A Perfect Weekend in Princeton!
We've been studying Princeton for years and these are our best and brightest destinations to really get to know Princeton if you only have one day! These are NOT advertisers - they really are our favorites! (Any discounts you see are just proof some businesses REALLY want you to check them out when you come to town!)
First, you'll want to fuel up with coffee at small world coffee, everything you'd hope a coffee shop would be in the #1 Ivy League town in America. It's listed as one of the best coffee shops in America and offers guaranteed academic celebrity sightings! Grab a "Joe to Go" and head to the mega line at PJ's Pancake House. (The line is FUN! Introduce yourself and get to know the other visitors in Princeton. If you go back for dinner, you get 10% off the pasta menu when you present your e-ticket.)
While you're fresh, you'll want to discover a world of art at the Princeton University Art Museum. If you adore the work of Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso, and artwork that rivals the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this is an essential part of your visit. This world class collection is free and open to the public Tuesday to Sunday each week. (On Thursdays, they stay open until 10pm so plan accordingly!)
As you leave the Museum, make your way to the Princeton University Chapel, the third largest collegiate chapel in the world and, arguably, the most beautiful. Go inside and take in the largest collection of stained glass in North America and imagine the genius students and professors who have been inspired in the very same place! (This is a stop on the tour but you definitely want to go before or after the tour and take it in.)
Cross back over to 158 Nassau Street to the Bainbridge House see a speical exhibition featuring selected pieces of furniture from the Einstein Collection. (Admission is $4 per person)
Before you know it, it will be lunchtime. Time for a stop at Triumph Brewing Company for the best burgers, microbrewed beers, and fried pickle chips in Princeton! Present your tour e-ticket and get $1 off the first pint of beer!
After lunch, you'll want to do a little shopping that's unique to Princeton along lovely Nassau Street. Landau's Woolen Shop has a free Einstein museum and this is the only store in Princeton that sells the iconic Einstein tee shirts, posters, and souvenirs. They also sell the iconic Princeton Black Squirrel items along with Luxaby Baby & Child on Palmer Square. Labyrinth Books is the perfect college town bookstore and is the place to find autographed copies from Princeton's rock star authors. Around the corner is Princeton Record Exchange which has been ranked as a top record store in the country by Rolling Stone, Time Magazine , USA Today and others. Browse through over 140,000 new and used CDs, LPs and DVDs. Receive 5% off your purchase when you present your tour e-ticket! Be sure to check out jane's consignment shop at 7 Spring Street too. Bring your e-ticket and get 20% off your jane's purchase of any non-artist items! (People rumor this is the cast away items of some of the wealthiest and well traveled residents in America in addition to local art and jewelry made right here in Princeton! Who needs a personal shopper when jane can do all the work?)
It’s tour time! Princeton Tour Company is rated the #1 Attraction on TripAdvisor, AAA Magazine and the New York Times. The tour starts at 116 Nassau Street inside the Princeton University U-Store. If you purchased tickets online you are guaranteed a spot. If space is available, you can purchase tickets inside the U-Store the same day as the tour. If you plan on purchasing souvenirs, our customers are entitled 10% discount off purchases at the Princeton U-Store when you present your e-ticket!
Just as the afternoon is winding down, you'll want to discover what's been called the Westminster of the United States--Princeton Cemetery, owned and operated by the Nassau Presbyterian Church. There are free maps at the entrance so plan some time to find the graves of U.S. President, Grover Cleveland; Vice President Aaron Burr, and Nobel Prize winners George Kennan and inventor of the computer John von Neumann. Bonus points if you find the grave that says "I told you was sick!". If you're going on the ghost tour you may want to skip this recommendation! Instead go on a walking tour of Morven Museum & Gardens at 55 Stockton Street which was the home to a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Robert Wood Johnson and eventually the New Jersey Govenors' Mansion. (Admission is $4 per person - Tours go out 10a - 4p on Saturdays - check website for weekday tours - located about three blocks from the U-Store)
We've got plans for you tonight, so you'll want to head to Palmer Square have dinner first. Mediterra Restaurant has our vote for best all around evening restaurant! With a great bar, perfect outdoor seating in the courtyard, and carefully prepared contemporary Italian cuisine, it's the perfect in-town stop. If you are looking for a 5-Star stop, we recommend The Peacock Inn on Bayard Lane. Not only did Einstein sleep there, the restaurant was recently named the #1 restaurant in America. But for dessert, you'll want to go down the street to the bent spoon where you'll discover what The New York Times voted the best gelato on the planet. Show your e-ticket and "spoonies" will give you a cool 10% off! (The founders of bent spoon fell in love as baristas at small world coffee! See? Now you're feeling right at home.) If you are a pure ice cream fan, insiders recommend Halo Pub, also on Palmer Square. (Did you know the owner was roommates with Paul Newman? TRUE!)
You can't tear yourself away from Princeton just yet! Stop in for a nightcap at the Nassau Inn Tap Room where everyone in town knows it's good luck to have a drink--the same place the sons of the Rockefellers, Kennedys, Vanderbilts, and Carnegies kicked back. Present your tour ticket to your server our customers receive $2 off any Craft beer AND 10% off lunch or dinner (alcohol not included). You can see the Princeton University wall of fame AND the largest Norman Rockwell painting ever produced. (See if you can find the table where Einstein carved his name in a table!)
End your day like a real Ivy Leaguer with a specialty sub at Hoagie Haven - locals call it "Haven" but many locals don't know it was originally supposed to be named Hoagie Heaven but the founders made a slight mistake in spelling! See? You're a bonafide Princeton local!
Wake up refreshed and take a walk on the D&R Canal. Return to downtown Princeton at 8 South Tulane to The Little Pastry Chef, which has won international awards for pastries. The shop is famous for selling out before 10:00am so choose from what's available and head to Princeton Battlefield at 500 Mercer Road for a picnic on the famous soil grounds that defined our nation in 1777. Looking for an upscale Bloody Mary inspired bruncht? Head to Witherspoon Grill on the Hines Plaza at 57 Witherspoon Street.
Since you're now an expert on Princeton, it's time to switch up the pace! For more visual delights, head to Grounds for Sculpture at 18 Fairgrounds Road Hamilton Township, NJ 08619 to see J Seward Johnson's 42 acre sculpture park! On the tour, you'll learn a Princeton University student invented the curve ball, so you may want to head to see a Trenton Thunder Baseball Game at One Thunder Road (or 50 Riverview Plaza) Trenton, NJ 08611. On the tour, you'll learn at one time Princeton had more millionaires than any other city in America. Our customers love biking and hiking where "the richest girl in the world" lived in the 1920's at Duke Farms 1112 Duke Parkway West in Hillsborough, N.J. If you love antiquing, it doesn't get any better than the waterfront towns of Lambertville, NJ or New Hope, PA! All of these places are within a 30 minute drive of downtown Princeton!