The small town of Princeton in New Jersey is known for the eponymous Ivy League university, Princeton University. This institution is connected to notable figures like Albert Einstein. However, Princeton is more than just a college town; it has a history that goes as far back as the 18th century during the American Revolution.

In fact, those who love history are familiar with the Battle of Princeton during the American Revolution in 1777. Tourists can delve into this past at the Princeton Battlefield State Park, a site that’s dedicated to teaching visitors about the significance of Princeton in American history. Another attraction is the Drumthwacket Estate, which was put up on the very grounds where the Battle of Princeton took place.

Princeton’s rich history, stunning architecture, and academic reputation are reasons enough to visit. Whether one is interested in exploring the town’s quaint streets, diving into its history, or visiting the Ivy League college, this article on things to do in Princeton has all the information a visitor may need when planning a trip.

UPDATE: 2023/07/26 07:27 EST BY BARRY JUMA

More Things To Do In Princeton, New Jersey

Other than the world-renowned Ivy-League University, Princeton also boasts a number of other attractions that are worth exploring. This article now includes activities like visiting Albert Einstein’s former home, boating on Lake Carnegie, and visiting Mercer County Park found a few minutes away.

Things To Do In Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University isn’t the only thing offered in this small town with a rich history. Certainly, most of those who visit are interested in checking out the college, but visitors can also check out the historical sites, explore the outdoor space, and admire local art, which are some of New Jersey’s awesome things to do.

RELATED:These Are The Best Towns Worth A Vacation In New Jersey

Below is a look at the top things to do in Princeton.

1Tour Princeton University

A building on the Princeton University Campus
Image by Oleg Mityukhin from Pixabay 
A building on the Princeton University Campus

This Ivy League university is the town’s flagship attraction, with close to 9,000 students enrolled at the college. Princeton University is known worldwide as a top learning institution, boasting alumni like US presidents Woodrow Wilson and James Madison, as well as notable figures like Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman as well as former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Visitors can tour the university and check out its historic buildings like Nassau Hall, which is the oldest building on campus — it was built in 1756. Tourists can also check out the beautiful Prospect Garden, Princeton University Art Museum, and the historic Alexander Hall.

  • Address: Princeton, NJ 08544, United States
  • Hours: Available upon registration

2Explore The Princeton Battlefield State Park

Princeton Battlefield State Park sign
Photo by Ken Lund distributed under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.
Princeton Battlefield State Park sign

The Princeton Battlefield State Park spans 681 acres and it features different landscapes from open fields to wetlands. This site is where the Battle of Princeton took place in 1777, which was led by General George Washington.

Visitors can check out the battlefield and learn about what took place during this pivotal historical event. There are also buildings here that played an important role during the battle, like the Clarke House, which served as a field hospital. Today, this building is the Visitor Center.

Visitors can also enjoy hiking, biking, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing. Animals like deer and foxes are common in the park, as well as birds like red-tailed hawks. All these make Princeton Battlefield State Park one of New Jersey’s state parks worth visiting.

  • Address: 500 Mercer Road, Princeton, NJ 08540
  • Hours: Sunrise to Sunset (daily)
  • Admission: Free

3Admire Art At The Princeton University Art Museum

Princeton University Art Museum Exterior view
Photo by Andreas Praefcke on Wikimedia Commons distributed under a CC BY 3.0 license.
Princeton University Art Museum Exterior view

Found on the campus of Princeton University, the Princeton University Art Museum is home to a collection of over 100,000 works of art from around the world. This museum even has historic pieces that go as far back as 5000 years.

The oldest piece is a sculpture from the ancient Sumerian city of Nippur, which is dated around 2500 BCE. There are also collections from ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia, Persia, and the Levant.

This art museum even boasts works by legendary artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, and Rembrandt, as well as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean works of art, making this a haven for art lovers.

