15 Best Things to Do in Newark (DE)

Written by Bart Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Like most of Delaware’s cities, Newark’s roots stretch back to the 17th century, when the area was explored and settled by those of Scottish-Irish descent.

Newark is located in New Castle County, southwest of Wilmington. It is primarily an attraction for local and regional lovers of history and those from the neighboring states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey who appreciate the fact that it has no retail sales tax.

The University of Delaware also resides in Newark. At the time of the last census, the city had a population of just more than 33,000 residents.

Below are 15 things to do near Newark, Delaware.

1. Hale-Byrnes House

Hale-Byrnes HouseSource: JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ, M.D. / Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 4.0
Hale-Byrnes House

Located on Christian Road in Newark, the Hale-Byrnes House is a local historical icon that’s currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The home was originally built in the mid-‘18th century. At various times, it was the residence of prominent local figures who also played important roles during the Revolutionary War and in the country’s founding.

Hale-Byrnes House is known for its charm and architecture and is full of period art, furniture, and housewares.

The facility is open seasonally and sometimes closed due to private events, so check online or give them a call before making a special trip.

2. White Clay Creek State Park

White Clay Creek State ParkSource: James Geisler / shutterstock
White Clay Creek State Park

Despite its small size geographically, Delaware is home to an abundance of state and local parks, and they’re all just relatively short drives away.

White Clay Creek State Park is spread over more than 3,000 acres in New Castle County and is a hotspot for lovers of the great outdoors.

The park links with a park of the same name in neighboring Pennsylvania, and includes a nearly 20-mile stretch of scenic and protected creeks, as well as a network of multi-use trails.

Bird watching, hiking, biking, and picnicking are popular pastimes while on-site, and there’s an impressive nature and visitor center as well.

3. Resident Ensemble Players

TheaterSource: wavebreakmedia / shutterstock

The Resident Ensemble Players is a professional group of theatrical performers that can be seen at the Roselle Center for the Arts on the campus of the University of Delaware.

During the year, they produce and perform a variety of high-quality shows that range from serious classics and contemporary plays to children’s performances, musicals, and comedies.

Tickets are reasonable by theater standards, and most guests agree that their performance far outweighed their expectations.

Consider purchasing tickets well in advance of your visit, especially if you plan on taking in a popular show during the peak theater season.

4. Midnight Oil Brewing Company

Midnight Oil Brewing CompanySource: Midnight Oil Brewing Company / Facebook
Midnight Oil Brewing Company

Like many small brewers across the country, the founder of Midnight Oil Brewing Company started out experimenting with the art of beer making as a hobby.

Things took off when friends and family praised his tasty products, and the budding entrepreneur decided to make his endeavor a legitimate enterprise.

Midnight Oil is located near Newark’s downtown area and features an impressive array of beers that run the gamut from hoppy IPAs and brooding stouts to Belgian ales and refreshing lagers.

For those who’d like a behind-the-scenes look at how common ingredients are turned into intoxicating beverages, guided facility tours are available.

5. Iron Hill Science Center

For those traveling with little ones who require constant engagement and physical activity, science centers are in a class of their own.

The Iron Hill Science Center is located on Robert L. Melson Lane in Newark. Though many of the exhibits were designed with children in mind, they’re big hits with those of all ages and interests.

The center’s exhibits touch on animals and the natural world, technology, geology, and space, to name a few. The staff host special programs and events throughout the year as well.

Admission is reasonable, and it’s a great place to spend a few hours during times of inclement weather.

6. Christiana Mall

Barnes & Noble, Christiana MallSource: Mihai_Andritoiu / shutterstock
Barnes & Noble, Christiana Mall

Delaware is a regional retail powerhouse, because unlike most other states, there’s no sales tax.

Christiana Mall is comprised of nearly 200 individual shops and is anchored by well-known national brands like Target, Barnes & Noble, and Nordstrom.

Dining options are in abundance as well, and choices range from fast food, Chinese, and pizza, to seafood, steaks, and gourmet burgers.

Christiana Mall has been around for more than four decades. Though it’s no longer the new kid on the block, it’s been extensively renovated over the years to keep it fresh and inviting.

There’s also a multi-screen movie theater and a number of coffee shops on-site.

7. Pachamama Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie ChickenSource: taspho / shutterstock
Rotisserie Chicken

Featuring a variety of South and Latin American influences, Pachamama Rotisserie Chicken in Newark is a unique dining destination that’s garnered a loyal following since its opening.

Previous guests have commented on the restaurant’s authentic feel and comfortable ambiance, and say that its menu includes a variety of items to fit most taste buds.

Many of the traditional ingredients used are sourced from far away countries like Peru, and it’s common to get a tableside visit from the enthusiastic owners.

