Free Things to Do in Newark

From sporting events to arts and entertainment, there’s something exciting to do in Newark every day. While the cost of entry is usually gentler than you’ll find for similar experiences in Manhattan or Brooklyn, it’s still going to cost you some bucks for tickets.

Fortunately, there are lots of great options for people who want to experience the best of the city that won’t break the bank. In fact, you’ll find plenty to do that’s fun  AND free. Best of all, many are equally appealing across the age spectrum.

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Visit the Art Wall at the Fairmount Switching Station

Electrical switching station in Newark is artistic sight for sore eyes. (NJ.com) The Fairmount section of Newark's West  Ward is home to an electrical switching station; once feared by the community to be an unsightly facility is actually a welcomed addition. The public artwork features 14 local and national artists, including six from Newark, resulting in the successful beautifying of 30-foot walls  that surrounds the structure at Littleton and Central avenues.

Sacred Heart

Marvel in the Architectural Splendor of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart

From the park, it’s a short walk to the Cathedral Basilica, on Ridge Street. While Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral draws thousands of tourists, Newark’s own cathedral is as impressive as its New York neighbor and is the fifth largest in North America.  Music performances draw people in addition to those attending Catholic Masses and other religious observances. Free tours are offered that provide a wealth of information on the magnificent stained glass windows, the impressive pipe organ, architectural elements, and the cathedral’s long history since its cornerstone was laid in 1899.

Newark Public Library

Dive into a Good Book at the Newark Public Library

An architectural gem and major educational resource in the middle of the city’s downtown cultural center, the Newark Public Library is host to a fascinating exhibit, Newark at 350: Settlement, Growth, Renewal  through the end of the year. In addition a scale model of Newark in 2016 includes every structure, landmark and park in the state’s largest city.  The exhibit and a plethora of free programs throughout the city’s five wards marks Newark’s 350th anniversary since its founding in 1666.  Check them out on the commemorative committee’s website here

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People Watch or Play Chess in Military Park

The colossal “Wars of America” monument by Gutzon Borglum (who also sculpted Mt. Rushmore) seemed trapped on a deserted island for many years before the amazing transformation of Military Park in Newark’s Downtown District. The completely renovated park now buzzes with energy and activities ranging from live music and movies, to yoga and Zumba classes, ping pong and chess. There are lots of comfortable places to just sit back, relax and enjoy the scene.

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Hangout with Jersey's Celebrities at the NJ Walk of Fame

You can get an authentic Old World experience in Newark for nothing more than the price of gas and tolls, or a bus or train ticket. A stroll down Ferry Street in the Ironbound District will transport you across the ocean in the blink of an eye. Savor the smell of hardwood charcoal burning at local barbecue restaurants and enjoy the sound of people speaking Portuguese and Spanish, with a backing soundtrack of fado, flamenco or funky Brazilian jazz. Take in the fashions and jewelry that are on display in local boutiques.

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Explore Newark's History at Your Own Pace with "Newark Walks"

Explore Newark with Newark Walks, an interactive and engaging pedestrian tour of the city! Get your cardio on and get healthy all while discovering Newark’s landmarks, public art and monuments. Did you know that the sculptor of Mount Rushmore Gutzon Borglum, created four fab sculptures right here in Newark? That’s right…but you are going to have to start the tour to find out more. Download the app, get outdoors, and set off on an adventure that covers Newark’s rich history dating back to the 1600s.

NJ Historical Society

Rediscover the State's History at the New Jersey Historical Society

From Military Park, cross Park Place to visit the museum and library of the New Jersey Historical Society. The non-profit organization has amassed a vast collection of everything from costumes, furniture, paintings and tools to manuscripts, reference and rare books, photographs and maps. All paint a vivid portrait of New Jersey’s history. A visit to the society’s headquarters is free, but donations are welcomed.  Members of the NJHS lead free walking tours of Military Park weekly until December 30.

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Enjoy a FREE Concert at NJPAC Sounds of the City (July – August)

Here summer is always around the corner so get ready for Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City! Enjoy seven exciting concerts and discover for yourself why NJPAC's Theater Square is the place to meet and mingle every Thursday night of the summer. If you haven't been before they start at 5pm. Go early to get your space, bring your own lawn chair. Artisans along with food and beverage vendors surround the area so bring your wallet and appetite.

Riverfront Park

Take a Leisurely Stroll Alongside Newark's Riverfront Park

A bright orange boardwalk and similarly hued sculpture known as the “Orange Sticks” stand out against the backdrop of the Passaic River. While perhaps Riverfront Park’s most iconic features, they serve as a gateway to baseball diamonds and artificial turf soccer fields, running tracks, picnic tables and playgrounds. The summer months bring free movies under the stars, plus reasonably priced boat tours on the Passaic River. Skateboarders and rollerbladers join joggers and bicyclists cruising to the Ironbound’s distinctive mix of World Music reflecting the surrounding area’s diverse cultural influences.

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Immerse Yourself in Authentic Portuguese, Brazilian, & South American Cultures in the Ironbound

You can get an authentic Old World experience in Newark for nothing more than the price of gas and tolls, or a bus or train ticket. A stroll down Ferry Street in the Ironbound District will transport you across the ocean in the blink of an eye. Savor the smell of hardwood charcoal burning at local barbecue restaurants and enjoy the sound of people speaking Portuguese and Spanish, with a backing soundtrack of fado, flamenco or funky Brazilian jazz. Take in the fashions and jewelry that are on display in local boutiques.


Story By: Vince Baglivo