"We're on the Move!" (Cranston City Motto)
Part of the Providence metro area, Cranston is located due southwest of the populous Rhode Island city. It's an ideal spot for families and singles who want to be close enough to Providence to enjoy city conveniences, but still have a little room to breathe. Like most cities in this region, Cranston can trace its history to the Native Americans who first lived on the land. Their contributions can mostly be felt in the names you see on park signs, street signs, and even neighborhoods. This isn't to say that the city is stuck in the past: Far from it, as it (and all of Rhode Island, for that matter) is a progressive – dare we say "blue" – place, which just recently legalized same-sex marriage.
Moving to Cranston
The cost of living in Cranston is marginally lower than the US average, though rent fluctuates depending on the type of abode and the area of the city. When shopping for apartments, give yourself about a two week lead time so that you can fully explore the area before signing a lease. Very few apartments are all utilities included, so unless you want to go without heat, lights, or a way to cook your food that doesn’t involve rubbing two sticks together, make sure to factor in at least an additional few hundred a month.
When apartment hunting, don't forget to bring proof of income with you. Most landlords will expect you to make at least 1 ½ or 2 times the rent. If you are already employed in the area, you should have a few pay stubs with you. If you haven't started a new job, ask your employer for a letter stating what your salary will be. Moving with a pet? Expect to pay a pet deposit in addition to a security deposit. Each of these deposits can run you a few hundred dollars, so be prepared. Also, ask your vet to provide you with Fido's medical records so you can show that his shots are up to date and he doesn't have any behavioral issues. No one likes a biter!
Neighborhoods in Cranston
Cranston is divided up into several distinct neighborhoods, some of which are popular with renters. The dollar signs shown below represent the relative rental prices.
Auburn: Considered part of downtown Craston, Auburn is the place to move if you want to feel like you're in an urban setting, but remain in the cozy confines of Rhode Island. Choose from renovated loft spaces or small studio or 1-bedroom apartment units over stores. A few larger and newer apartment complexes exist throughout the area as well, although most of the structures will date back many decades.
Edgewood: In eastern Cranston, Edgewood borders Providence's Washington Park and Edgewood Lake. Several National Historic Districts lend an air of aristocracy to the area, so you won't find big sprawling apartment complexes with hundreds of units. Instead, there are homes for rent and charming brownstone apartments, so pack your pipe and jackets with arm patches if you move to this area. Broad, tree-lined streets and grand Victorian homes are common for the neighborhood, and there are several yacht clubs and the marina.
Howard: Originally a farming community, this southern Cranston neighborhood is today known mostly as the site of the state's maximum security prison. The gothic building might seem scary, but rest assured the security around the building is tight, and the rent you'll pay to live in one of the smaller apartment communities or even a small 1 or 2 bedroom home isn't scary at all.
Knightsville: Want to look out your high-rise window and see if you can spot the Providence skyline? Then a move to historic Knightsville should be on your list. Just don't think of skipping church on Sunday: the community activities year-round seem to revolve around some saint's feast day at one of the many churches.
Meshanticut: The 'hood's focal points are definitely Meshanticut Park and Meshanticut Lake, both popular with locals who like to while away afternoons and weekends jogging the lake's perimeter, fishing in the waters in the summer, and skating on the frozen lake in the winter. Can't decide on your favorite style of home? In Meshanticut, you can consecutively live in a Victorian home, a Cape Cod-style place, a traditional apartment complex, and even a cute little cottage – all without moving to a different neighborhood.
Oaklawn: Sandwiched between interstates 95 and 295, Oaklawn is a commuter's dream. The historic village in southwest Cranston has some of the city's oldest buildings and it takes its history seriously. You’ll feel right at home here as long as you're charmed and not bored by quaint traditions such as the annual May Breakfast that began as a way to raise funds for local Civil War veterans. While private owners gobbled up most of the property in the area, a few larger, developed apartment complexes can be found here.
Pawtuxet Village: Where the Pawtuxet River meets the Providence River and Narragansett Bay, Pawtuxet Village is an adorable slice of waterfront heaven. Visit the falls for a little outdoor R&R, stay indoors at the casino, or roam the shops that line the waterfront area. One to 3 bedroom apartments can be found in the densely-packed area – really, canned sardines have more room – but once you get a glimpse of your view, you won’t care. And you won't bat an eye at the price tag.
Living in Cranston
Getting to know a new city takes time, but here are a few tips to make you feel like a Cranston native in no time!
While there are bike paths throughout the city, and parts of the city are laid out close enough that you can walk within the area, you'll need a car to travel throughout the city and to get to Providence. So don't sell the Buick just yet.
But What To Wear?
The weather averages a high in the mid-80s in July and low 20s in January. Depending on where you last lived, that might mean you'll need to invest in a whole new wardrobe. Thankfully, Cranston has several shopping centers that would be more than happy to take your hard-earned money.
Rain or Shine
Get out and about whatever the weather. Budlong Pool, one of the largest outdoor pools in the US, is a popular spot for residents during summer months, while ice rinks can be found throughout the city in the winter. Jogging trails, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and the bay are all there for you to explore.
If You Feel the Need to Speed
While chain and local restaurants abound, the few bars in Cranston probably won't satisfy those yearning for an active nightlife scene. For that, you'll have to drive into Providence.