Also known as "Brick City", Newark is the largest metropolis in New Jersey. It is located a few miles from New York, from which the Jersey City peninsula separates it. It is the capital of Essex County and has a population of 282,529.
The city is an important crossroads; in fact, it is an important port city and is home to Newark Liberty International Airport, the second largest airport in the New York area in terms of traffic and volume of passengers passing through it every day.
While many people see Newark only as a passenger and goods stopover, the city actually offers plenty of tourist attractions. Newark is filled with historic sites, extensive parks, such as the one where George Washington camped with his army, and great restaurants serving specialties from around the world.
Spring is probably the best time to visit Newark when the many cherry trees that paint the city pink are blooming.
Newark is a city that satisfies every need, from fun to relaxation, from history to art, from science to nature.
Let's see what visitors and locals can do in the lovely town of Newark!
Branch Brook Park
Located in the North Ward of Newark, on Clifton Avenue, the 360 acres Branch Brook Park is the largest public park in Newark.
The park is famous for hosting the largest collection of cherry blossom trees in the United States, also known as Cherryblossomland. It counts over 4,300, divided into more than eighteen different varieties.
Each spring, this park offers an unforgettable natural spectacle, with its cherry blossom trees celebrated annually during the Cherry Blossom Festival in April.
The park was formally created in 1895, making it the nation's first county park. In 1900, the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted's firm, designer of Manhattan's Central Park, was hired to redesign the urban oasis.
Many activities can be done here, such as playing baseball, tennis, softball, attending concerts, watching movies, or just relaxing.
The Branch Brook Park Roller Skating Center features live music, a game area, and a cafe. It's a trendy site for private events like birthday parties. The park also features lakes, bridges, and sculptures.
On one side of the park is the splendid Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, a beautiful example of French-Gothic style.
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
The Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, located on Ridge Street in the Lower Broadway neighborhood, is the fifth-largest cathedral in North America.
Its construction began in 1899 and was finished in 1954. While the initial plan called for an English-Irish-Gothic church, the Basilica design was later revised in favor of a French-Gothic style.
In the distance, you can spot its 232 feet high towers and pointed 260 high feet spires, but it's when you get closer that you can admire its magnificence.
The facade is decorated with intricate carvings. The interior features wood panels and local marble inserts on the walls. Here, you will admire the Rose Window of 37 feet in diameter, one of the most beautiful and encompassing visual displays in the entire cathedral.
While inside, take a moment to enjoy how the light filters through the stained glass windows and reflects on the silver and bronze chandeliers.
The best way to appreciate the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is to attend one of the religious services or one of their concerts.
Located on Washington Street in Newark's Downtown Arts District, the Newark Museum of Art was established in 1909, and it's today the largest museum in New Jersey.
It is home to an extensive collection that includes decorative arts, contemporary art, American art, and arts of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and masterpieces of ancient art worldwide.
Noteworthy is the Tibetan Gallery, considered one of the world's best collections and contains a Buddhist altar consecrated by the Dalai Lama.
The Science Exhibit features more than 83,000 objects ranging from rare, exotic seashells and minerals to a mastodon skeleton and animal specimens. It also hosts the Alice and Leonard Dreyfuss full-dome Planetarium.
Military Park is a triangle-shaped park located in the heart of Newark. It is one of the most significant historical sites in the city since General Washington and his soldiers camped here during the retreat from British forces during the American Revolution.
The park also contains significant art masterpieces, such as the large war memorial "Wars of America", an enormous bronze sculpture featuring 42 humans and two horses set on a base of granite located in the southwestern area of the park, a sculpture by Mount Rushmore artist Gutzon Borglum, and an 1898 cannon dating from the Spanish-American War.
Military park is a lively green area where people can meet up to join special events, live music, or attend yoga or Zumba classes. There are also several events and programs for children and families.
New Jersey Historical Society and Museum
Located on Park Place across the street from Military Park, the New Jersey Historical Society was founded in 1845, and it's housed in the former headquarters of the Essex Club, a 1926 Georgian-style building listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The Historical Society space consists of two floors of exhibits, a hall for lectures, a gift shop, and a library reading room. The collections count on several historical pieces, like a letter by a New Jersey-born WWII soldier to a silver tankard crafted in 1767.
The Society offers Newark walking tours, education and family programs and publishes the New Jersey History, a notable academic journal.
Shows and Sports
For world-class performances, check the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Center Street in downtown Newark. It is the home of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and is one of the largest performing arts centers in the U.S.
Sports fans won't be disappointed when visiting Newark; the Prudential Center, also known as "The Rock", hosts major sporting events and music concerts, is home to the New Jersey Devils hockey team.
Nearby you can watch New York Red Bulls football games at the Red Bull Arena.