Located in the heart of Providence, RI, is a bustling community called Federal Hill that offers affordable living, low crime, and easy access to downtown. Since the late 19th century, Federal Hill has been a major Italian American enclave, and today it’s known as the Little Italy of Providence. Residents will find busy streets full of excellent restaurants, shops, markets, and other cultural attractions.
Some of the best restaurants in the city are along Atwells Avenue, the neighborhood’s cultural epicenter. Federal Hill is a good place to live for college students, working professionals, and families looking for a safe area with affordable housing and plenty of things to do close by. Here is everything you need to know about moving to Federal Hill, Providence.
Where is Federal Hill, Providence?
The Federal Hill neighborhood is directly West of downtown Providence in the heart of the city. The borders are Westminster Street to the south, Route 10 to the north, Route 6 to the west, and I-95 to the east. The major thoroughfares surrounding the neighborhood make it easy to get anywhere in the city and beyond. The neighborhood borders downtown Smith Hill, Valley, Olneyville, West End, and South Providence. Its most notable landmark is the gateway arch that extends across Atwell Avenue near the entrance to downtown. Another notable attraction is Depasquale Plaza, an outdoor shopping and dining area with a large fountain that many consider the heart of the neighborhood.
The entire neighborhood is roughly 0.5 square miles, and it’s a densely populated area. The Federal Hill zip code is 02903, and the area code is 401. Federal Hill is served by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, which features buses, a regional railway, and a free autonomous vehicle pilot program that can take you anywhere in the state for a few dollars.
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Map of Federal Hill, Providence
Federal Hill History & Overview
Federal Hill was initially known as Nocabulabet, which historians believe is a variation of the Native American names Narraganset or Wampanoag. Federal Hill got its name during a Fourth of July Ox roast celebration hosted in the area, intended to celebrate the ratification of the Federal Constitution.
In the early 19th Century, Federal Hill was mostly occupied by Irish immigrants who found work in the nearby foundries and textile shops. But starting in the 1870s, the neighborhood saw an influx of Italian immigrants, and by the early 20th century, the area gained a reputation as the Little Italy of Providence. Today, the community is more diverse but remains the city’s epicenter of Italian American culture.
Federal Hill Demographics
- The Federal Hill population is 7,952 individuals and 3,442 households.
- The median household income in Federal Hill is $27,288, which is below the citywide average of $32,058
- Approximately 45% of Federal hill residents have a high school degree, and 17% have a bachelor’s degree
- The median age in Federal hill is 42 years old.
- According to the Providence Plan, a local non-profit organization, the ethnic makeup of Federal Hill is 47% white, 32% Hispanic, and 14.8% African American.
- Nearly 50% of public school children in Federal Hill speak another language besides English as their primary language.
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What is it Like Living in Federal Hill?
Federal Hill is a historic neighborhood full of life and culture. It’s a very walkable neighborhood bustling with shops, markets, and cafes. It tends to attract more college students and young working professionals because it’s right in the middle of all the action and features more row houses and apartment buildings than spacious single-family homes. But it’s a great area for anyone searching for affordable real estate and easy access to the best of what Providence has to offer.
There is little in terms of green space, but Depasquale Plaza is a great place to kick back and unwind on the weekend. Atwell Avenue is well known for its fantastic nightlife, and you’ll find many popular bars and restaurants in the area. You won’t find many trendy boutiques and chic nightclubs, but what Federal Hill lacks in hipness, it makes up for in authenticity. Being so close to downtown, it definitely has a more urban feel with gorgeous buildings and quaint cobblestone streets. Retirees and families looking to settle down may find Federal Hill a bit too lively for their taste. But, it’s the perfect neighborhood for young adults and singles looking for affordable living and plenty of action.
Things to Do in Federal Hill – Best Restaurants, Attractions & Shopping
Residents will find no shortage of fun things to do in Federal Hill, from award-winning restaurants to historical community events.
