Top 5 Places to Discover in Princeton

We’re only days away from the beginning of Princeton University’s academic year! Isn’t it hard to believe that school is starting soon and autumn is just along the horizon?

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Summer may be over soon, but there are many more adventures and experiences you can look forward to! Wiebke Martens, a photographer, and Jennifer Jang, a museum education consultant, are both Princeton residents and the authors of a new book: Discovering Princeton: A Photographic Guide with Five Walking Tours.

In this post, they will share the Top 5 Places to Discover in Princeton – Nassau Hall, Palmer Square, Hind’s Plaza, Scudder Plaza, and Carl Icahn’s Laboratory! Hope you enjoy their guide below!


Welcome to Princeton! Whether you have two hours or two days to explore, there are several special spots not to be missed in this charming college town.

  1. Nassau Hall

    Take a short walk from the Nassau Inn and you will find yourself in front of this imposing stone building in the heart of Princeton University’s old campus. This is where it all began when The College of New Jersey (the University’s original name) was moved to Princeton from Newark, New Jersey in 1756. For several decades students spent nearly every waking hour here: studying, sleeping, eating, and praying. Built to a thickness of more than two feet, the walls of this building have withstood the American Revolution, riots and fires. Make sure to take a picture with the tigers and pause to appreciate the carefully-cultivated ivy–a gift from Princeton’s graduating classes!
  2. Palmer Square
    Palmer Square is Princeton’s village within a village: an array of charming stores tucked into Tudor-style buildings around a grassy green and the historic Nassau Inn. Visit one-of-a-kind boutiques or stop for an ice cream, play a game of chess or lounge on the green. Many special events enliven the square throughout the year, from activities around Pi Day in March to weekend concerts in summer and the JazzFeast in September. In December the towering Christmas Tree dazzles both young and old.
  3. Farmer’s Market on Hinds Plaza
    On Thursdays from May through November Hinds Plaza bursts into color with a weekly farmer’s market. Nearly a dozen vendors bring the freshest of goods–mushrooms, flowers, cheese, veggies, jams, pickles, and breads–right into Princeton’s heart. Live music adds to the mix, making this the perfect spot to grab lunch!
  1. Scudder Plaza

    Princeton University’s campus boasts many fine sculptures, but James FitzGerald’s Fountain of Freedom surely counts as one of the most memorable pieces. Set in a wide, shallow pool on Scudder Plaza in front of Robertson Hall the fountain becomes especially busy on hot summer days when students and local families gather to relax and cool off in the spray.
  2. Carl Icahn Laboratory
    The Gothic style is synonymous with Princeton University, but make sure to visit Icahn Laboratory to glimpse an impressive example of the newest architecture on campus. Designed by Rafael Viñoly and located at the edge of the oval Poe Field, Icahn is fronted by a huge atrium, its southwestern wall of glass shaded by a set of aluminum louvers that rotate with the movement of the sun. Have fun looking for endless reflections as you walk along the curved pathway!

Hope you enjoyed our guest stars of the post, Wiebke Martens and Jennifer Jang. If you enjoyed this brief guide of Princeton, you’ll definitely want to check out their new book, Discovering Princeton: A Photographic Guide with Five Walking Tours! These photographic guides will be useful if you are ever wondering where to explore next in Princeton. Have a great academic year!

How to Make the Most
of Your Princeton Visit

When in Princeton, there is so much to see, taste, and experience as you walk across streets lined with bookstores, cafés, shops, and the beautiful University campus. With so much art, culture, history, theater, and delicious food in your surroundings, you’ll want to take it all in and create memories worth cherishing.

Best Things to Do in Princeton New Jersey
Photo Credit: Han of Harmony

Best Things to Do in Princeton New Jersey

Day 1:
Check into your room, and get comfortable.

Best Things to Do in Princeton New Jersey

Check VisitPrinceton.org, PalmerSquare.com, and our event calendar for festivals and events – there’s always something going on!

Best Things to Do in Princeton New Jersey

Take a stroll around Princeton University.

Best Things to Do in Princeton New Jersey
Photo Credit: Denise Applewhite

Best Things to Do in Princeton New Jersey

Visit the Princeton University Art Museum and Fountain of Freedom.

Best Things to Do in Princeton New Jersey

Shop in downtown Princeton.

Best Things to Do in Princeton New Jersey

Enjoy world class dining within walking distance.