  • Address: Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08544
  • Hours: Tue – Wed: 11 am – 5 pm; Thu & Sat: 11 am – 6 pm; Fri: 11 am – 7 pm; Sun: 11 am – 4 pm (closed on Mon)
  • Admission: Free

Sadly, the main museum on campus is currently under renovation (expected to open in spring 2025) but there are affiliated galleries in downtown Princeton that showcase the pieces.

  • Address: Princeton, NJ 08544
  • Hours: Mon – Wed: 10 am – 6 pm; Thu & Fri: 10 am – 8:30 pm; Sat: 10 am – 7 pm; Sun: 12 pm – 5 pm
  • Admission: Free

RELATED:First Time In New Jersey? Try Doing These Things

4Visit The Morven Museum & Garden

A view of Morven Museum & Garden
Photo by denisbin distributed under a CC BY-ND 2.0 license.
A view of Morven Museum & Garden

Morven Museum & Garden is located in an 18th-century house that used to be the New Jersey Governor’s mansion. In fact, 5 five New Jersey governors called this home during their times in office until the 20th century when it was leased out.

Since 2004, Morven has been a museum and garden, with about five acres of garden space. Inside, visitors get to check out artifacts like old furniture, paintings, and photographs, all of which offer a glimpse into the mansion’s time as the Governor’s home.

Visitors can also learn about the American Revolution.

  • Address: 55 Stockton Street Princeton, New Jersey 08540
  • Hours: Wed – Sun: 10 am – 4 pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
  • Admission: Adults: $10; Seniors (60+): $8; Youth (7-18): $8; Children (6 and under): Free

5Take A Tour Of Drumthwacket Estate

A view of the Drumthwacket Mansion
Photo by Jimmy Emerson, DVM distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.
A view of the Drumthwacket Mansion

Drumthwacket Estate is the official residence of the Governor of New Jersey, and it was built on grounds where the historic Battle of Princeton took place. Drumthwacket is also actually close to the Princeton Battlefield State Park as well, which is another one of New Jersey’s Revolutionary War sites.

The estate is made up of a Georgian-style mansion, gardens, and several outbuildings that serve different purposes. Visitors can tour the entire estate and get to explore the mansion’s elegant interior as well as the gardens, which boast a variety of plant species.

  • Address: 354 Stockton St, Princeton, NJ 08540, United States
  • Hours: Wednesdays 1 pm for public tours
  • Admission: Free

Advance registration is necessary in order to tour the site.

6Shop In Palmer Square

Palmer Square, Princeton
Photo by Dan Komoda Photography distributed under a CC BY 3.0 license on Wikimedia Commons
A section of Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ

The historic district of Palmer Square is known for its shopping and dining spots, which are some of the best in the town. It’s named after Edgar Palmer, a philanthropist who developed this area in the late 1930s. A bronze statue of Edgar Palmer prominently stands in the square in honor of its developer.

Today, this district is home to over 40 shops, boutiques, and restaurants as well as popular sites like the McCarter Theater Center. Palmer Square is also close to Princeton Cemetery, and it’s directly adjacent to Princeton University.

  • Address: 40 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542

7Catch A Show At The McCarter Theater Center

Exterior view of McCarter Theatre Center
Photo by Tpmiller120 distributed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
Exterior view of McCarter Theatre Center

This theater is found on the Princeton University campus, boasting two performance spaces with a total capacity of about 1300. This theater was built in the late 1920s and opened in 1930, becoming the area’s top performing arts space.

Productions ranging from classic to contemporary plays as well as musical and dance performances are held here. There’s also a program for emerging playwrights at the McCarter Lab found in this venue.

Visitors can catch a performance at one of its theaters; there’s always a production at McCarter Theater Center.

  • Address: 91 University Pl, Princeton, NJ 08540, United States

8Hike Along The Delaware And Raritan Canal Trail

A section of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Trail
Photo by Michael Stokes distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license.
A section of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Trail

The Delaware and Raritan Canal stretches for roughly 66 miles from Bordentown to New Brunswick, with a section passing through Princeton. Alongside the canal is a trail that’s popular among hikers and bikers. Visitors can also go canoeing or fishing in the canal.

A walk on the trails through Princeton takes visitors through the Princeton Battlefield State Park, and sections of the canal have historic structures like aqueducts and bridges used in the 19th century.

Visitors can find out more about this 1830s-built canal as well as its significance in transportation during this time.

9Visit The Former Home Of Albert Einstein

The exterior of the Albert Einstein House in Princeton, New Jersey
Photo by Paul Minami on Unsplash
The exterior of the Albert Einstein House in Princeton, New Jersey

Visitors can immerse themselves in the life of one of the greatest minds in history at Albert Einstein’s former residence. Located in Princeton, this unassuming house was the physicist’s home from 1936 until his death in 1955.

Now, it stands as a testament to the life and work of the Nobel laureate. The house, with its simple architecture, is a stark contrast to the complex theories Einstein formulated within its walls.

Although the house isn’t a museum, at the request of Einstein himself, it’s still part of the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Address: 112 Mercer St, Princeton, NJ 08540, United States

10Catch A Movie At Princeton Garden Theatre

Entrance to the Princeton Garden Theatre
Via: Shutterstock
Entrance to the Princeton Garden Theatre

For film enthusiasts, the Princeton Garden Theatre, established in 1920, is a must-visit. This historic cinema offers a mix of contemporary, classic, and independent films, providing a unique movie-going experience. The theatre’s vintage charm, combined with modern technology, creates an ambiance that’s hard to replicate.

Princeton Garden Theatre also hosts other events and concerts like festivals, operas, and ballet shows.

  • Address: 160 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ 08542, United States
  • Prices: General: $13.50; Seniors (62+): $11

11Go Boating Or Fishing On Lake Carnegie

Aerial view of Lake Carnegie in Princeton
Via: Shutterstock
Aerial view of Lake Carnegie in Princeton

Lake Carnegie, a man-made freshwater reservoir, offers a serene retreat for nature lovers. Visitors can enjoy a day of boating or fishing on the lake, which was created by industrialist Andrew Carnegie for the Princeton University rowing team.

The lake’s calm waters and lush surroundings make it a perfect spot for a relaxing day out.

  • Address: Princeton, NJ 08540, United States
  • Hours: Open 24 hours (daily)

12Explore Mercer County Park

View of a lake in Mercer County Park, New Jersey
Via: Shutterstock
View of a lake in Mercer County Park, New Jersey

Mercer County Park, a sprawling 2,500-acre green space, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The park boasts numerous amenities including hiking trails, picnic areas, a marina, and sports facilities.

Whether one is looking to play a match on one of the tennis courts, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll amidst nature, Mercer County Park has something for everyone.

  • Address: 1638 Old Trenton Rd, West Windsor Township, NJ 08550, United States
  • Hours: 6 am – 10:30 pm (daily)

13Where To Eat In Princeton, New Jersey

Nassau Street in Princeton, New Jersey
Photo by Khürt Williams on Unsplash
Nassau Street in Princeton, New Jersey

Iconic New Jersey dishes like pork roll, beef steak, and Jersey Sloppy Joe are found in Princeton’s dining spots. Below is a look at some of the top places to eat in this town.


Jammin’ Crepes

  • Address: 20 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ 08542, United States
  • Hours: Tue – Sun: 8 am – 4 pm (closed on Mon)
  • Popular Dishes: Classic Toasty Cinnamon Crêpes, Jammin Turkey Club, Bacon Scrambler, Turkey Sausage, Egg & Cheese

PJ’s Pancake House

  • Address: 154 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ 08542, United States
  • Hours: Sun – Thu: 8 am – 8 pm; Fri & Sat: 8 am – 9 pm
  • Popular Dishes: Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pancakes, Banana Pancakes, Blueberry Pancakes, Steak N’ Eggs, PJ’s Classic Omelet

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Agricola Eatery

  • Address: 11 Witherspoon St, Princeton, NJ 08542, United States
  • Hours: Mon – Thu: 11:30 am – 10 pm Fri: 11:30 am – 11 pm; Sat: 11 am – 11 pm; Sun: 10:30 am – 9 pm
  • Popular Dishes: Spicy Cucumber & Tomatillo Gazpacho, Jerk Shrimp Tacos, Larson Farms Prime Short Rib, Heritage Pork Shank,

