Newark, NJ is one of the oldest cities in the United States with a rich history. You can experience this history through the delicious cuisine and exquisite art scene.
While Newark could keep you busy for a lifetime, a weekend trip is a great way to dive into the culture and experience the energy of this great city.
Are you planning to fly into the Newark airport? Plan to spend a few days exploring the city! Read our list of 7 things to do in Newark, NJ.
1. Start With the Food
On any trip, we all know the first thing to figure out is where to eat. Well, you’re in luck because Newark is a cultural melting pot where the dining options are of infinite variety.
The Ironbound District has more than 170 restaurants and offers a culinary experience like no other. Here you can find Portuguese, Spanish, and Brazilian food. In addition, this area is graced by Mexican, Central, and South American influences, making this a true culinary melting pot.
The Central Business District is another great destination for foodies when visiting new jersey. A few recommended visits are listed below:
- Fornos of Spain is a “must” when dining in New Jersey, according to multiple national magazines. Its fresh seafood and extensive wine cellar are a perfect spot for a memorable dining experience.
- Fernandes Steakhouse will be the spot for steak, pasta, and Brazilian cuisine.
- Mompou Tapas Bar brings the creative and energetic tapas culture of Spain to New Jersey. Offering small plates and crafty cocktails, it’s a lovely spot to relax during your time in Newark.
- Hobby’s Delicatessen & Restaurant is an old-fashioned Jewish cafe and offers Eastern-European delicacies.
2. Visit the Coffee Shops and Bakeries
Mornings in Newark are an experience in themselves. While strolling through these historic streets, makes sure to stop by the coffee shops and bakeries to refuel. Here are a few recommended spots:
- T.M. Ward Coffee celebrates 150 years in business, and tasting their freshly roasted coffee will let you know why. Other offerings at their general store include roasted nuts, dried fruits, and classic candies.
- Harvest Table is perfect for health-conscious and creative foodies alike. Offering many “create your own” options, it is perfect for everyone.
- Intrinsic Cafe is a cozy spot serving coffee, smoothies, and even sushi.
- Zaro’s Family Bakery will be your favorite spot to grab a pastry or coffee between trains at Penn Station.
3. Experience the Arts
Newark is home to a vibrant and thriving arts scene, and many museums and galleries are among the most popular things to do and see in New Jersey. Listed below are some must-see spots:
- The Newark Museum of Art is the largest in New Jersey and is a great option for experiencing the arts and culture that shaped Newark.
- The New Jersey Performing Arts Center is a great spot to view world-class performances. It also organizes free events and festivals across the city.
- Glass Roots is where you can get hands-on with the art scene of Newark. Here you can take classes, rent a studio or visit the glass art gallery.
4. Relax in the Parks
Newark has plenty of beautiful options, whether looking for walking and running trails or simply seeking a shady spot to enjoy a pastry. Here are a few parks to check out:
- Branch Brook Park is home to the largest collection of cherry blossoms and hosts the annual Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival.
- Independence Park offers athletic fields, basketball courts, and walking trails.
- Ivy Hill Park has many amenities, including baseball, soccer, and football fields, as well as a lighted basketball court.
5. Enjoy the Nightlife
If you’re looking for a memorable night out in the town, Newark won’t disappoint. Newark offers various options, from low-key spots to enjoy a cocktail to nightclubs when you’re in the mood to dance. Check out a few options below:
- Barcade is a great spot for food, drinks, and some classic arcade games.
- QXT’s Nightclub is New Jersey’s longest-running dance club and a great place to spend your Friday or Saturday night. As a dark, alternative club, be sure to dress accordingly.
- La Rouge Restaurant & Lounge is a relaxing spot to enjoy great food and drinks. La Rouge also hosts Vibes in the City, where you can enjoy local artists’ performances.
6. Shop in Newark
Your shopping experience in Newark will be like no other. Imported goods and handmade items are of great abundance here. Check out a few shopping options below:
- Unique Design Menswear offers high-end men’s apparel and accessories. Founded by Turkish tailors over 25 years ago, this shop is a piece of Newark history.
- Off The Hangar is an upscale consignment boutique that allows you to shop for your homes and wardrobe simultaneously.
- CS Cork Store is where you can find all things cork. This luxury designer offers cork handbags, satchels, and jewelry.
- The Mills at Jersey Gardens is New Jersey’s largest premium outlet mall. This mall houses 200 stores, including Coach, Kate Spade, Adidas, and much more.
7. Take a Tour
What a better way to explore and learn about a city and its culture than taking a tour. Tours offered in Newark range from art to food tours and everything in-between. Explore a few tour options below:
- Newark Walks is a free and interactive pedestrian tour of the city. Guided by the Newark Walks app, you can discover the rich history of Newark, New Jersey.
- Have You Met Newark Tours. On this walking tour, you will experience historical landmarks, churches, and local eateries.
- Let’s Roam Newark. This is an app-led scavenger hunt of Newark, blending competition and discovery.
Now You Know a Few Things to Do in Newark, NJ
Now that you know a few things to do in Newark, NJ, what are you waiting for? Book that weekend trip to visit Newark and experience this vibrant, historic city. For more travel tips or to save on airport parking, look to Vista Parking.