The Garden State has a lot of interesting towns for tourists to explore but Visiting Princeton is where all the action and fun lies.
Princeton may be a small city but is a highly famous college town known all around the world. Located in Mercer County, New Jersey, the area is known for its colonial history and picturesque landscape. The town center is a designated national historic landmark, and the university is one of the most prestigious in the country.
Princeton has plenty of things to see and do, from touring the campus to shopping and dining in the town center. Museums, gardens, and other attractions are also available for visitors. Here are some of the highlights you should consider if you ever find Visiting Princeton next on your travel itinerary, or you can find more about “must-see Princeton attractions” here:
Visiting Princeton University
Princeton University is the focal point of the community and one of the most prestigious universities in the country. The campus is a National Historic Landmark and features buildings dating back to colonial times. Guided tours are available, or you can wander the grounds independently.
The university has a rich history and many famous graduates, including U.S. Presidents James Madison and Woodrow Wilson. There are also plenty of student activities and events to enjoy.
Nature Walk at Herrontown Woods- Visiting Princeton
This nature preserve is a great place for a peaceful walk or a family outing. The Woods is home to wildlife, including deer, coyotes, and foxes. There are also miles of hiking trails to explore.
Herrontown Woods is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Originally, it was owned by Oswald Veblen ( a Princetown University Mathematician) and donated to the Mercer County Park System in 1957. However, it was given the condition that it would remain a nature and wildlife sanctuary.
Take a Stroll Down Nassau Street- Visiting Princeton
Nassau Street is the main street in Princeton and is home to many shops, restaurants, and bars. The charming brick buildings and tree-lined sidewalks make for a pleasant stroll. You’ll find everything from souvenir shops to high-end boutiques on Nassau Street. Several restaurants to choose from, including local favorites like the Nassau Inn and the Triumph Brewery.
Check Out the Princeton McCarter Theatre Center
The Performing art theatre was founded in 1930 and is home to the McCarter Theatre Company. The center happens to be one of the major regional theaters in the U.S. and offers more than 200 spectacular performances throughout the year such as dramas, comedies, musicals, and kid-friendly shows so rest assured you’ll find something for the whole family to enjoy.
It also hosts other entertaining events, such as concerts and lectures. The McCarter Theatre Center is open Monday through Sunday.
Explore the Grounds of The Morven Museum
The Morven Museum is a historic mansion turned into a museum. The museum features exhibits on art, history, and culture. There is also a garden on the grounds, open to the public.
You will enjoy a stroll through the garden, which is home to various plants and flowers. The Morven Museum is open during weekdays and admission is free for children and students, but there are discounts for adults.
Visit the Princeton Battlefield State Park
This historic site commemorates the Battle of Princeton, which was fought in 1777. The battlefield features a Visitors Center, which offers exhibits on the battle and the history of Princeton.
The battle ended when the American troops defeated the British forces. Presently, an oak, also called the Mercer Oak, marks the middle of the battlefield where general Hugh Mercer was wounded during the battle.
Take a Ride on the D&R Canal
The Delaware and Raritan Canal was built in 1832 and served as a major transportation route for goods and passengers. The canal is now a recreational trail, which you can explore by bike, foot, or boat.
The canal is open year-round and offers a variety of scenery, including forests, wetlands, and farmland. You can also stop at one of the many locks or bridges located along the trail. All in all, the D&R Canal is a great place to spend a day outdoors and you can even rent bikes or boats along the trail.
Visit Lake Carnegie
Owned by Princeton University and its rowing team, the beautiful Lake Carnegie is located in the heart of Princeton. The lake is a popular spot for fishing, swimming, and kayaking and is home to various fish, such as bass, catfish, and carp.
The lake is open to the public from dawn to dusk. There is a parking lot at the entrance that’s free for Princeton University students while non-students can park for a fee.
Shop and Dine in the Town Center
The town center is a charming area with various shops and restaurants. You can find everything from upscale boutiques to local ice cream shops. The historical buildings and tree-lined streets add to the charm.
There are also a few museums and gardens in the town center, including the Princeton University Art Museum and Palmer Square. Enjoy a stroll through the square and take in the beauty of this historic community.
Watch Soccer at Roberts Stadium
Roberts Stadium is the home of the Princeton University Tigers soccer team. The stadium is open to the public and offers a great view of the action. Be sure to check the schedule ahead of time to see if a game is happening during your visit. The stadium is also used for other events, such as concerts and festivals.
Visit the Terhune Orchards and Winery
This family-owned orchard is a great place to spend a day with the kids. There is something for everyone, including hayrides, apple picking, and pumpkin patches. The orchards burst with rows of grapes, cows, and horses grazing in the meadows.
The winery offers tastings of their award-winning wines, and you can also buy bottles to take home. There is also a restaurant on site that serves up delicious farm-to-table food.
Visit the Family Favorite Marquand Park
Marquand Park is a popular spot for families in Princeton. The 17-acre park has a playground, a pond, and lots of open space for running around. It’s the perfect place to let the kids burn off some energy.
There’s a variety of recreational activities at Marquand Park, including basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts. The park is also home to the Marquand Dog Park, a large fenced-in area for the pups to run around. Marquand Park is a great place to spend a day outdoors.
You can also visit the Marquand Chapel, which is open to the public. The chapel is an interesting mix of Gothic and Romanesque architecture and has a very interesting middle ages feel to it.
Get a View of the Iconic Architectural Cleveland Tower
The Cleveland Tower is a beautiful example of Art Deco architecture. The tower is located on the Princeton University campus and offers stunning views of the town and surrounding area. It happens to be 173 feet, making it the tallest building in Princeton.
The tower borders the main entrance to the college and is erected in the memory of the President and trustee of Princeton University, Grover Cleveland.
Note that the tower is open to the public, and there is a fee to visit. It’s definitely worth a stop if you are interested in architecture or get a panoramic view of the town.
The Bainbridge House
This imposing structure is one of the most iconic buildings in Princeton. The Bainbridge House was built in 1817 and is now used as a museum. It’s open to the public for tours and offers a glimpse into life in the early 1800s.
The house is furnished with original pieces from the period and includes a Steinway piano and a Tiffany lamp. There is also a garden on site that is worth exploring. Bainbridge House is a great place to learn about the history of Princeton.
Have a Drink at Witherspoon Grill
The Witherspoon Grill is a popular spot for a casual meal in Princeton. The restaurant is located in a historic building and has a relaxed atmosphere. They serve up classic American fares, like burgers and sandwiches.
The highlight of the Witherspoon Grill is its beer garden. The garden has a variety of beers on tap and wine, and cocktails. It’s the perfect spot to relax and eat a casual meal after a day of sightseeing.
To Sum It Up
As you can see, there are plenty of attractions in the Princeton area to explore. The Delaware and Raritan Canal is a great place for a walk or bike ride, and the Washington Crossing Open Air Museum is worth a visit if you are interested in history. There are also a few wineries and breweries in the area if you want to do some tasting.
That said, if you’re interested in visiting Princeton, NJ, be sure to add these popular sites to your itinerary and experience all that this historic community has to offer. Whether you’re interested in history, shopping, or sports, you’ll find that there’s something for everyone in Princeton.