If you are looking for a fun day trip idea in New Jersey, I highly recommend visiting Princeton. Princeton is more than just an Ivy League University. It is a cute and charming town filled with so many things to do. It makes the perfect destination to spend exploring with your family, friends, or significant other! In this post, I’ll be sharing the best things to do in Princeton New Jersey for a day trip.
Grounds for Sculpture
The first stop of your Princeton New Jersey day trip is to visit Grounds for Sculpture. It is located in Hamilton, NJ – which is about 20 minutes from Princeton. Grounds for Sculpture is a museum, sculpture garden, and arboretum. You can explore their 42 acres and check out their 300 contemporary sculptures by 150 different artists. They also have six galleries indoors that you can wander through.
Advanced timed ticket reservations are required to ensure entry. Capacity is limited and sell out likely on weekends and holidays. You can reserve your time slot up to two weeks in advanced. Adult tickets are $20 per person. You can reserve your tickets here!
If you are interested in exploring more of the outdoors, I recommend visiting Institute Woods. This is an easy walking trail that features a swinging bridge over a stream and the historic site of a revolutionary war battle called Battlefield State Park. To get to the walking trail, you can park at Princeton Battlefield State Park and follow the trail.
There are two trail options: 2.2 miles or 3.6 miles. The 3.6 mile route is the full route where you will go through the Institute Woods, Swinging Bridge, and Princeton Battlefield. For the shorter route, in 2.2 miles you will go through the Institute Woods and Swinging Bridge and loop back.
My favorite part of this trail was crossing the swinging bridge – it was really cool!
If you are looking for another fun outdoor activity in Princeton, you can visit Terhune Orchards. Terhune Orchards is a family owned 250 acre farm in Princeton, NJ. You can pick your own berries, flowers, apples and pumpkins. They also have a farm store that is open year-round where you can find a variety of fruits and vegetables, baked goods including their apple cider donuts and pies, locally sourced gourmet food, flowers, plants, and their own award-winning wine.
After all that walking, it makes the perfect time to relax and grab lunch! There are so many great restaurants in Princeton. Here are my lunch recommendations in Princeton:
- Agricola Eatery – My family and I ate here for lunch. This farm to table restaurant is so good! I recommend their mushroom flatbread and seasonal ravioli!
- Local Greek – Serves traditional Greek food and perfect for sharing plates
- Witherspoon Grill – A classic American steakhouse with a casual spin
- Nomad Pizza – A yummy local pizza spot
You can’t visit Princeton without walking through Princeton University campus. It is a beautiful campus filled with historic buildings and amazing architecture. Here are the top spots you need to visit on campus:
- Nassau Hall – This is the oldest building on campus. It was completed in 1756 and even served as the United States Capitol building for four months. During the American Revolutionary War, the hall was used by British and American troops and was damaged during the Battle of Princeton in 1777. In the 1800s, it even caught fire twice. It was remodeled to the building it is today. I love the architecture of this building!
- Albert Einstein House – From 1935-1955, Albert Einstein lived in this house on 112 Mercer Street.
- Princeton University Chapel – This is a beautiful chapel built in 1928 and restored in 2002. I love the stained glass window design.
- Morven Museum and Garden – This 18th century home sits on five acres where you can explore its beautiful garden.
Explore the Town
Princeton is such a cute and charming town. I loved walking around the town and checking out all the shops. I loved exploring Palmer Square. In this open plaza, you will find brand-name retailers, clothing and home good boutiques, cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Bent Spoon Ice Cream
One of the best things to do in Princeton New Jersey is getting ice cream at Bent Spoon. It is located in Palmer Square. Bent Spoon is an organic ice cream shop that was actually just named as one of the world’s greatest ice cream shops by Financial Times. It has such awesome and unique flavors. Their classic flavors like Dark Chocolate and Madagascar Vanilla Bean are so good! And they have such cool seasonal flavors like sweet basil and and local organic sweet corn!
Shop My Outfit
Looking for more day trips around New Jersey – check out these blog posts: