Get to Know Newark

We’ve been lucky to call Newark home of the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival since 2010. This city has a long, rich history and is buzzing with creativity and community.

We're sad that we won't be in Newark to celebrate our ten year anniversary there. Due to the ongoing unpredictability of the covid-19 pandemic, we are hosting the 2020 Festival entirely online.

But we will be highlighting and sharing some of Newark's gems throughout the virtual Festival, and we hope that during our next Festival you'll check them out in person! 

If you’ve never been to Newark before, or haven’t done too much exploring there, we hope you’ll find this page useful. Here, you'll find some must-see’s and resources to help you stay up-to-date on all of the exciting things going on in the city. You might even want to hop on a walking tour of Newark, like those offered by Have You Met Newark?

Check out Yes Newark's "Welcome to Newark" video to get started!


Already know what you're looking for? Jump down to the category you want:

Arts & Performance  •  Food  •  Fun & Games  •  Green Space  •  History & Community  •  Museums  •  Poetry  •  Travel


Art & Performances

Newark has long been home to incredible, beautiful, cutting edge art, from jazz music to murals. We couldn’t possibly list all of the places to experience art in the city, but here are a few places to start:

  • Visit Clement’s Place for monthly jazz sessions.
  • Stop by Express Newark where “artists and community residents collaborate, experiment and innovate” in the Newark Print Shop, Shine Portrait Studio, Community Media Center, and more, all housed in the historic and newly beautifully renovated Hahne & Company Building.
  • Gallery Aferro “is a platform for the exchange of ideas in service of advancing human dignity and beauty, with a focus on visual arts as the vehicle, proudly located in Newark, NJ.”
  • Try taking a class at Glassroots Studio, where you can learn the arts of glassblowing, torchwork, and even how to work with mosaics.
  • New Jersey Performing Arts Center is a world-class venue that hosts exciting performances year-round, from the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra to beloved vocalists, comedians, dancers, and, of course, poets! Visit their events page to see what’s coming up on their calendar.
  • PES Studios, connected to Newark Penn Station by an indoor above-ground walkway, features a curated residency program, rotating gallery exhibits and rentable artist studios and workspaces. The PES exhibition space was designed “to host socially engaging exhibitions and community programs to cultivate critical social dialogues.”
  • Of course, Prudential Center arena hosts lots of big acts, bars and restaurants, New Jersey’s largest beer garden, and the Grammy Museum.

To learn about the Newark arts scene, visit the Newark Arts Council, and be sure to check out the Newark Arts Festival at the beginning of October!

For a list of the many Festivals bringing art, music, food and fun to Newark throughout the year, including the Afrobeat Festival, Latin Festival, Portugal Day Festival, and the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, visit Newark Happening’s Events page.


Oh boy. This is a tough one. There are so many places to go for great eats in Newark! Here are just a few suggestions:

For coffee and tea: Black Swan Espresso, Intrinsic Cafe, TM Ward Coffee

For lunch: Anabella’s KitchenBurger WallaO’lala EmpanadasThe Green Chicpea

For dinner: BlazeDinosaur Bar-B-QueMarcus B&Ppretty much any restaurant in the Ironbound!

For drinks: Hell’s Kitchen LoungeKilkenny Ale HouseMompou Tapas Wine Bar and LoungeRedd’s Biergarten 

For vegan food: Blueberry Cafe and The Zucchini Bar

Also, be sure to check out the Washington Park Farmers Market for lots of fresh, delicious food.

Visit our Dining page for more options.

Fun & Games

Barcade: The Original Arcade Bar is a super fun place to spend happy hour. With lots of craft beers on tap, drinks specials for days, yummy food and tons of classic arcade video and pinball games to choose from, you won’t get bored here!

Visit the Branch Brook Park Roller Skating Center, where admission is just $2 and a pair rental skates is $4. 

CityPlex12 offers $6.50 admission to all shows on Tuesdays! This 12-screen theatre in the heart of the Central Ward features first-class digital projection with 3D, stadium seating and Dolby Digital.

Fortress of Solitude comic book shop is “where heroes go.” Stop by to pick up the latest issue in your favorite series or browse the impressive collection of movies, toys and games.

