Historic streets lined with cute shops in a relaxing waterfront setting are standard issue in any coastal vacation town. But Newport does it better than most, because here, a few of those atmospheric streets are actually functioning wharfs extending into Newport Harbor.
The big ones are Bowen’s Wharf and Bannister’s Wharf. Both offer plenty of shopping and dining options, not to mention refreshing views of the water. You can also find accommodations and boat cruises here.
Both of the large wharfs (along with many smaller ones) are perpendicular to Thames Street, where you can continue to ramble, browse, eat, and drink for hours.