|I maintain this page because I am hoping that people
will now tell me about other interesting places in the area.
sights to see.
This list leaves out Manhattan and Philadelphia, the two
biggest attractions in the area.
Most activities listed here require a car. I haven't included addresses or directions, but
you can find those in the Yahoo! Yellow Pages or Yahoo!
You can send me email.
The main cafes in downtown are Small World, Halo Pub, Starbucks, and
Panera's. There is a cafe in the public library.
On campus, there is a nice cafe and hangout spot in Frist campus
center, and the Chancellor Green building.
$=Main entree under $10. $$= Main
entree from $10-20. $$$= Main entree from $20-30. Ratings (1-4 stars)
upon food quality. Almost all places below welcome kids. Kids seem to
love the large "mall" restaurants along Rte 1.
- Cafe Graziella: Italian.
Somerville, NJ. (20 min) $$ ,
- Teresa's Pizzetta Cafe: Italian.
Princeton, NJ . Nice, noisy atmosphere.(0 min) $$,
- Seoul House. Korean. Somerset, NJ.
- Ajihei. Japanese. This
hole-in-the wall Japanese has already made it to the New York Times.
Best sushi in town(0 min), $-$$,
- Conti's Pizza. My favorite in Princeton. Sometimes there's
a wait for
the tables. $, (5min)
- Acacia. French, nouvelle,fusion.
Lawrenceville, NJ.(10-12min) $$-$$$, Graceful dining, innovative
- Cafe Fedora. Gourmet-ish cafe. Lawrenceville,
NJ.(10-12min) Good sandwiches, desserts and brunch items.Next door
to Acacia. $.
- Happy City. Chinese.
Lawrenceville, NJ on Rt 1. (10min) This used to be a very good
since summer'05, has become truly great after a change of
management. Let the friendly manager
(an MIT graduate ---ask him for his Bill Gates story!) guide you
through the menu. Try the
seafood specials. $-$$,
- Prospect Garden. The university's faculty
club; payment is only via university ID. I take out-of-town
visitors here for a terrific Sunday brunch ($15-20 or so). The
especially nice when the
flowers are out. $$,
- Upscale restaurants in downton Princeton: The choices are
Les Copains, Ferry House, Lahiere's, Alchemist
and Barrister, and (if you willing to walk 5-7 min) Le Plumet Royale
at the Peacock Inn. Continental
food prepared and served competently. I have had good meals at all
these places. Entrees at Ferry House are often
around $20 and closer to $30 at the other places. Food rating is . Reservations recommended.
- Ichiban. Japanese. Bright and
cheerful room. Princeton, NJ. $$, (Added Nov'02: Had
great sashimi there.)
- Triumph Brewery. Princeton, NJ. Hip brew
pub. Good beer, exciting space, unexciting food (best to
stick with "beer food" here), and live music. $-$$.
- Small World Coffee. Princeton, NJ. A "happening" cafe, with
live music on some
evenings. (If you find it too noisy try
Bucks County cafe or Starbucks nearby.)
- Halo Pub. Ice cream shoppe and Cafe with only two tables.
But the offerings are great and the prices are
incredibly low ($1 cappucino, anyone?).On hot summer nights the line
goes around the block. (The same is
true for Thomas Sweet nearby, but I prefer Halo Pub.)
- The Bent Spoon. Artisan ice cream with many loyal fans. My
complaint:Why can't they sell a single scoop
- Tortuga's Mexican Village. Mexican. Princeton, NJ.
Dark room but good food (a "21/30" rating from
Zagat's). (5min) $.
- Taste Of Mexico. Mexican. Princeton shopping
center, NJ. (5min). Small place with cheerful owner who
hails from Mexico City. ("Food as good as in Mexico
City," he claims.) $,
- Masala Grill. Competent Indian with organic twist; the
lunch buffet is justifiably popular.
Downtown Princeton NJ. In the same spot as the old Twist Rojo.$-$$
- Witherspoon Bread Co. Bakery. Best bread in
town. Baked fresh several times a day. $
- Chez Alice. Bakery. Great if you need desserts
for guests (or at any other time).
- Nassau Seafood. Seafood and fresh veggies. Not a
restaurant, but it does have good bread, fresh produce,
seafood, and good takeouts (usually seafood).
- Blue Point Grill (Nassau St., next to Chez Alice) Seafood
restaurant. Great food but some wai for tables.
- "Luncheon block" near Chez Alice and Blue Point Grill.
There are over almost a dozen establishments in this
block, popular with the lunch crowd. Offerings include Thai, Indian,
Japanese (x2), Chinese (x2), Burgers,
takeout sandwiches/hoagies (Hoagie Haven and George's are two
institutions that have fed generations of
Princeton undergrads), Fish n Chips. Nothing great, but fine for
a quick lunch.
- Dosa Grill: The influx of middle-class Indians into the
Princeton area has led to the opening of many new Indian
restaurants on Route 27, many selling South Indian food. Dosa Grill is
my current favorite.
- Khasiyat Fast Food. Indian "chaat" and other fast foods.
Iselin, NJ. Order just the chaats; ask your
waiter for guidance. When in doubt try the chaats with yogurt and be
modest about how spicy you want your
chaat. Try their falooda drinks too.$
- Sahara. Middle eastern. Montgomery, NJ (10 min)
Usual mid-eastern foods served by friendly Lebanese family. $-$$
- Ota Ya. Japanese. Lambertville, NJ (30 min).
Best sushi I've had within a 1 hour radius of Princeton. Zagat
rating 24/30 (underrated in my opinion). New York will equal this, but
at twice the price (at least when you
take portion sizes into account). Nice place to end an afternoon in
Lambertville/New Hope. $$-$$$
Prices have gone up, so no longer as good a deal. But quality is still
- Swagath Gourmet: South Indian Vegetarian.
