Best times: The best things to do in Rhode Island right now


The events below run from now until December 10 – to paraphrase those Disney+ stars, The Beatles: 8 days a week of Rhody fun. You can find more things to do in Rhode Island this month here.


I’m not wasting my shot… to see “Hamilton” at the PPAC. Fortunately, I have quite a few shots. The shows now run until December 12, and check out this interview with Pierre Jean Gonzalez, the actor in the title role, before you go. See full schedule and details here. Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset Street, Providence. Tickets from $69. 401-421-2787.


Maybe only Rhode Islanders could rewatch “Downton Abbey” on Netflix and think, “Hey. We saw Newport. To see the real treat like The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House are decked out anew (cross that out, the tens) for the holidays. Open daily until January 9. Full schedule here. Tickets start at $20 per adult. Price details here.

If you feel more comfortable at home, you can take a virtual tour. Although they are undecorated, you can still put on your Crawley.

Ditto on the #DowntonVibes at Bristol’s Blithewold, a large summer estate sitting on 33 acres near Narragansett Bay. Experience “Night Lights” now until January 9: festively lit paths through the park, gardens and arboretum. (Here’s a look at last year’s event.) Plus hot cider, hot chocolate, hot coffee, and hot drinks with a kick. Manor closed during the program. 5 to 7 p.m. Non-member adults: $10; children: $5. Details here.


Literally. Rogers Williams Park Zoo celebrates the season with its Holiday Lights Spectacular. Until Jan. 2, the visitor experience includes 40 acres of light displays, with some 3 million lights, according to their website. 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are timed entry and available for purchase online only. Non-member adult $12; children 2-12, $10. 1000 Elmwood Ave, Providence. 401-785-3510. Details here.


Skate on an island? By the ocean? With hot chocolate? Yes, yes, and yes, please. Gurney’s Newport, a luxury resort on Goat Island, is open to the public for ice skating – and you’ll want to Instagram all. #WinterVibes Adults $12, children 12 and under: $7, 65+, $7. Skates are available for rent, $10. 1 Goat Island, Newport. 401-849-2600. Details here.


Tiverton Four Corners Art Center Launches 8th Annual”D-Tree Outdoor Exhibition,” a festive showcase of trees created with recycled materials on December 3 – the same night as their annual Holiday Bright Night, from 4-7 p.m.

Bright Night feels like a bustling stroll through the historic corner’s quaint shops and galleries, while re-Trees gives you the chance to play judge: artist-submitted trees, all made from recycled materials, will be scattered across the Four Corners campus. Winner of the popular vote announced on December 17. 3852 Main Road. Details here.


It’s not really December until you see the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” claymation on TV. Made. On December 4, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and the whole gang of misfits arrive in Providence for “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” at The Vets. (“Why am I so misfit?” Good question, Hermey. Good question.) 4 Dec. at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets starting at $28. 1 Arts Avenue. Details here.


You could plan some holiday shopping in Newport on December 4 to attend the 51st annual Wharf Tree Lighting at Bowens Wharf. The fun begins at 4:30 p.m. with local musicians taking the stage and leading chants, according to their website, and the “huge tree” is lit at 6 p.m. Weather permitting, Santa Claus and the Missus will arrive by boat. #BecauseOceanState. Free. 401-849-2243. Details here.


I’m not going to insult your Rhode Island-ness by describing all the details of a Waterfire vacation. Be there on December 4, folks. Music starts at 3:30 p.m.; pool lighting at 4:15 p.m. Santa Claus will arrive by boat—the old man is apparently all sailor—at Santa’s Village to hear your wishes at 5:15 p.m. BankNewport City Center. Details here.


Stroll through Old Newport by lantern light and hear stories of Christmases of yore with a tour of the Newport Historical Society’s lanterns. (December 4, 10, 11. $20 per adult; $15 for members, children 5-12, $8.) Note that they also run many themed tours throughout the year – and if you haven’t been on these since your excursion days, you may find that they are much more revealing now.


Fans of NBC’s “The Voice” might want to catch two-time Grammy-nominated Billy Gilman. The Westerly native returns home for the holidays with a show at The Vets on December 5. Gilman burst onto the music scene at age 11 in 2000 with his single “One Voice.” (Fun fact: He made the Guinness Book of World Records for being the youngest singer to ever hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Album charts.) The Rhode Islander has since sold 10 million albums worldwide. and was featured on season 11 of “The Voice” coached by Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. Doors 6 p.m., show 7 p.m. Tickets start at $40.


A Newport Folk Fest favourite, Hiss Golden Messenger always delivers. With a new holiday album, “O Come All Ye Faithful,” the Dec. 6 show at Fete Musical Hall could deliver #SeasonalVibes. $23 in advance, $25 at the door. 103 Dike Street, Providence. 401-383-1112.


OK. You’ve never heard classical instruments played like this. For the uninitiated, violist Wilner Baptiste (aka Will B) and violinist Kevin Sylvester (aka Kev Marcus) are Black Violin: a duo from Florida known for their unique fusion of classical and hip-hop. The Grammy nominees defy gender: they opened the Wu-Tang Clan and Tom Petty, performed with Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, performed for Obama’s presidential inaugural ball. YouTube “An apartment”. It has gained nearly 13 million views since 2012 and, in a nutshell, shows their vibe. I also like their most recent “Show Off” and their new “Joy to the World”. (Dare you not to smile.) December 9, 7 p.m. at the Vets. Tickets from $29. Details here.

Until next week, neighbor: Keep having fun with Rhody.

Lauren Daley can be reached at She tweets @laurendaley1.


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