond the lawn to take in a full weekend of music. Probably one of the most fun events of the entire year.

newport ri great chowder cook off at fort adams

When it comes to food, Newport is at the epicenter of festivals for the area. Whether you want to experience the famous Great Chowder Cook-Off at Fort Adams State Park in June, or the Oyster Festival on Newport's seaside wharves in May, there's a food festival to suit your tastes from early Spring through Fall. Other notable festivals include the Greek Festival on Thames St in downtown Newport and Bowen's Wharf Seafood Festival in the fall. Check further down this page for a complete list of events happening each month.

In addition to all these things to do everyday, there are many other Newport RI events happening throughout the year. We strongly encourage visitors to pick up a local paper upon arrival in Newport since many of the less-publicized events will be listed for your reference. There may be plays, concerts and festivals in the paper which can offer a more intimate entertainment experience. At any given time, there are many different events going on simultaneously. Here we've listed our favorites that happen just about the same time every year. Check the individual websites for specific dates and times.



Use the links below to get up-to-date schedules for these area events/attractions.

Things To Do Throughout the Year

Fort Adams - cultural and historical events
VISIT WEBSITE

International Yacht Restoration School -Boat restoration by master shipwrights and students using period tools and equipment. Sailing regattas and fund-raising events. Open to the public.
VISIT WEBSITE

Museum of Yachting - sailing regattas and fund-raising events
VISIT WEBSITE

Newport Art Museum - concerts, fund-raising events, exhibitions
VISIT WEBSITE

newportFILM - film programs for kids, outdoor activities, and monthly mini film-fests
VISIT WEBSITE

Newport Gulls Baseball - seasonal baseball at Cardines Field
VISIT WEBSITE

New York Yacht Club - sailing regattas
VISIT WEBSITE

Redwood Library - oldest lending library in America, and the oldest library building in continuous use in the country. Founded in 1747 by forty-six proprietors upon the principle of "having nothing in view but the good of mankind," its mission continues over 250 years later.
VISIT WEBSITE

Rose Island Lighthouse - educational and fund-raising events
VISIT WEBSITE

Sail Newport- sailing regattas, fund-raising events
VISIT WEBSITE

Save the Bay - seal watches January-March, marine-related educational programs and fund-raising events
VISIT WEBSITE

Newport, RI Events & Things To Do - By the Month

January Events

New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge
Easton's Beach, Memorial Blvd
(401)274-1728
At noon, the Polar Bear Club takes its first swim of the new year to benefit charity.

Seal Watch Tours
(401)324-6020 (reservations recommended)
VISIT WEBSITE
From January through April each year, the seals winter over in the relatively mild waters of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Tours leave from downtown Newport at low tide when the seals are out on the rocks surrounding Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport Harbor.

February Events

Winter Festival
(401)847-7666
VISIT WEBSITE
10 days of fun family activities to shake off the winter blues. Ice sculptures, sand sculptures and plenty of live music and entertainment makes this festival one of the largest festivals in New England.

Seal Watch Tours
401)324-6020 (reservations recommended)
VISIT WEBSITE
From January through April each year, the seals winter over in the relatively mild waters of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Tours leave from downtown Newport at low tide when the seals are out on the rocks surrounding Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport Harbor.

March Events

St. Patrick's Day Celebration & Parade
(401)845-9123 or (800)976-5122
VISIT WEBSITE
If you're Irish and can be in Newport on St. Patrick's Day (if it falls on a Saturday) or the Saturday before (if St. Patrick's Day falls on any other day), come for one of the biggest celebrations in New England. On this Saturday, many establishments that had closed for a winter break reopen and it signifies the "start" of the tourist season in Newport. A very fun day to be in town. Some bars/restaurants open as early at 8 A.M. for the festivities.

Seal Watch Tours
(401)324-6020 (reservations recommended)
VISIT WEBSITE
From January through April each year, the seals winter over in the relatively mild waters of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Tours leave from downtown Newport at low tide when the seals are out on the rocks surrounding Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport Harbor.

April Events

Newport Restaurant Week
(401)847-1000
VISIT WEBSITE
This famous restaurant event happens twice annually and features Newport's finest restaurants offering 3-course meals for lunch and dinner at a fixed price of $16 for lunch and $35 for dinner. Great opportunity to experience Newport's more exclusive restaurants for just a fraction of the price!

Seal Watch Tours
(401)324-6020 (reservations recommended)
VISIT WEBSITE
From January through April each year, the seals winter over in the relatively mild waters of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Tours leave from downtown Newport at low tide when the seals are out on the rocks surrounding Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport Harbor.

