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Johnston is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. Johnston is very famous for its landfill. The landfill is the only one in the state of Rhode Island and is occasionally subject to many issues such as over capacity or a strong smell. Although the Landfill seems like it is not something you would not want to see, it is definitely a worthwhile trip. All of the machinery used to process the disposed waste is available for viewing. It is quite interesting to see the process that has to be done in order to get rid of the whole state of Rhode Island’s trash!


Incorporated on March 6, 1759, Johnston was named for the colonial attorney general, August Johnston. The city is approximately 24 square miles with less than one square mile of water. Home to the only operational landfill in Rhode Island, the town is not the top of mind for visitors, whether they come from a distance or are Rhode Islanders. There is much more to Johnston than meets the eye. The town has a population that is 47% of Italian ancestry, the highest percentage of any town in the US.

Johnston is part of the Providence- Fall River- Warwick metropolitan statistical area (MSA). It is in the Providence county area, and is four miles northwest of Cranston, Rhode Island, and 43 miles southwest of Boston, Massachusetts. The population of Johnston is about 28,195 people. Johnston used to be part of Providence, but in 1758 it was separated. Johnston became incorporated on March 6, 1759, and was named after August Johnston, the colonial attorney general. The town held it’s first official town meeting on April 18, 1759 at the home of Benjamin Belknap, in order to elect new officers.

As of July 2009 the average population of Johnston was 28,613. The average male population was 13,409 (46.9%) and the average female population was 15,204 (53.1%). The median age of all residents is about 40.7 years old. The average household income in Johnston is about $56,394.

Get in[edit]

Johnston is easily accessed from either Route 295 which runs North to South or Route 6 which runs East to West. Those arriving to the state by plane will travel Route 295 north and those arriving by rail will take route 10 west to Route 6 west. Driving times will range from 15 to 30 minutes depending on traffic from either direction.

Get around[edit]

Public transportation options in Johnston are limited to non existent. Other than in local neighborhoods, the town is not pedestrian friendly so a car is absolutely needed. Rental car agencies are available in town as well as at the airport for those arriving by plane.

RIPTA bus number 19 (Plainfield), 27 (Manton/Greenville), and 28 (Hartford) from Kennedy plaza takes you into different areas of Johnston.


  • Central Landfill 65 Shun Pike. +1 401-942-1430 . This is worth the time even if it just to drive by. Not just a dump, the landfill is a state of the art facility often visited by other sanitation experts. If you are lucky enough to be visiting from April through October tours are offered two days each month. Consult the website to obtain days and scheduling information.
  • 1 Clemence-Irons House, 38 George Waterman Road, +1 401-728-9696, . Saturdays June 1 – October 15 noon – 3PM. The Clemence-Irons House is an important historic colonial stone-ender built in 1691. The house was donated to the local preservation society Historic New England in 1947 and was restored to its historical appearance. It now operates as a museum. The Clemence-Irons House is among the oldest buildings in Rhode Island, and is the 6th oldest in Providence County. The building is a rare example of a stone-ender style house. Come see the house, and enter the museum for a modest fee if visiting during the summer months. $3-6. Clemence-Irons House (Q5131229) on Wikidata Clemence–Irons House on Wikipedia


  • Go for a walk around the pond at Johnston Memorial Park. The park is located on Hartford Ave.close to the center of town. Every evening, the walking path is filled with people of all ages getting their daily exercise. It's a pleasant walk but leave the animals at home, no dogs allowed! The park includes three baseball fields and two basketball courts for visitors in addition to, two playgrounds. The rec hods many different camps for children ranging from basketball to softball. Besides enjoying Johnston Memorial Park during the Spring/Summer, they have two very notable Fall events as well. The first Fall event is Apple Fest. Apple Fest is a family friendly event consisting of fun for the whole family. There are games for children and prize-winning raffles with excellent prizes! Also, enjoy freshly baked apple pies, apple crisp, and apple bread! The second notable Fall event is the Johnston Memorial Park Spooky Walk. This is the perfect event for young children! It consists of a haunted walk through the park trails with many spooky characters! It is a very popular event and provides Halloween fun for the children! Visit for more information on park events!
  • Bowling. Town Hall Lane hosts bowling leagues, birthday parties and special event nights. Check out the Rock and Bowl nights. After bowling, head across the street to Newport Creamery for a sundae or their signature item the "Awful Awful". Town Hall Lanes is at 1463 Atwood Ave.
  • St. Rocco's Feast and Our Lady of Grace Feast. Visit during the month of August and September and you may get the chance to attend the annual Feasts. Always held during August and September, the easiest way to know the dates is to drive by the church on Atwood Ave and George Waterman ave. The banner across the road signals to everyone driving by that it is time to enjoy the rides, the food, the games, the beer garden and more food. Reflecting the strong Italian culture of this community, one can find everything from pastas to cannollis at the feast. The big draw are the doughboys made by the parishioners, Order yours with sugar if you must, but better to try one with "gravy" and cheese The "gravy" is tomato sauce and the "cheese" grated Parmigiano-Romano. Bring a box if you want to take some food home: they don't do take-out!


