The $500 Weekend: Providence, Rhode Island

A frugal tour of the newly fashionable capital.

OBSERVING THE LOCALS Mismatched antique chairs, retro desserts, and boozy coffee drinks that billow with whipped cream (average price: $12) set the funky vibe of L’Elizabeth, as does the chatterbox of a hostess, baker, and mixologist, Ruth, who’s been running the cafe since the mid-’70s. At Cafe Noir, scenesters reenact episodes of Sex and the City – sans irony – but the bar snacks and martinis ($8 each) are mighty tasty.

For more regional getaways, go to bostonmagazine.com/new_england_travel