newport ri visitors guide
newport ri bridge

Some Facts About Newport, RI

  • Though known mainly for its mansions, Newport offers visitors beautiful beaches, plenty of summer recreation activities like sailing and fishing, great dining, and eclectic shopping.

  • The "city by the sea" is steeped in history, and many of its buildings date to revolutionary times.

    map of new england and newport, ri
  • Newport is home to one of only a few yacht restoration schools in the world. They invite visitors to stop in and see their latest restoration endeavor.

  • There are a great number of events going on all year in Newport including the famous Newport Folk Festival, Jazz Festival and all the Wharf festivals throughout the year.

  • Summer is not the only time to visit Newport. There are activities and events happening year-round including one of the oldest and best St. Patrick's Day celebrations around!

A Listing of Newport, RI Events


Newport, RI History

  • Newport, RI was founded in 1639 by English settlers looking for religious freedom.

  • By the mid 18th century Newport, RI was one of the most important ports in colonial America, rivaling New York and Boston. Before the Revolutionary War, Newport, RI boasted the fifth largest population in the American colonies. Some of the finest craftsmen in colonial America were from Newport, RI.

  • In 1763 construction on the Touro Synagogue was finished, making Newport, RI home to the oldest synagogue in North America.

  • During the Revolutionary War Newport, RI was a hotbed of discontent. British troops occupied Newport, RI from 1776 to 1779. Upon their retreat British forces set fire to Newport, destroying many of Newport's original homes.

  • After the Revolutionary War Newport, RI was no longer a major seaport. By the 1830's Newport had established itself as a summer colony. Some of Newport, RI's most prominent early summer colonists included Julia Ward Howe (author of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic"), author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and novelist and playwright Henry James.

  • During the Civil War, fearing attack from Confederate sympathizers, the U.S Naval Academy was moved from Annapolis, Maryland to Newport, RI. The Naval Academy would remain in Newport, RI until the end of the War in 1865.

  • After the Civil War great fortunes were being amassed by the new industrial barons of the Gilded Age. Their mark on Newport, RI can still be seen to this day. The famous mansions that line Bellevue Avenue, Ochre Point and Ocean Drive in Newport, RI were built on a scale never before seen in the United States.

  • With the growing number of prominent New Yorkers making Newport, RI their summer residence, Newport became a mecca for leisure activities. Newport, RI was home to the U.S. Open Tennis Championships from 1881 to 1915. The first U.S. Open Golf Championships was held at Newport Country Club in 1885 and Newport, RI was home to the America's Cup sailing races until 1983. Because of Newport, RI's long association with the America's Cup, she has come to be known as the "Sailing Capital of the World".

  • In the mid-20th century a massive restoration movement occurred in Newport, RI. Spearheaded by tobacco heiress Doris Duke, many colonial era Newport homes were quite literally saved from the wrecking ball. At a time in this country when countless historical dwellings were lost forever, Ms. Duke is credited with saving and restoring almost 100 buildings in Newport, RI. To this day, Newport, RI boasts the largest concentration of original colonial-era buildings in the United States.