The restaurant is located on East Main Street, and tacos, ceviche, beans, and grilled corn are among the perennial favorites.

8. Brew HaHa

CoffeeSource: StudioByTheSea / shutterstock

Brew HaHa is located just off Main Street in Newark and opens at the crack of dawn every day for early risers in need of a jolt of caffeine to get their day started.

Their menu is on the large side, and for those unfamiliar with coffee in all its wonderful forms, it can be a little overwhelming.

They’ve got everything from espresso and cappuccino to hot cider, cold brew, and sweet fraps, as well as a selection of fresh baked goods, fruit, and juice.

There’s ample parking in a lot behind the shop; though it’s not free, it’s a minimal charge that’s based on how long you stay.

9. Newark History Museum

Newark History MuseumSource: Zincite / Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 4.0
Newark History Museum

The Newark History Museum is managed by the city’s historical society and is a must-visit attraction for first-time visitors looking to get up to speed quickly on the First State’s past.

The museum is located on South College Avenue downtown. It features a variety of exhibits that touch on local and regional history, much of which goes back to the Revolutionary War and the founding of the nation.

Items on display include historic weapons, clothing, historic photos, and interesting first-hand accounts from those who lived in the area in eras past.

Admission is inexpensive, and most guests stick around for an hour or two.

10. Grotto Pizza

Grotto PizzaSource: Andrey Armyagov / shutterstock
Grotto Pizza

Delaware’s quaint and family-friendly beaches draw hordes of vacationers during the warm summer months. Many of them make it a point to stop at one of Grotto Pizza’s many Delaware locations on their way to the ocean.

Grotto Pizza’s Newark location is located on East Main Street and features an abundance of pizza options in a number of sizes. For those who aren’t in the mood for pizza, they also offer salads, subs, and other Italian favorites.

They’re known for their comfortable ambiance, quick service, and reasonable prices, and there are several other state locations as well.

11. Iron Hill Park

Disc GolfSource: Diego Trabucco / shutterstock
Disc Golf

Iron Hill Park is located on Old Baltimore Pike in Newark and is comprised of more than 300 acres that were set aside for public use more than a decade ago.

The park’s grounds include wooded areas, trails, covered pavilions, and a disc golf course. It’s free to visit, making it a perfect stop for outdoor lovers traveling on a budget.

There’s also a designated dog park that has two distinct areas for large and small dogs. For those who’ve never played a round of disc golf, it’s a lot of fun, especially for families traveling with kids. There is no need for expensive clubs, balls, and shoes.

12. Fred Rust Ice Arena

Ice SkatingSource: Marc Bruxelle / shutterstock
Ice Skating

Few activities compare with ice skating when it comes to burning maximum calories in minimal time. It’s an especially fun way to spend a few hours for rambunctious little ones.

The Fred Rust Ice Arena is located on the University of Delaware Campus on South College Avenue. In addition to offering inexpensive skating for families, they also host special events like figure skating performances and hockey games.

They often have special family events on the weekends, but considering their relatively full schedule, it’s wise to check online or give them a call to see if they’ll be open to the public when you’re in the area.

13. The University of Delaware Campus

University Of Delaware CampusSource: w:User talk:Cargoudel / Wikimedia | CC-BY-SA-3.0
University Of Delaware Campus

College and university campuses are great community resources that are usually abuzz with a variety of activities, and many of them are free and open to the public.

The University of Delaware is located in Newark and is full of wide-open spaces and lots of special events, including collegiate athletics, art and cultural programs, and a range of live performances like music, theater, and guest speakers.

Though some activities may require purchased tickets, others are totally free. With so much to see and do, it’s a good idea to check out the calendar of events on their website to see what’s on the horizon for when you’ll be in town.

14. Deerfield Golf Club

GolfSource: Kati Finell / shutterstock

Featuring 18 scenic holes spread over more than 140 acres, Deerfield Golf Club is one of Newark’s golf gems, and its greens fees are surprisingly reasonable.

The course is located adjacent to White Clay Creek State Park and features sweeping fairways, tight greens, and a variety of natural environments.

Though it’s a championship-level course, there are a number of tee box options that are appropriate for women, seniors, and children who’d rather not slug it out from the men’s tees.

Other club attractions include multiple tennis courts and a popular restaurant that’s an especially big hit with the Sunday brunch crowd.

15 Best Things to Do in Newark (DE):

  • Hale-Byrnes House
  • White Clay Creek State Park
  • Resident Ensemble Players
  • Midnight Oil Brewing Company
  • Iron Hill Science Center
  • Christiana Mall
  • Pachamama Rotisserie Chicken
  • Brew HaHa
  • Newark History Museum
  • Grotto Pizza
  • Iron Hill Park
  • Fred Rust Ice Arena
  • The University of Delaware Campus
  • Deerfield Golf Club