Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Newark, OH

  • Published 2022/10/17

In the junctions of Licking River sits the historic city of Newark, the county seat of Licking County in Ohio.

The indigenous people first settled in the area known as Hopewell Culture, who built the historic ancient complex Newark Earthworks.

After the indigenous people’s settlement, the European-American settlement was in place in 1802, led by pioneer surveyor Gen. William C. Schenck.

Schenck named the area Newark after his hometown of the same name in New Jersey.

Regarded as a small town America, the city is known for its historical landmarks, old manufacturing businesses, beautiful recreational trails, and many more.

Play golf at one of its award-winning golf courses, shop at one of its eclectic and unique boutiques, or dine at restaurants that scatter downtown.

These and more of its amazing tourist attractions are great enough to convince you to pay a visit to this historic city.

To start with, here are the best things to do in Newark, Ohio:

See the Beautiful Gardens at The Dawes Arboretum

Aerial view of Dawes Arboretum

Niagara66, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is where you can get closer to nature with its huge collection of ornamental plants, shrubs, trees, and more.

The Dawes Arboretum features beautiful gardens and natural areas, including a Japanese garden, a native bald-cypress swamp, wetlands, and a museum.

The arboretum is almost 2,000 acres and is the brainchild of the couple Beman and Bertie Dawes.

The couple is a huge nature lover, which also inspired them to establish The Dawes Arboretum in 1929.

Plaque marker of Dawes Arboretum

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The arboretum houses three nationally accredited trees and has hosted over 100 trees dedicated to Ohio’s public figures.

If you visit Newark during the fall, you’ll be mesmerized by the arboretum’s gorgeous fall foliage and enchanting botanical collection.

The Dawes Arboretum is nestled on Jacksontown Road.

Shrubs at Dawes Arboretum

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Eat like a Local at Barrel & Boar Newark

If you seek a place to satisfy your umami cravings, Barrel & Boar Newark on North 3rd Street is one for the books.

The restaurant serves fine smoked meat for your BBQ fare right on your plate in a warm, family-friendly, and rustic atmosphere.

Meat lovers shouldn’t miss the restaurant’s wings, ribs, brisket, and the famous low-country flavor shrimp and grits.

Pair your barbecue with the restaurant’s local craft beers and deliciously crafted cocktails.

The restaurant started as Yoho’s Catering in 1983 and was later changed to Barrel & Boar following the different changes made in 2011.

Today, Barrel & Boar has several locations in Ohio, including one in Newark, as well as a Tap Room on Cherry Valley Road in Southeast Newark.

Buy Local Crafts and Gifts at the Gallery of Dreams

Nothing’s sweeter than buying your loved ones specialty gifts from your travel destination.

You can do that at the Gallery of Dreams on North 3rd Street.

Established in 2010, the boutique features a beautiful selection of different fashion and chic clothing and accessories like hats, sunglasses, and many more.

The owner also makes her own line of jewelry, which is more of a reason to drop by the boutique when you’re in Newark.

Go get some Gallery of Dreams therapy!

Get Your Daily Dose of Coffee at River Road Coffee House

You don’t have to go elsewhere to kickstart your morning in Newark.

At River Road Coffee House, you get to enjoy a cup of coffee served with warm smiles and a memorable experience.

The coffee house roasts its own beans using its state-of-the-art roaster to provide quality coffee in Central Ohio.

Apart from its delicious coffee, the shop also offers tasty boba and tea, mouthwatering pastries, and other baked goodies.

River Road Coffee House had its humble beginnings in 2003 when Mark Forman partnered with his son David to start a coffee shop.

You can find it on North 21st Street in Newark.

Visit the National Heisey Glass Museum

The Heisey Glass Company was one of the oldest tableware glass and decorative figurine manufacturers in the world until its closure in 1957.

The company was founded in 1895 and now has its dedicated place called the National Heisey Glass Museum on West Church Street.

The museum showcases a vast collection of preserved glass products of the Heisey Glass Company or the A.H. Heisey Company.

The Heisey Collectors of America maintains the museum to display and promote the historic manufacturer’s glass products from the old times.

It also features a shop where you can buy unique glass specialty gifts, tee shirts, jewelry, and authentic Heisey items.

The National Heisey Glass Museum was established in 1972.

Go Hunting at Rocky Fork Whitetails

Whether or not it’s your first time shooting, Rocky Fork Whitetails got your back!

Located on Fallsburg Road Northeast, the hunting outfitter features more than 283 acres of hunting areas for all levels.

Bow hunters can also have their time at its free range of 120 acres of the tree nursery located in the outfitter’s operation premises.

After a long day of hunting, you can find shelter at the site’s 5-star lodge, with delicious food offerings and comfort.

Each hunting package includes permits, a lodge, hunting tools, experienced guides, and tags.

If you need help de-boning your wild game catch, an in-house taxidermist can assist you with a fee.

So if your adrenaline for hunting is sweeping over you, book a hunting package at Rocky Fork Whitetails!

Raise Your Wine Glass at the Buckeye Winery

Have you tried jalapeño wine before?

If you haven’t, or if you want to have a glass of it again, visit the Buckeye Winery on North 3rd Street in downtown Newark.

The winery houses more than 50 varieties of wine, including its famous Jalapeno Wine made with white grapes and, of course, jalapeño.

Spicy and sweet, it’s a must-try if you’re around Newark while enjoying the nice view from the winery’s outdoor spot.

You can have a glass, a bottle, or even make your own wine for a reasonable price.

