Shopping options abound in town
As you shop for your soon-to-arrive-to-college life and try to figure out how in the world you’re going to adjust to this new experience in the so-called Orange Bubble, here is a guide that will help you embrace the town that is to become your temporary home. Princeton may be no New York City, Philadelphia or Boston, but it still boasts an impressive array of stores and eateries that should keep most everyone satisfied. Most places mentioned are within short walking distances from the University’s main gate.
Coffee/tea study cafes
Yes, you will no doubt find a need for caffeine once you begin your Princeton career. Whether you are searching for the large-scale, reliable chain coffee shop or the more local, hipster-cool cafe, Princeton’s got you covered with three very popular places: the ubiquitous Starbucks, the locally loved Small World Coffee and Middle Eastern-themed Infini-T Cafe. Of course, all three are very study-friendly, and you will likely see several students “procrasti-studying” at all three places at any given time. Although none give exclusively student discounts, Small World offers a punch card system where after 10 drinks the 11th is free, and Infini-T Cafe holds happy hour once a week on Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. where all food and beverages are half off.
Are you a foodie? Do you obsess over food pictures? Do you have a refined palate? Do you just like indulging on mouth-watering food? Well, Princeton aims to please with a wide variety and selection of restaurants where you would generally bring the parents to foot the bill. Such foodie restaurants include a classic American menu at Alchemist and Barrister, Mediterranean food at Mediterra, seafood at Blue Point Grill, Italian at La Mezzaluna, delicious grilled steaks at Witherspoon Grill, French new-American fare at The Ferry House, new-American dishes at The Peacock Inn Restaurant and modern global-American cuisine at Elements.
Fear not, your wallet will not have to suffer just because you want to have a nice meal out. There are many family-priced restaurants around that offer great food at a reasonable price. Among them are casual American eatery Winberie’s, popular Italian food at Teresa Caffe, Indian cuisine at Mehek, Korean food and sushi at Nassau Sushi or Soonja’s (near Forbes College).
Very casual eateries
The options are almost endless. Being a college town, Princeton has the always-popular national chains like Subway, Panera Bread and Qdoba. However you’ll want to check out all the classic Princeton favorites such as Hoagie Haven, PJ’s Pancake House, Olives, Zorba’s, George’s Roasters and Ribs, Chuck’s, Thai Village, Tiger Noodles and Sakura Express. Pizza stores include Massimo’s, Iano’s, Naked Pizza, D’Angelo Italian Market and Slice Between. Make it a goal to give them all a try!
Celebrating a birthday, or just looking to indulge that sweet tooth of yours? Check out Terra Momo Bread Company (mainly for bread and pastries), Chez Alice (known for its cakes), House of Cupcakes, Lindt Chocolate and Thomas Sweet Chocolates. Not widely visited among Princeton students, but clearly a local townspeople’s favorite, is The Little Chef Pastry Shop, known as the bakery with the best croissants, pastries and cakes — hands down. On any given Saturday or Sunday, the shop’s croissants often are completely sold out before noon. Find this pastry shop on the small, hidden South Tulane Street next to Princeton Record Exchange.
Ice cream stores
Yes, there needs to be a whole section dedicated to Princeton’s ice cream shops because of the sheer fact that there are quite a few, especially if frozen yogurt is included. There are three veteran ice cream stores that have withstood the test of time: Halo Pub for scrumptious, creamy ice cream, Thomas Sweet for the possibilities of blend-ins and Bent Spoon for delectably fresh gelato (and arguably the best cupcakes in town). There is also Princeton’s relative newcomer, Louie G’s Famous Italian Ice. Princeton also has two frozen yogurt places on Nassau Street, Twist and Fruity Yogurt (which also serves bubble tea). Everybody has his or her preference, so it’s up to you to come and find out which one (or which several) will become your go-to for an ice-cold treat.
Rather than describe in words the predominant fashion trends of Princeton students and townies, it is easiest to list several stores in downtown Princeton for you: J. Crew, Lilly Pulitzer, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren and a new Brooks Brothers opening in the fall (just in time for you, incoming freshmen!). If you lean toward the preppy style, great! However, even if you don’t, fear not, there are also other stores around. Budding fashionistas who follow the latest style trends can visit boutique stores Urban Grace, Buck’s County Dry Goods or Zoe, which carries a selection from the latest runway shows. There is also an Ann Taylor, Talbots, Mandalay and for discount clothing, you can visit Greene Street Consignment (for both genders) or Jane Consignment (for mostly females).
Are you musical or artsy? Do you like hearing live performances? Well on most Saturday nights, Small World Coffee invites musicians to come perform at its Witherspoon location, and Infini-T Cafe hosts an open mic night on Friday evenings. Princeton also has a store called Princeton Record Exchange that is frequented by many locals and praised for its impressive selection as well as great deals on used CDs and DVDs. Some call it “legendary.” Furthermore, Palmer Square hosts many musical events throughout the year. As you arrive in the fall, the 21st annual JazzFeast is scheduled for Sept. 9.
With all that eating, Princetonians can work it off by paying a visit to Princeton Running Company, Lacrosse Unlimited or Lululemon. Princeton also has two donation-based yoga studios, Gratitude Yoga on Witherspoon Street and Yoga Above on Nassau Street, all within a five-minute walk from the main gate.
Located right across from the main gate, there are multiple options for students. PNC, Chase and Bank of America ATMs are very accessible to students. In addition, there is a local Bank of Princeton located on Chambers Street.
For all other needs, there is a Wawa next to Forbes College and a CVS on Nassau Street.
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