If Newark were anywhere else, people would rave about how much New Jersey’s largest city has going for it – culture-rich neighborhoods, massive sporting arenas and heaps of lively festivals. But its proximity to New York City, which lies just 10 miles east, keeps it under-the-radar – though probably not for long.
Cafes and art galleries dot the quickly gentrifying downtown. The Newark Museum is packed with treasures, including natural history galleries, a planetarium and one of the world's largest collections of Tibetan art. For a dose of greenery, head to 360-acre Branch Brook Park. It's loveliest in the springtime when some 4000-plus cherry blossoms are in bloom.
The New Jersey Performing Arts Center stages everything from symphony orchestras to hip-hop, plus outdoor summer concerts. Sports fans flock to Prudential Hall for NHL hockey (the Devils) or NCAA basketball (Seton Hall). Red Bull Arena is home to major league soccer. For a taste of NJ's cultural diversity, visit the Ironbound neighborhood, with its vibrant Latin American and Portuguese restaurants, bars and music joints.