Local Greek

  • Address: 44 Leigh Ave, Princeton, NJ 08542, United States
  • Hours: Mon – Sat: 10 am – 9 pm; Sun: 10 am – 8 pm
  • Popular Dishes: Greek Spread, Fried Calamari, Mousaka, Chicken Souvlaki, Lamb Souvlaki, Greek Burger


Blue Point Grill

  • Address: 258 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ 08542
  • Hours: Sun – Thu: 4:30 pm – 8 pm; Fri & Sat: 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm
  • Popular Dishes: Maine Lobster Bisque, Fried Shrimp Bumplings, Greek Bronzini, Shrimp Scampi Pasta, Braised Short Ribs

Roots Ocean Prime

  • Address: 98 University Pl, Princeton, NJ 08540
  • Hours: Mon – Sat: 11:30 am – 10 pm; Sun: 12 pm – 9 pm
  • Popular Dishes: Chilled Seafood Platter, Roots Crispy Shrimp Scampi, Pan Seared Red Snapper, Dry Aged Kansas City Steak, Filet Mignon, Macaroni & Cheese


Brick House Tavern + Tap

  • Address: 3569 US-1, Princeton, NJ 08540
  • Hours: Sun – Thu: 11 am – 11 pm; Fri & Sat: 11 am – 12 am
  • Popular Drinks: Draft beers, House Gold Margarita, Mango Mojito, Moscow Mule, Twisted Old Fashioned

The Meeting House

  • Address: 277 Witherspoon St, Princeton, NJ 08540
  • Hours: Tue: 4 pm – 10 pm; Wed & Thu: 11:30 am – 10 pm; Fri: 11:30 am – 11 pm; Sat: 10 am – 11 pm; Sun: 10 am – 10 pm (closed on Mon)
  • Popular Drinks: Draught Beer: Maine, Kane, Troegs; Cocktails: Paisley Palace, Go Fig’Ure, Stairway To Heaven, The Don, Vendetta

14Where To Stay In Princeton, New Jersey

A building in Princeton, New Jersey
Photo by Clément Proust on Pexels
A building in Princeton, New Jersey

Visitors to Princeton, NJ can find a range of accommodations all around the city.


The Peacock Inn Ascend Hotel Collection

  • Address20 Bayard Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540
  • Price: From $309
  • Amenities: Complimentary breakfast, gym, patio, airport shuttle, free parking, EV charging station, bar, restaurant, meeting facilities

The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village

Courtyard by Marriott Princeton

Hampton Inn Princeton

  • Address4385 US 1 South, Princeton, NJ 08540
  • Price: From $132
  • Amenities: Pool, gym, free parking, laundry facilities, complimentary breakfast, picnic area, BBQ grill, business center, meeting facilities

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Vacation Rentals

Downtown Princeton Home

  • Address: Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • Price: From $503
  • Amenities: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, free parking, fire pit, full kitchen, workspace, private patio, BBQ grill,

Townhouse in Downtown Princeton

  • Address: Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • Price: From $411
  • Amenities: 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, free parking, washer & dryer, full kitchen, private patio, private fenced backyard

The Witherspoon House

  • Address: Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • Price: From $250
  • Amenities: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, shared patio, free parking, 43-inch TV, dryer, mini kitchen, shared backyard

Room in Shared Home in Princeton

  • Address: Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • Price: From $62
  • Amenities: Private room, shared bath, kitchen access, shared backyard, paid parking

15Best Time To Visit Princeton

A building in Princeton University
Photo by Tim Alex on Unsplash
A building in Princeton University

The best time to visit Princeton is in the warmer months from May to September. During this time, visitors are able to enjoy outdoor attractions like Princeton’s parks and gardens. Here is a closer look at what to expect during the different seasons in Princeton.

