If you're going to Providence for a visit... And you go to a chain restaurant fail.
Lots of cool small restaurants on Thayer Street (college type crowd).
If you want Italian.. Federal Hill (which most of the restaurants are on Atwells Ave)
(Caserta Pizza is slamming)
If you want to go to the beach for like.. Beach beach, The Newport beaches smell bad.
But lots of nice restaurants/things to do in Newport but it can be pricey.
Check out Naragansett Beach and head down to Point Judith. (Georges has the best Clamcakes & Rhode Island Chowder)
If you're looking for a nice drive, head down RT 6 Bear right onto RT 101. A ways down take a right onto RT 94. Then take a Left onto RT 44 which will eventually take you to I395. Take I395 south back to RT 6. It's not a long drive, but it's scenic and quiet great for a spirited drive.
Also as spc2125 stated Writes Chicken Farm which is on RT 102. If you take RT 146N out of Providence then take RT 102. Fantastic family style dinner. Salad, french fries, Pasta w/ Gravy (red sauce), and fall off the bone chicken.
Also Take SubOperator's knowledge... It's very accurate.
But really, if you go to a chain restaurant instead of a local one you're REALLY missing out.
Hope the weather is nice. Enjoy your time up here!