1700 Oaktree Road, Edison NJ. (50 min) $ . Best Dosa in the New
area (or maybe North America)?
- Chowpatty. Indian "chaat" house.
Iselin, NJ. Takeout available next door. (50 min) $ ,
- Madras Garden. South Indian vegetarian. Edison,
NJ. OK for a quick bite on Route 1.
- Keum Ho Jung. Korean BBQ. Edison, NJ just off of
Rt 1. Excellent BBQ and heavenly pancakes.
Possibly the best Korean restaurant in the region, including NYC. I
have tried Korean restaurants in
NYC with 23-24 Zagat ratings but they were not as good. (35 min
from Princeton. Also visit the
Kam Man Chinese supermarket next door, it is huge and quite
- Penang. Malaysian. Edison, NJ, next to Keum Ho
Jung. Cuisine from Penang region of Malaysia,
featuring Malay, Indian and Chinese influences. The friendly staff give
SIGHTS TO SEE, WALKS ETC.:
- The woods at the Institute of Advanced
Study in Princeton are nice to walk in,
especially in winter. If you walk South, you come to historic Princeton
There are many other neighborhood parks and lakes within a few miles of
- The following places on campus are good to hang out at and
maybe have a coffee: Genomics Cafe
(wins my vote for best view on campus; coffee is the machine variety,
Frist Campus Center's Cafe Vivian, Chancellor Green building.
- Mountain Lakes are in Princeton on
Mountain Ave. just off of Route 206. They are
only a 15-20 min. walk from Palmer Square. There are walking trails all
- Island Beach State Park at the NJ
coast is a little over an hour away and has miles of
pretty beaches. At its nicest in early fall when the water and wind are
warm, and the
crowds are gone. As you exit the park, Berkeley Seafood on your left
nongreasy fish and chips , and also fresh seafood. (They are closed in
- Trenton Grounds for Sculpture. About
15-20 min from Princeton. A beautifully landscaped
garden featuring large works of sculpture and a couple of very good
restaurants. (I can vouch for
the excellence of their Sunday brunch.) Entry is cheap on weekdays and
expensive on weekends.
(Added June'01): They continue to improve this place and it is now
extremely nice. The cafe is
excellent for the price.
- Washington Crossing State Park on
the Delaware River is 20-25 min away by
car. It can be combined with visits to the two touristy towns of
New Hope. New Hope is the weirder one. Lambertville is famous for
It also has many historic houses and streets. Some good restaurants
- Southern New Jersey, especially the Pine
- Delaware Water Gap and the Poconos
Mountains. (Off of Route 80 at the border
of NJ and PA.; 1 hour away.) Pretty landscape. The Poconos are a
popular ski area,
and hence a bit touristy.
- Trenton farmers' market. (15-20
min. south on Princeton Pike). Good place to
stock up on European (read German, Polish, and Italian) goodies such as
olives, cookies, sandwich meats etc. (ps: The people at the
Italian store, Frederick's,
give good recommendations on their best olive oils, cheeses etc.)
- Philadephia's Old Italian Market and Reading
(pronounced "Redding") Terminal
Market. Good places to buy food or to pick up a lunch. About 1 hour
Philadelphia's old city is nice to walk in. North of Market St it
features art galleries and other
- Amish country near Lancaster, PA, is about 1.5 to
2 hours away and is worth a
visit for a step back in time. The Amish have preserved their way of
life from the
past century. Try driving off the main roads on to local roads for the
Pack a picnic lunch or stop at the various farmer's markets (the
biggest is in Lancaster).
- Lehigh valley, PA (around the town of Bethlehem)
is about 1 hr 45min away. It has many old
industries and the towns are full of solid-looking stone houses from
America's industrial age, when Bethlehem
was the steel capital of the US. Historic Bethlehem is also
interesting; it was founded by the
Moravians, a Christian sect from Europe. Nice bed-and-breakfasts and
restaurants in the area
make this a worthwhile overnight excursion from Princeton. Here is a
writeup about my trip to Lehigh
There are also many covered bridges (as in "Bridges of Madison county")
and old canal locks; pick
up a map and visit them in a pleasant hour or two.
- Here is another list of area
- Princeton online's events page.
- Check out this
- Most cultural activities
around town will be found on campus. Here is the weekly calendar
that lists music, dance, and other
performances at the University, as well as academic talks. Many groups
on campus have web pages. Taplin and Richardson auditoriums have an
active concert schedule
Student theater (sometimes so-so, often quite decent) is based in Theater Intime and the
Theater and Dance. The latter is your best bet for contemporary
in an interesting,
intimate theater. Also check out events listed on the Calendar of
Council of Humanities.
The Frist Campus Center
also holds many events, and continues to hold them over the summer
(when a lot of
the other places are closed).
- Going further, you can
learn about events throughout the state here.
- Princeton Art Museum
on campus is small but excellent. They do not have space to exhibit
most of their
huge collection, so they rotate between their exhibits. Don't forget to
check out the Asian section in
the basement. Entry is free. They have also started to hold special
events (sometimes involving live music)
on the first Friday evening of each month.
Theater. Featuring plays, dance, music. They sell discounted
Princeton students, and occasionally, half-price rush tickets. To
ensure best seats, buy
a subscription at the start of the year (can be tailored to your tastes
- The famous Westminster Choir college is in
Princeton and has many performances.
- Philadelphia has several interesting
museums, including a terrific Museum
and a Science museum.
Students on a budget may note that museum entry is free on
certain days. Parking on the street is easy on weekends.