Are you a hockey fan? Then you already know that Newark is the place to go for hockey in New Jersey! Grab a sweatshirt and catch the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Green Space

Branch Brook Park: The country’s first county park is home to the largest collection of cherry blossom trees in the U.S. The Cherry Blossom Festival at Branch Brook every April is a beautiful celebration of spring. During the summer months, Essex County’s Summer Music series brings free concerts to parks around the region, including Branch Brook. You can access Branch Brook Park from downtown by car or via the Newark Light Rail.

Lincoln Park is home to the annual Lincoln Park Musical Festival, which features not only live jazz, gospel, house and hip-hop performances, but also games and storytelling for kids and families and a healthy lifestyle pavilion. You can learn more by visiting the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District website.

Military Park: Located right across the street from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Military Park offers programming that includes tai chi, yoga, dance, kickball, tech talks, art classes, music and theatrical performances and more. Check out the Military Park programming calendar, spend some quiet time in the Reading Room area, and bring the little ones in your life for a spin on the carousel.

Riverfront Park: This waterfront park along the Passaic River offers many opportunities for recreation, with a soccer field, baseball field, tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds, a spray park and walking paths.

Weequahic Park, located in the south ward of Newark, was designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm in 1901 and housed the first public golf course in New Jersey. You can find out more about this park's history here. Today, the park features the largest lake in Essex County, as well as many playgrounds, jogging trails and athletic fields and courts.

History & Community

The Newark History Society hosts free events open to the public at spaces including NJPAC, the New Jersey Historical Society and the Newark Public Library. Some of their upcoming events include “Martin Luther King, Newark, and the Cool Spring of 1968” and “Sarah ‘Sassy’ Vaughan: the Life and Legacy of Newark’s Own.”

On the Festival footprint, right across the street from Military Park, the New Jersey Historical Society is a “quiet space” during the Dodge Poetry Festival, but it’s also much more. Check out their list of Current Exhibitions, including “Ebb and Flow: New Jersey and Its Rivers” and “NEWARK: Revolution to Revival 1967 to 2017.”

The historic building of the Newark Public Library houses new, educational and fun programs and exhibits throughout the year. Visit to admire the architecture, catch up on your reading, and check out exhibits like “Newark: A Pictorial History.”


Grammy Museum: This exciting new museum opened in October of 2017 at the Prudential Center. The Grammy Museum’s mission is to “explore and celebrate the enduring legacies of all forms of music; the creative process; the art and technology of the recording process; and the history of the GRAMMY Awards®, with a focus on the continuing achievements of New Jersey-born artists.”

Jewish Museum of New Jersey: This 501(c)(3) non-profit is housed at the oldest continually active synagogue in Newark. A visit to Congregation Ahavas Sholom will give you a peek at over 400 years of Jewish history in New Jersey, home to half a million Jewish residents. 

Newark Museum: The Newark Museum is New Jersey’s largest museum. Alongside its extensive collection of art from around the world, this museum features a Planetarium and a “MakerSPACE” where visitors can drop in and experiment with tools and materials of artists. For adults, Late Thursdays at the Museum are creatively inspired social evenings that offer a fresh take on the Museum’s captivating collections, through a dynamic mix of music, food, drinks, art, and entertainment.


Newark is a city of poetry, with a thriving reading and open mic scene. Check it out and get inspired:

  • EvoluCulture Open Mic
  • People’s Open Mic: Every last Wednesday of the month from 7-9pm at Gallery Aferro (73 Market St., Newark, NJ)
  • Brick City Collective, @BrickCitySpeaks on Twitter: Every third Wednesday of the month from 7-8pm at Newark Public Library (5 Washington St., Newark, NJ)

And don't forget—October is Newark Poetry Month!

Traveling to, from and around Newark

Whether you’re visiting from another town in New Jersey or flying in from a different state or country, Newark has public transportation options to help you get where you need to go, and many public parking lots.

Check out our Transportation page for more information about getting to and around Newark.


Newark Happening is an amazing resource for staying connected to what’s happening around the city and where to go on any given day. Visit their website to find out where to go and what to do in Newark today!

Did you know?