Population: 278,427

Location: Located 8 miles from New York City, Newark’s history dates back to the 1600s. It is a major destination for dining, entertainment, arts and culture, history, parks and sports. “We’re having a great time here at the Convention & Visitors Bureau introducing Newark to a global audience,” says Michael Davidson, executive director of the Greater Newark Convention & Visitors Bureau. “People are shocked to learn that Newark has the largest collection of cherry blossoms in the nation or that world-class events are happening nightly.”

Must-Sees: The Newark Museum was designed by renowned architect Michael Graves and contains the finest collection of Tibetan arts outside of Southeast Asia. Branch Brook Park is home to the largest collection of cherry blossoms in the U.S.—4,300, which is 600 more than Washington D.C. For shopping, the Mills at Jersey Gardens draws 18 million visitors each year (five times more than Statue of Liberty visitors). Sports fans won’t want to miss the Prudential Center, which is home to the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the Seton Hall men’s basketball team. The Prudential Center also hosts concerts and family entertainment. The New Jersey Performing Arts Center hosts live entertainment, and Riverfront Park is the home for summer concerts. Military Park hosts concerts and activities year round; the park served as a training ground during the Revolutionary War and was an encampment for George Washington in 1667.

Hotels: Newark is home to 15 hotels, offering a total of 3,580 rooms and 129,393 square feet of meeting space. The largest is the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott, with 591 rooms and 36,810 square feet of event space. The hotel, located on airport grounds, offers a free shuttle to all airport terminals. The rooms feature modern design and soundproof windows. The meeting space is renovated and flexible, and a planning team is ready to help with any meetings.

The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Newark Airport is located next to Newark Liberty International Airport, and is minutes from downtown Newark. The hotel offers access to corporations and attractions, and is 10 miles from New York City. Rooms offer new bedding, flat-screen TVs, high-speed Internet and large work spaces. Amenities include a swimming pool, 24-hour fitness center and a business center. The hotel also offers more than 18,000 square feet of flexible meeting space for up to 900 guests.

Other hotels by the airport include the Ramada Plaza (412 rooms, 13,941 square feet of meeting space), Wyndham Garden (352 rooms, 10,138 square feet meeting space) and Holiday Inn (191 rooms, 763 square feet of meeting space). Downtown hotels include a Marriott (150 rooms, 4,122 square feet of meeting space) and the Indigo Hotel Downtown Newark (108 rooms, 583 square feet) with a rooftop bar.

Restaurants: From trendy to old school, there’s something for everyone here. A-list chefs are cooking up dishes in Newark, including Dan Kluger, who was nominated for the 2014 James Beard Award for Best Chef in New York City. Kluger serves contemporary food at Vanguard Kitchen. Amanda Cohen highlights vegetarian and vegan cuisine at Thyme, pit master Elizabeth Karmel is cooking at Notorious P.I.G. and Marc Forgione recently opened Classified. Newark is also home to casual restaurants, Kosher delis, bakeries, and is a well-known destination for one of the biggest trends—food trucks.

How the CVB Helps: “This past year the GNCVB opened Newark’s first Visitor Center in the heart of downtown,” Davidson says. “Visitors can stop by and pick up an array of literature from area attractions and find out about all the latest happenings. Travelers on the go can explore the city through our Newark TAP system (Tourist Assistance Portal) located in Newark Penn Station. The Greater Newark Convention & Visitors Bureau is eager to assist you in planning your adventure. We’re here to help you every step of the way, from FAM tours to VIP receptions, special events or group tours to area attractions.”

Just like the rest of the world, the hospitality and travel industries slammed to a halt when the pandemic hit last March. Some sectors within them had built-in solutions to focus on, such as hotels limiting capacities and restaurants focusing on takeout and delivery. But for many businesses within the related meetings and events realm, there were no natural alternatives to turn to.


The New York and New Jersey chapters of the National Association for Catering & Events (NACE), along with the Banquet Event Strategic Task Force (BEST Task Force), held an in-person gathering in August, their first since the start of the pandemic.


Retreats and off-site meetings present wonderful opportunities for groups to collaborate, strategize and build relationships away from their normal office environments. With proper planning, these sessions can be highly effective and even pivotal in setting a new direction. However, off-sites may present some unforeseen challenges that can quickly deflate the energy in the room if not anticipated and addressed in advance.