Johnston (Rhode Island)

Johnston is a town in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States.


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 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 the highest population of Italians in the State of Rhode Island.

The town is struggling in recent months with the Central Landfill over disturbing odors which have gone unresolved since early summer of 2011. While not constant or consistent across different areas of the town, visitors should be advised of the issue and check current updates before visiting.

Johnston is part of the Providence- Fall River- Warwick metropolitan statistical area (MSA). It is located in the Providence county area, and is four miles North West of Cranston, Rhode Island, and 43 miles South West of Boston, Massachusetts. The population of Johnston is about 28,195 people. Johnston was originally 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. Johnston is very famous for it’s landfill. The landfill is the only one in the state of Rhode Island and is often 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!

Get in

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

Public transportation options inJohnston 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(Planfield), 27(Manton/Greenville), and 28(Hartford) from Kennedy plaza takes you into different areas of Johnston.


Central Landfill 65 Shun Pike. 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.


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 Lanes on Atwood Ave. 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 located at 1463 Atwood Ave., Johnston, Rhode Island. Visit their official website for more information on availability and more!

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 cannolli's 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 5 pm. 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 Avenue, Johnston,  +1 401 274-2211. At one time Yorker shoes was the only places 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. 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. 401-273-1444 This is a nice family restaurant with huge portions and homemade pasta's.

D. Palmieri’s Bakery, 624 Killingly Street, Johnston,  +1 401 621-9357. One of the most popular bakeries in Johnston. D. Palmieri’s bakery has recently needed to build a new building to put their bakery in, since their old one was in a fire. During the period without the bakery, many people were disappointed and missed eating the delicious food. The new building is beautiful, with 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, Johnston,  +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, Johnston,  +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 Johnston, RI 02919-3263,  +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! Visit either of their two Johnston locations both located on Atwood Avenue! Visit 1395 Atwood Avenue or 1387 Atwood Avenue.

Sundaes Ice Cream: Sundaes is a great ice cream place for people of all ages! Stop by and 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 located in Cranston. Visit their website for more details

The English Muffin: The English Muffin is a wonderful breakfast/brunch place located at 1989 Plainfield Pike, Johnston, Rhode Island!

Wings To Go: Wings To Go is a restaurant specializing in chicken wings! It is located at 1463 Atwood Avenue.

Noble House: Noble House is a Chinese Restaurant located at 1463 Atwood Avenue.

J & D’s Restaurant: This restaurant is a wonderful family restaurant to sit down for a family night out! Take the kids and chose from their wonderful children’s menu. Come at any time to enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desert at J & D’s! J & D’s is located at 46 Putnam Pike, Johnston, Rhode Island. Visit their website for more information


Ribs and Company 1383 Atwood Ave 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, 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 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.

Bel-Air Motor Inn 2154 Hartford Avenue, Johnston, RI 02919 +1 401 934-9889

Go next

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 Ct. is 60 minutes and Boston 90 minutes.

Routes through Johnston

Attleboro Smithfield  N  S  Cranston Warwick

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