12 Things To Do in Newark, Delaware

Last Updated on March 2, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Nestled along the banks of the White Clay Creek, Newark is a vibrant college town with a small-town charm. As the home of the University of Delaware since 1743, Newark has plenty to offer visitors of all ages. From exploring the local history and culture to enjoying the outdoors, there are many great things to see and do in Newark.

This article will highlight 12 of the top attractions and activities in Newark, providing something for everyone. Learn about the local Revolutionary War history, visit the wildlife preserve, cheer on the Fightin’ Blue Hens sports teams, browse the weekly farmers market, or simply relax in one of Newark’s beautiful parks. Read on to discover the best ways to spend your time in Newark, Delaware.

Discover Downtown Newark

Stroll Down Main Street

Downtown Newark centers around Main Street, a pedestrian-friendly corridor lined with shops, restaurants and historic buildings. For a taste of Newark’s history, pop into the Old College Gallery, which showcases paintings and photographs documenting the city and University of Delaware dating back to the 18th century. Or grab a coffee at one of the cozy cafes before exploring the variety of boutiques and gift shops. Don’t miss the National Iron Truss Bridge, a 38-foot iron footbridge built in 1869 – it’s the only one of its kind left in the country.

To learn more about Newark’s past, visit the Newark History Museum located downtown in the Old Town Hall building. The museum brings Newark’s over 300 years of history to life through exhibits and artifacts showcasing everything from Lenape Native American tools to the founding of the city in 1694. Kids can try on colonial costumes or play with interactive displays. Don’t miss the model railroad on the top floor depicting Newark in the 1920s.

Tour the University of Delaware Campus

Founded in 1743, the University of Delaware is one of the oldest universities in the country. The campus makes a pleasant place to take a stroll among the mix of historic and modern buildings spread over 1,000 acres.

At the heart of campus lies The Green, a large grassy quad featuring stately brick buildings and plenty of trees. The surrounding buildings include Gore Hall, built in 1790 as the original college building, as well as Morris Library, Memorial Hall, and models of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Don’t miss the bronze statue of the school’s mascot, YoUDee the Blue Hen.

The University of Delaware is home to several fascinating museums open to the public. View archaeological artifacts from ancient Greece and Rome at the Classical Studies Museum. Or discover shells from around the world and a 40-foot whale skeleton at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. The Old College Gallery features art and photographs chronicling the school’s history since 1743.

Explore White Clay Creek State Park

Just minutes from downtown Newark lies the beautiful White Clay Creek State Park spanning 3,000 acres. The park protects the native hardwood forest and watershed habitat surrounding the winding White Clay Creek. Outdoors lovers have over 37 miles of hiking and biking trails to enjoy within the park.

For a pleasant hike surrounded by nature, follow the Pomeroy Trail through the wooded hillsides overlooking the White Clay Creek valley below. Connect to the Penn Dixion Trail to extend your hike to 6.2 miles passing old mill sites and a covered bridge along the way.

Over 200 species of birds have been recorded within White Clay Creek State Park, making it a top spot for birdwatching. Spring migration brings the most diversity of warblers, vireos, thrushes, and other songbirds. Stop at the Nature Center to borrow binoculars and check sightings on the bird log.

Pack a lunch or snack to enjoy at one of the park’s picnic areas. Tables are scattered alongside the hiking trails and creek, many under the shade of tall oak trees. It’s the perfect way to relax and refuel between adventures.

Learn About the American Revolution at Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site

One of the first battles of the American Revolution was fought right outside Newark at Cooch’s Bridge on September 3, 1777. Today the site preserves the battlefield and tells the story of the clash between American and British troops. Walk along the trails to see the terrain where the fighting occurred and read the informative signs detailing the action.

Don’t miss the burial ground for some of the war dead discovered on site. The Visitor Center offers artifacts, exhibits, and a 10-minute orientation film on the battle. Plan your visit in early September to attend the annual Revolutionary War reenactment to witness artillery demonstrations, military drills, and camp life.

Catch an Exhibit at the Newark Arts Alliance

As a hub for the local arts community, the Newark Arts Alliance brings a variety of rotating exhibits, classes, and events to Newark. Tour the galleries to discover the latest displays which spotlight regional artists and medium ranging from watercolors to fiber arts.

You can even watch artists at work in the Creative Studios. Beyond visual arts, Newark Arts Alliance hosts musical performances, literary events, film screenings and more. Classes are available for all skill levels if you want to flex your own creative skills during a workshop.

Cheer on the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens

As a perennial college sports powerhouse, the University of Delaware boasts over 20 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I sports teams. Attending a game or match is a fun way to experience the school spirit and cheer on the Fightin’ Blue Hens.

College football reigns supreme in Newark during the fall. The Blue Hens football team draws over 20,000 fans per game to Delaware Stadium, known locally as The Swamp. Since 2003, the stadium has undergone several expansions and upgrades, including new seating sections, a high-definition video scoreboard, and FieldTurf playing surface. Beyond football Saturdays, the facility also hosts graduations, concerts, and other big events.

The state-of-the-art Bob Carpenter Center serves as the competition venue for Delaware basketball and volleyball. Since opening in 1993, the Bob has hosted numerous NCAA tournament games in addition to top music acts like Elton John. Don’t just come for the action on the court, take some time to explore the interactive athletic displays located inside.

