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Providence mamas! advice needed we're considering living in Providence

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi there
We will be moving to the area within the year and we're seriously considering moving to the East Side of Providence. We looked at houses this past weekend and found a few that we might be able to swing in our price range. If anyone lives on the East Side we would greatly appreciate any advice you may have!

We are looking at living in the Gregorian school district---have any feelings on this school?

Is living close to Brown while not being affiliated a mistake?

Are there families with children who live right around Brown? Or should we stay away?

What are the best blocks to live on (where mortals live, not the uber-rich) on the East Side? Where do all the families live?

Thanks in advance for any comments you may have!
post #2 of 13
There are a lot of families with young kids on the East Side. It is so different even street to street so you really have to see it to know for sure if you will like it.
The Summit neighborhood near Hope Street is a really nice area. I think it's safe to say that it is not the stomping ground of the uber rich. Especially between Hope Street and N. Main. Down near the edge of Pawtucket, right by blackstone blvd. is very nice. Also parts of the Oak Hill section of Pawtucket are very nice and right next to the East Side while being generally cheaper.
That area is not necessarily in Varten's school district. But parts of it are. You would have to check a map. Varten is generally considered a good school with a lot of parent involvement. I have heard that people are pretty satisfied with it.
Good luck i your search.
I don't live in the East Side but I used to and I do really like Providence a lot.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone
Thanks for the reply Plantmama, I'll look at those neighborhoods. I am also interested in the neighborhoods right around Brown, if anyone has any thoughts.

Here's another question to add to the list:
What are the best playgrounds on the East Side? (always telling about the surrounding neighborhood)
post #4 of 13
East Side is a fabulous place to live with kids.
Most of the areas are good but some are definitely not good for families. Stay away from Camp St.
And I'd probably stay away from the Transit St area.

If you can swing the Benefit St area, it would be lovely. Living near Brown with kids would be ok but if you're near dorms/student apartments, it could get loud.

Another good bet is off Hope St (after Rochambeau Ave...Going towards Pawtucket.)
The closer you get to Blackstone Blvd, the nicer it gets.

Oak Hill (which is actually Pawtucket) but the school system isn't good there.

Some people like the Fox Point area but it wouldn't be my first choice with children.

I don't remember where the playgrounds are. They are scattered all around. There used to be one at the corner of Blackstone Blvd and Hope St. There are a bunch of others though.

I would move to the East Side in a heartbeat if I found a place I could afford!
post #5 of 13

east side is great!

Hi there,

The east side is a WONDERFUL place to live with kids. There are several parks. Humbolt Park, near Wayland Square, has an AMAZING toddler park. It's a dream for kids under about 4 y.o. I'm usually there every day with my 20 month old daughter. There's also a great tot park in the Summit neighborhood (by Miriam Hospital above Hope Street) on 9th Street -- think it's called the 9th street tot park. Lippit park, where Blackstone Blvd. meets Hope Street, is great but I personally think it's better for older (like 4 and up) kids. That's where the Saturday farmer's market is all summer long -- a lovely place to gather with other folks with children.

I agree the Summit neighborhood would be good.  A lot of duplexes, people who rent, people with small kids. We rent half of a duplex and our rent is very affordable.  So look around... it really is block by block and you can find down-to-earth people. Personally, I would not want to be right next to Brown if I wasn't working/studying there. I think the Summit neighborhood, the Oak Hill neighborhood, and the Wayland Square area are all more desirable for people with small kids. Also, the area around the JCC is great... Elmgrove/Rochambeau area. Again, it's block by block.

Good luck!


Edited by jdc - 10/8/12 at 5:31am
post #6 of 13
Hi there! I live one the West Side in the Armory area...has its ups and downs but I generally really so love it (to rent though, I wouldn't buy on this side on town to be honest). I used to live on the East Side (pre-kids so I can't really say too much about that) and its definitely really nice. Again, it does depend on the street but as everyone said above, the closer to Blackstone Boulevard you get the nicer it is! I love driving around the area and taking my babe for walks over there, and there are a lot of awesome parks. Good luck with your house hunt and welcome to Providence! Its wonderful! Lots to do here!
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi All
Thanks for all the feedback. We're going to Providence again this weekend to look at some more houses and more neighborhoods -- and some playgrounds! Thanks for the tips. We'll drive around and look at all of those places. Any more that we should see?

