12 Attractions in Newark, Delaware

Last Updated on March 2, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Newark is a vibrant college town in northern Delaware with a rich history and plenty to see and do for visitors. As the home of the University of Delaware, Newark provides cultural events, performing arts, unique shops and restaurants, along with natural areas perfect for outdoor recreation.

From historic landmarks and museums to walking trails and family fun centers, Newark offers attractions to appeal to all interests and ages. This article highlights 12 top attractions that should not be missed when visiting Newark.

Oval Gardens Park

Location: Center of UD campus in Newark

The centerpiece of the University of Delaware campus, the expansive Oval Gardens Park is known for its picturesque greenery surrounded by stately university buildings and residence halls. The park spans 132 acres with tree-lined walkways, open grass lawns perfect for picnics or playing catch, and seasonal floral displays that burst with vibrant colors in spring and summer.

Beyond enjoying natural beauty, visitors can view public art displays scattered around the Oval or watch as students hurry between classes. Insider’s tip: Around the Christmas holiday, stop by at night when the Oval Glitter lights display sparkles with holiday magic.

Delaware Art Museum

Location: 2301 Kentmere Pkwy, Wilmington, DE 19806

Featuring an impressive collection spanning over a century of American art, the Delaware Art Museum in nearby Wilmington is one of the top cultural institutions in the state. The museum houses works by renowned artists from Howard Pyle and Edward Hopper to contemporary Delaware painters.

Visitors can take an informative guided tour, wander galleries independently or even take an art class. Other highlights include Copeland Sculpture Garden, an interactive family space called Creative Space, regular lectures/performances and seasonal outdoor jazz concerts.

Lums Pond State Park

Location: 1068 Howell School Rd, Bear, DE 19701

Nature lovers delight in the natural scenery surrounding Lums Pond State Park’s centerpiece – the largest freshwater millpond in northern DE spanning 187 acres. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and fishing are top outdoor activities with over 19 miles of trails spanning woods and wetlands.

Families flock to the area for picnicking, playgrounds, volleyball courts and launching kayaks, canoes or paddle boats on the pond. Angling is also popular with the pond stocked for seasonal trout fishing and populations of largemouth bass, perch, catfish and sunfish. Observe local wildlife like white-tailed deer, foxes, beavers, migratory birds and more.

Old College Gallery

Location: UD campus at 244 S Main St, Newark, DE 19711

For a dose of culture, head to the historic Old College building that once served as the site for the entire University of Delaware in the early 19th century. Today, the Georgian Revival-style building houses the Old College Gallery exhibiting local and regional contemporary art.

The nonprofit gallery founded by UD fine arts professor Stanley Saxton puts on monthly public receptions during new art exhibits. Visitors can browse current artworks by area artists across media from paintings and photography to sculpture and fiber arts – most pieces are available for purchase adding to the appeal.

Main Street Newark

Location: Downtown Newark, DE

Strolling along Main Street introduces visitors to Newark’s lively downtown district with an appealing mix of boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and cafes. The mile-long stretch, part of Newark’s Main Street program, feels vibrant yet intimate at just three city blocks across.

No chains in sight, Main Street showcases primarily indie shops like My Sister’s Fault jewelers and Tre Sorelle dolls alongside elegant dining venues and student budget-friendly cafes. Venture down side streets and alleys to discover more shops worth ducking into like the Lincoln Street Vintage Market or independently-owned Silver Screen Video.

Newark History Museum

Location: 224 E Main St Suite 1, Newark, DE 19711

For insights into Newark’s roots, spend an hour or two at the Newark History Museum housed within the historic Red Mill along the White Clay Creek. The small yet informative museum brings the area’s rich history to life through permanent exhibits such as the railroad worker sculpture outside to displays on early Lenape Native Americans and artifacts of early industry and trades in Newark.

Archival photos, maps and objects illustrate how Newark transformed over the centuries while visitors can glimpse the Red Mill grinders still operating, the last of their kind. Don’t miss the model 18th century home, a recreation pioneers’ homestead.

White Clay Creek State Park

Location: 5 miles south of Newark, DE along Hopkins Road

Encompassing nearly 4,000 acres in Delaware and Pennsylvania, White Clay Creek State Park protects stunningly scenic countryside straddling the Mason-Dixon Line between the states. Hikers, joggers, mountain bikers and horseback riders share over 36 miles of trails winding through forests, meadows and valleys surrounding the federally-designated White Clay Creek National Wild & Scenic River.