The Hope Chest, 2953 Hartford Ave, +1 401-949-2333. 10AM to 5PM. Just on the town line between Johnston and Scituate, The Hope Chest is a large consignment store with everything from furniture to clothing to antiques. Occupying the site of a former nursery, the building and grounds are as much of an attraction as the merchandise. Children can feed the birds in the small pond, while mom and dad look through the treasures.

Yorker Shoes, 1503 Hartford Ave, +1 401 274-2211. At one time, Yorker shoes was the only place to get shoes in Johnston. It is sorted into three departments; men’s, women’s and children’s. They boast the most fashionable and comfortable shoes that you can find.


If you are looking for some good Italian food, Johnston is the place. Check out any of the bakeries in town and get some pizza strips. Not a slice, a strip. Served cold with sauce only, wrapped in wax paper. If you are in the mood for a more formal dinner, there are several places to choose from.

  • Luigi's Restaurant 1357 Hartford Ave. +1 401-861-3850. An upsclae Italian restaurant that also offers a take out section and cafe option. There are also several large rooms for functions.
  • Pat's Restaurant 1200 Hartford Ave. +1 401-273-1444. This is a nice family restaurant with huge portions and homemade pastas.
  • D. Palmieri’s Bakery, 624 Killingly Street, +1 401 621-9357. One of the most popular bakeries in Johnston. It has a small dining area if you would like to eat inside. Try one of their many different strips of pizza, or get a delicious zeppole!
  • Atwood Grill, 1413 Atwood Avenue, +1 401 943-3331. Atwood Grill is a very popular bar and restaurant on the main street of Johnston. Atwood Grill is known for having a variety of Italian specialty courses. They also have a variety of wines and special drinks. Atwood Grill also allows people to place takeout orders, and even include some of their specialties on their to go menu.
  • Café’andiamo, 235 Greenville Avenue, +1 401 349-4333. Café’andiamo is a small family owned Italian restaurant with a small dining room and a to go menu.
  • China Jade, 1511 Atwood Avenue, +1 401 273-6220. China Jade is a Chinese food restaurant located in Town Hall Plaza. China Jade has been located in Johnston for nearly 40 years, generations of Chinese-food loving family members taking their children there on special occasions, or just for a quick meal. The Johnston Senior High School Band has dinner in China Jade after their march.
  • Brewed Awakenings: Brewed Awakenings Coffee House is a wonderful place to relax after a long day. Enjoy a cup of coffee, tea, or even a smoothie with friends in the cozy, quiet environment. Brewed also offers sandwiches and deserts. 1395 Atwood Avenue or 1387 Atwood Avenue.
  • Sundaes Ice Cream. Choose from a menu of 24 soft serve flavors with unlimited toppings, or try hard ice cream consisting of many flavors as well. This is one of two Sundaes locations, the other is in Cranston.
  • The English Muffin, 1989 Plainfield Pike. A wonderful breakfast/brunch place.
  • Wings To Go, 1463 Atwood Ave. A restaurant specializing in chicken wings.
  • Noble House, 1463 Atwood Ave. A Chinese restaurant.


  • Ribs and Company 1383 Atwood Ave +1 401-944-1532. This restaruant specializing in barbecued ribs has a nice outdoor bar with entertainment during the summer.
  • Bishop Hill Tavern 2868 Hartford Ave, +1 401-934-0097. This is your typical neighborhood bar with a twist. The food is amazing! If you are feeling a bit shy entering a bar for dinner, they offer a dining room in the back but it is usually empty. There is something about the chatter of the neighborhood folks at the end of a long day, the ball games on the TV, the dart board on the wall and the keno screen that draws even the most reluctant visitors.


  • Skyview Motor Inn 2880 Hartford Ave +1 401-934-1188. A classic American motel. Nightly rate is $60.00. Nothing fancy here, but if you are looking to save money and just need a place to sleep, this is a good choice.


Go next[edit]

Johnston is a good choice if you need a central location, a cheap room and some good food while touring Rhode Island and nearby states. Providence is 15 minutes away, Hartford Connecticut is 60 minutes and Boston 90 minutes.

Routes through Johnston
AttleboroSmithfield  N I-295.svg S  CranstonWarwick
HartfordScuituate  W US 6.svg E  Providence

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