This will make a nice gift for your friends and loved ones!

The Buckeye Winery was founded in February 2007.

Explore the Historic Newark Earthworks

Daytime view of Newark Earthworks

Zack Frank /

A historical complex that stood the test of time, Newark Earthworks was a masterpiece of the indigenous people who first settled in Newark.

The complex was built between 100 BCE and 400 CE as a center for the Hopewell Culture, where they gathered for different kinds of ceremonies, worship, and trade, among others.

It extends to the neighboring city of Heath and consists of three preserved earthworks: the Octagon Earthworks, the Wright Earthworks, and the Great Circle Earthworks.

Mound at Newark Earthworks

Zack Frank /

The complex, which is almost 3,000 acres, has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and the “official prehistoric monument of the State of Ohio.”

It’s also great for picnics while enjoying the scenery.

You can find it on North 33rd Street.

The grounds of Newark Earthworks

Zack Frank /

Ride a Bike around Horns Hill Park

Whether riding alone or with a group, Horns Hill Park offers one of the most well-maintained biking trails in Central Ohio.

It’s easy to get lost in Newark’s singletrack biking trail, giving you beautiful views of the park while enjoying the ride.

The park is also a great spot for family gatherings, picnics, sightseeing, disc golfing, and getting in tune with nature.

Horns Hill Park also hosts several biking events participated by many locals and tourist riders and is maintained by the City of Newark.

So whenever you’re around, don’t miss the chance to explore the park!

Have a Paranormal Tour at the Historic Licking County Historic Jail

If you want an adventure that’s out of the ordinary, you should book a paranormal tour at the Licking County Historic Jail.

It may not be for the faint of hearts, especially since you’ll be face-to-face with terror and nightmares right in the historic jail of Newark.

According to locals, the jail, which was the fourth one in Newark, may be haunted by former inmates.

But it’s not just about the terror.

While touring around the old jail, you get to learn its history and see its Richardson-Romanesque style architecture, which has been standing since 1889.

The Flashlight Tour and the Jail of Terror are almost everyone’s favorites, so make sure to include them on your list when you buy a ticket for the tour.

The Licking County Historic Jail sits on South 3rd Street.

Go Fishing at Staddens Landing

Newark also offers a great fishing spot that locals and tourists can enjoy.

Located on the bank of Licking River, Staddens Landing houses a great fishing spot where you can catch some bluegills, striped bass, and catfish.

And because it has easy access to Licking River that connects to the city of Heath, you can also enjoy kayaking, canoeing, or tubing on the water.

It’s a perfect getaway on a fine afternoon with your family and friends!

Staddens Landing is managed by the Licking Park District.

In Newark, you can find it on Highway 315.

Take Your Kids to The Works

Traveling with kids in tow is also fun in Newark, especially since The Works offers a hands-on integrated play area for toddlers.

Kids can enjoy the series of interactive toys, including the Mega Blocks and Lincoln Logs.

It’s also a perfect spot for science nerds as it exhibits science and technology, such as Planetarium shows and the glass-blowing demonstration.

The Works ensures that there is something for everyone while learning Ohio’s rich history, technology, and interactive artistic accomplishments.

The center was established in 1996 by Howard LeFevre, a local businessman who wanted to help preserve Licking County’s industrial heritage.

You can find The Works on South 1st Street.

Get Your Pulses on at the Buckeye Shooting Center

If you feel like you want to knock off a few rounds, you should book at least an hour of shooting time at the Buckeye Shooting Center.

The center features a state-of-the-art indoor shooting range where you can have a few rounds of ammo getting off your gun.

If you have your licensed gun and ammo, you can use it at the shooting range with a few rules.

If you haven’t picked up a gun before, the center also offers training focusing on beginners.

So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced shooter, you can have the time of your life at Newark’s advanced shooting spot!

The Buckeye Shooting Center was founded by retired U.S. military Zack and Jim in 2021.

It’s located on East Main Street.

Have a Slice of Pizza at Elliot’s Wood-Fired Kitchen & Tap

Pizza tastes even better when wood-fired, and that’s what Elliot’s Wood-Fired Kitchen & Tap offers in Newark.

If you come for pizza, there’s no other way than to have its signature “Bomb,” made with delicious hot sriracha sauce, diced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, jalapenos, sausage, and banana peppers.

For vegetarians, there are many veggie toppings to choose from in its build-your-own pizza option.

You may always want to try the street tacos and its 16 special draft beers.

Elliot’s Wood-Fired Kitchen & Tap was established in 2017 on West Main Street.

Play Golf at The Trout Club

Aerial view of The Trout Club

Bravo Charlie Productions /

With a beautiful landscape and rolling hills, you can trust that your tee time at The Trout Club is worth every minute.

The golf course houses 164 acres of 18 holes for a par of 72, where you can have the time of your life while enjoying the sweeping views.

You can choose any of its package options for your tee time like a pro!

Aerial view of The Trout Club's golf course

Bravo Charlie Productions /

It also features a Pro Shop, an outdoor pool, a full-service restaurant, and indoor and outdoor bars.

It hosts live entertainment all year round, from acoustic jams to full-band parties.

The Trout Club was established in the 1960s.

Final Thoughts

Newark is a city filled with rich history and culture, which is an excellent escape from a big city’s hustle and bustle.

Whether you’re making a short trip or a longer stay, these fun activities come in handy.

So get in your car for a drive, or fly out to experience the beautiful city of Newark, Ohio!

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