Newark: a city of Surprise
Although Newark is a small city, its parks and historic buildings equal those of larger rivals. Easily accessible green spaces such as Great Falls Branch Brook Park offer urbanites a quick escape from city life. The city’s Passaic River waterfront, in the midst of a renaissance, also provides a pleasant place to seek some tranquility. Newark’s collection of 1920s and 1930s buildings offer the amateur historian or architect a chance to study the city’s urban fabric from the early part of the 20th century – and in terms of buildings, the imposing Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, one of the largest neo-Gothic cathedrals in America, certainly merits a visit. As savvy travelers know, Newark offers far more than the international airport that bears its name. Indeed, the city has become synonymous with culture and recreation and is host to an array of world class cultural institutions. Newark boasts a highly regarded symphony, a well-known ballet company and a comprehensive institute for the study of jazz. The Montclair Art Museum, another premier repository of culture, offers visitors access to an important collection of 20th century American art and the Newark Museum offers a rich selection of natural history exhibits along with a planetarium. Newark’s ethnic diversity is yet another calling card. The city’s African-American, Italian and Hispanic communities, among others, add a sense of vibrancy to city life. A well-established Portuguese speaking population made up of immigrants from Portugal and Brazil are concentrated in Newark’s Ironbound district, an appealing neighborhood full of ethnic eateries and shops. This area is also well known for its colorful religious and cultural celebrations and outdoor festivals. An excellent base for exploring nearby New York City, Newark offers convenient and inexpensive public transportation – by bus or rail – meaning that visitors wanting a day trip to the Big Apple can be in the heart of the city in 20 minutes at almost any time of day. At the end of the day, travelers can return to their Newark base and enjoy accommodations that will be significantly cheaper than Manhattan alternatives.