The best restaurants in Federal Hill are found along Atwells Ave. Andino’s is a local favorite that started as a social club in the 80s and serves classic Italian dishes like calamari and veal saltimbocca. Joe Marzilli’s Old Canteen is another great Federal Hill restaurant serving upscale Italian cuisine and wine in a high-end setting. Those in the mood for seafood should head over to Providence Oyster Bar for a fresh raw bar, hand-rolled sushi, lobster rolls, and other mouthwatering entrees.
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Most of the shopping in Federal Hill is also clustered around Atwells Ave or Broadway. Garbolino Boutique is a local designer outlet selling contemporary women’s clothing from various trendy brands. You can also stop by Roma, a traditional Italian marketplace selling pasta, sandwiches, cheeses, and sauces with live performances in their banquet hall. Providence Place shopping mall is also just outside Federal Hill on the opposite side of the Woonasquatucket River.
Federal Hill is also well known for its cultural festivities, such as the Federal Hill Summer Arts festival, where residents can enjoy food and music in Depasquale Square on Father’s Day Weekend. The Feast of Saint Joseph is another popular event in Federal Hill that occurs every year on March 19th and features an Italian delicacy called zeppole, which is prepared by all the top bakeries in the area. Columbus Theatre, an old Renaissance theater that hosts films, bands, and plays, is another great Federal hill attraction. Plus, there’s plenty to do nearby in downtown Providence.
Here’s Where to Find the Top Federal Hill Attractions
- Andino’s Italian Restaurant, 171 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903, (401) 453-3164
- Joe Marzilli’s Old Canteen Italian Restaurant, 120 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 751-5544
- Providence Oyster Bar, 283 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 272-8866
- Garbolino Boutique, 254 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 273-0080
- Carrara’s Shoes, 258 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 861-2301
- Roma Ristorante, 310 Atwells Ave, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 331-5000
- Depasquale Plaza, 57 De Pasquale Ave, Providence, RI 02903,
- Columbus Theatre, 270 Broadway, Providence, RI 02903 (401) 621-9660
Schools in Federal Hill
Federal Hill is part of the Providence Public School System, which serves over 22,000 students across 41 schools with an average student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1. Carl G. Lauro Elementary, Asa Messer Elementary, Paul Cuffee Middle School, and West Broadway Middle School are all in Federal Hill. The UCAP School, a middle school dedicated to helping underperforming students get back on track for high school, is also in the neighborhood, as is Classical High School, a co-ed magnet school that ranks among the best High Schools in Providence.
Although not directly in Federal Hill, there are several colleges close by in downtown Providence including the Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University, and Johnson and Wales Providence campus, which is what attracts so many college students.
Is Federal Hill Safe?
Federal Hill does experience some crime. However, it’s generally safe for a major urban area. Based on estimates using local law enforcement data, the total crime rate is 5,296 per 100,000 people. The violent crime rate is 580 per 100,000 people, and the property crime rate is 4716 per 100,000.
However, most residents agree that as long as you stay alert and take basic precautions, living in Federal Hill is perfectly safe. While it can get rougher after dark in certain areas, it isn’t more dangerous than any other major urban area. So as long as you make sure to lock your doors at night and be aware of your surroundings, Federal Hill, Providence, is safe.
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Federal Hill, Providence Real Estate
Affordable real estate is one of the biggest draws of moving to Federal Hill. According to Redfin, the median price of Federal Hill, Providence homes for sale is $505,000, which is up by 20% since last year. However, most Federal Hill residents are renters, and only about 28% own a home. Federal Hill is famous for its gorgeous, historic architecture with plenty of great examples of Greek Revival and early Victorian homes. Many of the buildings were built in the late 19th and early 20th century and there’s been an effort to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood.
Federal Hill has plenty to offer renters as well. Rentcafe states that the average rent in Federal Hill is $2339 per month, slightly lower than the citywide average of $2343. The average one-bedroom ranges from $2143 to $3208 per month, while a two-bedroom is between $2,314 and $3,295. About 66% of rentals are small-scale buildings with less than 50 units, while 30% are larger apartment complexes. So tenants will find a wide variety of options, from comfortable abodes to luxury buildings and everything in between.
Ready to make the move to Federal Hill? Trust Providence movers to help make the transition smooth and stress free. Fill out the form on our website or call us directly at 401-648-6683 to request a free quote.