The Economista: Fun Off Campus

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Welcome to The Economista! My name is Andy Pham and I will be giving you weekly tips and tricks on how to budget, save money, and have inexpensive fun at Brown!

Already tired of what Brown University and Thayer St. have to offer? Looking for something new and exciting to do and try? If this sounds like you, then your Brown ID will be your new best friend.

As a Brown student, you are given the opportunity to take advantage of Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) for FREE! This opens up a lot more activities to Brown students. In this week’s column, I will be sharing some of the cool (and cheap) activities that RIPTA allows you to do. Some of these are things I’ve done myself and others are things that I know are popular to use RIPTA for.

Wal-Mart, Savers, and Whole Foods, Oh My!

Okay, this may seem like something you might not classify as a “fun activity”. It’s pretty fun to me though, and if not, RIPTA takes you to new places to shop. Thayer’s CVS prices can be pretty hefty at times, so it’s nice to have the ability to instead take RIPTA to your classic Wal-Mart. The same goes for the prices at the Providence Place Mall. Aside from being pretty inexpensive, Savers is just a fun thrift shopping experience all around. Whole Foods is also a fun place to go to for some fresh groceries (fair warning that they can be known for being pretty expensive but you can often find good deals). Of course, this is just a small list of shopping places that RIPTA can take you though. With a little more exploring, there’s definitely way more out there.


A popular use of RIPTA is to go down to Newport. With Newport’s beaches being the closest to Brown and the presence of the Newport Mansions, it makes sense why this is the case. There is also a boardwalk to explore as well as Newport’s history. I haven’t gone myself yet, but the words surrounding Newport are always positive.

Kennedy Plaza (Ice-Skating!)

If you stay on any RIPTA bus long enough, you’ll end up at Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence. Don’t worry though! This can be a good mistake. One fun thing that you can do around Kennedy Plaza is ice skating. Costing $13 for both the skate rental and an hour’s entry, this can be a fun date night or friend group activity. Also near Kennedy Plaza is Providence Place. This also means more restaurants if you’re not really feeling the ones on Thayer. There’s PF Changs, Fire + Ice, the Cheesecake Factory, and more!

General Exploring

RIPTA can be a great way of doing general exploring. There is a RIPTA bus that goes down to this Vietnamese restaurant I ate at and it was fantastic. Around the restaurant is a cultural experience with many more ethnic foods and grocery stores. I have friends that found cool grocery stores using RIPTA or just used it to go site seeing. Since we are lucky enough to not have to pay for this transportation, RIPTA can be something you might want to take advantage of.

These are some of the activities that I know you can use RIPTA for, although I’m sure there are way more. In combination with all the activities happening on campus, it’s hard to think that there is ever nothing that you can try or do!

Once again, thank you for reading! Hopefully I have written about something in this column that you can use. This will actually be the last one for this year. So, until next semester! 🙂


I am open to any and all ideas, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have! If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments you can e-mail me . Thanks!



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