Spring (March to May)

Princeton is beautiful at this time, with flowers beginning to bloom after the winter hiatus. March and April, however, are still rather chilly, with temperatures as low as the 30s Fahrenheit (-1 Celsius) and highs in the 60s (15 Celsius) in late April.

The month of May gets warmer, enjoying temperatures in the low 70s (low 20s Celsius). Those who want to visit should consider traveling in May to enjoy the pleasant weather that’s neither hot nor cold. Visitors can also attend events like the Princeton Film Festival and the Communiversity ArtsFest.

Summer (June to August)

Summer is a popular time in Princeton, with lots of tourists visiting during this season. The weather is warm and ideal for spending time outdoors. The temperatures range from the low 60s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit.

Festivals like the Princeton Music Festival, the Princeton Food and Wine Festival, and the Princeton Jazz Festival are held during this time.

Autumn (September to November)

Fall foliage characterizes Princeton’s landscape from September to November. The beautiful landscape plus the mild temperatures make this a good time to enjoy outdoor activities. Plus, since there are fewer tourists at this time than in summer, visitors enjoy lower rates.

However, there are still a number of people who choose to travel at this time to enjoy the fall foliage, so rates aren’t at their lowest.

Winter (December to February)

This season is cold and snowy, with temperatures likely to drop to the low 20s Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius). This isn’t the ideal time to visit the outdoor spaces, but visitors will still enjoy events like the Palmer Square Tree Lighting and the Morven Museum & Garden Holiday Celebration.

16Getting Around Princeton, New Jersey

An old building in Princeton, New Jersey
Photo by denisbin distributed under a CC BY-ND 2.0 licen
An old building in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton is almost halfway between Philadelphia and New York, so visitors can drive from these big cities. The nearest commercial airport is the Trenton-Mercer Regional Airport, but it’s only served by Frontier Airlines.

Newark Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport are less than an hour’s drive from Princeton. It’s also near some of the most beautiful towns in New Jersey, like Allentown and Collingswood.

Visitors can use taxis, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, as well as car rental services to get around. For those looking for inexpensive means of transport, below are the best options:


This town is pedestrian-friendly, with sidewalks and crosswalks throughout the downtown area. Plus, there are designated walking and biking paths around the town, offering residents and visitors the opportunity to explore the city on foot or on bikes.


Tiger Transit is a shuttle operated by Princeton University, but it’s available to the public. This free shuttle operates from 7 am to 12 am on some routes from Monday to Friday, and from 7 am to 7 pm on other routes. However, this service isn’t available on university holidays i.e. summers and winters.

17Spending The Perfect Day In Princeton

A building in Princeton University
Photo by Clément Proust on
A building in Princeton University

Start the day with a morning stroll along Princeton’s section of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Trail and enjoy the scenery. Afterward, head to one of the town’s popular breakfast restaurants like Jammin’ Crêpes for a hearty meal. Then, visit the Princeton Battlefield State Park to hike or bike the trails and learn about the site’s history in the process.

Enjoy a picnic lunch at the park then head to Drumthwacket Estate to tour the historic mansion and the gardens.

Finally, enjoy an afternoon admiring art at the Princeton University Art Museum before taking an evening stroll in Palmer Square. Have dinner at the square and catch an evening performance at The McCarter Theater Center before ending the day with drinks at a local pub.


Q: Are there any festivals or events in Princeton?

Yes, Princeton has festivals like the Communiversity ArtsFest in spring, the Princeton Pi Day celebration in March, and the Palmer Square Summer Concert Series in summer.

Q: What is Princeton New Jersey famous for?

Princeton is famous for being home to the Ivy League Princeton University, which was founded in the 18th century, 1746. It’s also known for a rich history and its role in the American Revolution, particularly, the Battle of Princeton.

Q: What are some outdoor activities to do in Princeton?

Princeton offers outdoor activities like hiking in parks like Battlefield State Park, as well as boating or kayaking on Carnegie Lake. Visitors to New Jersey can also explore sections of the Appalachian Scenic Trail.