World Class Dining | Princeton, New Jersey
Featuring: Agricola Eatery, Teresa Caffe, and Mediterra

Or stay in and dine at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Yankee Doodle Tap Room | Restaurant and Bar | Pub Grub | Princeton, New Jersey

Take in a show!

Watch Movies, Fine Theater, Shows and Performances | Best of Princeton, New Jersey

Fine theater, dance, music, comedy, Hollywood films, and latest movie showings – there’s something for everyone! Find showings at McCarter Theatre, Princeton Summer Theatre, and Princeton Garden Theater.

Experience Princeton nightlife.

Nightlife Princeton, New Jersey
Photo Credit: R Birkel

There’s nothing quite like taking a stroll in downtown Princeton and eating ice cream, followed by enjoyable late night conversations over cocktails and music at one of Princeton’s iconic taverns.


Check out: Small World Coffee, Halo Pub, Triumph Brewing Company, Alchemist & Barrister, Ivy Inn, and Yankee Doodle Tap Room.

Day 2:
Wake up with Lululemon’s complimentary morning yoga.

Lululemon Yoga | Princeton, New Jersey

Eat brunch in the Yankee Doodle Tap Room.

Explore Princeton with the Princeton Tour Company.

Visit Princeton New Jersey | Princeton Tour Company
You will have newfound love for this beautiful town. The Princeton Tour Company’s Shameless Name Dropping tour is packed with enthusiastic, informative, and entertaining knowledge about the history and people of Princeton – F. Scott Fitzgerald, T.S. Eliot, Albert Einstein, etc.

Canoe or Kayak at the D & R Canal or Lake Carnegie.
Tip: carry a waterproof camera or GoPro to capture the laughter and splash-filled memories.Canoeing and Kayaking | Princeton, New Jersey

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Make great memories, explore, and enjoy! Use social media tags #NassauInn and #YDTR to share your adventures with us. We look forward to welcoming you!

Another great reason to bring your corporate meetings to Princeton… Team Building

Whether you aim to inspire the creative players, encourage the leaders, relax the overworked or share some laughs, there is no shortage of unique team building options in Princeton, all guaranteed to encourage camaraderie and solidarity amongst your staff.

Top activities for a corporate group in Princeton —

Princeton Tour Company

Walk the Walk:  Looking for something a little light hearted, try Princeton Tour Company’s ghost hunt and dinner package. If you have natural born leaders that just need a little shaping, the battlefield leadership experience provides a challenging day of training and decision making! No matter your goal the Princeton Tour company has an option for you. Each private tour is customized for your industry while covering the chronological history of the University and surrounding town – including the homes of Albert Einstein, Woodrow Wilson, Grover Cleveland, F Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Oppenheimer and more. Plan your customized walking tour, bus tour, and battlefield leadership experience or scavenger hunt today. www.princetontourcompany.com

mccarter-theatre-center

Showtime! With over 200 performances of theatre, music, dance and special events a year the theatre is a viable group entertainment option. Many of the running performances feature well-known actors and often the visiting shows are national acts. Q&A sessions are available after select shows. Discounted rates and dinner theatre options are available for groups.   www.mccarter.org

TheaterToGo

 

 

 

 

Be Dramatic:
Prefer to be part of a show instead of sitting in the audience. No problem. Theater – To – Go will bring the show to you. The interactive shows are all customizable and include themes such as Judge & Jury, Murder Mystery, Game Show and more! Plan your dinner and give them a call, they are an awesome compliment to any dinner party. Keep in mind this option is more cost efficient for groups of 20 or more since they bring a whole cast of actors to your dinner! www.theatertogo.com

PaintTheNight

 

 

 

 

 


Paint the Night:
Paint and Sip parties are all the rage. Did you know Cranberry Station Gallery, located right in the heart of Palmer Square will not only host your party in their gallery, but they will also come to you if you have a dinner planned? The per-person cost is very reasonable and you provide your own wine and snacks, plus your guests get to take their creations home with them! http://cranburystationgallery.com/paint-party-events/

ArtWalk

Art Walk: It’s always free to take a stroll through the Princeton University Art Museum. If you plan on bringing a large group there are private options including a scenic art walk through campus ending at the museum. Be sure to call ahead, the staff is very happy to cater to your needs. Insider tip: Thursday night’s there is a complimentary wine reception in the lobby! http://artmuseum.princeton.edu

TeaForAll

Tea anyone? Tea for All offers etiquette and tasting classes for groups of any size. They come right to your venue and break-up a long afternoon meeting perfectly. Unlike wine, these tastings allow you to go back to work focused and more productive.

