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Newark is New Jersey’s largest city, and the arrival point for most visitors to the Garden State. It’s a historic city, the third to be founded in North America, and retains a handful of 18th century buildings. Newark was once described as New York’s tougher big brother – the two cities are only eight miles away – but nowadays it has a revitalised cultural scene. You can find superb museums, theatres and contemporary dance performances in Newark and some magical architecture. In spring, Newark becomes one of the prettiest cities in the USA when its 4,300 cherry trees bloom. Well worth a visit.
Downtown — The original settlement of Newark has become the central business district and this is the place to find its big cultural venues: watch contemporary dance in the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre, listen to orchestras at the Newark Symphony Hall, reach into history at the New Jersey Historical Society or catch some games at “The Rock” – the local nickname for the Prudential Centre, an ice hockey and basketball arena.
Ironbound — The former metalworking industry gave this district its name, but now Ironbound is best known as a heavily Portuguese neighbourhood. Life here revolves around Ferry Street with plenty of opportunities to eat out at a churrascaria steak house or drink Brazilian-style. Stock up on street fashion or find a football fan – there’s a vibrant atmosphere in Ironbound.
Forest Hill — In the 19th Century, Forest Hill was the place for rich Newarkers to come and the rich, ornate housing in the area give it an unusual character. Branch Brook Park is here, a sprawling 360 acre park with 4,300 cherry trees which festoon the parkland with blossom each April.
Newark Museum is a major highlight for visitors and it could take days to properly explore its 80 galleries. You’ll find the best collection of Tibetan art in the West, and superb examples of American modernist art. Check out some of the historic buildings including the 18th century Plume House and Sydenham House, while the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart is also a delight. Being the biggest city in the Garden State, Newark also boasts a generous amount of open space to explore. The cherry blossoms of Branch Brook Park are a wonderful sight in Spring, but the park is a great place to come at all times of year – the naturalistic woodlands and meadows are great to escape into.
For a culture fix, try the Symphony Hall or the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre: it regularly hosts some of the biggest talents in contemporary arts, ranging from theatre and poetry to dance and music. For a shopping expedition, go to The Outlet Collection which is New Jersey’s biggest shopping mall. Sports fans will take the chance to cheer on ice hockey team the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Centre or watch some of America’s top recording artists in concert. For restaurants, head downtown for upmarket cuisine and a sparkling range of food, or visit Ironbound for a taste of Portugal or Brazil.