Since the 1600s, Newark has been one of the most notable cities in America. The city is New Jersey’s most populous and serves as the seat of Essex County.
But what makes Newark so popular? First, the city has lots of character and features a highly vibrant culture. The city’s prime location by the coast and near New York City also makes it ideal for many people.
Newark’s best neighborhoods include Central Business District, Weequahic, Forest Hill, University Heights, and North Ironbound. These neighborhoods are generally family-friendly, clean, and above all, safe. They have excellent learning institutions, exceptional cuisine choices, and affordable rents.
Newark’s overall population’s median age is 34, which is five and a half years less than New Jersey’s median age. That makes the city especially attractive for young adults. It’s also home to Newark Liberty Airport, which serves a staggering 45 million travelers a year.
Table of Contents
- Why Are People Moving to Newark?
- What Are the Best Neighborhoods in Newark?
- 1. Central Business District
- 2. Weequahic
- 3. Forest Hill
- 4. University Heights
- 5. North Ironbound
- Neighborhoods to Avoid in Newark
- Staying Safe in Newark
- Getting Around Safely
- Our Takeaway
Why Are People Moving to Newark?
Newark has just about anything a city needs to top real estate charts. It’s no wonder that so many people have opted to make this part of New Jersey their home. Here are five specific things Newark has to offer.
Newark’s Art Scene Is Alive
One of the biggest attractions to a location is the presence of considerable recreation options. For art lovers, Newark offers one of the most exciting scenes in America.
The city is home to the largest fine art museum in New Jersey, besides a multitude of art galleries you can visit.
The City is a Hotbed for Tech Innovation
For techies, Newark offers incredible connectivity, top-of-the-line office space, affordable rents, and a sea of local talent. Tech businesses also enjoy a ton of incentives from the local administration, which creates an even stronger job market. It’s no wonder 50 of the Fortune 500 companies are in Newark, some of which specialize in tech.
Labor Is Easily Available
Entrepreneurs will be happy to know that there’s hardly any shortage of labor in Newark. All the learning institutions in the city mean that there are tens of thousands of students who look forward to joining companies in the area. Chances are there’ll be dozens of students looking to do free internships for you, as well as students who work part-time in your company.
Culinary Options Are Endless
The ability to offer an exceptional dining scene is a defining feature of any major city. You’ll be glad to know that Newark has hundreds of restaurants that will match or outdo any other in the country when it comes to both local and international cuisine.
Whether you love Japanese, Spanish, Barbecue, or Tacos, there are food joints everywhere you can find it. The city’s famed Portuguese food shrines have visitors coming from numerous locations to get a taste of Portugal.
Newark’s Location Is Supremely Strategic
Given that Newark is only eight miles west of New York City, residents can enjoy everything Manhattan offers. All it takes is a short drive to Manhattan. That means you can enjoy Newark’s considerably low rents while working in New York City.
What Are the Best Neighborhoods in Newark?
Being the largest city in New Jersey means that there are lots of neighborhoods in Newark you can live in. Ideally, you want a location with as low crime rates as possible, many convenient amenities, affordable housing, and lots of exciting things to do.
Here are five of the best neighborhoods in Newark:
- Central Business District
- Forest Hill
- University Heights
- North Ironbound
Let’s examine each of these neighborhoods more closely.
1. Central Business District
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 678
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,798
- Population: 5,389
Central Business District is the city’s downtown area. The neighborhood’s $889 median monthly rent makes it quite friendly. Those interested in buying can expect to pay an affordable median home purchase price of $129,883.
Central Business District is ideal for singles and young professionals. Prominent employers include Fortune 500 companies such as Prudent Financials. Residents can also easily get a job from the many industries in the area, including banking, insurance, and education.
Transportation in and out of the neighborhood is no trouble, with I-280 and Newark Penn Station close by.
As for security, Central Business District is safer than 60 percent of the entire city.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 601
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,594
- Population: 20,878
Few neighborhoods in Newark offer as much scenic green space as Weequahic. Apartments and single-family homes are also quite affordable. The median price for renting is $1,027 per month, while home buyers will pay a median price of $188,375.
Access to the Newark International airport and I-78 is easy, while getting to New York City takes just about 30 minutes.
For those who love the outdoors, the Weequahic Park and Weequahic Lake are perfect for picnics and other fun activities. You can participate in the outdoor festivals that take place every year or enjoy delicious meals at the countless food joints in the neighborhood.
