With its gorg Gilded-Aged mansions, uber-luxe hotels, fantastic food and drink offerings, and, ofc, stunning scenery, Newport is just as popular as ever — albeit with a new generation of travelers.
This beloved summer vacation destination has attracted America’s most elite since the 1800s. But today, it represents the epitome of the coastal grandmother trend you’ve seen all over TikTok: So, pack your summer whites, linens, and nautical striped sweaters as you explore Newport on foot, by car, and, obvi, by boat (we’ll forgive you if it’s not a yacht).
Where to Stay in Newport
The Chanler at Cliff Walk
Stay at this Gilded Age-mansion-turned luxury hotel and you’ll feel like an actual Vanderbilt. As you can probs guess, a room here def doesn’t come cheap…but when in Newport, amirite? Each of the 20 accommodations is OTT in the best way possible, with custom linens and antique furnishings. For the ultimate splurge, book a room with an en-suite fireplace or private outdoor hot tub and sauna. The ‘gram-worthy ocean views are obvi a bonus. Don’t forget to grab a meal at Cara, which offers multi-course tasting menus and wine pairings, or the equally chic Cafe.
The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection
Yet another former mansion turned bougie hotel, The Vanderbilt is well worth the $$$. The hotel recently wrapped up a massive renovation, and it’s now more stunning than ever. The swanky public spaces feel like they’ve been plucked straight out of your uber-rich friend’s summer house, while the chic guest rooms are outfitted with one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, furnishings, and art. Don’t check out without a visit to the spa (book the hot stone massage and thank me later), followed by a glass of rose or an Aperol Spritz on the roof deck (open seasonally) or the garden patio that’s filled with colorful hydrangeas that’ll make your granny jelly, providing the perfect backdrop for your IG story.
Castle Hill Inn
This luxe 40-acre estate feels like it’s been plucked straight out of a Nancy Myers movie. Accommodations range from cozy-chic beach cottages with ample outdoor space and en-suite fireplaces to mansion rooms with soaking tubs and 10/10 water views. While there are two restaurants on-site, and The Lawn is a personal fav for its posh al fresco setting and amazing Sunday brunch. Sip champagne as you watch the boats sail by from your lounge chair. Then, make your way to the table and order a lobster roll (with fries, ofc) and oysters. Don’t leave without treating yourself to a facial at the spa, either.
The waterfront Hammetts Hotel is an excellent pick for its convenient location in the heart of downtown Newport, where you’ll find chic boutiques, mouthwatering eats, and buzzy bars — some of which can be found right on-site. Upscale rooms and suites feature contemporary decor and furnishings. Come sunset, make your way to the deck and take in the coastal views.
Where to Eat & Drink in Newport
Scales & Shells
Feast on fab, fresh-caught seafood at Scales & Shells. This laid-back locale offers a handful of signature dishes available year-round, but the chalkboard menu is updated daily to reflect what’s in season. You can’t go wrong with options like a white clam ‘za, fried calamari, or mussel corn chowder, though the subtly spicy Lobster Fra Diavolo for 2 is *chef’s kiss* too. Tip: Arrive early to avoid the crowds as the restaurant doesn’t take reservations (sry).
Pasta Beach has several locations throughout New England, and the Newport outpost, which is located along historic Bellevue Ave., is not to be missed. The eatery serves up *insane* Italian staples like bruschetta, pizzas, calzones, and, spoiler alert, pasta, in a sleek, stylish space complete with an open kitchen and colorful decor. Do yourself a favor and order the Bucatini Cacio e Pepe (aka the grown-up version of mac and cheese) and save room for a pizza and a salad because you just know your body is craving something green after several days of non-stop eating and drinking.
The Mooring may be considered basic, but let’s just say it’s popular for a reason. Its prime waterfront location and seafood-centric menu — which feature staples like raw oysters, piping-hot chowder, and, ofc, locally caught fried calamari (aka the state’s official appetizer) — also make it an absolute must-visit. For something more unique, split a Bag of Doughnuts (lobster and shrimp fritters with a delish chipotle maple aioli) as an app.
Jo’s American Bistro
For a more casual meal, pop into Jo’s, which serves up comfort food with a twist. The Duck & Lobster Quesadilla is, I sh*t you not, one of the best ‘dillas I’ve ever had. Other options include the cold lobster roll and Bacon Onion Jam Burger. Wash everything down with an extra-dry ‘tini or two. Gluten-free girlies will also loooveeee the fact that Joe’s has a pretty solid gluten-free menu.
You may not equate Newport with top-notch Mexican eats, but that’s only because you haven’t been to Diego’s. The eatery dishes out incred made-from-scratch Mexican fusion, including chips and guac, an array of tacos (Korean Pork Belly tacos FTW), and street corn. Visit in the off-season (AKA any time but summer) to take advantage of Taco Tuesday specials. The extensive drink menu — which includes an assortment of margs and sangrias — is a bonus, too. Oh, and did we mention it’s dog-friendly?
What to See & Do in Newport
Stroll the Cliff Walk
Pack your fav sneakers for a #hotgirlwalk along this 3.5-mile-long oceanfront trail, which winds through the city’s iconic mansions. While most of the route is relatively smooth and flat, some parts are a bit rocky.
Tour the Mansions
If you come to Newport without visiting one of the Gilded Age mansions, WYD? Live out your old money dreams as you wander through the halls of The Breakers and Marble House or snap selfies in the gardens of The Elms and Chateau-sur-Mer. (Unfortunately, we all can’t be Vanderbilts – *le sigh*.)
Cruise Down Ocean Drive
Got a car? Roll up the windows (bonus points if you have a sunroof or convertible) and enjoy the ocean breeze as you cruise down Ocean Drive. This scenic 10-mile drive along the coast takes you past mansions, beaches, and state parks.
Pick Up an Entirely New Wardrobe
Max out your CC while shopping on Thames Street or Bellevue Avenue. With so many eclectic boutiques to choose from, you can easily leave here with a slew of coastal grandmother-approved wardrobe staples. Pink Pineapple, The Salty Babe, Malibu Friday, Rochelle’s, and x&o are just a few recs. Diane Keaton, whomst?
As The Sailing Capital of the World, the best way to explore Newport is *obviously* by boat. No worries if you don’t have your own yacht, though. Instead, rough it like the rest of us on a sightseeing cruise, or try your hand at sailing lessons.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.