Woonsocket is the 6th largest city in Rhode Island and the northernmost major population center. With less than eight square miles of area, Woonsocket has a population density over 5,300 people per mi2, making it one of Rhode Island's true urban environments.
The Blackstone River Valley dominates Woonsocket's geography, bisecting the city. The Blackstone's steep gorge cuts a sharp ox-bow that contains the city's downtown district, and the river valley's hilly terrain creates many distinct neighborhood within Woonsocket's relatively small area. Just above the ox-bow, the architecturally-enhanced Thundermist Falls includes flood control equipment that regulates the flow of water as well as the inlet for the Thundermist Hydroelectric generating station.
Some of Woonsocket's neighborhoods were originally distinct mill villages that banded together to incorporate the city in 1888. Neighborhoods include:
- Downtown (Woonsocket Falls)
Like many Rhode Island cities and town, Woonsocket once hosted a thriving industrial economy, powered by the Blackstone River. Today, few mills remain. The city's largest and best-known company is CVS, the national pharmacy chain with headquarters in an industrial park on the Woonsocket/Cumberland border.
Woonsocket is known for a strong influence of French and French Canadian culture that remains from the heyday of the mills. Today, the city has a diverse population with a range of cultural influences from South and Central America, Southeast Asia and Africa in addition to its historic European heritage.
Woonsocket is home to the Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Center.