Weequahic is safer than 80 percent of Newark neighborhoods. That makes it an ideal location to live, whether you’re single, a young professional, have a family, or are a retiree.
3. Forest Hill
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 592
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,570
- Population: 22,701
Forest Hill is especially appealing to families, given the spacious houses common in the area. Many homes in the area feature Victorian and Colonial Revival styles, which tend to be larger than the modern style. Residents thus have enough space to grow.
Forest Hill also has many top-performing schools, including Park Elementary School. The neighborhood is also safer than 75 percent of neighborhoods in Newark. These qualities make it ideal for raising a family.
There are many fun things to do in Forest Hill. Tennis enthusiasts can enjoy playing at the Althea Gibson Tennis Court, while those who prefer jogging can do so at Branch Brook Park. You’ll also love sampling the tasty meals served in the neighborhood’s numerous restaurants.
4. University Heights
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 730
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,936
- Population: 9,646
Just like the name suggests, University Heights is home to various institutions of higher learning. Rutgers University, Essex County College, and New Jersey Institute of Technology are all in this neighborhood.
As you’d expect, a large chunk of University Heights consists of students, singles, and young professionals. But people from other age groups and different career stages also call this neighborhood home, thanks to its budget-friendly rents and proximity to Downtown Newark. Prominent health facilities such as Saint Michael’s Medical Center and University Hospital offer career opportunities for those in the medical profession.
University Heights has a lot of places you can enjoy visiting, including Veterans Memorial Park, Feigenspan Mansion, and Dreyfuss Planetarium. For those interested in fine food, the neighborhood has many excellent places you can dine, including Collard Greens and BQN Grill.
5. North Ironbound
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 558
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,478
- Population: 48,115
Ironbound is among the fastest-growing neighborhoods in Newark. Measuring a radius of just four square miles, Ironbound is split into North Ironbound and South Ironbound. Most residents in the area are Portuguese and Spanish, which provides a dynamic culture as well as exceptional cuisine.
North Ironbound is among the safest neighborhoods in Newark and has lots of amenities. Rents are among the lowest in the city, with the median monthly rent being $1,052. The area is popular with both young professionals and families.
Neighborhoods to Avoid in Newark
Some neighborhoods in Newark are generally more unsafe, so it’s best to avoid them. The rates of rape, murder, assault, robbery, and car theft are quite high in these areas. Burglaries are also rampant, which means you must invest in the most secure types of door locks if you decide to live in these neighborhoods.
In particular, you should avoid West Side, whose crime rate is higher than the national average by at least 60 percent. The danger is even greater in the Springfield-Belmont neighborhood, whose crime rate is almost 70 percent higher than the national average.
Here are other neighborhoods you should avoid:
- Dayton-Weequahic Park
- Mount Pleasant
- Upper Clinton Hill
- Lower Clinton Hill
- South Broad Street
- Lower Roseville
- Seventh Avenue
- Upper Vailsburg
- Chadwick Corridor
Among the most rampant crimes in the neighborhoods we’ve listed here include drug trafficking. Violent crime is also common.
Staying Safe in Newark
While crime in Newark has generally dropped dramatically over the years, it’s still prudent to take measures to remain safe when getting around the city. During the day, most neighborhoods are crowded and safe.
At night, most of the city empties out and can be a little unsafe. Try to stay in open areas that are well lit when walking at night. Be particularly more guarded when visiting the North, South, and Central areas where crime rates tend to be higher.
Lookout for panhandlers around Penn Station Newark, who can get aggressive. If possible, try to avoid them.
To safeguard yourself from home invasions, invest in reliable security systems. You can hide a trail cam to monitor your home while away, besides other security measures.
Getting Around Safely
Many crimes happen when people are moving from one part of the city to another. Here are a few ways to stay safe:
Sure, you can still walk from neighborhood to neighborhood, but it’s safer to use a car. If you don’t have access to a car, you can still use public transport, but keep an eye on your valuables.
Be Smart While Waiting for Your Uber
If you’ve just called an Uber, stay in a well-lit area while waiting for the service. Don’t get into a vehicle before confirming that it’s the car and driver you were expecting. Check the car’s license plate.
There’s no question that Newark is a wonderful place to live, especially when you choose the right neighborhood. The city has a colorful culture to enjoy, as well as many job opportunities. Its proximity to Manhattan and affordable rents also make this city one of the best places to take up residence in.