Yoga

De-Stress: What if you could help improve the health of your employees and reduce their stress levels at the same time? Yoga is a proven cost effective way to do just that, and work place yoga shows your team you care! Group classes for up to 40 people are offered at the Yoga Stream studio on Witherspoon Street, or ask them about coming to your venue. The professionals at Yoga Stream can turn any meeting room into a studio. All of this is available at a very reasonable rate. www.yogastream.net.

OneSimpleWish

Feeling Generous? While there are many charitable organizations out there that your company can opt to support. One Simple Wish is a local organization that grants simple wishes for children in the foster care system. This organization has fun activities that will help brighten the lives of a child all the while fulfilling your philanthropic mission in a feel good kind of way. Build bikes, sponsor suitcases or grant wishes with your team and instantly transform everyone into one lucky child’s super hero! www.onesimplewish.org

Escape Room

Escape the Everyday: The Amazing Escape Room, Princeton is new to the Princeton scene but brings with it 6 challenging game rooms that will decipher the leaders from the followers. Each room can handle up to 12 people and teams are given an hour to read the clues, solve the mystery and escape the room. Need help deciding who would work best on project teams, sit back and enjoy managers can watch their teams in action. www.amazingescaperoom.com/princeton-nj/

In short, if you are planning a meeting and need any team building or entertainment, there is no better place than Princeton where arts and entertainment are right at your doorstep.

Another Insider Tip: The Nassau Inn has 188 guest rooms, 13 meeting rooms and is in walking distance of everything Princeton! www.nassauinn.com

 

5 Wonderful Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day in Princeton

On the day where we go out of our way to show our moms exactly how much they mean to us, Princeton provides plenty of options. Whether Mom wants a show, a stroll or a shopping trip, there’s something for everyone in our roundup below.

Kick off the day with a fragrant bouquet of freshly cut, elegantly arranged flowers. Our friends at Viburnum Designs can help you find the perfect combination.

mothersdayflowers

Mother’s Day brunch at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room has been a beloved tradition in Princeton for generations. Enjoy an unforgettable dining experience that mom will love. See the full menu here.

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Drop by Palmer Square where mom can take her pick from familiar brand names such as Ann Taylor and Ralph Lauren, or the many unique locally-owned boutiques, spas, and galleries.

Palmer Square

Take a leisurely stroll around downtown Princeton and through the stunning Princeton University campus. While there, visit the Princeton University Art Museum and Prospect Gardens for even more fun.

PU

Take in a show at the world renowned McCarter Theater. See what’s scheduled for Mother’s Day here.

mccarter-theatre-center

Outside Art: The Great Outdoor Sculptures of Princeton University

All over Princeton University, colorful, interesting and some mystifying pieces of art liven up the campus environment. And, while passersbys appreciate the art that surrounds them, the looming question, ‘What does it mean?’ often crosses the minds of observers.

From the giant fountain in front of Scudder Plaza to the huge, color-laden stained glass display outside of the art museum, all the way to the ‘emerald green thing’ between Stanhope Hall and West College, each piece of art adorning the campus has its own backstory – some of which we hope to explain a little bit about in this blog segment.

(Any) Body Oddly Propped (2015)

Any Body Oddly Propped

  • Created by artists Mike and Doug Stern
  • Made from glass, steel, and bronze
  • Located on the front lawn of the Princeton University Art Musuem
  • Inspired by energy systems found in nature
  • Invites visitors to linger amidst the sculpture and experience it under constantly shifting light conditions
  • Weighs nearly 8 tons and is constructed of six 18-foot tall colored glass panels

    Cubi Xiii (1963)
    Cubi XIII

  • Created by artist David Smith (1906-1965)
  • Made from stainless steel
  • Located between McCormick Hall and Whig Hall
  • Installed in 1969
  • David’s Smith’s final and most famed sculptures
  • The geometric shapes are assembled to evoke the human figure
  • Cubi Xiii traveled widely between the years of 1964-1969 before finding a home at Princeton Univeristy
  • Smith polished the stainless steel so that it would reflect the color of its surroundings
  • One in a series of 28 sculptures. One sold for over $23.8 million

