Princeton

For other places with the same name, see Princeton (disambiguation).
MacLean House, Princeton University

Princeton, home to the prestigious Princeton University, is a municipality with a population of approximately 30,000 in Mercer County, central New Jersey.

Understand

Princeton — currently a community of 14,239 residents — is located in Mercer County, New Jersey. Home to one of the top universities in the nation, Princeton is a town filled with college students, beautiful scenery, and historical features.

The University's Nassau Hall served as the Capitol of the United States for a single summer in the late eighteenth century. Princeton counts among its former residents Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann.

Get in

By plane

Stanhope Hall, Princeton University

Princeton has an eponymous airport located in Montgomery, less than 2 miles from Nassau Street and Princeton University. Princeton Airport serves mostly general aviation (i.e. hobby) flying, but it also sees its fair share of business charter flights. It has one runway, fuel stations, lots of aircraft tie-down space, and hangars. This makes the airport a very cost-effective solution for travelers who pilot their own airplanes. Car-rental service is located on-site.

Other nearby airports include the Somerset Airport, Central Jersey Regional Airport, and Teterboro airport. These airports, like Princeton, do not operate commercial flights, but anyone with his/her own airplane can fly in.

The larger Trenton Mercer airport offers some air-taxi options.

By train

A small rail station in close proximity to both the University campus and the downtown district provides a shuttle service, known locally as "the Dinky," to the nearby Princeton Junction train station. At Princeton Junction, you can transfer to either Amtrak or New Jersey Transit trains.

Princeton Junction station is about 4 miles southwest of the main university campus. It is served by the Northeast Corridor Line, the main commuter rail line running from Washington, D.C. to Boston. This line is often full during the morning and evening rush hours with commuters traveling to New York City or Philadelphia.

From New York City

Witherspoon Hall, Princeton University

From New York, be sure to purchase a NJ Transit Northeast Corridor line train ticket from Penn Station to Princeton (not Princeton Junction). As of 2012, it costs $16.50. The southbound train from Penn Station will stop at Princeton Junction; disembark there and hold on to your ticket, as you'll need it to take the shuttle train ("dinky") from Princeton Junction to Princeton. The shuttle's Princeton terminus is at the south edge of campus

Walking from the Dinky

Reaching the center of campus from the Dinky is a bit tricky. To reach the center of campus (containing the Admissions Office, Nassau Hall, the University's oldest building, etc.), walk north from the station through a group of triangle-shaped buildings (I.M. Pei-designed Spelman College), continue north on a road past a gymnasium (on your right) and a dormitory (on your left). This road dead-ends in a loop behind another dormitory, continue walking north until you reach an immense staircase terminating at an archway; this is the Blair Arch. Walk up the stairs and continue eastward along the path. When you reach a white marble building (Clio Hall), the admissions office (West College) will be just to the north, on your left, and Nassau Hall will be further north. A stair-free, less confusing path, is to take the same path through Spelman, but walk behind the gym to a road through the center of campus (Elm Drive), which leads north to West College and Nassau Hall. Visitors may wish to visit the Frist Campus Center for a campus tour. Tours depart from the Welcome Desk on the main floor of the Campus Center (take the stairs down, not up, at the front of the building). To get to Frist from the Dinky Station, the least confusing (albeit far from the shortest) path is to take Elm Drive until one reaches an east-west path running behind a white marble building. Make a right (east) on this path, and walk until you reach a major street (Washington Road). Don't cross Washington; just turn right (south), and continue until you reach the Campus Center, which is easily recognizable by "Fristhenge", a thin brickcourse supported by pillars in front of the building. (Preferably, one would continue north on Elm Drive and ask for a map at West College.)

By bus

COACH USA (under the name Suburban) offers bus service from New York and New Brunswick to Princeton.

New Jersey Transit operates several commuter bus lines connecting Princeton with other areas. Several bus stops are located throughout Princeton Borough and Township. Buses generally leave on every half-hour between 8.30 am and 9 pm weekdays, and irregularly before and after those hours. The Saturday schedule is similar, and the Sunday schedule is hourly.

By car

Two major highways, Route 206 and Route 27, pass through Princeton. U.S. Route 1 runs just east of the town while Interstate 95 and the New Jersey Turnpike are two alternative routes to get into the area.

The town's main street is Nassau Street, on which the majority of shops and eateries can be found. Although Princeton has parallel parking spaces along the main roads, most are metered and all are checked frequently by the infamously vigilant local parking patrol. The Princeton Parking Cash Card, available from machines in Spring Street Garage, conveniently pays for parking at all meters and allows for the reclamation of unused "time" upon return to the meter; "max out" the meter then take back unused credit upon return to forfend the award of parking tickets in the forty dollar range. There are multiple parking garages; the municipal garage on Spring Street, a few dozen feet from the Princeton Record Exchange, is the most affordable, but the pricier garages in Palmer Square and on Chambers Street are convenient to many locations as well. Infrequent visitors must note with dismay that Sunday parking on the street is no longer free.

Get around

Everything in the downtown area is easily accessible on foot from the main parts of the campus or the two hotels in town. A physically fit visitor can reach any part of town with a bicycle. The only public transit is a single bus line that makes a leisurely loop around the outer parts of the town. Taxis are easily available by cell phone, or at the taxi stand on Nassau St and Witherspoon.

The university operates several buses between campus, university housing, and several campus parking lots. These buses are for faculty, staff, students, and campus visitors, but no checking is done. See also the real-time bus map.

See

Albert Einstein's house

Do

McCarter Theater

Whether with family or by yourself, there is a variety of things to do throughout the duration of your stay in Princeton. From walking Princeton University campus grounds, to visiting the Princeton art museum there are many cultural activities to take part in.

Buy

Downtown Princeton is full of shops. Many are high-priced boutiques catering to the town's non-student residents, although some are worth mentioning. Almost all are located on Nassau Street, the heart of Princeton.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Travelers on a shoestring budget should be aware that it is difficult to secure inexpensive lodging in town. There are no known hostels or lodging-houses in the Princeton area.

There are a number of hotels and motels along Route 1 to the east (outside of actual town limits), but those without cars must note that there are no public transportation links to downtown Princeton from this area.

Go next

Routes through Princeton

New Brunswick North Brunswick  N  S  END
Philadelphia Trenton  W  E  New Brunswick New York City
END Trenton  SW  NE  New Brunswick Woodbridge


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