Anglers can cast lines for rainbow and brown trout while birders may spot red-tailed hawks, scarlet tanagers or spotted sandpipers. Sections like Possum Hill offer vistas of green rural hills while other routes feature creek-side trails or waterfall views like Carpenter Falls.

University of Delaware Sports Complexes

Location: UD Athletic complex – 636 S College Ave, Newark DE

Diehard sports fans and university alumni should consider taking in a Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hen game during a campus visit to Newark, whether it is football, basketball, baseball or more. The University of Delaware boasts top-tier DI sports across multiple complexes, with the football team competing at 22,000-seat Delaware Stadium and basketball played at the legendary Bob Carpenter Center arena (aka The Bob).

Upcoming games for the Blue Hens teams are always a hot ticket with live pep bands amping up team spirit alongside Blue Hen mascot YoUDee. Touring university athletic facilities offers a peek into campus recreation life.

Newark Reservoir

Location: 120 Paper Mill Rd, Newark DE 19711

The Newark Reservoir comprises the main water system for northern New Castle County, although visitors can enjoy passive recreational opportunities around its perimeter and on the waters too. Anglers can be spotted along its banks casting for popular catches like largemouth bass, yellow perch, catfish and sunfish. The Newark Walking Loop trail encircles the reservoir for a flat 2.3 mile walk or jog along the water.

From various points, birders may spot herons, egrets, mallards among nearly 140 documented species at the reservoir and along the adjoining White Clay Creek watershed. Bring a bike or simply pull over at scenic views for photos overlooking this natural oasis just minutes from Newark.

Newark Farmers Market

Location: 230 E Main St, Newark DE 19711

No visit to Newark is complete without experiencing its bustling farmers market, a true local institution after over 80 years. Drawing crowds from Newark and beyond, the Newark Farmers Market sets up three mornings a week down the block from Main Street offering farm-fresh produce, artisanal foods and locally-made products from cottage bakers, crafters and small businesses.

Market lovers can browse through over 30 covered vendor stalls picking up seasonal berry pies, fresh cider donuts, fragrant French soaps, savory empanadas, vibrant blooms and boxes ripe with Jersey tomatoes or sweet corn. An anchor retail tenant sells specialty foods, local wines/spirits, fresh baked goods and sandwiches at the back entrance. Beyond shopping, the farmers market also acts as a lively community gathering place.

Middle Run Valley Natural Area

Location: Off Paper Mill Road, behind Newark Reservoir

Though part of Newark city limits, many visitors would never guess the Middle Run Valley Natural Area exists so close by as a natural oasis free to explore. The 230-acre haven protects sensitive wetlands, meadows and forests that provide crucial habitat to native plants, migratory birds, butterflies, amphibians and mammals ranging from brown bats to river otters.

A series of mowed paths on top of dikes crossing the natural area allow people to hike loops up to 3 miles through the landscape observing native wildlife and seasonal beauty from spring wildflowers to autumn foliage. Interpretive signs describe the eco-partnership between the city, DelDOT and the Del Nature Society to continually restore and manage this urban greenway gem.

Deer Park Tavern & Amstel House

Location: 108 West Main St, Newark, DE

History buffs and architecture admirers will appreciate touring the c.1747 Deer Park Tavern and neighboring Amstel House, two of the oldest surviving buildings in Newark. As the best example of early colonial architecture left in town, the Deer Park Tavern served as an inn and tavern along the post road in the 18th century with historical ties to Founding Fathers and Continental Congress members.

Next door, the brick Amstel House built in the 1730s is an exceptionally rare surviving example of Flemish bond brickwork. Though interiors are not open for tours, visitors can explore the historical grounds and exterior of these landmarks in downtown Newark that now form the Deer Park Tavern Museum to glimpse over 275 years of architectural history and preservation efforts.

Conclusion


Newark offers an array of attractions sure to interest any visitor from scenic state parks primed for outdoor recreation to a historic walkable downtown district full of local shops and eateries.

Art and culture scene highlights range from the renowned Delaware Art Museum to the Old College Gallery exhibiting local artists.

Along with exploring the University of Delaware’s beautiful campus bursting with seasonal gardens and stately architecture, visitors can also take in the frequent public lectures, performing arts events and DI athletic games that influence campus life and town culture.

Newark provides both natural beauty as well as vibrant town activities perfect for weekend getaways or extended stays to soak up this college town’s charm.

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