Model updating can be considered as a branch of optimization problems in which calibration of the finite element (FE) model is undertaken by comparing the modal properties of the actual structure with these of the FE predictions. The attainment of a global solution in a multi dimensional search space is a challenging problem. The nature-inspired algorithms have gained increasing attention in the previous decade for solving such complex optimization problems. This study applies the novel Firefly Algorithm (FA), a global optimization search technique, to a dynamic model updating problem. This is to the authors' best knowledge the first time FA is applied to model updating. The working of FA is inspired by the flashing characteristics of fireflies. Each firefly represents a randomly generated solution which is assigned brightness according to the value of the objective function. The physical structure under consideration is a full scale cable stayed pedestrian bridge with composite bridge deck. Data from dynamic testing of the bridge was used to correlate and update the initial model by using FA. The algorithm aimed at minimizing the difference between the natural frequencies and mode shapes of the structure. The performance of the algorithm is analyzed in finding the optimal solution in a multi dimensional search space. The paper concludes with an investigation of the efficacy of the algorithm in obtaining a reference finite element model which correctly represents the as-built original structure.