Visiting Newark - What to See and Do
(Newark Liberty International Airport EWR, USA)
It may live in the shadow of mighty Manhattan, but New Jersey's city of Newark has plenty of history of its own to crow about. This is New Jersey's most affluent city in terms of culture, with a downtown district largely unchanged since the beginning of the 20th century. Its Art Deco buildings now house an ever-growing collection of trendy restaurants, bars and boutiques.
Unless you are in Newark on specific business, it may be difficult to ascertain just what to do here. There are a few pleasant public parks, a couple of museums and lots of interesting historic architecture to admire. However, the city is a bit threadbare in terms of world-class tourist attractions, like those found some 8 miles / 13 km east in Manhattan.
Highlights aside, Newark offers a great dining scene, and plenty of local shopping and bars to enjoy. The Portuguese and Brazilian community is very strong here, so be sure to indulge in their cuisine. Best of all, New York City
and all its magic is just a quick hop over a bridge.
Ten things you must do in Newark
- One of the prettiest parks in the city is the Branch Brook Park. It is particularly radiant in spring, when more than 4,000 cherry trees burst into bloom each April. It is reason enough to visit Newark, though its 360 acres / 146 hectares of rolling meadows are great at any time of year.
- Perhaps the city's most impressive building is the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, a French Gothic beauty that was constructed more than a century ago. Its 200 large stained-glass windows and 14 Italian bells create quite an image for the downtown district. As North America's fourth-largest cathedral, it hosts a number of important performances each year, in addition to its regular church services.
- Newark Museum encompasses some 80 different galleries focused on the arts and the sciences. It is more of a complex than a single building, with a small zoo, sculpture garden, planetarium and café also onsite. The museum is interesting enough to pass a few hours, though the grounds themselves are great for a stroll. On the property are attractions like the 1885 Ballantine House, a restored mansion that is now a National Historic Landmark.
- Check out who is performing at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Located in the heart of downtown Newark, it is the city's main venue when somebody big comes to town. From ballet and opera to rock concerts and theater, there is always something good scheduled at the center.
- Fans of science can visit the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, the site where the man relocated his laboratory in 1887. Onsite are the lab and the home where Edison did all his work on motion pictures, as well as important work on batteries and the phonograph.
- If you are visiting Newark specifically, do make time to take the train across the Hudson River to Manhattan. This icon of America is a breeze to reach by public transport. Here you can look at the new Freedom Tower site, cruise Wall Street and experience the original core of New York City several centuries ago.
- There are several noteworthy art galleries in Newark, and one of the edgiest is Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art. This is a great space to check out alternative art, often with a political angle. City Without Walls and Gallery Aferro are two other respected contemporary art galleries in the downtown district.
- Hockey fans can watch a professional NHL hockey match with the New Jersey Devils when they are in season during the winter. They play their home games at the Prudential Center on Mulberry Street, right in the heart of the city itself. Furthermore, the New York Jets play their games at Florham Park near Newark.
- To experience the trendy side of Newark, head down to the Ironbound District, where more than 170 bars, restaurants and entertainment venues await. This is a convenient place to eat some of the legendary South American cuisine that the city is famous for, or shop in one of its trendiest districts.
- New Jersey's largest outlet mall is located right on the outskirts of Newark. The Outlet Collection - Jersey Gardens is home to more than 200 brand-name retailers under one roof. A major attraction is the fact that shopping in New Jersey is tax free for shoes and clothing. There are also huge food courts, sit-down restaurants and a 20-screen movie theater with IMAX.