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Newark, USA: The Gateway City
The city of Newark is primarily famous due to its proximity to New York City, but it is a bustling metropolis in its own right. In fact, Newark is the largest city in the state of New Jersey and has plenty of activities present to keep visitors busy, no matter their interests.
Those who arrive in Newark, which is home to a major international airport, won’t want to leave the city without exploring its unique history and culture first, and since many of the city’s attractions are close to the airport, doing so isn’t at all a chore.
Catch a Sporting Event
Two professional sports teams make their homes in Newark: the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the MLS’ New York Red Bulls. While the Red Bulls are technically a New York team, Red Bull Arena sits in the town of Harrison, New Jersey, which is right across the river from Newark. The Devils play at the Prudential Center, a multi-purpose arena that was once home to the NBA’s New Jersey Nets before they moved to Brooklyn. The building hosts numerous concerts and events throughout the year and is the centre of a busy district that features dining, music, entertainment, and hotels.
When staying in Newark, it is also simple to catch a game at MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets, since the stadium sits just north of the city in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Because Manhattan is so close and doesn’t have much free space, Newark and its surrounding area have become an extension of New York City.
Experience an Annual Festival
Because Newark is such a diverse location, plenty of cultural festivals take place annually. Every September, the Brazilian Festival takes place in the city, while in June, the Portugal Day Festival is held. Other annual events dedicated to cultural groups in the city include Newark PrideFest, the Newark Black Film Festival, and the African American Heritage Festival.
Of course, not every festival in Newark has to do with ethnic origin, as the Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place in April, features the nation’s largest collection of cherry blossoms. July’s Lincoln Park Music Festival attracts 50,000 visitors to the city and features multiple genres of music, while the TD James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival celebrates the history of jazz in the city.
Visit an Art Gallery or Museum
Although New York gets much of the attention for its art scene, Newark holds its own in this regard. City Without Walls (cWOW) is an urban gallery that celebrates the contributions of local artists and is open daily to the public, while Gallery Aferro features performances and exhibitions from artists from all over the country. When looking for something to do outside of the hotel during the day, the art scene is certainly worth a look.
Also worth noting is the Newark Museum, which is the largest museum in the state and is a location where guests can easily spend an entire day. In fact, this museum is regarded as one of the greatest in the country due to its aggregations of Tibetan art and examples of American Modernism. The museum is also home to 80 different art collections from all over the world.
Head to a Park
Since New Jersey is referred to as the Garden State, it makes sense that its largest city would have a significant concentration of parks. Branch Brook Park is the most famous in Newark, as it is home to over 4,000 cherry trees and was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed Central Park in New York City. It is also the oldest county park in the entire country. Riverfront Park is quite popular, as it sits right along the Passaic River and provides outstanding views at night.
Military Park is an outdoor museum that is home to some of the state’s most important points of interest. The area in which this park sits was once a training ground for soldiers during the American Revolution and is also where Thomas Edison first used electric lights in public. Monuments in the park reflect these historic occurrences.
Sample the Cuisine
No holiday to Newark is complete without trying some local food, and the best place to do this is in Ironbound. The Ironbound district is home to over 170 restaurants and features cuisine from all over the world. Since Newark has vibrant Brazilian, Portuguese, and Spanish communities, food from these parts of the world is common.
Another great place to try some local restaurants in Newark is the Halsey Street area. While this part of town isn’t as vibrant as Ironbound, it is centrally located and within walking distance of the Prudential Center, Military Park, and multiple hotels.