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Newark, NJ lies just eight miles west of New York City, on Newark Bay. It's the largest city in New Jersey—a buzzing, energetic metropolis that blends old-school, blue-collar neighborhoods with urban skyscrapers and notable institutions such as Rutgers University, the renowned Newark Museum and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). Newark is also a major sports hub, home to the New Jersey Devils NHL team and Seton Hall’s NCAA basketball team; in addition, the New York Red Bulls MLS team plays in nearby Harrison. Newark is a 25-minute train ride from New York City and an easy day trip to the Jersey Shore, which begins about 50 miles down the coast.
Reasons to Visit Newark
Newark Museums: Newark boasts a number of museums, including the Newark Museum, the state’s largest. Here, you can view collections of Asian, African and American art, a planetarium and interactive nature exhibits. Liberty Hall Museum showcases the birthplace of the Kean family, one of the state's most prominent political families. While not a museum proper, the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart is worth a visit for its architecture, intricate woodwork and marble finishes, and soaring stained glass windows.
Catch a Show: NJPAC, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, hosts dance performances, concerts and live theater productions. Enjoy a classical music concert from the tiered seating in Prudential Hall or opt for a tour of the center that includes sneak peeks at off-limits backstage areas.
NJ Eats in Newark: New Jersey is known for its long-standing traditional delis. While you’re in town, take a trip to Hobby's Delicatessen, serving Jewish classics since 1962. Try the housemade pickled corned beef or potato pancakes. Also make time to sample the Portuguese cuisine of the Ironbound District. In the 1960s, the Ironbound was settled by waves of Iberian immigrants from Spain and Portugal, joined later by Brazilians. The many restaurants along Ferry Street (a short hop from Newark Penn Station) serve the staples of this Mediterranean cuisine: fresh seafood, paellas and rodizio (mixed grill).
Outdoor Activities Around Newark
Branch Brook Park: Right next door to the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, one and a half miles north of downtown, Branch Brook Park is the nation's oldest county park, established in 1895. The park is dotted with more than 4,300 cherry trees, the largest collection in the United States. Shuttle tours of the park, which spans 360 acres, are available.
A Day at the Shore: About 50 miles south of Newark begins the 141-mile long iconic Jersey Shore. You can cool off with a swim, stroll along the boardwalks (Asbury Park is a favorite), and play mini-golf or arcade games. Try Sea Bright Municipal Beach for beaches with lifeguards, restrooms and a pier.
Day Trippin': NYC from Newark
Newark is just across the Hudson River from New York City, so it's a great opportunity to leave your Newark hotel and spend a day seeing the NYC sights. The PATH train departs Newark Penn Station, and a 25-minute ride deposits you at the World Trade Center station, just steps from One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial.
When to Visit Newark
Newark winters can be bracingly cold, with snowstorms (nor’easters) that blanket the area with snow. When warm spring arrives, locals and travelers flock to enjoy outdoor attractions, such as Branch Brook Park’s abundant cherry blossoms. The best time to see them in bloom is in April, when the annual Cherry Blossom Festival takes place.
Summer highs average in the 80s, but the drier heat allows you to still enjoy this season of free NJPAC concerts.
Newark Travel Tip
Head out from your Newark Country Inns & Suites hotel to Halsey Street near Military Park to find galleries such as City Without Walls, along with local restaurants and shops.