Newark, N.J., is worth a second look, or a first glance if you haven't checked out this amazing city. While New Jersey’s largest metropolis has been stuck with a negative reputation, it's full of individuals and groups working diligently to improve their city and make it a great place to live and visit, while maintaining all the positive features that have been here all along. Newark is home to many proud residents who are quick to tell you that they love where they live. Below, check out nine great things about living in Newark, NJ.
1. Dodge Poetry Festival
Many people are surprised to learn that the country’s largest poetry event is held in Newark. The Dodge Poetry Festival has included readings by U.S. Poets Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel Laureates. Billy Collins, Richard Blanco, Sharon Olds and Robert Pinsky are just a few of the heavy-hitters from the poetry world who have participated in the festival, also known as “Wordstock.”
2. Branch Brook Park
With 4,300 Japanese cherry trees, Branch Brook Park has the largest collection of cherry blossoms in the U.S. The Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual celebration in the park. Designed by the Olmsted brothers, Branch Brook was the first county park established in the U.S., and today it offers miles of trails, as well as a roller skating rink, ball fields and courts, historic sites, and one of the nation’s largest cathedrals.
3. Newark Museum
You don’t need to head to Manhattan to find a good museum. The Newark Museum, the Garden State’s largest, includes a planetarium, the Ballantine Victorian mansion and sculpture gardens, along with collections of American and international masters and the ancient world.
4. Vibrant Dining Scene
Restaurants serving up every dish imaginable can be found throughout Newark. The Ironbound district alone has nearly 200 restaurants offering foods such as Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian, barbecue, sushi and new American dishes.
5. Prudential Center
Home of the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils, the downtown Newark Prudential Center hosts about 200 events each year, including Seton Hall Pirate’s men’s basketball games, the New Jersey Rockets Youth Hockey Association games, concerts and other activities.
6. Newark Arts Council
Newark Arts Council is working to make the community stronger by bringing the transformative power of the arts to locals through exhibits and events such as the Open Door Citywide Arts Fest, which celebrates Newark’s unique and diverse contributions to the arts and to American culture.
7. Proximity to New York City
At just eight miles from the Big Apple, Newark is a short drive or public transportation ride from everything that New York City has to offer.
8. The Newark Boys Chorus School
This academy for middle school boys has performed locally and throughout the world at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. While maintaining a commitment to academic excellence and musical education since 1969, the Newark Boys Chorus School has won numerous awards and accolades.
9. Proximity to Major Airports
If you need to go somewhere, Newark is close to several major airports. In 1928, Newark Liberty International Airport was the first major airport in the metropolitan area, and today it serves the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania markets. Railways and shuttles transport passengers throughout the Tri-city area and to LaGuardia Airport and JFK International Airport.