Top choice street carnival in Providence

Particularly during summer, much of downtown Providence transforms into a carnivalesque festival thanks to the exceedingly popular WaterFire art installation created by Barnaby Evans in 1994. Marking the convergence of the Providence, Moshassuck and Woonasquatucket Rivers, 100 anchored, flaming braziers illuminate the water, overlooked by crowds of pedestrians strolling over the bridges and along the landscaped riverside.

All the gazing and making out is accompanied by live (and canned) music, outdoor stages hosting theatrical performances, public ballroom dancing (you can join in) and a few ostentatious gondolas that drift by the pyres. The landscaped cobblestone paths of the Riverwalk lead along the Woonasquatucket River to Waterplace Park's central pool and fountain, overlooked by a stepped amphitheater.

WaterFire occurs about 15 times a year from April to November and begins at sunset. A schedule is posted on the website. Occasionally there's a lighting around Christmas or the New Year.