Ok, you might think that the only icon that shouts out Princeton is Princeton University. Hell, that is not the case! There are lots of things you can do in this quaint town. The train takes about 88 minutes on a local train from Penn Station in New York City. You take the train to Princeton Junction then switch to the "dinky" shuttle train and that stops right on the Princeton campus. The campus is right in town so it's a short walk from the station. You can take NJ Transit or Amtrak. I took NJ transit because it's cheaper. It's $33 round trip from the city. Yes, there are trains you can take in New Jersey. New Jersey happens to have the densest railroad system in America, with several commuter lines that span to almost every pocket of the state.
There are several shops that would appeal to all ages. One of my favorite stores in Princeton is the Princeton Record Exchange located at 20 South Tulane Street. This place has thousands upon thousands of vinyls and dvds that you could ever imagine; in several price ranges. There are ones that are as cheap as a dollar and there are ones that can cost thousands of dollars depending upon how scarce or rare they are. I bought a Kinks vinyl, it actually came with 2 records. It's called, "The Kinks, Everybody's in Show-Biz." Everyone who buys a record must use a turntable in order to the record to play. I am especially impressed with the album cover! I interviewed the General Manager of Princeton Record Exchange, Jonathan Lambert. In this video he will talk about the history of the store and what the business is about. Enjoy!
Princeton also has a variety of eateries and food stores that are very enticing. If you are coming right from the train, and you need a caffeine boost OR something to munch on, I would say to head right over to Small World Coffee located at 254 Nassau Street.
The baristas are very friendly and they give you a great cup of joe. This place would be a great introduction to Princeton and would give you a sample of life there, even some of the college life since many students come and study while sipping a cup of joe. That is why this is the best place to start out as soon as one arrives in Princeton! There are several good places where you can get a bite to eat for lunch. Olives Gourmet Bakery and Deli located at 22 Witherspoon Street has a great selection for the health conscious. They have soups, salads, and typical Jersey subs. The other place you can go to is D'Angelo Italian Market located at 35 Spring Street. This place has a variety of tasty Italian goods such as sandwiches, breads, and pastries. They also have typical grocery store items and did I mention that there is an entire freezer section with over 15 different types of ravioli!? In case you haven't noticed, I like pasta.
There are so many different shops and boutiques ranging from a Lacrosse store to a spice shop to clothing stores catering to any style.
The bottom line is this is a great day trip from NYC.