May Events

Newport Waterfront Oyster Festival
Bowens Wharf
VISIT WEBSITE
With over 45 oyster farms, Rhode Island is one of the area's leading suppliers. Gather under the tents and taste the local varieties as well as sample food from area restaurants. A fun and delicious way to spend the day and learn about Rhode Island's oyster economy!

June Events

Great Chowder Cook-Off
Fort Adams State Park
VISIT WEBSITE
Restaurants from as far away as Seattle have competed for the best chowder. Free chowder from participating restaurants included with admission price. Fun time for the whole family. Parking available or take the water taxi from downtown Newport.

Newport Flower Show
VISIT WEBSITE
Rosecliff, Bellevue Ave
(401)847-1000 ext. 150
One of New England's premier outdoor flower shows featuring floral displays, horticultural entries, garden lectures and demonstrations. Lunch and merchandise also available. Rosecliff mansion is a beautiful backdrop for the occasion.

Secret Garden Tour
(401)847-0514
VISIT WEBSITE
For 3 short days twice a year, select Newport residents open up their backyard "secret gardens" to the public for tour. A must-see for any garden lover.

July Events

Black Ships Festival
(401)847-7666
VISIT WEBSITE
A 4-day festival between Newport and Japan offering events emphasizing both Japanese art and culture.

Hellenic Festival
St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church
Thames & Brewer Streets
(401)846-0555
VISIT WEBSITE
Three-day greek festival with food, pastry, music, dancing, Mythos beer and ouzo, in addition to shopping at the Greek Marketplace.

Newport Music Festival
(401)846-1133
VISIT WEBSITE
If classical and/or chamber music is more your style, the Newport Music Festival is a two-week event offering over 50 concerts in Newport's historic mansions like The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms and Rosecliff. A 30-year tradition in Newport, the event is known as a top festival destination in R.I. and the country.

The Newport Antiques Show
(401) 846-2669
VISIT WEBSITE
Established in 2007, The Newport Antiques Show is one of the nation’s premier antiques venues presenting a wide selection of important Americana antiques. Over forty of the country’s top dealers present paintings, furniture, folk art, jewelry, and fine and decorative arts. Held at St. George's School, Purgatory Road, Middletown, RI. About 3 miles from downtown Newport.

International Tennis Hall of Fame Open / Induction Ceremony
194 Bellevue Ave
(401)849-6053 or (800)457-1144
VISIT WEBSITE
Some of the top players in the world compete on the legendary grass courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The first American stop on the ATP World Tour following Wimbledon, Newport is the only professional grass court tournament in North America. Culiminates with the Hall of Fame annual Induction Ceremony.

Newport Folk Festival
Fort Adams State Park
(401)331-2211
VISIT WEBSITE
3-day festival at Fort Adams State Park featuring legendary folk artists. Check the website for the latest information and a complete list of performers for this year's festival.

August Events

George Wein's Newport Jazz Festival
Fort Adams State Park
(401)331-2211
VISIT WEBSITE
Legendary 3-day festival at Fort Adams State Park attracting jazz greats from across the country. A Newport tradition for over 30 years. Check the website for the latest updates and a full line-up of jazz greats.

September Events

Newport International Boat Show
Newport Yachting Center
(401)846-1600
VISIT WEBSITE
Newport's biggest show of the year, featuring hundreds of vendors and boats, both motor and sail. 3-day event in mid-September.

October Events

Bowen's Wharf Waterfront Seafood Festival
Bowen's Wharf
(401)849-2120
VISIT WEBSITE
2-day festival celebrating local seafood. Live music, lots of local food and family activities.

Harvest Fair
Norman Bird Sanctuary
Middletown RI (401)846-2577
VISIT WEBSITE
A real 2-day country fair with handmade crafts, live entertainment and hay rides. Our favorite is the log competition over the mud pit... a great way to spend a Saturday!

November Events

Newport Restaurant Week
(401)847-1000
VISIT WEBSITE
This famous restaurant event happens twice annually and features Newport's finest restaurants offering 3-course meals for lunch and dinner at a fixed price of $16 for lunch and $35 for dinner. Great opportunity to experience Newport's more exclusive restaurants for just a fraction of the price!

December Events

Christmas in Newport
(401)849-6454
VISIT WEBSITE
Month-long celebration of the holidays. Tree lightings, caroling, house tours, theater, concerts and holiday train rides.