Newark is a city in Alameda County, California, near Fremont and Union City.
Together, they make up the Tri-City Area in the San Francisco Bay Area.
It’s a relatively small city, but it packs several activities, places of interest, fun events, and must-try restaurants.
Moreover, you can find plenty of recreational spaces and parks, perfect if you’re seeking a temporary respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
If you’re looking for a quick day trip from big cities like San Francisco or San Jose, here are the 15 best things to do in Newark:
Bike around Lakeshore Park
Lakeshore Park is one of the unique parks in Newark as it is one of the few parks in the area with a surrounding body of water.
This is perfect for those who want to go for a leisurely walk or jog in a safe and tranquil environment because most of the hiking and biking trails are located in neighboring cities.
There’s also a paved trail around the park, making it an ideal destination for walking, jogging, biking, and bird watching.
The Lakeshore Park Lake Loop takes more or less 30 minutes to complete and is only 2.1 kilometers long.
Note that Lakeshore Park is located within a residential community, so visitors should keep quiet and avoid disturbing the peaceful nature of the area.
Relax at Newark Community Center Park
Newark Community Center Park is the heart of Newark, located along Cedar Boulevard near Lakeshore Park.
It is the perfect place for families to hang out, with plenty of play structures, picnic tables, playing courts, and pathways for walking or jogging.
Unlike most kid’s playgrounds with structures made of plastic, the ones at Newark Community Center Park are made of metal and concrete, which are more durable and long-lasting.
Aside from the playgrounds, adults can also play a few rounds of tennis or basketball and get a chance to meet and play with the locals.
If you want to do something relaxing, head to the picnic tables, bring a couple of snacks and drinks, and bask under the sun's warm rays.
Spend the Day at George M. Silliman Activity and Family Aquatic Center
Escape the summer heat and spend the day at George M. Silliman Activity and Family Aquatic Center, located within the Newark Silliman Center.
The recreation center and waterpark offers family-friendly activities and amenities children and adults will appreciate.
Some of the highlights at the aqua park include a 245-feet-long lazy river with water curtains and tumble buckets, 20-foot-tall water slides, and a zero-depth entry pool with water jets, slides, and rope pulls.
There’s also a 4-lane, 25-yard lap pool and a 15-person warm-water spa where adults can take a breather and relax.
Best of all, there’s no need to worry about getting sunburnt or having to reapply sunscreen every now and then since Silliman Activity and Family Aquatic Center is indoors.
Try Filipino Food at Isla Restaurant
If you’re looking for a new cuisine, head to Isla Restaurant and discover delicious Filipino food.
The restaurant brings the tasty flavors of the Philippines to the streets of Newark, located in Balentine Plaza.
You can find the perfect Filipino dish that suits your cravings from seafood, short ribs, oxtail, chicken, pork belly, and noodles.
At Isla Restaurant, try their appetizers like lumpiang shanghai, sisig, calamari, or popcorn shrimp, then sip on a warm bowl of soup.
For entrees, you can choose between chicken, pork, oxtail, prawns, seafood, and vegetables cooked in a variety of ways, including the famous adobo and sinigang.
Satisfy your sweet tooth, and don’t miss traditional Filipino desserts like leche flan, halo-halo, buko pandan, and banana con hielo.
Feast on Vietnamese Food at Rice and Spoon Vietnamese Cuisine
Craving a warm bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup? Head to Rice and Spoon Vietnamese Cuisine near Mirabeau Park.
The family-owned and operated restaurant has a chic and welcoming ambiance, offering home-cooked Vietnamese sandwiches, soup, and more.
For starters, try their spring rolls that come in a variety of options: tofu, shrimp, pork, mango, and vegetarian.
When in a Vietnamese restaurant, don’t miss their bánh mì; Rice and Spoon Vietnamese Cuisine offers grilled chicken, grilled pork, chicken mushroom ham, and vegan bánh mì.
Other must-try dishes at the restaurant include pho, clay pot rice, shrimp & crab cake noodles soup, and vegetarian curry.
Pair your dishes with their Vietnamese iced coffee, milk tea, or fusion iced tea.
Attend the Newark Days Festivities
Get a deeper appreciation of Newark by attending its annual Newark Days, a September multi-day festival commemorating the city’s incorporation in 1955.
With over 100,000 locals and tourists joining the festivities, this is one of the events you shouldn’t miss if you’re planning on visiting Newark.
Every year, the festival features a different theme, with past celebrations having a jungle, music, western, and a nautical theme.
Typical events held during Newark Days include a carnival, food and game booths, kid-friendly games, arts & crafts fairs, car & truck shows, and more.
Meanwhile, other highlights of the event are its annual parade and Newark Mile, a race along the 2.5-mile stretch along Cedar Boulevard and Newark Boulevard.
Shop at Newark Farmers Market
Find a variety of fresh and locally grown fruits, vegetables, produce, and other items at Newark Farmers Market.
It is located at the Newpark Mall parking lot and is open rain or shine.
The weekend-only market features over 55 farmers and vendors to promote Newark’s local growers and a sustainable lifestyle for its residents.
From fresh apples, apple cider, organic tomatoes, watermelon, berries, peanuts, Thai chili, peppers, and other produce, you can get these fresh at Newark Farmers Market.
In addition, the farmers market also sells handmade soaps, lotions, and other locally made products.
Regarding payments, some vendors accept credit cards, although there are ATMs on site.
Bring Your Dog to Newbark Dog Park
If you have your furry friends traveling with you, take them to Newbark Dog Park, Newark’s first dog park.
