Weekend Trip Guide: Where to Stay, Eat, and Drink in Newport, Rhode Island

Lifestyle of the rich and famous—at least for a weekend.

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(Image credit: Archives)

Home to some of the most sweeping views on the eastern seaboard, more mansions that you thought possible, and the stunning Cliff Walk, Newport is *the* place to visit if you're in the mood for indulgence (is anyone ever not?). Yeah—it's technically a city, but the highly walkable streets and neighborly vibes make Newport supremely cozy, and supremely welcoming. Oh, and did we mention there's a beach? Here, where to eat, sleep, and hang in Taylor Swift's stomping grounds.

Speaking of indulgence, The Chanler at Cliff Walk is unmissable for many reasons—even if you aren't staying there. But if you *are* throwing down coin for this revamped mansion, it's well worth it. The circa 1873 hotel (built by New York Congressman John Winthrop Chanler and his wife Margaret Astor Ward) sits at the very beginning of the Cliff Walk, meaning you can stroll out of your room, take a dip in your personal outdoor hot tub (complete with sauna), and amble along one of the country's most iconic hikes. Plus, the suites themselves are so luxe (hello, fireplace!) that if you choose to abandon your itinerary and lie in bed all day, you won't regret it.

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(Image credit: The Chanler at Cliff Walk)

Even if you aren't staying at the Chanler, a lunch stop at their restaurant The Veranda is definitely in order if your interests include lovely cocktails, cheese plates, and ridiculously beautiful views of the water. Feel free to walk around the common areas of the hotel while you're at it and treat yourself to your own mini mansion tour—for free!

What to Do

If you're a fan of history and/or all things pretty, the aforementioned Cliff Walk is likely where you'll want to devote at least a portion of your day. The 3.5 mile walk is resplendent with manicured gardens and mansions on one side, and the ocean on the other. And while the beginning of the walk is pretty ritzy, even true hikers will be satisfied by the end—where you have to climb across rocky outcrops until you eventually reach vistas that are truly gasp-inducing.

Speaking of mansions—many of the walk's most stately homes (two of which belonged to the Vanderbilts) are open to tours. We recommend checking out Rosecliff and The Breakers in particular for views like this one, courtesy of Newport Film:

It'd be easy to spend an entire weekend cliff-walking it [pro-tip: wear a swimsuit under your summer dress, because the walk begins with the world's chillest beach, complete with surfing, sun-bathing, and generally living your best life], but one of the most delightful things about Newport is how walkable the town itself is. It'll be hard to tear yourself away from the Adirondack chairs on the Chanler's sweeping lawn, but carve out time to stroll along the marina, grab a Del's Frozen Lemonade, eat (read: binge eat) oysters at the Midtown Oyster Bar, and consume all the fudge that comes your way. Seriously, this town has so much fudge.

Oh, and if you're as lazy as I am, feel free to rent a colorful scooter and explore town via very tiny car. Once you get off the main streets and into Newport's residential area, you'll see some spectacular homes.

What to Eat

Newport can be pretty touristy in the summer, but good news: almost all the food is delicious—even at the most *touristy* of places. Of course clam chowder is a must, and no one makes it better than The Black Pearl at Bannisters Wharf.

For a slightly off the beaten path meal Pasta Beach (recommended to me by my Rhode Island-born coworker) is a great option for those of you looking for good food with a local vibe. Yours truly inhaled a massive plate of carbonara which beat almost everything I ate on a recent trip to Italy.

By the way, if you packed a cocktail dress that needs to be worn somewhere worthy, check out Bouchard Inn's restaurant—which features daily specials that are dependent on what's fresh on the docks—or hop back to The Chanler and dine at The Spiced Pear.

For a more a laid back favorite of Newport natives, check out Malt—where you can order a sample tray of beer for just $7, or sip on a rosemary infused vodka post-Cliff Walk.

Helpful Tips

1. The mansion tours are a huge attraction in Newport—for good reason—but pick one or two mansions and call it a day. And entire afternoon can easily be lost walking in the footsteps of someone else's life instead of living your own.

2. Extra time? Head to Watch Hill, summer home of Taylor Swift, and hallowed ground where Tom Hiddleston wore his infamous tank top during that equally infamous Fourth of July party. It's about an hour away from Newport, but you know it's worth it...

3. In the mood to spend money? Stop by Shore Soap Co., which makes homemade soaps that are just as esthetically pleasing as they are functional (their lotion is a go-to in my personal beauty closet).

4. Pack smart. It's tempting to throw a bunch of cool girl essentials in a bag and call it a day, but you can only get so far with Adam Selman sunglasses and mules. You 100 percent need "sensible walking shoes" for the Cliff Walk, and while you're at it please tackle that thing with a water bottle in hand.

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Mehera Bonner
Entertainment Editor

Mehera Bonner is a celebrity and entertainment news writer who enjoys Bravo and Antiques Roadshow with equal enthusiasm. She was previously entertainment editor at Marie Claire and has covered pop culture for over a decade.