The Super Bowl is coming to the Garden State on Feb. 2. Before and after the big game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., visitors should seek out nearby Newark for off-the-gridiron action.
"We see this as an opportunity to not only showcase our world-class events and attractions, but as an opportunity to introduce the best of New Jersey to a global audience," says Michael Davidson, executive director of the Greater Newark Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Coaches and players from the headlining teams will be in the spotlight during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day on Jan. 28 at Newark's Prudential Center, and it's open to fans through ticket purchase. On Feb. 1, the Prudential Center also plays host to the Ultimate Fighting Championship's annual Super Bowl weekend extravaganza, traditionally held in Las Vegas.
History-loving sports enthusiasts can stop by the Newark Museum to see the original Vince Lombardi Trophy, on loan from the Green Bay Packers and part of the exhibit "City of Silver and Gold from Tiffany to Cartier" (Jan. 8-March 30). The celebrated trophy was handcrafted in Newark in 1967 at Tiffany & Co.'s silver factory before being awarded to the legendary coach of the Packers, who that year won the first-recorded Super Bowl. On Feb. 1 the Newark Museum adds a multicultural flair with a Chinese New Year's Celebration, featuring dance performances and art workshops.
Festivities surrounding Media Day are taking place elsewhere in the city, too, including entertainment at Newark Liberty International Airport for Super Bowl arrivals and departures and mall-wide at The Mills at Jersey Gardens. The premium outlet complex, home to more than 200 stores, offers special discounts for local hotel guests.
Come for the Super Bowl, stay and explore Newark's year-round offerings. This multifaceted city is home to several standout venues. Make a return visit to the Newark Museum for its showcase of works by iconic American artist Norman Rockwell from Feb. 28-May 26. Back at the Prudential Center, the New Jersey Devils take to the ice for National Hockey League games. And "Jazz Meets Sports" when jazz connoisseurs and sports superstars Bernie Williams and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar meet up at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center for an evening of music and conversation March 2.
Dine in the Ironbound, a district renowned for its Portuguese, Spanish and Brazilian fare, or head to Red Bull Arena for Major League Soccer. Take in a flick at CityPlex 12, Shaquille O'Neal's innovative movie theaters. Visit Branch Brook Park, the oldest county park in the U.S., where the collection of 4,300 cherry trees is the nation's most bountiful in one location. Add sizzling nightlife, outdoor adventure and more, and there is only one conclusion: It's all happening in Newark.