Winter, spring, summer and fall, Rhode Island hosts annual events that are inspiring, iconic and entertaining.
Providence Restaurant Weeks
One of America’s hottest food cities (Travel + Leisure mag’s opinion, as well as others’!) must host show-stopping Restaurant Weeks, and Providence does – in January and July. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a restaurant in the city that doesn’t participate with special menus and dining offers. It’s the ideal excuse to try a new place or return to an old favorite.
Providence Children's Film Festival
This annual February festival showcases the best of independent and international cinema geared to an audience of future film aficionados. The Festival's films bring joy, inspiration and often education to a diverse community of children and families. In addition to screenings, the Providence Children's Film Festival offers filmmaking workshops, presentations, and interactive activities to help deepen the film-watching experience.
This iconic event has helped put Providence on the top destinations map with its installations of bonfires lit along the middle of the city’s rivers. Locals and tourists alike come out on certain nights from May through November to revel in the sights, sounds and smells – golden embers, mystical music, performing artists and of course, lots of food. Artist Barnaby Evans, who created WaterFire almost 30 years ago, has been internationally recognized for this unique celebration.
Rhode Island PrideFest and Parade
Providence is proud to be one of the top destinations for LGBT tourists in part because Rhode Island Pride works so hard to advocate for the rights of their community. This annual weekend-long event, held in June, celebrates the culture, art, music and diversity of the local and regional LGBT population with concerts, bar and club events, and a nighttime illuminated parade as colorful and fun as any you’ve ever seen.
Festival of Historic Houses
The Providence Preservation Society celebrates the city’s gorgeous architectural gems, some dating to the 1600s, with this annual June festival. The tour provides a rare opportunity to step inside historic properties and learn about their origins and inhabitants while viewing firsthand the modern day living spaces – indoor and out – in these prized, preserved places.
Independence Day Celebration
In an invigorating display of patriotism the Rhode Island Philharmonic Summer Pops perform an outdoor concert each July Fourth at India Point Park in Providence. Pull up a blanket on the lawn by the water and enjoy the music, food trucks, street performers and more, and cap it all off with a grand fireworks display.
Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival
This week-long August event is the largest public film festival in New England and a qualifying event for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences and the British Academy of Television and Film Arts awards. The festival welcomes entries from Rhode Island and throughout the world and showcases the films, with post-viewing lectures and events, across the city. For film lovers of all kinds, it’s a must-see.
The wooded walkways and paths of Roger Williams Park Zoo are transformed each October into a spooky and oh-so-cool venue for thousands of illuminated pumpkins. Each jack-o-lantern is artistically and meticulously carved into the likeness of celebrities, scenes and scary Halloween designs. The event is the perfect way to get into the spirit of Halloween and enjoy the autumn harvest.
Rhode Island Comic Con
This fun three-day event is Rhode Island's premier toy, comic book, media and collectibles event. Held in November, it attracts thousands of eager fans of everything from “Star Trek” to “Star Wars.” Dozens of celebrities are featured at meet-and-greet and photo-op events, lectures and parties. Many attendees come in costume, making the people watching spectacular!