Newport, RI is known for its beautiful mansions, ocean view, and quant shops, restaurants and bars. When I was searching for a place to visit and ring in my birthday this year, Newport seemed like the perfect spot. It was an adventurous weekend full of mansion tours, drinks by the ocean, and amazing food (especially the seafood!). So, here is a list of the spots I visited and would recommend if you’re going to visit Newport in the near future.
If you’ve ever been to Newport before, you know there’s no cheap stays during the Spring – Fall months. So, naturally I stalked Airbnb for months and finally found a cute spot that was perfect for Tom and I. To be honest, we really don’t spend a lot of time at our hotels or houses because we love to get out and see the area we’re visiting, so this spot was perfect for us. So, if you’re looking to stay somewhere, check the hotels but I highly recommend a cute Airbnb like the one we got!
Newport Mansion Tours
I highly recommend going and doing a few mansion tours. The houses are breathtaking and it’s hard to imagine that people actually lived in these gigantic places at one point (even though the neighbors next door have just as big of homes). We did three mansion tours throughout the weekend, with The Breakers being our favorite.
The Breakers is the grandest mansion of them all. It was the summer “cottage” to one of the richest men in American, Cornelius Vanderbilt II. It was built to replace a smaller, wooden house that had been destroyed by fire. The house is an Italian Renaissance style with classical Roman influences and is set on 13 acres. It has 70 rooms including 48 bedrooms for family and staff. There are 27 fireplaces but was equipped with electricity as well as gas for lighting. The great hall is the most impressive room in the house with its 50-foot ceilings, two stairs cases, and views of the ocean.
Rosecliff I decided was the house I would want to live in, because of its open floor plan and history for being known as one of homes with the most lavish parties. The house was occupied by Mrs. Oelrichs who loved to host and entertain. Some of her parties included a fairy tale dinner, white parties, and a party featuring famed magician Harry Houdini. Scenes from several films have been shot on location at Rosecliff, including The Great Gatsby, True Lies, Amistad and 27 Dresses.
Marble House was my favorite interior, because the inside is literally all marble with gold accents and everything is so lavish. The house was gifted to Mrs. Vanderbilt for her 39th Birthday (a girl can only wish). Mr. William K. Vanderbilt was the grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who established the family’s fortune in steamships and the New York Central Railroad. His older brother was Cornelius II, who built The Breakers. The cost of the house was reported to be $11 million, of which $7 million was spent on 500,000 cubic feet of marble. On the property Mrs. Vanderbilt built an Asian Tea House on the seaside cliffs of the property, where she hosted rallies for women’s right to vote.
Besides the mansion tours, there are many other things you can see and explore while you’re visiting Newport. Two items I would suggest are to (a) go to the beach and (b) walk the cliff walk!
Ocean Cliff Walk
The cliff walk is a 3.5 mile ocean view walk. The entire walk has stunning views of the ocean, nature, and of course houses! You can view a lot of the breathtaking mansions on the walk and get to view a different perspective of these beautiful structures. I would highly recommend walking at least a portion of this trail to see all the beauty that Newport, RI has to offer
There are several beaches in Newport that you can enjoy, but Easton’s Beach is the most well-known and is easily accessible to everyone staying in the city. Located at the start of the City’s famed Cliff Walk, Easton’s Beach occupies a 3/4 mile long stretch of sand.
We made a point to eat a lot of fresh seafood while we were in Newport while also checking out the local favorites. I would recommend making reservations if you go during the busy seasons, because it is hard to get into places if you don’t have one. Here is a list of places we checked out while we were there, which all of them were fantastic!
Diego’s is a hot spot in Newport for brunch and Mexican fare. Naturally we had to get some margaritas to kick off our trip and they did not disappoint. We also tried their calamari, yellow tail tacos, and tuna tacos. I hear awesome things about their brunch, so I would definitely try that next time I visit.
Midtown Oyster Bar
Midtown Oyster Bar was the only place I made a reservation for the weekend and it was our “fanciest” dinner we had. Midtown is a two-story building located right on Thames Street that offers two bar areas, three dining areas, and three outdoor decks. We had really good oysters as an appetizer and a spicy seafood rice dish and clam linguini as our mains. Everything was really delicious and it was a great dinner spot.
We went to Cru Cafe TWICE while we were in Newport. It’s an awesome breakfast spot where you can order to go or order to sit. It’s casual with amazing food. You can even bring your own booze to pair with a mixer for brunch. Their coffee was great, their breakfast sandwiches were delicious, and their baked goods are amazing. If I lived in Newport, this would be my spot to go to.
Newport Vineyards is located outside of the city in Middletown, RI and has the beautiful vineyard you can enjoy inside or outside plus a brewery, Taproot Brewing Co. We share a bite to eat inside with some drinks and then explored the vineyard outside for another drink. It was a nice place to venture to and would be fun to visit with with a group of friends.
We loved Wally’s Weiners so much we went twice. It’s such a cool, relaxed spot with an awesome menu. Not to mention, they have an entire section of their drink menu just for espresso martinis (my fav!). The first time we shared a hot dog and fries and when we went back we had to try their hamburger. Everything is so good there and I would recommend this place to anyone visiting Newport.
Brick Alley Pub
The Brick Alley Pub is a staple in Newport and was quite possibly our favorite meal. We went there and shared some of their appetizers and they were all SO GOOD. We got some of their fresh mussels, tuna on wonton crisps, and Thai peanut shrimp lettuce wraps. We still talk about how good the food was, so you should absolutely check this place out when you visit.
Another really popular breakfast spot in Newport is the Corner Cafe. If you’re going on the weekend you’re guaranteed to have to wait to get a table. But to be honest, it’s worth the wait. I got an amazing eggs Benedict plate and Tom got an egg scramble and we we both left there very full and happy.
Places for Drinks
One thing I enjoy doing when I go to a new place is bouncing around to different establishments to grab a drink and enjoy the view. There are so many places you can do this at in Newport, so here are a few that I got to enjoy.
Giusto’s is located on the wharf in Newport with an abundant amount of outdoor seating as well as indoor seating. We stopped into here to grab a drink before dinner and I’m so glad we did. I got the most delicious espresso martini and the service, environment, and overall vibe of this place is great.
Castle Hill Inn
The lawn at the Castle Hill Inn is a great spot to grab a drink with awesome views of the Narragansett Bay. They have two bars to make it easy to grab a drink and grab one of their many Adirondack chairs facing the ocean. It’s definitely a place where you can relax and feel like you’re living like the other half.
Ocean Cliff is another beautiful spot where you can stay, eat and drink at. They have a beautiful indoor bar that overlooks the bay as well as a large lawn where you can grab a drink and sit out on. The venue itself is so beautiful, I can only imagine going to a wedding here (hint hint brides-to-be!).
The Reef is a great spot with a huge deck with palm trees and always has live music right on the wharf. A lot of people go here for dinner, but we just stopped in to grab drinks and enjoy the ocean views. It was very relaxing with a great atmosphere and I would recommend people stop in and check it out if they’re looking for a place to eat and drink.