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Top 5 Can't-Miss Newark Festivals

Expedia.com and Newark Happening spotlight some of the best festivals in town.

Newark is just west of the Big Apple, but that doesn’t mean it can’t hold its own when it comes to entertainment. In fact, Newark has an enticing lineup of annual events that keep people coming back for more each year.

The New Jersey city is proud to host an eclectic variety of festivals that show off its culture, music, and even scenery, and we wanted in. Because there are so many tempting events to choose from, here at Expedia.com, we partnered with Newark Happening to choose five favorites and pinpoint Newark hotels with easy access to the event locations. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or watch a powerful film you won’t soon forget, there are a Newark festival and a nearby hotel waiting for you.

Lincoln Park Music Festival - Timmy Regisford x Mayor Baraka

Lincoln Park Music Festival

Let loose at Lincoln Park Music Festival, A Celebration of Spirit and Dance. This 3-day event in July highlights what makes this vibrant community tick, from its green marketplace to its music performances. It’s not just song and dance though, you’ll find a whole wellness village offering health screenings along with yoga and massage sessions, and a kid's area, where your little ones can join sports clinics and play games. Chow down on some local grub from the food vendors and learn more about how you can take part in the green movement.

Looking for a place to stay with easy access to all the festival action?

TRYP Hotel has your name on it. Located just over half a mile from the event space, the trendy boutique hotel has memorable artwork and its own on-site lounge and restaurant, Dutch's.  

Woman Looking At Cherry Blossoms In Newark, NJ

Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival

You’ll know spring has officially sprung when you arrive at this floral fest in Branch Brook Park. Each year, the park hosts the Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival, where you can admire the whimsical pink and white petals. Here you’ll be dazzled by more than 5,000 cherry trees—by far one of the largest collections of Japanese flowering trees in a single location in the U.S. Attend the Cherry Blossom Challenge Bike Race and the 10K Run on April 8 and don’t miss Bloomfest! on April 23.

If you’ve got eyes for these delicate flowers, consider making reservations at the nearby Comfort Suite Newark. This accommodation invites you to make yourself at home, as each suite has its own kitchen amenities. Stay a while and then zip over to the park for the blossoms, which are just over a mile away.

Brazil Square

Brazilian Day Festival

You might not know the steps to the Samba, but that shouldn’t keep you from attending the annual Brazilian Day Festival. Follow the jingle of tamborims and snare drums to this street festival in September, the month of Brazilian Independence. Between noshing on traditional Brazilian fare, learning new dance moves, and browsing arts and crafts, you just might feel like you’re ready to take a crash course in Portuguese. 

This must-experience event attracts more than 300,000 people, so make your reservations far in advance to score a nearby room. Hilton Newark Penn Station is in a prime location, a little over a mile from the hot spot. If you still have an appetite after grazing at the festival, grab a bite to eat at the on-site Market Street Bar & Grill, which is open late. 

A crowd gathers outside the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ

Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City

Music fills the air during summer nights thanks to the Horizon Foundation Sounds of the City. An annual concert series, the event puts on free musical performances at the NJPAC Theatre Square between July and August. This year’s lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but artists such as Junior Marvin’s Wailers and Tiempo Libre have graced the stage in the past. Between pop, reggae, and world music, you’re bound to find your jam.

If you’re looking to hear the music from afar, you might be in luck when you stay at the Best Western Plus Robert Treat Hotel. Less than 500 feet from the main stage, this hotel places you in the heart of the action. What’s more, it has its own rooftop bar and grill, and exercise room, too. 

Newark Black Film Festival - LeRon Lee

Newark Black Film Festival

Starting in 1974, the Newark Black Film Festival has screened countless films focused on African American and African diaspora themes, making it the longest-running black film festival in the nation. Each June through August, the Newark Museum of Art hosts this fascinating cinema event, which awards you the opportunity to view creative works that delve into diversity in both the past and present. Long and short narratives and documentaries are on the bill, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Why drive to the screening when you can walk? Stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Newark Downtown and you’ll find that the museum is less than a mile’s walk north of your hotel room. Squeeze in a quick workout before heading to watch the films, and then eat dinner at Swahili Village once you head back to your accommodation. 

Written by: Chloe Mulliner | Expedia Editorial Team