All The Super Fun, Budget Friendly Things To Do With Your Crew In PVD & Beyond This Month

Photo by SeanPavonePhoto/iStock /Getty Images

Photo by SeanPavonePhoto/iStock /Getty Images

PVD Culture on a Sliding Scale

Another Rhody holiday season is in the books, my friends are in the throes of various kinds of January Hangover. It’s Dry January for many (not in here, it’s not!). The bills for all of the holiday excesses are arriving in more ways than one, and maybe you’ve taken up eating sad salads and watching Bandersnatch with your dog. Hey, nothing wrong with any of these activities--I love a good snuggle with my little Jefe. But if you’re looking for good stuff to do that will be kind to your wallet until that big tax refund arrives, fear not--you can have a high quality January in the 401, on a sliding scale.

First--THIS Tuesday (tomorrow), the Point Street Reading Series continues monthly gatherings at its new venue, Askew. Although I like to call it a book club on steroids, it is NOT a book club. You don’t have to read the books, discuss the books, or even have heard of the books. Every third Tuesday, year ‘round, The Point Street Reading Series/Reading with Robin hosts a group of authors who read from their latest, and give a bit of background about their work. You just join a group of other book lovers and enjoy the evening.

The Brown Bookstore is always there, with that evening’s titles available at a discount--and authors will happily sign books. No pressure to buy! But I have picked up some great titles this way, and the monthly event often features newer/indie authors who are just about to become household names. Admission is $5, but this month, it’s FREE, with a donation of school supplies for two local elementary school programs. Check the event’s Facebook page for details.

EVERY Tuesday is Taco Tuesday at various local restaurants (and thank you, St. Jude, for making RI a lost cause no more, for quality Mexican cuisine). But you cannot do better than El Rancho Grande. I would honestly eat at ERG everyday if I could, but it would creep Chef Maria out too much. And on Tuesdays, RI’s best also becomes some of RI’s most affordable. Three tacos (which are priced crazy low to begin with) for the price of two--and the best tequila and tequila-based cocktails around (you can read up on how seriously ERG takes tequila). Taco Tuesdays do get crowded, so go early.

You’ve probably seen the Twenty Stories book truck around town (no? read here)--but have you been to their bookstore at Hope Artiste Village? Besides the most excellent experience of having twenty books per month, seriously well-curated by owners Alexa and Emory, book clubs and events thoughout the month--the Poetry Bar is not to be missed. And it’s free, and perfect for a Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of Twenty Stories Instagram

Photo courtesy of Twenty Stories Instagram

First, grab a bite to eat at Brick Oven on Main (BOOM) just at the building’s entrance. Their Buddha Bowl and my personal favorite, the Belly & Brussels (it’s a SALAD, people), will help you to keep those health resolutions and also not break the bank. Then head just down the main hall to Twenty Stories and take in the Poetry Bar, where a rotating selection of poetry is loaded and ready to be listened to, on headphones, which hang on the wall. If you hear something that you want more of, buy the book. Or buy another book and support one of our best local book communities.

Lest you think I’m only recommending quiet, literary activities--when you’re finished with the Poetry Wall, head just down the street to The Parlour, and enjoy The Wayback. Every Wednesday night, DJ Shzz Mack spins the best funk oldies, followed by live funk band The Funky Autocrats. It’s an absolutely off the hook, great vibe experience. With no cover, this is one of the best music nights in PVD right now. Yeah, it’s a Wednesday night, but YOLO.

Last Thursday night, I saw one of the best Trinity Rep performances in recent memory, Black Odyssey (check it out, pay full price, GO). It was Pay What You Can night, and Trinity Rep does this for the first performance of ALL plays. Always on a Thursday, for a minimum donation of $5, you can see some of the best theater that can be seen, period. Get there early--doors open at 5:30, and it’s first come, first in. Next up is Macbeth, opening on January 31. Something wicked this way comes, alright. Wicked awesome and wicked affordable.

Before the play, get to Rosalina, just around the corner from the theater. It’s low-key one of the best restaurants in the city--but on weeknights from 4-6, oysters are $1 and all appetizers are half price at the bar. That means that the eggplant parm over crostini, the warm brussels sprouts salad (my favorite thing on the planet right now)...the PIZZA ON A DOUGHBOY...are all half-price. Go at about 4:15, enjoy the apps and the most excellent cocktails, and then head over to the play. It’s an entire evening out for $30 (if you want it to be).

There are two Thursdays before Macbeth opens, and Thursday evenings are art-filled in Providence. Gallery Night Providence is on “pause” for the winter, but free tours will resume in March, and run on the third Thursday of every month. Until then, you can visit any of the galleries in the tour, and see terrific and thought-provoking art. And on January 17, be sure to visit the RISD Museum for its Third Thursdays night. It’s just like it sounds--on the third Thursday of every month, from 5-9pm, the museum is open and free. There are often small events and lectures to catch on these nights, and it’s the perfect post-work, weeknight spot.

On Friday, grab a beer or wine and grab a seat at Wage House Improv Comedy Theater. For just $5, you will get smart, unscripted comedy by both locals and touring improv groups. Located next to the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, the vibe is inclusive, fun, and affordable. If you’re up for a pre-show dinner, both La Arepa and Chengdu Taste are nearby, each a great food destination on its own.

And what to wear to all of this affordable fabulousness?

Photo courtesy of The Thrifty Goose

Photo courtesy of The Thrifty Goose

I’ve saved the pure gold for last, even though you should try to get there first. The Thrifty Goose (at St. Martin’s Espisopal Church) is simply one of RI’s best vintage/thrift destinations. The balance of church-basement pricing (no high-rent storefront) with unique, high end merch is just something to behold. I have been urging Patty J. to get there and give it a proper visit and blog post. I hope she will do it soon, though she might go missing in there and not be seen again for awhile. It’s that good. Whether you buy a fully styled outfit or a fabulous coat--or just pick up an awesome accessory (again, while waiting for the tax refund)--you’ll find something unique and special.

January does NOT have to mean eating Cup o’ Something Gross and playing Cards Against Humanity with your cat. This little roundup makes for great friend-gatherings, first dates, and even solo meanderings. Grab your squad and go.

Melissa B

More About Melissa


Melissa B was born and raised in the 401, but only discovered the East Bay (much like Columbus “discovered” America) as an adult. She is known for a legendary unwillingness to relocate, and a complete willingness to travel far and wide for the perfect lobster roll (hint: it’s right in our backyard). She will throw down if you disrespect the Ocean State. She loves the hot, new places, but she knows that it’s often the not-hot, not-new places that make RI special.

She can be found at:

Photo Credit: Photo of the PVD skyline at night used with licensing and permission from Getty Images