Providence Arcade, Providence, RI
The arcade is the country’s oldest indoor shopping mall. A National Historic Landmark, the three-story Greek Revival building, with its lacy iron railings and massive skylight, is a treasure. Never mind that there are fewer shops these days; the architecture, designed by Russell Warren and James Bucklin in 1828, is worth the visit alone.
When the temperature drops, this is where we head to refuel with a coffee or — even better — a hot chocolate and a sweet. Popular Johansson’s Bakery & Café is staffed with Johnson & Wales University culinary students. The baker’s snowy hat resembles a big cupcake, and the offerings — from dainty pastries to classic sandwiches such as BLTs and chicken salad — are plentiful. Across the corridor, The Providence Cookie Co. has been cranking out cookies (sample the macaroons) for more than 25 years. Sometimes there are specials: buy six, get one free, for example.
Copacetic Rudely Elegant Jewelry on the second floor has a unique array of handmade trinkets. For $47, we could buy a bracelet sporting a real beetle encased in a sea of green. When you turn out the light, the quirky charm glows like a winter star. — Megan Fulweiler
The Providence Arcade, 65 Weybosset St., Providence, RI. 401-861-9150.