Shop the Newark Natural Foods Co-op

For the best selection of local and organic groceries in Newark, head to the Newark Natural Foods Co-op. The member-owned store first opened in 1979 thanks to local students and community members eager for healthy, sustainable food options. Today the Co-op remains committed to supporting area farmers, producers, and artisans.

Browse the aisles to discover fresh bread, produce, meats, cheeses, and specialty products. Make sure to check out the bulk foods section filled with grains, nuts, teas, spices, and sweets sold by the pound. The store also hosts weekend classes covering topics like homebrewing, growing mushrooms, and making kimchi.

Explore the Newark Reservoir

Escape into nature without leaving the city by visiting the Newark Reservoir and surrounding park. The reservoir was created in 1964 to help supplement the town’s water supply. Today the lake and its peaceful surroundings provide popular spot fishing, walking, and birdwatching.

For casual exercise with natural scenery, take a relaxing walk or bike ride along the 3.5 mile multi-use trail encircling reservoir. The paved path takes you through open grasslands dotted with shade trees that attract songbirds. Keep your eyes peeled for waterfowl like herons, ducks, and geese floating among the lily pads or perched along the shoreline.

The well-stocked waters of the Newark Reservoir provide great shoreline fishing opportunities. Largemouth bass, sunfish, catfish, and trout are among the popular catches. Make sure to pick up a Delaware fishing license and adhere to the reservoir’s tackle and size regulations.

For a fun workout on the water, rent a stand up paddleboard from the Newark Reservoir Boathouse from April through October. Glide across the smooth reservoir waters while taking in spectacular views along the banks. No experience is needed, just good balance as you paddle from a standing position using a long paddle.

Bike or Walk Along the James F. Hall Trail

Named for a former Newark mayor and state legislator, the James F. Hall Trail spans nearly 10 miles connecting various Newark parks and neighborhoods. As the town’s first rail trail built along an abandoned rail corridor, the Hall Trail serves as a “greenway” allowing people to walk, jog, or bike through natural landscapes free from vehicle traffic.

Gorgeous gardens, artworks, and even fitness equipment lines the path. The northern end passes through White Clay Creek State Park near downtown Newark, while the trail’s southern point connects to Redd Park and the Redd Park Trail in Bear.

Peruse the Newark Farmer’s Market

For fresh-picked produce, artisanal foods, or handmade crafts from local farmers and artists, don’t miss Newark’s weekly Farmers Market. Every Friday from April through October, the open-air market sets up in the parking lot of the Christina Gateway Partnership building along South Main Street.

Stroll through the tents and displays to discover seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh flowers, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, oils, vinegars, pet treats, and more. Grab lunch from a food truck, listen to live acoustic music, and soak up the lively, community atmosphere.

Relax at one of Newark’s Parks

With over 700 acres of parkland spread across 57 parks, Newark offers plenty of places enjoy the outdoors or simply relax in a beautiful green space.

Resting along the White Clay Creek just west of downtown, Phillips Park spans nearly 40 acres of open space and recreation facilities. Find a nice spot to lay out a blanket under the shade of a tree for a picnic lunch or snack. Let the kids burn off some energy at the playground and basketball courts. Walking trails allow you to stretch your legs amidst peaceful natural surroundings.

Encircling the Newark Reservoir, Handloff Park contains over 3 miles of walking paths open to pedestrians and bicyclists. One section of the trail runs directly adjacent to the reservoir’s banks. Follow another spur out to Patriot Lake to spot turtles sunning themselves along the shoreline. Interpretive signs describe local wildlife and nature you may encounter.

Resting along the banks of the White Clay Creek just northeast of Newark’s Main Street, Curtis Mill Park offers a beautiful spot to enjoy the creekfront. Follow the paved walking paths under a canopy of tall trees, over footbridges crossing the gently flowing creek. Stop at one of the benches or swinging bridge to take in views of the water tumbling over small rapids. Look for evidence of the mill which once operated at the site including remnants of the old mill race.

Tour the Town with a Self-Guided Walking Tour

One of the best ways to explore Newark and discover historic landmarks is to embark on a self-guided walking tour. Pick up a map from the Newark Visitors Center highlighting over 20 notable sites around town. As you follow the 1.5 mile route, look for plaque markers on buildings describing key locations. Highlights include the pillory and whipping post on the Old Academy Green, the Logan House Tavern built in 1724, and the Choate House dating back to 1690.

Many of Newark’s older churches such as the Old Presbyterian Church or Immanuel on the Green Episcopal Church left their original buildings to see. Don’t miss Delaware’s smallest State Commemorative building on Delaware Avenue. Use the map’s QR codes to access even more details about Newark’s architecture, culture, and history.

Conclusion

This list only scratches the surface of things to enjoy across Newark, Delaware. From the vibrant college town atmosphere to the rich Revolutionary War history and plentiful parks, Newark truly offers something for all interests.

Outdoor lovers can hit the numerous hiking and biking trails or go fishing or boating along the creek and reservoir. Sports fans will love cheering on the Blue Hens or taking advantage of recreational facilities across town. Newark also boasts a thriving arts and cultural scene between museums, galleries, concerts and community events.

With amazing restaurants, cafes, breweries, and shops located downtown or sprinkled throughout Newark’s neighborhoods, you’ll never lack fantastic places to eat or things to see. Ideally located less than an hour from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and central Delaware, Newark provides the perfect home base for exploring the region.

So whether you call Newark home or you’re just visiting, take time to discover the top attractions, activities, sights and flavors this wonderful small city has to offer.

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