    Centaur  (1954)
    Centaur with Pipes

  • Created by artist Dimitri Hadzi (1921-2006)
  • Located in the Prospect Gardens
  • Installed in 1971
  • Made from cast bronze
  • Inspired by Hadzi’s lifelong interest in mythology
  • His work is in the collections of many major museums, among them the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
  • The fountain was commissioned by President Robert F. Goheen, a classicist, when Prospect House was still home to the University’s president

    Public Table (1979)
    Public Table

  • Created by artist Scott Burton (1939-1989)
  • Located between East Pyne Hall & Murray-Dodge Hall
  • Made from cast concrete
  • Installed in 1998
  • Burton’s work has been described as “sculpture in love with furniture”
  • It’s an actual usable table where students and passersby can socialize or study
  • Based on an identical example in the sculpture garden at General Mills in Minneapolis, MN
  • Burton believed that “art should place itself not in front of, but around, behind, and underneath the audience.”

    Oval with Points (1970)
    Oval with Points

  • Created by artist Sir Henry Moore (1898-1986)
  • Located between Stanhope Hall and West College
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed in 1971
  • Said to have been inspired by an elephant’s skull
  • The appearance of the sculpture changes when viewed from various angles. Some see resemble a face and as you walk further around, the face will contort like a comedy/tragedy masks on a theater façade.
  • There are other casts of the work in Kew Gardens and Columbus Museum of Art

    Head of a Woman (1971)
    Head of a woman

  • Originally created by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
  • Located between Spelman Halls and New South Building
  • Installed in 1971
  • Artist, Carl Nejar executed the sculpture from a 12-inch maquette that Picasso had completed in 1962
  • The sculpture is intended to depict the essence of the female form
  • Carl Nejar was often referred to as Picasso’s right arm
  • The sculpture is nearly 16’ high

    The Hedgehog and the Fox (2000)
    The Hedgehog and the Fox

  • Created by artist Richard Serra (1939)
  • Located between Lewis Library and Fine Hall
  • Made from Core-Ten steel
  • Installed in 2000
  • The title of the sculpture refers to an essay “The Hedgehog & the Fox” by Isaiah Berlin that points to how scholars become free thinkers and invent or become subjugated to the dictates of history.
  • The sculpture is 94 feet long and 15 feet high and invites visitors to walk through it
  • It is said that ‘without interaction with the piece, there is no piece’

    Titan (2004)
    Titan

  • Created by artist Michele Oka Doner (1945)
  • Located near the Prospect House
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed in 2004
  • Collobaration between longtime friends: artist, Michele Oka Donna and model, Micky Wolfson
  • The hollow sponge-like figure evokes both growth and decay
  • The work was donated to Princeton University Art Museum in honor of longtime Princeton benefactor Mickey Wolfson’s 70th birthday

    Atmosphere and Environment (1970)
    atmosphere and the environment

  • Created by artist Louise Nevelson
  • Located adjacent to Firestone Library
  • Made from Core-Ten steel
  • Installed in 1971
  • The sculpture achieves its magic through the play of natural light over its geometric surface
  • Standing at 21-feet tall, it creates a variety of constantly changing visual images as the viewer moves past it.
  • Nelson explained, “The landscape is the atmosphere that fills the spaces of the steel environment; the two together are the sculpture.”
  • Nevelson’s was nearly 70 years old when she undertook the Princeton commission, her first monumental outdoor sculpture in Cor-Ten steel.

    Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads
    Circle of Heads

  • Created by artist Ai Weiwei
  • Located at Scudder Plaza
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed from 2012 to 2016
  • Inspired by sculptures that once adorned the fountain clock at Yuanming Yuan, representing signs of the zodiac.
  • Each of the 12 sculpture stands approximately 10 feet high and weighs 800 pounds
  • It is significant that the sculptures are placed alongside the Scudder Plaza reflecting pool, as the original Zodiacs were in front of the fountain of the imperial palace.

    Fountain of Freedom (1966)
    Fountain of Freedom

  • Created by artist James Fitzgerald (1910-1973)
  • Located at Scudder Plaza
  • Made from bronze
  • Installed in 1966
  • Standing at 23-feet high and weighing 6 tons, the fountain is one of the largest cast bronze sculptures in the United States.
  • Named to symbolize Woodrow Wilson’s vision of lasting world peace
  • The grooves, channels, and spires are meant to symbolize Woodrow Wilson’s aspirations and frustrations.
  • It was once referred “Jersey Shore West” back when visitors used to play and wade in the water
  • 700 gallons of water are recirculated through the fountain each minute