For Families

Featured Hotels

Providence Hilton

21 Atwells Ave
Providence, RI 02903

Additional Providence Hotels

The Renaissance Providence

5 Avenue of the Arts
Providence, RI 02903
401 276-0010



If you are planning to arrive in Providence by train you can find schedules and fares at or 1 800 USA-RAIL (1 800 872-7245). Information concerning service between Providence and Boston on the Attleboro/Stoughton Line can be found at and 800 392-6100.


Providence is about a 15-minute cab ride from T.F. Green Airport (PVD) in Warwick, RI. You can find information on flights at Airport information: 888 268-7222; in Rhode Island: 401 737-8222.

Once you are at the airport you can take the inexpensive T.F. Green Shuttle to your hotel.

If you are flying into Logan International Airport in Boston, MA (BOS), you can find flight information and 800 23-LOGAN. Logan is about an hour from Providence, depending on traffic.


Peter Pan/Bonanza bus line runs daily trips to Boston, Cape Cod, Newport, Albany, New York City, and Logan and T.F. Green airports. Schedules can be found at and 401 751-8800; toll-free: 888 751-8800.

Greyhound schedules and fares can be found at and 800 229-9424 +1 402 330-8552 (International areas without toll-free access) 800 752-4841 (assistance for passengers with disabilities) 800 345-3109 (TDD).

For easy and inexpensive transportation within Rhode Island, including buses, trolleys and Providence/Newport ferries, consider using Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) at


or Block Island Ferry service from Point Judith and Newport, RI and New London, CT to Block Island follow this link to for complete schedules, fares and routes. Schedules vary seasonally.

For the Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island Ferries service from Woods Hole, MA, Hyannis, MA, and New Bedford, MA to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island follow this link to Schedules vary seasonally.

Rental cars

Alamo | 800 327-9633

Avis | 800 831-2847

Budget | 800 527-7000

Dollar | 800 800-4000

Hertz | 800 654-3131

National | 800 227-7368

Thrifty | 800 847-4389

Frequently asked questions

What time should we plan to arrive for the ceremony?

The ceremony starts at 10:30 am, but graduating students need to begin lining up in the lobby of the adjacent Dunkin Donuts Center no later than 9:30. The seating area opens to family members and friends at 9:30 am, with seats available on a first-come, first-served basis. While there's plenty of seating for everyone, the best seats tend to fill up relatively fast.

Where should we park?

Paid parking is available in a garage attached to the Rhode Island Convention Center.

Do you make special accommodations for the elderly or disabled?

Yes. Graduating students will also be able to provide this information when reserving tickets for the ceremony. You can also choose to contact the Office of Student Affairs at or 401 454-6600 well in advance for information on entry and seating arrangements.The Convention Center is handicapped accessible, with elevators and the ceremony is all on one level (no stairs). Handicapped parking spots are available in the Convention Center garage.

How long does the ceremony usually last?

The procession, speeches, awards presentations and other pomp and circumstance generally take more than two hours. Even though the graduating class now numbers close to 700, RISD still prefers to read the name of each individual graduate as he or she walks across the stage.

Is there anything special about RISD's diploma?

Every RISD graduate receives an academic diploma designed by the late John Howard Benson, a distinguished sculptor and calligrapher who taught at RISD from 1931–44. Each diploma is hand-lettered by calligrapher and alumna Alba Corrado ['60 Painting], a member of the Foundation Studies faculty. At the Friday morning rehearsal, students also receive a "design diploma" — a fun commemorative object designed by a member of the graduating class.

Since official diplomas aren't given out at the ceremony, when do students get them?

Each graduate is asked to stop by the Registrar's table in the West Lobby of the Convention Center immediately after the ceremony to pick up his or her official Benson diploma. Anyone not planning to attend the ceremony should contact the Registrar's Office to make alternate arrangements.

Do RISD students actually wear caps and gowns at Commencement?

Yes and no. Students are issued standard black caps and gowns in advance and encouraged to use their creative talents to make them their own. Some choose to wear the gowns and mortarboards as issued, while others go all out embellishing them or creating other eye-opening costumery. Some simply opt to wear their own clothing – whether fancy or casual. The result: RISD's ceremony is generally more festive, colorful and informal than most.

Are there any options for guests to stay on campus?

Families looking for affordable accommodations in traditional-style residence halls may be able to book a room, though we only have a limited number of on-campus housing accommodations available. For more information, please email