Providence's signature event is WaterFire, an award-winning fire sculpture installation on the three rivers in downtown Providence. Created by local artist Barnaby Evans, WaterFire has become a must-see for visitors.
WaterFire centers around a series of nearly 100 bonfires that blaze just above the surface of the three rivers that pass through the middle of downtown Providence. The string of fires illuminates nearly two-thirds of a mile of urban public spaces and parks, as residents and visitors gather to stroll along the river, listening to music and watching performances. Boats pass quietly before the flames, as black-clad performers tend the fires from sunset to midnight.
WaterFire is an experience that surrounds viewers on all sides and impacts all five senses. The crackling flames, the scent of blazing cedar and pine, the flickering firelight on the arched bridges, the silhouettes of the fire tenders, the flotilla of performers traveling along the river in torch-lit vessels, and the extraordinary music from all over the world engage all of the senses and evoke emotions from the many thousands who come to stroll along the river walks.
WaterFire is held May through November, typically on Saturday evenings about twice a month. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. More information is available at WaterFire.org.
Thinking about dining at a restaurant along the WaterFire route during the event? Cafe Nuovo, The Capital Grille, Hemenway's and Jacky's Waterplace all have great river views. Be sure to make your reservations at least one week in advance, as tables with a view fill up quickly. There are also plenty of great restaurants just off the WaterFire route, but still within an easy walking distance. Check out a complete list of Providence restaurants.