The park aims to provide safe and accessible recreational and exercise facilities to man’s best friend and their owners, too!
Visitors can find a variety of surface types, agility equipment, small obstacle courses, water, and shaded seating areas.
Entrances, exits, and play areas for small and large dogs are kept separate for a memorable and stress-free experience for canines and owners.
Take your dog to Newbark Dog Park and watch them run around freely, play fetch, and interact with fellow dogs.
At the dog park, owners should follow the rules and regulations to avoid getting penalized or being escorted out of the facility.
Channel Your Inner Archer at Archery Only
Bring your archery skills to the next level at Archery Only, Newark’s leading archery store.
The establishment has been around for almost three decades, offering archery equipment, lessons, and a 20-yard indoor range open to the public.
Practice your target-shooting skills and feel as if you’re an expert bowhunter as you hit the bullseye.
But if you’re a beginner or you have no experience with archery, you can take archery lessons to familiarize yourself with the sport.
Aside from archery lessons and indoor shooting sessions, Archery Only also offers activities for birthdays and corporate and team-building events.
Note that open shooting sessions are on a first-come-first-served basis.
Schedules are also subject to change depending on events or leagues.
Unwind at O’Sullivan’s Sports Bar
After a day out exploring and touring Newark, nothing beats a glass of ice-cold beer and good bar chow.
O’Sullivan’s Sports Bar is the best place to be if you’re looking for a lively crowd and a good selection of drinks.
With multiple HD LED TVs surrounding the sports bar, this is also one of the best places to catch your favorite baseball, football, or soccer game.
Savor delicious chili cheese dogs, spaghetti & meatballs, NY steak & eggs, and tacos at O’Sullivan’s Sports Bar while watching a sporting event over beers, whiskey, and other alcoholic drinks.
They also offer Sunday Football Specials like a breakfast burrito, Irish coffee, bagel breakfast sandwich, croissant breakfast sandwich, and more.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Follow the Trails at Coyote Hills Regional Park
For avid hikers, take a day trip to Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont, less than 10 minutes from Newark.
The park boasts over 1,200 acres of marshland, rolling hills, and a vast network of biking, hiking, and equestrian riding trails.
Trails at Coyote Hills Regional Park have varying levels of difficulty and length, so visitors with different fitness levels can find the perfect trail for them.
But no matter your trail, you can still catch breathtaking views of the hills, shoreline, and wetlands.
If you prefer a more relaxing activity, enjoy a picnic, go birdwatching, or join naturalist programs and nature studies to learn more about the animals and plants in the park.
Visit Ardenwood Historic Farm
Located less than 10 minutes from Newark, Ardenwood Historic Farm offers a glimpse of how life was on a family farm between 1890 and 1930.
The property features a working blacksmith shop, a farmyard, a hay barn, an outdoor kitchen, formal gardens, and the Victorian-style Patterson House.
Ardenwood Historic Farm showcases the importance of farms in an area’s development, showing how to harvest and process various crops and produce.
Since it is a working farm, activities vary depending on the season, so visitors enjoy a unique experience with every visit.
After visiting the farmyard, explore the Victorian Garden or stop by the Farmyard Cafe for delicious snacks, nutritious lunch options, and other locally-made goods.
Explore Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge is one of the six wildlife refuges in the San Francisco Bay Area.
It is less than 15 minutes away from Newark, perfect if you’re looking for a quick yet worthwhile day trip from the city.
Spanning more than 30,000 acres, Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge offers plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities and fun activities.
Follow the trails that take you through uplands, salt ponds, and tidal salt marshes, and get a chance to spot shorebirds and grebes, and other animals in their natural habitat.
You can also go birdwatching, wildlife watching, biking, fishing, and take fantastic photos of the wildlife refuge and scenery.
Meet the Animals of Oakland Zoo
Take about a 20-minute drive from Newark to Oakland Zoo and find over 800 native and exotic animals.
Founded in 1922, the zoo is one of the leading animal welfare and conservation organizations in the area, known for their elephant rehabilitation programs and the 17,000-square-foot veterinary hospital.
Oakland Zoo houses hundreds of mammals, birds, reptiles, and other animals like the ring-tailed lemur, lion, Emerald tree boa, North American river otter, and more.
Explore over five areas, each with its habitat resembling tropical rainforests, African Savannas, and the Australian Outback.
For a deeper appreciation of the animals, get a chance to interact with and feed lemurs, elephants, otters, alligators, and other animals.
Marvel at the Views of Sunol Regional Wilderness
Take a break from the towering skyscrapers and fast-paced city life and explore Sunol Regional Wilderness.
Located in the small city of Sunol, the regional park is less than 25 minutes away from Newark, making it a perfect choice for a day trip.
The park is teeming with flora and fauna.
Find colorful wildflowers like ranunculus, California poppy, goldfields, monkeyflowers, and more in spring.
Sunol Regional Wilderness has several trails available, whether you want a relaxing stroll across the open fields or a challenging trek with high elevation gains.
Regardless of which trail you follow, you can still catch sweeping hillside views and enjoy the fresh, crisp air.
Despite being a small city in the Tri-City Area, Newark offers various things to do and places to see.
You can hang out at the numerous parks, discover its culinary offerings, and take short drives to nearby cities for its hiking trails and natural scenery.
Newark's location near major cities like San Francisco and San Jose makes for an ideal day trip from the metro.
If you’re planning a quick weekend getaway, check the best things to do in Newark, CA and plan your itinerary!