Pawtucket is Rhode Island's fourth largest city. It sits directly north of Providence, and the two city's bordering residential areas form a contiguous and nearly indistinguishable common area.
The Blackstone River dominates Pawtucket's geography and its history. Pawtucket Falls--where the freshwater Blackstone River becomes the brackish Pawtucket River, the uppermost reaches of Narragansett Bay--defines Pawtucket's epicenter, dividing the city's four quadrants. And it was on the Blackstone just above Pawtucket Falls that Moses Brown and Samuel Slater created Slater Mill, the cotton spinning factory that launched the Industrial Revolution in the United States.
Except for Oak Hill, the largest of the slopes that contain the Blackstone River, and Cobble Hill in the northwest corner near Lincoln, Pawtucket consists of plains. I-95 and the adjacent train tracks largely define the eastern half of the northern border while Ten Mile River's almost imperceptible valley defines the eastern border with Seekonk, Massachusetts. The western half of the northern border as well as the southern and western borders are largely artificial.
Pawtucket's neighborhoods are largely divided by the Blackstone River (primarily clockwise, from the southwest):
- Oak Hill - the rise that separates Providence, Pawtucket, the Moshassuck River and the Seekonk River
- Woodlawn - the plain northwest of Oak Hill, between the Seekonk and Moshassuck
- Fairlawn??? - Moshassuck River valley west of the railroad tracks, including the lower slopes of Cobble Hill
- Lonsdale??? - plains north of Downtown to the Central Falls city line, west of the Blackstone
- Downtown - the dense, hilly area primarily west of Pawtucket Falls
- Quality Hill - hilltop area directly northeast of Pawtucket Falls
- Woodbine??? - plains east of the Blackstone and north of Armistice Boulevard
- Darlington - plains east of Industrial Highway to the Ten Mile River