Riverwalk & Waterplace Park
Memorial Blvd., Steeple and Exchange Sts.
Submitted by: Lisa Palmer
Once covered by the "world's widest bridge," the Providence River downtown is now enlivened by year-round public art and cultural events - including the famed WaterFire installation.
Waterplace Park and the Riverwalk linked to it have a welcoming, well-thought-out design, which has become a focal point of the overall revitalization of Providence's downtown area. But what really makes these great places is the wealth of activities they host. Between the annual Convergence art festival, the WaterFire installation which runs on selected nights most of the year, the Summer Concert Series, and long-term installations of public art, there's always something going on - and all of these events are FREE.
What Makes Riverwalk & Waterplace Park a Great Place?
Plenty of nearby parking makes this place a starting point for people to circulate through downtown Providence while linking the affluent neighborhood of East Side Providence with downtown and creating a plaza. Walkers on the paths, bikers, joggers, artists sketching the city all can be seen here daily.
The images is safe, clean, well-planned - and contemporary, yet not so avant-garde that people are afraid to be there. There's something for everyone. Even hotdogs and chips ($1.00 and .50, respectively)!
Art, parks, sculpture, people walking there to/from dinner.
There's nothing like looking at sculpture and interacting with someone who may be so unlike you in background, race, economics, yet the art is central to discussion between strangers.
History & Background
Built in 1994, Waterplace Park and Riverwalk are situated at the foot of the State Capitol hill. It was created by rerouting the Providence River and removing paving - the "world's widest bridge" - that for decades had covered it over. The paving was replaced by several real bridges inspired by those in Venice, making the river a downtown focal point once again.
Office of Cultural Affairs; 401-621-1992
- WaterFire Success Story - from Urban Parks Online
- Public art in Providence - An "Ask the Expert" session from Urban Parks Online
- Capitol Arts Providence - An organization that helps produce many of the free public art events in Providence
- WaterFire Providence - more information about the WaterFire event, including schedules