So the area near Brown is too student-y huh?

We are hesitant to live on the West side because of the school situation. We have a friend who lives on Spencer who is trying to convince us to live over there (we want to live in an old house - and there are are certainly a lot over there too that are affordable and need some attention) but the school situation is a big drawback for us as we will be sending our boy to public school.
post #8 of 13

I live in Fox Point and really love it! In fact, we live on Transit Street and it's *amazingly* family friendly (although I can see how north of Hope and, especially, East Transit, it becomes less so). Yes, there a few houses of students on the street ... but across the street I have a guys who has been here for 18 years, and my other neighbor grew up one street over ... then moved to Transit Street when he got married and had kids. So ... yeah ... it's really a mix. The benefits of living in this neighborhood are that you can walk to everything ... the coffee shop, several great restaurants, school ... even a few antique stores and consignment shops. And ... best of all with the kiddos ... there are 3 playgrounds within walking distance ... the playground at Gregorian (just re-done ... lovely!), the one at Ives and Preston (also lovely), and the one at Arnold and Brook (ummm ... not quite so lovely ... but my 4yo daughter loves it!). The grocery stores are only a 5 minute drive ... but that's probably true for all parts of the East Side!

Anyway ... I really like it here. We moved here a year ago and rented a house, which has been great. It's given us the opportunity to really get to know all parts of the East Side, and now ... like you ... we're looking to buy.

Hope my perspective is useful. Feel free to reach out to me if I can be of any more help.

post #9 of 13
Hi, We live (in a multi-family rental) on Elmgrove near the JCC/ Brown Stadium. We LOVE the neighborhood (we have a baby and a 4-yr-old). There are tons of families and people are super nice and friendly (we were new here a year ago). Sessions St playground, behind the JCC, is a real neighborhood gathering spot.

The school district situation is not exactly clear-cut by street (goes by lottery which changes every year) but generally I think if you are south of Rochambeau, you are in gregorian district.

I cannot recommend highly enough: living east of Hope St, btw Wayland Square and Rochambeau.

My husband is at Brown and we love Brown, but I would not live too close bc students are loud at night, and also bc there is not as much green space in that neighborhood. As you get farther from campus, there are more parks and your house is more likely to have a yard.

Please feel free to PM me to ask abt certain neighborhoods or streets - when I moved here another mama (who I only met online) did that for me and it was super helpful.

I can also HIGHLY recommend the JCC for baby care/ preschool, and Brown/ Fox Point for preschool. We've been very happy living here w kids.
post #10 of 13
I grew up on the East Side about 100 yards from Brown property and it was certainly never even vaguely a consideration for me or my family. My parents must live very jdc on Humboldt Avenue. I second the recommendation for the park on Humboldt, which we used to call the tot lot but maybe it's not referred to that way any more. We go there a lot when visiting my parents.

I know nothing about the school situation, so I'll just leave it with seconding the recommendation for the Wayland Square area.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply sarahmck, College Hill and Fox Point are both areas where we would like to live as the homes there are older. There is a house on Power ST. that we like, this is the house closest to Brown on our list, although it might not be still for sale when we have everything in order enough (months from now..). Providence is such a sleepy town overall that I can't imagine it getting too crazed with crazy students, except maybe on commencement weekend, etc. Walking to school is a fantasy of mine, so this area is a big plus if we decide that we like GRegorian Variant enough. On the other hand, I would like to live near other children, having other kids on the same block is another thing on the list, so we'll look in those other neighborhoods on our list too. Looking for a house is such a huge process !
post #12 of 13
also- I assume you know - when looking for houses in Providence with a small child, make sure you know about the lead paint factor. Can be a real problem. Pay attention to the windows - you really want new windows both in terms of energy efficiency, and old peeling paint.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for the warning KT, lead paint is such a huge issue in old houses and lead abatment will be a process that we will have to deal with without a doubt.
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